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Robyn's Pond Newsletter July 2003

Last Updated: 2/14/14

Introduction and Miscellaneous:

If you have something pond-related that you want to share (information, jokes, web sites, pond secrets and tidbits, something pond-related for sale), let me know, and I will add it to the next newsletter. What topics would you like me to cover? Do you have a question that I can answer or pose to others in the next newsletter?

I'm sorry there isn't much too this newsletter but I'm so overworked, I have no time for anything non- essential. I had planned a lot of things to write and update but haven't gotten to them yet. Some ideas I had were a page on farm ponds, moving my mosquito information to its own page, adding a survey to ask about what to do with my website, and lots of links and ideas I've meant to add.

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/plants/algae2.htm
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/pictures.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. I added a short new section on algae control in large ponds since I've been getting a lot of questions about this area with which I have no personal experience.

2. I added 9 new photos (which I shouldn't as I'm running out of room!). Under big pond, summer 2003 are four new photos of the pink Fabiola lily on 6/28/03, white Albata lily on 6/28/03, pond facing south on 6/23/03, and pond facing north on 6/23/03. Under "Other ponds, summer 2003" are two photos on 6/23/03 of the 153 gallon pond facing southwest where you can see the 1800 gallon big pond in the distance and facing northwest. Under "Fish, summer 2003" is a photo of my new paradise fish on 6/13/03. Under "Other animals, mammals" is a photo of the newborn fawn on 5/26/03 I promised to show you. Under "Other animals, insects" is a photo of an adult cranefly on 6/10/03.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 6/7/03, I found newborn zebra danios in my 40 gallon tank which I often do. I didn't want to set up a net breeder or another tank, and I'd tried putting some in my sparsely populated 20 gallon tank a few weeks before with no sign of survivors. So, I popped these 12 babies into my 20 gallon tropical tub pond. I will probably put babies in there during the summer. I guess I'll have to wait to see if any make it. I have plenty of fish either way! (As of 7/2/03, there is no sign any fry have survived.)

2. On 6/8/03, I replaced the floss around the main pump (OASE Nautilus 60 2600 gph) and second pump (MagDrive 700 gph) in my big pond so I didn't have to technically squirt any flosses except the one in the top of the Cyprio filter (don't ask!). I squirted the bioballs. They were full of sludge and coated in thousands of caddisfly cases. I think my squirting maybe removes 25% of the stuff in there but it's hard to say. The big pond was at 65 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 64 degrees F. The air was about 70 degrees F with 100% humidity and 100% clouds (but no rain for once). There were newborn fish (most likely goldfish) swimming in the floating plant protector where I have the water hyacinth and water lettuce (until the floaters grow enough more of themselves to not be eaten by the fish). I don't often see fry anymore. Just a few goldfish survive each year (and it's a good thing!). I thought of saving some elsewhere since I never get to watch them grow but realized I have no room anyway. I found my last tuber of red water lily (the one I thought had died and then found was alive) floating loose in the pond (MAGGIE!!). I put it into the 5 gallon pot with the tropical water lily tubers which had yet to grow (too cold) since this pot sits higher where Maggie was less likely to root. If they both grow, I hope they don't intertwine. I may have to separate them before that. I was just being lazy. It has been so wet that one of the water lily tubers (not red alas) I tossed over the hill two months ago is not only alive but growing!! After doing other weekly sort of chores like netting the bottom, adding my new koi clay, fixing the submerged plant protectors which are now pretty much sans plants, collecting floating plant parts the fish ate off, feeding them something, then I tried to start my weeding and mulching routine around my 153 gallon pond area. I worked for two hours weeding. It seemed like I accomplished nothing! My shoulder really hurt from cutting crab grass. It was all around with my plants I want and next to the pond so poisons were out of the question, even if I ever used them which I don't. My 153 gallon pond magically reappeared after I cut out the darn mint that has grown into the brick work. I trimmed around while the male green frog was there. I literally cut a piece an inch from him, and he didn't move! A girl showed up. I pet her but she jumped in. I'm hoping there'll be frog eggs this year after all (none yet by 7/2/03 though)! I really miss that we had no toad eggs this year.

3. Curious what's in bloom at my ponds? On 6/9/03, the 153 gallon pond has the first water lily flower of the year, a white Albata. It's way late this year due to the cold and constant rain. Also, the yellow flag iris is finishing up as is the blue flag iris. The purple iris (variety unknown) is peaking and has a few dozen flowers this year! In the 1800 gallon pond, you can find the yellow and purple iris as well. In addition, the colorific iris is in bloom (an old photo is on the pond pictures page). Also, the watercress, blue water forget-me-not, cotton grass, and zebra rush are putting on shows of their own. The last two are really grass-like (and potted) while the watercress and forget-me-not are growing in huge masses (not potted) of white and blue respectively. The poor lotus (2 kinds in 3 locations) have no leaves at all! The cold and darkness may have killed them off! More money and effort lost.

