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Robyn's Pond Newsletter November 2007

Last Updated: 11/8/07

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 web page counter past 10 million on 10/27/07. That does not mean 10 million visitors because, since May, 2006, the counter has been page views not unique visitors. That means one visitor who visits 10 pages is counted as 10 hits. I noticed when adding my counts (which I do weekly by hand) to the footer that I had forgotten to change the first digit from 8 to 9 when it hit 9 million (which I knew because I recorded it on my homepage) so when I went to turn over another million, I at first put in 9 million and then realized I'd already passed that so I changed the number to 10 million. I'm telling you just in case you thought I got 1 million visitors in a week!

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
Under insects are two photos that Karen sent me of pond snails and insect larvae in her stream.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/box.htm -
At the bottom are two photos of the male box turtle that was stuck under my pond's net as described below.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/basepond.htm -
I moved my basement pond information to its own page. It was my intent to move all my individual aquariums and ponds to their own pages (as well as redo the rest of my site) but I've had zero time. To move a single page (without fixing links as I leave a note on the old page) took about an hour.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. None this month. I have discovered by filling in one of the forms there myself that I was not getting those e-mails. I'm paying $50 a year to have the forms sent to me. I used to get a dozen SPAM's a day. I get nothing now. When I tested it by filling it in, I didn't get those forms. I just went to log in, and when I did, it said that I had changed my e-mail (I hadn't). I fixed that, and now I'm getting the forms again. I don't have a clue why they altered my e-mail (I certainly didn't). So, if you have filled out one of the Pond Showcase forms in the last few months, I did NOT ignore you. I never got it.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 10/7/07, in the morning, I saw a box turtle under my pond net! This is not normal this time of the year. They should be getting ready to hibernate. Instead, it was nearly 90 degrees F, and this guy wanted water. We haven't had any rain in a month when we got 0.2 inches. Before that, it was a month previous that we got a few inches. The media just realized we're in a profound drought but said basically you don't really need to conserve water?! I have been trying to save waste water to water the dying plants outside. Anyway, I was surprised to find the box turtle was a mature male. I haven't seen one of those on our land in years since the resident male was killed by vehicular manslaughter. This one had the red eyes and concave plastron which made it sure that he's male. He was stuck under the net. I pulled up the net in the overflow area and put him under there. I propped up the net so he could get back out. My mother was freaking out that I was killing him, that the net is a death trap, and so on. I don't see how to keep the leaves out without using a net. Any ideas? Earlier in the day, I had to make two cuts into the pond net to free a stuck green frog (how he got in that position, I don't know). A few years ago, a few rare cedar waxwings were killed when they got tangled in the net. So, it is a death trap. Yet, without it, the heron who is still hanging around could have eaten more fish and frogs, and all those leaves rotting in the pond would surely result in pond death in the spring. So, what to do? Any ideas? I couldn't find the box turtle an hour later. My mother was freaking, blaming me for drowning him. Box turtles are strange in that some people claim they've had them swim in full depth ponds without a problem and others have had them drown. I didn't see any wet footprints leaving the pond so I'm not sure if he's still in there. I'm keeping the net propped up which is just great for the raccoons, squirrels, heron, and leaves, all trying to get in there. I sure hope I didn't kill the last box turtle.

2. Later, 10/7/07, I squirted off the pond flosses and Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool (probably the last time for that). The 1800 gallon was at 70 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 74 degrees F. I changed the bag of Ammo-carb with some fresh. The yellow jackets must have mostly died off as there weren't any around me but there were hundreds of our honey bees flying all around as I worked. When I went to pull up the pump to get the floss, a dead fish spooked me that was floating there. It was a 10" female orange comet with long white fins. She was very pretty. She had been dead a few days and was a little bloated but there was no obvious reason for her to have died.

Ironically, I brought in my tropical pond plants this day when it was nearly 90 degrees F! I only have so much time to do pond work so I brought in my black taro, variegated taro, and bluebells (which actually had buds on them!). I also accidently got a piece of parrot feather so I'll try to overwinter it too. I had to pull the black taro out of the pot in order to get the plastic pot out of the ceramic pot. I put a thin layer of clean pea gravel over the yucky gravel to make it look like I repotted but I didn't repot any of them. I set up the 20 gallon tub pond in the basement and elevated the pots on bricks. A Penguin Mini filters the water, and I put in a 50 W aquarium heater to keep it above 70 degrees F.

After setting up the basement pond, I finally had almost a few hours to mulch for the first time in more than a month. But, it was nearly 90 degrees F, and I had a cold virus and fever of 99.4 degrees F so I couldn't stand it any more after an hour. I only laid in 1.5 wheelbarrows of mulch over a quarter of the back iris garden. Along with the other gardens I did do and haven't done, this garden is supposed to mulched around April or May. Most everything in the gardens is dried up from the drought.

