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Robyn's Pond Newsletter July 2006

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 mentioned my new site http://www.pondshowcase.com in the last two newsletters. Unfortunately, this last month I've still been totally swamped with work so I've had little time to work on it. I don't know when I will be allowed to get to it.

I somehow managed to get this newsletter out today. It's been a tough day. My mother let my dying cat outside yesterday. I just found her this morning, covered in thousands of fly eggs. You can read about her at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/cats/saman.htm if you want. Anyway, it threw my entire day out of whack.

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages; New Pond Photos:

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/videos.html -
I added a video I took in April of my 1800 gallon pond which shows the fish and waterfall and pans the pond.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/animals/snake.htm -
Someone sent me a photo of a water snake eating a bluegill which you can see on this page.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/animals/zoo.htm -
I took almost 100 photos when our family went to the zoo. I've put 16 of them up on this page. There are a few pond-related animals in the mix.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/amphphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under frogs and toads for 2006 is a photo of some green frog tadpoles in my Tricker pond that my brother took.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 6/4/06, I squirted off the flosses and the bioballs and lava rock in the main filter. The 1800 gallon was at 72 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 69 degrees F. Inside the filter material around the main pump was a goldfish. I helped it out. After removing it, I saw it was all torn up. I don't know if it was hurt during spawning and then got sucked in (the floss dissipates the suction) or actually got torn up while in there. I put some more gravel into one of the new one gallon pots with iris that the raccoon dumped. I can see the fry from my aquarium in my Tricker pond swimming around with the tadpoles. The wood frog tadpoles are still there too in the 20 gallon tub pond with their new friends, Mosquitoes #1 to 1000. I put some more Bt in there for them. So much for "tadpoles eat mosquito larvae." On 6/2/06, I had put new mosquito dunks in the tub ponds but rain washed them out, or the raccoons used them as toys. The liquid Bt they can't remove. There are four bluebird eggs in the house next to the main pond's biofilter (top of the waterfall). I think another pair is using the box way out front as well (that would be a first, having two pairs at once!). I checked the front box on 6/6/06, and there are three bluebird eggs in it!

2. On 6/10/06, I found 3 more fry from my 5 or 20 gallon tanks to put into the Tricker pond. At least a few of the first batch of 6 are swimming around.

3. On 6/11/06, I squirted off the flosses. I squirted down the Cyprio biothings in place. The 1800 gallon pond was at 67 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 64 degrees F. I tied a new piece of fishing line to the floating planter with the impatiens which are doing well. I cut it too short (when out of the pond and wasn't willing to go out and in again) so the PVC pipe anchor is upright. I fertilized the lilies and lotuses or what remains of them. The lily in my Tricker pond had a bud but the raccoon bit it off. The new lotus was torn up again too in the main pond. It probably won't survive the summer. I added more gravel over the lotus and the bluebells which collapsed (top heavy). I didn't have time to repot anything more or do any mulching due to relatives visiting.

4. The songbird curse continues. In almost 30 years with a few dozen bird houses, almost no birds have ever been able to fledge from the houses except for house sparrows and house wrens. On 6/12/06 or so, four baby bluebirds hatched in the house by my pond which I never saw alive and at least two out front. When I came home on 6/13/06, I found a dead baby at the bottom of the box and none inside. There were two alive out front. The next day, the male house sparrow happily stood on the house by my pond. On 6/15/06, he also stood on the house out front. I'm afraid to look; I know it's empty. The sparrows are SO clever. He could have chased the bluebirds away from the box during the two weeks of nest building or two weeks of brooding the eggs but he waits until they've hatched to kill them to therefore waste as much of the bluebirds reserves as possible. The sparrow already had control of the other boxes but he wants all of them. If it's not the house sparrows, it's snakes or botflies that got some baby bluebirds once. I've told my mother we should rip down all the bird houses but she says no and buys more. I know I'm somehow at fault. There are ways to try to deal with the sparrows but I'm at work all day and have no free time. Even if I had the heart to trap some sparrows and murder them, more would just come in their place. Addling or removing their eggs just sends them on a rampage to destroy all neighboring nests (I've seen it). I think this male went on his killing spree because he just finished caring for his own batch of young which kept him busy. Sparrows are like humans (resilient fighters capable of evil who have to be in control), and bluebirds and other songbirds are like most of the species on the planet; they don't stand a chance. What does this have to do with ponds? Nothing really.

