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Robyn's Pond Newsletter August 2007

Last Updated: 4/18/12

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?

On 7/8/07, my mother brought home another animal after promising not to do that, this time a hermit crab. She claimed it was too cute to not buy, and it wouldn't take me any extra time because I could put it in my 20 gallon tank with the anoles and roaches. She named him Herman after her grandfather, and Herman's page is at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/shrimp/hermit.htm (the directory "shrimp" is for all crustaceans).

I wanted to make a note that I do not mention in this newsletter new photo submissions of turtles which I get more of than any other animal. Because they are not ususally turtles in ponds, I don't mention them here but they may be of interest to those of you who like turtles. The new photos are put into the relevant turtle pages, see http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/index.htm (the index).

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages, Photos, or Videos on Fishpondinfo:

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/fishcare/salt.htm -
A new page with both old and new content related to salt.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/fish/koi.htm -
At the bottom of the koi page are four photos of a butterfly koi that someone sent a long time ago that I finally put on the page just because it is a pretty koi. I really need to move and divide up the koi pages (along with everything else). I sure wish I had the time. I am supposed to finish the bird directory (which I put up without even reading half the pages since it had been 9 months!) and the animal directory for animals not in other directories as well as do a huge list of stuff before I even could get to those pages.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/fishcare/sickfish.htm -
I moved my photos of sick fish to this directory as the page was too big. [I know, I should have finished the birds and animals directories first.] This was just a single page move but I divided it into seven pages and had to fix links to the old page. There are a number of goldfish on these pages which have photos of fish with problems. I usually don't mention them here because some of those goldfish were in aquariums. For example, I just added three photos of an oranda with strange white growths on its head and two photos of a goldfish with a white cyst.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/snail/pondsnail.htm -
Under pond snails is a photo of a pond snail and a close-up photo of a batch of pond snail eggs. Again, these were photos from an aquarium so I normally wouldn't mention them here. Yes, this page desperately needs to be renovated and divided too (and was finally on 4/21/12). It's one of my most oft-visited pages. Which page gets the most hits? Oops.htm - my error page!

5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/frogvideos.htm -
There is a new video from 7/4/07 of gray tree frogs calling near the pool. There is no picture just sound. If you are interested, there is also a new video of a doe and her two fawns at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/mamvideos.htm or on the deer page (along with other photos) that is a work in progress at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/animals/deer.htm.

6. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
There is a new photo under fish that Katherine sent me of a strange parasite that she picked off of her goldfish. We are looking to identify it. Under amphibians, there are four new photos of two green frogs with unique coloration and two photos of a possible wood frog.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. None.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 7/8/07, I squirted off the flosses. They were changed the week before but you'd never know it by the amount of black slop on them. I tidied up but didn't do much more. The 1800 gallon pond was at 78 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 76 degrees F. The 153 gallon is cooler because it has a larger depth to surface area ratio. I wore my bathing suit for the first time this year when in the pond. The air temperature was 90 degrees F but I did do an hour of mulching (caged plants) and 1.5 hours of mowing before going inside.

2. The morning of 7/10/07, there was quite a mess outside, most likely thanks to the raccoon(s) but perhaps a skunk as well since I could smell a faint skunk smell. First, my parents had had the first cookout of the year the night before, and my father left the aluminum foil covered in grease outside. The foil was shredded and all over the place so I picked the pieces up that I could find and got grease on my hands. I then went to feed the pond fish. In the 153 gallon pond, the waterlily that they tear up almost daily was torn up and another pot was completely dumped with most of the aquatic planting media all over. Then, after feeding the 1800 gallon fish and coming around to the south side of the pond, there was a huge beached goldfish. I've only found fish just laying on the ground a half dozen times in a decade. I went inside to get the yard stick and to wash the grease off my hands. When I went to measure the goldfish, it moved its mouth; it was just barely alive. The goldfish was 9" and one of my mostly white goldfish. It just has faint red, almost pink on its fins. It's a beautiful fish, probably female. She had a bite wound to the mouth and face, pretty bad. There were flies all around and fly eggs in the wound already. I put her in the pond since she was alive and expected to retrieve her body that night when she would most likely be gone.