4. On 6/13/03, I bought a pair of paradise fish for the 20 gallon mosaic pond on the front porch (my mother said I had to add something). It was warm enough that they should have no problem with the temperature there until fall when I can bring them inside. The pond was pretty dirty so I just dumped it. To avoid our 100% well water which is saturated with carbon dioxide which can bubble out inside the fish and kill them, I refilled the pond 70% or so with 1800 gallon pond water (slightly yellow) and the rest fresh. I added Stress-Zyme, Stress-Coat, aquarium salt, MelaFix, and Aquari-Sol (they seemed fine but fellow fish at the store were diseased so this should prevent ick at least). I added an old piece of driftwood on slate and a floating white fake plant as well as a styrofoam feeding square (I though he could maybe do a bubble nest in it but the thing bounces around). The pump doesn't open for cleaning so I just squirted it with the hose. I set everything back up. The light died (I knew it would) but that's ok; at least they can sleep at night since you can't turn off the light as it's attached to the pump. After a photo op in a small jar, the fish went to their new home. They promptly found how to get under the fake mosaic, and there they remain. Since they need to come up to gulp air (being labyrinth fish) and to eat, I hope they make it! But, at least if the raccoon visits the front porch, he won't find them! This pond is truly not meant to house plants and animals although it says it can. So, now the pond has fish but my mother complains that she can't see them!

5. On 6/15/03, I squirted flosses and did the usual chores. I squirted out the Cyprio bio-things in the kiddie pool. I moved the hardy red lily back to the 2 gallon pot from whence it came, added more pea gravel over it, and elevated it up some on bricks. I hope Maggie stays out of it. The tropical "nuts" are starting to grow so I didn't want to risk them intergrowing with the poor red lily. For the first time this year, I got in the pond in my bathing suit. The 1800 gallon pond was up to 77 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was 74 degrees F. The air temperature was over 80 with 100% humidity. While pulling watercress back away from the falls (there is now a ton so I needn't have worried that so much had died over winter), I discovered a garter snake in the rocks and watercress a few inches away. Luckily, I hadn't put my hands close enough for him to strike. I left him to do his snakey things. My father has twice seen a large snapping turtle about 1/3 a mile from our house in the road. She (probably a female looking to lay eggs) was near a wetlands where they're going to eventually bulldoze to build a gas station and more housing. It's always wet there but the government says it's not so it's getting no protection. There was even a beaver lodge and pond there until he got squished. I worked on mulching a section of the garden near the 153 gallon pond. The crab grass and other plants I didn't want were so thick, and I'd already spent 4 hours on it over two weekends, so I cheated, and dumped two loads of mulch on the weeds, leaving the plants I wanted in the sunlight. It looks great but in a few days, the grass will poke through and laugh at me. But, my mother just bought my father a grass weed wacker thing (we had one years ago but our tough weeds broke it over and over) for his birthday so maybe I'll get the last laugh!

6. On 6/22/03, I squirted the flosses and did the normal chores. I fertilized the plants as best I could, including my lotus which I'm pretty sure have died. My new one for sure is dead. The one in a pot in my main pond has one dinky leaf and may make it. The same plant has tubers in my 50 gallon lotus tub pond. I feel around under the blue-green algae that has taken over there and can't find any growth at all. And to think, I threw out 10 feet of tubers from this pond last March! My mother got some lemon grass and wanted me to pot up the tubers to see if it would grow so she could eat it. I also potted up a variegated sweetflag her friend gave us (she has a pond of about 200 gallons). I bought a "barley straw planter" from That Pet Place and stuck some of my now-flowering water willow in it. I put the planter inside a garden hose hoop with some of the water hyacinth as I didn't want the thing taking trips around the pond with the current (like some other water hyacinth, water lettuce, and a fake lily do; you never know where you'll find them!). It was finally getting hot and less rainy. The 1800 gallon pond was at 72 degrees F, and the 153 gallon at 70 degrees F. I sprinkled mosquito bits (like mosquito dunks) in some of my smaller ponds that have mosquito dunks but still have mosquito larvae partying. I put some FloraFin (has potassium in it) to my main pond as a little "food" for the water hyacinth and water lettuce.

7. The lotus in my main pond has two tiny floating leaves. I'm pretty sure the other two are dead. On 6/28/03, I got tired of the blue-green algae and mosquito party (despite lots of dunks and bits) in my 50 gallon lotus tub pond. Everything is dead in there but one tropical water poppy. So, I put in an extra pump I had. It's 170 gph. The water is only about 4 inches deep. I put it in and turned it on, and it shot 3 feet in the air. This is why I'd tried it years ago and not used it. Also, since lotus don't like moving water, and I didn't want the pond water emptied out by spray. I tried something new though. I had a fleur-de-lis fountain attachment that I never use from my PondMaster system (I use the bell fountain in my 153 gallon pond). I stuck it over some tubing (actually 2 tubings and an adapter). While it's loose, it seems to stay, and there is nice spray that's acceptable. The pump has a sponge filter attachment. By the next day, the water was just drizzling so I had to clean the algae out and now it's running again. Perhaps now the mosquitos will leave, the water will be less stinky and clear up, and maybe even the lotus will come back to life (wishful thinking). I put in some BZT and barley pellets for good measure. From cesspool to nice little pond in a day (hey, the female green froggy seemed to think so).

