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Robyn's Pond Newsletter September 2008

Last Updated: 2/17/14

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?

My new little pygmy chameleon, Albert, seemed fine but I guess he was just too delicate. I found him on 8/18/08. I've never had a reptile die so soon.

For the first time ever, I am not sending sending this newsletter out on the first Saturday of the month. I am sending it out the night before because Tropical Storm Hanna is coming tomorrow. There may be winds near 50 mph so the power could go out. So, I thought I would send the newsletter out early.

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
Derek asked me to link in a photo of what I think is a gray tree frog.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Summer 2008 are four new photos of my tropical waterlily and yellow tropical canna in flower.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/otherpondphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Summer 2008 is a photo of the 153 gallon pond after I removed a lot of terrestrial mint from it.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/insects/sting.htm -
In July of 2007, I wrote a few paragraphs about stinging insects and meant to join it with my section on dealing with bees, wasps, and hornets by the pond. I never had the chance. I finally had a little time and finished moving that over. I wrote some new stuff too.

5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/health4.htm#rain -
This is another short section I added to my list of things to add to my site over a year ago. It is about "Why did my fish die after it rained?" I finally added it to the site.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. None this month.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 8/3/08, I decided to take control back over the ponds. I had really let them go to pot. What do I mean? First, the 153 gallon pond was about two thirds completely covered over by terrestrial mint that had both cascaded in to the pond and rooted/grown in the water. While it's a great filter, the pond was vanishing! I cut about half of it out; it filled the wheelbarrow.

Then, on to the 1800 gallon pond. First, I had to clear paths in and around the pond where I walk. For example, I couldn't even get to the biofilter anymore without walking on top of the lemon balm. Worse than that, the entire waterfall was covered in weed grass. I hand pulled two wheelbarrows full of the stuff. It has shallow roots. I tried to salvage most of the water celery and the little bit of watercress mixed in but it was hard. I think I lost all of the newer yellow- flowering watercress but saved about three sprigs of the old white-flowering watercress. The waterfall went from a field of green to a field of rocks. Normally, this time of the year either water lettuce or water hyacinth covers most of the pond. The last few years, it was water lettuce. This year, only a few plants of water lettuce remain. There are few dozen water hyacinth but they are doing very poorly, turning yellow and brown and not multiplying. So, I pulled out my FloraFin and another liquid plant fertilizer. I used all of the remaining FloraFin (about half dose) and used the other one to make up the difference to give nearly a full dose of liquid fertilizer to the pond. The only plants growing well are the marginals which don't depend on the water directly and the tropical waterlily which has huge pads all over. The other plants aren't doing well. My theory is that the weed grass was filtering out all the nutrients. With it mostly gone, I hope the other plants will start to grow. I stuck a strawberry plant in the waterfall and one in the large pot in the floating island where the largest impatiens used to be. I found that impatien plant by the way. It was on the bottom of the plant, nothing but stubs left. The fish ate it! I also trimmed some of the evergreen bush overhanging in to the pond.

As every Sunday, I squirted off the flosses. I also did the bioballs, squirting them in the kiddie pool. They were heavy with brown slop. I tidied up. I removed the three one gallon pots in the waterfall overflow because the raccoons had dumped them so many times, what was the point in keeping them there? The 1800 gallon was at 78 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 77 degrees F.

Since I had been ignoring water additives, this time, I put in BZT on Saturday, and on Sunday, I put in some pond salt (not much), baking soda, koi clay, the last of an old bottle of KoiZyme, some old Microbe-Lift PL, and the aforementioned FloraFin and other liquid pond plant fertilizer.

All that work left me with under an hour to finally do some mulching for the first time in a month. I got five cages done, only 100 some to go plus half a dozen gardens!

2. On 8/10/08, I squirted off the flosses and the Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool. Both ponds were at 73 degrees F. Normally this time of the year, the pond is mostly covered in water lettuce or water hyacinth. This year, there is a lot of open area. Even so, the pond water is crystal clear. The floaters did perk up a little bit from the liquid fertilizer so I added another half dose (too expensive for a full dose). My mother got some free impatiens so I put one in the empty pot in my floating plant thing.

3. On 8/17/08, I squirted off the flosses. Both ponds were at 72 degrees F. Parts of the hardy canna were already turning yellow so I cut some parts off. I tried to fertilize the lilies and lotuses. I used up the last of my PondTabbs and had some free fertilizer I had gotten from Aquascapes when their magazine went under. I was shocked when I opened that up to use it, and the fertilizer pills were like cattle suppositories! They were huge, at least twice the size of the PondTabbs. They have a different nitrate/phosphate/potassium ratio too. My lotuses both are barely alive with about two small leaves each. I guess I'm never going to get flowers again. Aside from the tropical waterlily and the yellow (Chromatella) and white (Albata) hardy waterlilies, the other four waterlilies are also barely alive with just 0 to 2 or 3 leaves each. None of those have flowered this year. I don't understand why some lilies do well while the others don't. They were treated the same. In past years, the other ones also flourished and bloomed.

I pulled out the two gallon pot with iris in the 153 gallon pond that the raccoon had de-potted. I set the iris in there and just dumped in some old mixed gravel to try to quickly repot it.

4. On 8/24/08, I squirted off the flosses and the Cyprio biothings in the filter. Before I did anything, however, I pulled back the net on the pond. As I did so, I felt something. I knew before I saw it that the growing pain was from a venomous caterpillar. Yep, there it was, a saddleback caterpillar, beautiful but oh so painful. I barely brushed him. Both fish ponds were at 75 degrees F. With most of the water hyacinth and water lettuce dead this year (despite hot weather and added liquid fertilizer recently), the hair algae is taking advantage. I pulled a lot of it out of the waterfall. I had to ask the honeybee girls to watch out for me as dozens of them were busy drinking.

5. The morning of 8/26/08, the hose was detached from the MagDrive 700 gph pump feeding the Cyprio planter filter in the 1800 gallon pond. I had to put on my hip waders in the morning and get in and reattach it.

6. On 8/31/08, I squirted off the flosses and the bioballs. The 1800 gallon pond was at 76 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 77 degrees F. Some marginals have started to yellow but I forgot to bring out the pruners this day so I will get those next week. I had bought a new pump mesh bag for the MagDrive 700 gph pump that runs to the Cyprio filter. I had expected it to just be a bag but it also had a fine sort of quilt batting in it. By the next morning, I knew something was wrong when I approached the pond. The usual waterfall sound was replaced by a sound like a spitter might make. The water was just drizzling out. I had to get in and remove the new bag. I found a small mesh laundry bag left and used that instead. It will keep out the larger animals and debris at least.

Pond Tidbits

1. As fall approaches, let the plants and animals be your guide as to when to do things. For example, when the leaves start to yellow on plants, remove the leaves. When leaves start to fall from the trees, net the pond. When the fish stop showing interest in eating, feed less (once a day instead of twice a day). They will let you know. Stop feeding when the water temperature is below 50 to 55 degrees F.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. None this month due to lack of time.

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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