5. As of 6/17/06, the wood frogs in the 20 gallon tub now have legs. The water is a bit green to see them. I removed a poor dead one. They are almost an inch long and 3-months-old.

6. On 6/18/06, I squirted off the flosses and not much else. The air temperature was 90 degrees F. The 1800 gallon was at 77 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 73 degrees F. I got in the pond for the first time with my swimming suit (and also went in the pool for the first time this year afterwards). It was too hot to do much of anything.

7. The morning of 6/19/06, I found that the raccoon had de-potted all three pots in the Tricker pond including dumping the poor fancy, expensive, never-to-bloom tropical lily. The water was opaque from the mess. I did what I could. A few days earlier, someone (you guess) spilt the container with the new horsetail rush. I cannot find the remnants of the plant. Another one bites the dust. The good news for the day is that the old tropical lily that I overwinter each winter seems to have finally sprouted, and another tropical lily that I had overwintered in the basement pond that the fish attacked so I thought it was gone has a new leaf.

8. While watching TV the evening of 6/20/06, I saw the heron fly past the window that overlooks the pond. I did not see him land but that is why the net is on the deep end every day. The heron could "play" in the shallows and still get some fish if he lands as the net has to be pulled off the shallows for the plants to grow vertically in the marginal area.

9. At midnight 6/22/06, we had a bad thunderstorm. The next morning, 6/23/06, I found a dead goldfish, mostly orange with white tipped fins, 8.75" long (I measured it that night). It may have had a bruise (hard to tell) but otherwise seemed fine. An orfe was in the shallows, on his side, gasping! I chased him back into the deep end. I thought it was the bent orfe but, apparently, this is a different orfe. After storms, the pH and oxygen levels can go down. I don't know if that's what caused these two fish to have problems but I only lose a few fish each year (that I find). On the good news front, my koi, Colin's black marks (suspected algae growing on injuries) have fallen off. He still has red spots there though.

10. On 6/24/06, I put two more fry in the Tricker pond, this time definitely from my 20 gallon tank which means they are the danio "x."

11. The rain started 6/23/06 and basically didn't stop until 6/28/06. I managed to get out to work on the pond during a sprinkling part of the day (the rest was deluge) on 6/25/06. I squirted off the flosses and the Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool. The injured goldfish I found in the filter material around the pump before was there again and not looking so good. I let him out. The 1800 gallon was at 76 degrees F and the 74 153 gallon at degrees F. Mowing, mulching, and repotting will have to wait for the rain to stop and for me to have time which may never happen.

12. The orfe is still dying. As of 6/28/06, he is still upside down in the shallows, gasping. I feel so bad for him but he is too far gone to help. He won't live much longer, and then, I'll be down to just two orfe, one of which is kinked.

To give any idea of how many fish I lose, I made a tally from my personal pond inventory that I keep. These are fish whose bodies were found dead and removed and does not include those taken by herons or that vanished (except for the orfes). Goldfish (out of a population of 2 to 4 dozen) - 1997 - 9, 1998 - 2, 1999 - 2, 2000 - 1, 2001 - 2, 2002 - 3, 2003 - 4, 2004 - 16, 2005 - 2, and 2006 - 2. The 16 was the year some mystery illness hit the goldfish. Koi (out of 5 total ever) - 1997 - 2, 1999 - 1. The remaining two koi are still alive. Orfe (out of 4 bought in 1997 and 4 in 1998) - 1 found dead 1997, 1 vanished 1997, 1 found dead 1998, 1 vanished 2001, 1 found dead 2005, leaving 3 left (one of those on the way out). I don't know how these death stats compare to other pond keepers.

13. On the morning of 6/30/06, I found another dead goldfish. This poor 6.5" goldfish had been dead a few days. It was orange with short white fins. The upside-down gasping orfe is still alive. My lilies and lotuses are not doing very well, especially the lotuses. The ones in my 1800 gallon pond have about two leaves each. The others are gone. I need to repot the bluebells; they're out the pot and falling all over. I wish they would flower this year. Last year, the water lettuce went wild. This year, it's pretty much dead with the water hyacinth multiplying but not all that quickly.

Pond Tidbits:

1. I have no ideas or time this month.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. Here is an article about some koi that found their way back home after their pond was flooded in New Hampshire in May: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060609/ap_on_fe_st/fish_saved_1

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

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