3. When I came home on 10/8/07, something was wrong at the pond. First, the feeding hoops were not there which is not that unusual. Raccoons and other animals will move them but the net covering the pond was intact. Then, I saw the tip of Maggie's (one of my two koi and my biggest fish) head sticking out among the tons of water lettuce. I knew I had to get the net and tap her to see what was wrong. On the other side of the pond, the air stone was not bubbling. I found it detached at the pump. I got the net and fished around for the air line tubing and stone but found nothing. It was 90 degrees F this day so the fish needed aeration; was that why Maggie was gasping? I went back over to Maggie and tapped her. That's when I knew what was wrong. She made a huge thrash, and I could see she was attached to the feeding hoops. There is a loop made of old gardening hose (made to hold water hyacinth originally) that's probably 18" in diameter and a feeding ring. They were attached together by nylon curtain line. Maggie had swam into that nylon line which was probably at least 6 inches in diameter and tangled herself all up. She had also tangled in some water celery and the missing air line tubing (no air stone though). Colin, my other koi, was right there trying to comfort her. I had to rush in and get my hip waders and scissors. I got in the pond. She was right there so I grabbed the hoop (she came with it). I cut the line in two places. She splashed me from the neck down. Her scaling is like a Doitsu koi so she is mostly scaleless but has huge scales along her lateral line. She had partially peeled back some of those in her attempts to escape. Judging by the mess in the pond and how tired and damaged she was, she probably was caught most of the day and thrashing around. I removed the two hoops for the year. I put in a half dose of MelaFix (about 90 mL; I only had about 10 liquid ounces) and will put in more until it's gone. It's only a partial dose but it might help; it certainly made a lot of foam in the pond. After I told my mother this story, she said, "See, I told you that net is a death trap!" Of course, it had nothing to do with the net! I've got to get some of that water lettuce out of there. The heron is still coming daily, just waiting for that net to come off! There's still no sign of the box turtle; according to my mother, I officially killed him because I put a net on the pond although there's no proof he is in the pond. If it ever gets cold, and the water lettuce dies, and I can clean it out, then maybe I'll know if there's a dead box turtle in there and how Maggie is doing or even if she's still alive. I can't see a thing through the water lettuce.

4. On 10/14/07, I squirted off the flosses. The 1800 gallon was down to 56 degrees F (14 degrees in one week) and the 153 gallon to 62 degrees F. I removed four buckets full of water lettuce to try to clear an opening. I got as many leaves off the nets as I could. I put some more epoxy around the lip of the biofilter where the old stuff came off. I finished mulching the back iris garden. It was cool enough, and I had no fever but I did have full body hives (from 10/9/07 to 10/27/07; cured by Zantac of all things). If you want to be scared/repulsed, here is a photo of my upper right thigh with hives on 10/12/07: http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/other/Me/hives1.jpg

5. Last year, I had no fish in my indoor tub pond. I really wanted something moving around there and yet don't want more animals. I was bad and gave in. I got a male betta on 10/19/07, my first betta since 2001 when I lost the only betta I have ever had. I added a few tablespoons of aquarium salt, a dose of Stress Coat, a dose of Stress Zyme, a dose of MelaFix, and a dose of Aquari-sol (bettas often have ick) to the pond and then put in Homer. Homer can't believe how big his home is after living in less than a cup of water his entire adult life. I think he likes it! There are photos on my betta and basement pond pages at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/betta.htm and http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/basepond.htm

6. On 10/21/07, I squirted off the flosses, bioballs and lava rock, and Cyprio things (left in the filter). The air temperature was over 75 degrees F! The 1800 gallon water temperature was up to 60 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 65 degrees F. I removed some more water lettuce. It's not reproducing anymore but it's also not dying off like it normally does this time of year. I brought in the first batch of dewhickeys (ornaments like fake rocks, metal frogs, small plastic statues, etc.), maybe half the ones from around the 1800 gallon pond.

7. On 10/29/07, I squirted off the flosses. The 1800 gallon was down to 56 degrees F and the 153 gallon to 61 degrees F. We were due for the first frost, a few weeks later than usual. In fact, usually by now, all the tropical floating plants are dead, all the lotuses leaves have shriveled up, and I've put up the Cyprio filter. I took out the Tetra Luft air pump and air stone. It will go into the 153 gallon pond in another month. I brought in another bathtub full of dewhickeys. I left one "toad house" out there as it has paper wasps in there. I spent almost an hour removing water lettuce. It's easier to remove while it's alive and not after frost kills it when it turns to mush. I used the net to collect probably 10 buckets (pushed down; I use two 2.5 gallon buckets) full of water lettuce. I can now see the fish for the first time in many months. The water's not as clear as I'd like for some reason. I can see that one of my hardy lily pots has fallen into the deep end. The hardy lilies are barely alive with few or no leaves on some. The tropical lily has a few leaves left. I cut down the two dwarf cattails and half the remaining lotus leaves (which were crinkled despite no frost yet). I added some of the usual - baking soda, koi clay, and heavy metal neutralizer but also the first packet of the dry Microbe-Lift Autumn Prep (as well as the stinky liquid). The next morning, the air temperature went down to 34 degrees F. There was only frost on the roof. This was the first morning that I did not feed the fish since spring.

8. A final update for this month's newsletter. With a lot of the water celery gone, I have seen Maggie and Colin many times but not in detail. They seem okay. I'm almost positive that the male box turtle left the pond right after I put him in there weeks ago. I plan to bring in the Cyprio filter next Sunday, a few weeks later than past years due to the unusually warm weather.

Pond Tidbits:

1. John told me on 8/18/07 that 25 years ago, his neighbor gave him two orfes (who were probably at least 5 years old) because they were too big for his pond. One was still alive on 8/18/07 but, unfortunately, one had just jumped out when a new filter was put in. So, there is at least one orfe at or near 30 years of age.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. None this month.

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