8. On 6/29/03, I did the flosses and normal chores and tried to squirt out the Cyprio biothings. I would squirt, run to grab the tubing, and try to collect the black water as fast as possible. Of course, a lot of "black gold" got in the pond. It's been warm so the water is no longer totally clear. The 1800 gallon pond was at 77 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 74 degrees F. I noticed a baby rosy red minnow in the 153 gallon so they must be doing well. I did a lot of other routine chores that would bore you. The next morning, I was surprised to see that the male paradise fish in my 20 gallon mosaic pond had built a bubble nest. This was the first bubble nest I'd ever seen despite having paradise fish and gouramis in tanks before. They aren't supposed to build one in moving water with no plant cover but he did. Now, it's a wait to see if eggs are laid or not, and then if fry could survive. It's nice to witness something new (that's not bad!). That night (6/30/03), the egg-laden female seemed to spawn with him but by the next day, the nest was mostly gone. Perhaps they will try again. I put in some duckweed. I don't know if it'll get enough sun to survive but it gives them some more cover. The day after, I didn't see the male anywhere but caught a glimpse of the female. I hope the raccoon didn't get the male! The raccoon was outside that night (7/1/03) and this one (we get different ones as so many get run over) has a partially brown mask instead of black. My cat GK was hanging out with him when I put out the uneaten hedgehog food that night.

9. The lizard tail and water willow are in bloom now.

Interesting Animal Sightings:

1. On the morning of 6/16/03, on my way in with the dirty chicken bowls, my ears were called towards a noise that sounded like baby birds squeaking in a clump of plants by the garage door. I could see vegetation moving around. Then, out ran the culprit. A shrew scurried across the path and into another clump of weeds. I was surprised at the volume of his cries. I wonder what his problem was?

Pond Tidbits:

1. I'm so busy that I can't think of any quickly. Perhaps you have something to share? Send me short pond-related articles, and our readers can expand their watergardening horizons.

Non-Pond Animal News:

1. This is a notice to songbirds. If you wish to nest, avoid Robyn's parents' property. Sure it's tempting, what with nice ponds, vegetation, bird feeders, and a dozen nest boxes, but your chance of successfully fledging a brood is very low! Your babies will most likely succumb to one of the following predators in order from least to most likely: car, raccoon, blowfly, English house sparrow, snake, and domestic cat. Here are a few cases in point. On 6/10/03, Robyn peaked into a new nest box with week-old house wrens. A snake looked out. She and her father opened the house a ways away. He moved the snake out, along with a baby who squeaked when it hit the asphalt. Robyn put the baby back. Only 3 babies remained. The dark-phase 14" or so corn snake had at least two bulges down his body. He slithered off (I know, I didn't get a photo but I was trying to do things quickly). The box went back. It took half an hour for the parents to get up the nerve to even look in the box before going back to their duties, minus half of the babies. Note to wrens: tell your babies to shut up! Their constant chirping brings in the snakes from miles away! Then, later the cat GK was wrestling with a fledgling catbird. Note to kittiebirds - don't jump out of the nest when you can't fly, bounce around the lawn calling for the cats, and have you parents meow to be sure the cat gets the right location. Stay in your nest longer! The next morning, a baby catbird was in the grass again. GK went inside into a small cage for the day. Parents won't allow her to live inside as she's not "their cat." She showed up a few years ago. After a while, Robyn took care of her every need (food, water, collar, yearly vet visits). Her owners had enough sense to spay her but also declawed her and tossed her out to fend on her own (ok, there's a slight chance she ran away). Despite that, no one kills the poor animals better than her. In one week, she killed a nest of naked cardinals, a chipmunk, a vole, a mouse, and who knows what else. Robyn wants her inside but her pleas are meaningless. Hence, birdies stay away! An exception: if you are an English house sparrow, move right in. Your buddies never get eaten! Robyn even addled two sets of their eggs really hard, and they still all hatched! Once born, she hasn't the heart to kill them. Last year, there were three bluebird broods fledged, this year, three of addled house sparrow (in the same pattern too; one from box out front followed by two from house out back). Not a single sighting of a bluebird!

Web Sites of Interest:

1. There are some nice photos of Gulf Coat toads (Bufo valliceps) that Jeff found in his pool at

2. A site with some fun frog stuff (not much info): http://www.froggyville.com/.

3. A short article on mosquito control (repellents and mosquito dunks): http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/home/174.

4. Here is a web site on ponds that include garden railroads: http://www.btcomm.com/trains/primer/water.htm.

5. Steve posted a link to these nice animals on rec.ponds: http://www.backgarden.net/creatures.htm (Anyone recognize these? The answer follows the ** line below.).

What's your favorite pond-related web site(s)?
Do you have a web site you want me to mention here?


mosquito larvae, aka baby skeeters or fish food or future bug bites

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