As if those things weren't enough, there were the remnants of a few Japanese trapdoor snails in the same area. At least the raccoon ate those, smashing the shells. I don't know why the raccoon wouldn't eat the fish. Then, I noticed the rocks at the outflow of the biofilter were splashing out of place which happens a lot (the waterfall hill is collapsing/sinking so the rocks aren't as stable) so I went to fix them. What I found was beyond that though. Some animal (smelled like skunk right there but probably raccoon) had torn off and chewed on the silicon and epoxy sealants that ring the biofilter. When the idiots put in my pond, one of the many things they messed up was that the lip in the biofilter wasn't deep enough for the flow so that, when the filter is running well, water not only goes over the lip but also up over the rest of the sides, into the mulch and dirt. The pond loses water. The silicon was all over and chewed on. It didn't think it tasted that good! Since silicon requires a dry area to cure, I can only try to use some of my epoxy tonight to create dams to keep the water in the filter. Luckily, this time of the year, the flow is not that great (restrictions from the dirty filters) so it's not leaking as much as it would in the winter. My pond is a disaster area. It's hilarious that people consult me for help with their ponds when mine is nearing collapse. I won't have the ability to replace the filter when it fails let alone the liner when, I'm sure one day, it will fail. Holes are showing up above the water line so it's just a matter of time.

2. When I got home on 7/10/07, I could not find the poor 9" white goldfish. I though either someone found and took/ate her, she swam out of sight and died, or she swam out of sight and was still alive. I put some gray epoxy around part of the top of the biofilter where the animals ate it off. The raccoons also routinely eat the styrofoam fake waterlilies in my mosaic pond. Yum!

3. The morning of 7/12/07, I spotted a white common goldfish. It had the bite wound! The fish was alive and seemed to be in pretty good shape! At first, she was alone but then darted (swam quickly) to join some of the others. I don't know if she'll survive long term but fish are able to recover from some nasty situations.

4. On 7/12/07, a new pump arrived for my 50 gallon tub pond. The solar pump in there has not pushed out a single drop of water in months. The new pump is a Lifegard Quite One Model 800, 220 gph, Pentaire Aquatics pump. The only problem I have is that the bottom of the pipe up to the bell fountain is loose and keeps coming off. I finally got it to stay on while pumping but I'll see how it stands up to the raccoons. I may have to epoxy it on. It makes a small bell fountain, very cute and just what I needed. I hadn't found a pump that I could use there before because I needed a 10 foot cord to avoid an extension cord and something under a few hundred gallons per hour.

5. On 7/15/07, I squirted off the flosses. They were so heavy with gunk (despite a total change just two weeks prior) that I had to float them to the shallows instead of lifting them a foot out of the water like I normally can do. Both ponds were at 79 degrees F (almost 80). I squirted off the Cyprio biothings in a kiddie pool. There was a lot of pond gold (black slop) at the bottom of that filter. I began to doubt if I had really seen that injured white goldfish but I think I saw it again. I'm still not convinced. I put some more epoxy round the rim of my biofilter. The old stuff keeps coming off when I barely touch it! I need to buy more epoxy. I put the little solar pump into my Tricker pond. With full sun right on the solar panel, water drizzles a drop at a time from the head of the fountain. It only works with full sun on the panel but it's better than nothing there I guess. Meanwhile, the new Pentaire pump in the 50 gallon tub pond was discovered by the raccoon who dismantled it. I had to epoxy the lift tube onto the pump to put it back together since it was so loose.

6. The morning of 7/17/07, I saw the injured white goldfish come up to eat so she definitely survived. The bite wound is as if the raccoon stuck the goldfish's head in its mouth and bit around the face. The wound doesn't seem to have affected the eyes or mouth as she's eating. If infection stays away, she might just recover. When walking around the pond, I stepped on something crunchy, more trapdoor snail shells. I then found an intact trapdoor snail with the trap sealed tight. That meant he could very well be alive so I put the snail into the pond. I wonder how many animals have been removed from the pond that were still alive that I didn't find.

