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Robyn's Pond Newsletter September 2005

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?

On 9/2/05, our chicken Spicey died. She had been ill.

I hope everyone is okay after Hurricane Katrina. Even here in Maryland, we lost power for a few hours after the remnant winds blew a tree onto a power line on Wednesday, 8/31/05. When I think of all the people and animals suffering, I become ill. I hope that you all have made donations to help the people and/or animals. Over 100,000 animals are on their own in the hurricane zone. This may not even include the tens of thousands of farm animals, wildlife, and a few zoos running out of food. They show a lot of dogs but where are the cats, rabbits, hamsters, etc. and let alone the fish and ponds; they've all been abandoned. It was especially heart wrenching to see the grizzled man crying and hugging his three dogs and telling them how sorry he was (that he did not evacuate). He swam with them for 8 hours and ended up with stranded tourists on top of a building, trapped by the water and violence below. They had only a few days left of food and water. I hope they all got out. It was also heartbreaking when a lady stuck on the road on high ground, who seemed okay physically, when asked, "What do you think will happen to you?" replied, "I'm going to die; don't you think?" In a doctor's office in Biloxi, they showed everything was destroyed, except the fish tank. I wish I could send them battery air pumps before the fish start to die but they don't even seem able to feed the poor people. It took so long to even get help to the people that the animals have to be much worse off without food or water.

I made a donation to the International Fund for Animal Welfare at http://www.ifaw.org/
Another group helping animals is http://www.hsus.org/.

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/fishphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under summer 2005 are three photos of my deceased orfe (see below).

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under summer 2005 are two photos of my 1800 gallon pond covered in out-of-control water lettuce.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/otherpondphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under other ponds, summer 2005, is a photo of my purple tropical waterlily in my Tricker pond. I did not catch it in its prime (never have).

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/amphphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under frogs, 2005, is a photo of a female green frog in my Tricker pond.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 8/7/05, I squirted off the flosses (filter material around my pumps) and tidied up. The water lettuce has taken over so badly, that I had to throw out two wheel barrows full of it so the poor fish could get some oxygen and find their food. Hardly any water hyacinth remained. The water lily leaves were also barely there thanks to the water lettuce going crazy. My black taro pot pond had been empty every day (sometimes during the day) so I figured it had a leak. I repotted it and tested the old pot which does not have a hole. So, the raccoons must have been splashing out all of the water every night. Both ponds were at 80 degrees F.

2. My poor animals go through too many crises. On 8/13/05, I discovered my disabled rabbit, Izzy's, eye had come out of its socket. I'll spare you the details but it was pretty awful (ulcerated cornea). That night, at 3:30 am, I awoke when the power went out and couldn't sleep. It didn't return until 11 am. The pond water was in the low 80's with the air in the high 80's during that time. My 40 gallon tank turned white due to lack of filtration. Despite a battery-operated air pump that kicks on automatically, a ghost shrimp died there. That afternoon with power back on 8/14/05, I squirted off the flosses and squirted out the Cyprio filter. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were up to 81 degrees F (the air was 94 degrees F). I fertilized the lilies and some other plants. I removed two wheel barrows full of water lettuce yet again. I pumped in more water. Then, since I'd skipped their breakfast in the morning since there was no power, I went to feed the fish to find a horrid discovery. I had told my parents that the pond fish were suffocating without the waterfalls going and so much plant cover. They didn't believe me. But, one of my four 18" golden orfe did. I found him stranded in the waterfall overflow area in an area with barely an inch of water. The poor guy had probably jumped up there desperate for oxygen. If only I had a battery-operated pond aeration device. My aquarium ones are so tiny that I doubt they'd have done much. I did finally get my father to set up the generator which hooks into the well pump (we had no water either; try cleaning animal waste without water!) and my pond. Alas, not even a burp came out of the poor generator. I took some photos of my gorgeous 8-year- old 1.5' long orfe. No one I told this to understands how upsetting losing him/her was. I laid his body out of view in the weeds so the raccoons or foxes at least can benefit. The orfe seemed to weigh 10 pounds in my net. I did try to revive him by moving him about, putting his head in the water and the Cyprio waterfall. There was no response. If only I'd walked around the pond in the morning even though I wasn't feeding them, I might have found him in time. After I found the orfe, I remembered that I had Microbe-Lift Ox which is calcium peroxide and releases oxygen into the water. One whole bottle says it treats just 200 gallons. It doesn't seem possible. I put in half a container which is all I had. I hope it helped. I don't know if it would have saved the orfe because he may have jumped before dawn. Plus, without water movement, the Microbe- Lift Ox would just have clumped up and not dissipated over the pond. Perhaps I'll buy a few more orfe but I have to do a quarantine for a while if I do. I can see through the feeding hole that my two koi and at least two of the other three orfe are alive but if there are dead fish under the sea of water lettuce, I can't see them and have no idea.

3. On 8/21/05, I squirted off the flosses and bioballs. The 1800 gallon was at 79 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 80 degrees F. I tossed out another two wheelbarrows full of water lettuce. It is still multiplying but starting to turn yellow as the day length shortens. It hasn't really cooled down yet though.

4. The morning of 8/22/05, at dawn, when I went to feed my outdoor cat, I could have sworn I saw three mink crossing the back of the property, a few hundred feet away. I only saw them for a few seconds before they vanished into the invasive tall grass. They were moving fast in a weasel-family way, low to the ground, all brown (or so it seemed) short fur, a few feet long and slender with long furry but not bushy tails, in a line, on a mission. I wonder if they've been fishing in my pond? One site says they like to dive up to 15 feet deep. Mink are supposed to be common in Maryland but rarely seen. I've thought about it and don't know what other animals they could have been. I'm 90% sure I saw a mink (a longer and closer look) about 10 years ago a short distance down the road. Did I really see mink again? I guess I'll never know.

5. On 8/28/05, I squirted off the flosses and Cyprio things. I removed another two wheel barrows full of water lettuce. I pulled a lot of invasive grass out of the waterfall as well. It's hard to tend to the falls this year because the heron net covers the bottom of the falls, and the grass coming through has kept the net in place (I can't remove it). I put on some new mosquito dunks in the tub ponds. The 1800 gallon was at 73 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 74 degrees F. The ponds have started to cool down.

Pond Tidbits:

1. If you have a fish pond but also want frogs and tadpoles, set up some tub ponds near the main pond. The frogs will lay in the tub ponds. You can supplement their natural foods with some fish food. In the fall, net or bucket out the now hopefully-too-large-to-be-eaten tadpoles out of the tub pond and put them into the main pond.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. Nothing comes to mind this month.

What's your favorite pond-related web site(s)?
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