7. On 7/22/07, I squirted off the flosses and did the usual. The 1800 gallon was at 74 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 76 degrees F. I also fertilized the lilies and one lotus. My lotus has five aerial leaves now but hasn't flowered in half a decade. I last repotted it spring 2006. There were dozens of honeybees on the waterfall flying past me; I try to ignore them; they seem to go around me; I move slow! My father was stung on the head later in the day but the fleeting glance I saw of the insect led me to believe it was a yellow jacket (a hornet, not a bee).

8. On 7/23/07, when I got home, everything was fine with the 1800 gallon pond. I do a later check around 7 pm. At that time, my main pump (OASE Nautilus 60) was spouting in the pond instead of pumping down the waterfall. The connection came off again. It hasn't been coming off too much lately but it's a pain to fix. The workers put this glue-tape stuff around the output of the pump (instead of an adapter) and stuck on the 1.25" white formerly-flexible tubing with no extra security. Over time, the pipe has shrunk in size and hardened. The white tube literally does not physically fit over the output of the pump anymore; it goes on about 3 mm is all. Once the tube leaves the pond, it is buried under the ground and completely inaccessible for cleaning (due to a nearly 90 degree bend) or replacement. It goes into the biofilter at the bottom, buried deep. Years ago, I added a hose clamp over the tube to try to keep it on the pump. I cannot remove the output they added to the pump to put on new fittings. The white tube is really hard and inflexible after 10 years but I can't replace it because I cannot physically dig up such a large area. If I paid someone $1000 to do it, they would have to destroy what few plants survive there, and the rocks would never sit the same. I bought a spare pump a few years ago despite the over $400 price tag so I wouldn't have to worry about the pump failing. With that pump, I bought an adapter that I think will fit into the old white tubing. I want to wait for the old pump (10 years old) to fail before using the new pump and adapter but the old pump is still going strong. In order to remove the old pump, I will have to literally cut the electrical cord because, yep, they buried that too, through the rock wall and dirt. I would be willing to spend some money to renovate the pond but I don't trust anyone who has enough skill, intelligence, and physical strength to do it. The men who put in my pond made so many mistakes that I've learned to live with; I can't go through that again. My pond has never been cleaned because I can't physically do it myself, and I worry about holes in the liner. In order to replace the liner, some five tons of PA fieldstone would have to be moved. I like where the rocks are now. But, if it ever came to redoing the pond, at least I could make it as deep as it was supposed to be (3 feet), make the shelves flat (instead of sloped and nearly impossible to walk on), and make it bigger. Now, if only I had a ton of money, halfa dozen strong people I could trust, and a week off work (I've only had one of those in 10 years). Never gonna happen.

9. On 7/29/07, my family wanted me to go out with them all day which I almost never do because I work all weekend at home (since I work full time at my job during the week). I take care of all the animals, aquariums, and ponds; do almost all of the yard work; do almost all of the house work; and work on my web site and answer e-mails. I managed to rearrange some of the two day weekend chores so I had most of Sunday free. That meant that I got up at 6 am, and, after spending two hours feeding and tending to the animals, I cleaned the pond from 8:14 am to about 9:50 am. The 1800 gallon was almost 76 degrees F while the 153 gallon was 76 degrees F. I squirted off the filter materials and the bioballs and lava rock. I put two of the bags of lava rock into new black bags I had ordered. I squirted off the Cyprio things in the filter. The pond was tidied up (removed rotting waterlily leaves and so on) and water added. It was pouring rain when I started so I had to wear a bathing suit and baseball cap so I could see (wet glasses = blind) but it mostly drizzled. I then went to the Land of the Little Ponies with my 2-year-old niece, brother, and father. Yes! There was one pond there so I did my requisite digital photos for my web site. I haven't dealt with them yet.

Pond Tidbits:

1. None this month.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. None this month.

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