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Robyn's Pond Newsletter December 2003

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?

Invision runs the pond message board that is on my web site. Around 11/21/03, they deleted the forums. I had to re-program it from scratch so it's totally different now. It now includes aquariums and fewer overall categories.

I paid for 2 GB bandwidth and got over 7 GB traffic in October so they charged me an extra $85.74! I had to upgrade my plan. That's more money I lose because my site is too popular!

If you go to http://www.alexa.com/data/details/?url=fishpondinfo.com you can put in a review for my web site. Alexa has reviews for all web sites so you can put in your two cents on many sites if you want.

I wrote an article for Organic Gardening which should come out in the Jan./Feb. issue. This is the only time I've made money from animals, fish, or ponds. (My book cost me more than I made).

Happy Holidays!

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/farm.htm
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/calc.htm
3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/convert.htm
4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm
5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/pictures.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. Thanks to a question that I got, I added a section on plants for large earthen ponds to my farm pond page.

2. My brother made a Java program that does calculations and conversions. You can calculate your pond's volume in such units as liter and gallon or more obscure units like teaspoons and cubic lightyears! The conversions are good for use by aquarists, ponders, cooks, students, and really anyone.

3. This is a page with directions for the calculator/converter. It's the lead-in page for the calculator.

4. I made this new page for pond-related photos that aren't of my ponds and animals but were sent to me by other people. I added a new section of photos from Giverny, France of Monet's garden that someone sent me so check those out.

5. I removed all photos not of my ponds, etc. off of this page to the previous new page. I added 9 new photos. Under big pond photos is one of the waterlily tubers from last month. Under the winter section are 8 photos of my ponds after the snow we just had. I usually put the file names in here but it's late (I just added those). Sorry I failed. I will redo this next newsletter.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. This is November, right? It was near or at 80 degrees F for the first few days of November. Birds are singing and looking at nest boxes; the pond fish are eating like little hogs; plants are sprouting, it's spring! This time last year, the fish were done feeding. In fact, nights were freezing! On 11/2/03, I squirted my main pond floss and tidied up around the pond. I had intended to pull out the tropical water lily but with the heat, I decided to give it another week. Five minutes after I tossed in some fish food, I netted out a hundred or so tadpoles from my 50 gallon lotus tub (sans lotus) pond. That's the way to catch them! They went into the 153 gallon where they won't become tadcicles. The big pond was at 59 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 62 degrees F.

2. I know I'm losing it now. The spring peepers were calling 11/4/03, five MONTHS early! The heat wave is expected to continue.

3. It's been said many times, "If you don't like the weather in Maryland, wait a minute." The first hard frost was the morning of 11/9/03. The three smaller ponds were iced over. That day when I got in the pond, I had a lot to do. The 1800 gallon pond was down to 46 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 51 degrees F. Now, I'm using hip waders and long aquarium gloves. Still, I used my bare hands a lot in the cold water. I squirted the flosses and bioballs. With my brother being nice and holding up the net over my head, I threw heavy loads of the last 30-40 water hyacinth and water lettuce out of the pond. They all had frost damage and would rot if not removed. I cut down more marginals. Mostly it's just iris left standing, and I plan to cut them all down next week or so but I'll have to pull back the net further. My brother helped lift the 5 gallon tropical lily pot out of the pond. I pulled it over to dump it and found only three viable nut-like tubers. One was cut so only two might make it this year. I took a photo that eventually will be up. The morning of 11/10/03, it was the coldest yet this fall, about 23 degrees F.

4. Hell winds hit on 11/13/03. My ponds without nets got so many leaves in them that you can't tell they're ponds! Winds went over 50 mph. We lost power at work so my bosses could have more reason to be upset that I can't complete the work of 5 people immediately. Luckily, power was on at home. On 11/15/03, I found some green taro that was growing in a potted plant had sent out a runner. I wanted to direct it towards my basement pond but it broke off. So, I stuck it loose, as is, kind of on top of the pot with the dwarf papyrus which is still hanging in and the tropical water hibiscus which shows no sign of life. This taro originally got into the potted plant from being in a container with water a few years ago and jumping that pot to this other one.

5. On 11/16/03, I started trying to clean up in and around the pond. I'm now cleaning the flosses every two weeks until spring so I didn't do those. I netted debris off the surface of the water and tried to cut back more marginals. The net only caught my glasses, hair, and hip wader buckles a few dozen times so I'm going to wait until the net comes off in a few weeks to finish cropping the marginals all the way down. I spent almost an hour raking leaves from the mulched area around the big pond. Hopefully, the wind won't just blow my piles right back. My father drives his mower around with debris catcher and makes huge piles of leaves at the edges of the mowed areas. Then, the winds kick up, and the leaves are all over again. With five acres of leaves many inches deep, we can't really bag them up! The 1800 gallon pond was at 46 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 50 degrees F.

6. We got a lot of rain on 11/19/03. My 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were full of mud that washed in from the sides. The water came down so fast that the overflow couldn't keep up. The next day, the 1800 gallon pond was clear. I had a stress-induced relapse of whatever I had in September and went back on amoxicillin on 11/19/03. I lost a lot of sleep from persistent coughing. It might have been bronchitis.

7. This weather is ridiculous! Today is 11/22/03, and I fed the pond fish today! It's been in the 60's and near 70 for a few days and will stay that way. They were hungry.

8. On 11/23/03, I took the PondMaster filter out of my 153 gallon pond. Normally, it would have come out sooner but it's been so warm! It was 60 degrees again. I replaced the filter with my Luft system which is a large air stone and air pump. In the 1800 gallon pond, I squirted the flosses off which were pretty dirty since I skipped last week. I cut most of the rest of the marginals down and pulled out buckets upon buckets of water celery/roots/black sludge from the waterfalls. Now I see lots of water flowing! I tried to get out a lot of the celery's roots as I don't want it growing all over the falls as it is (it smothers out the watercress for one thing). I'm sure it will come back in full force in the spring. The pond turned brown from the sludge release (and yes, it stinks) but by the next day, was almost crystal clear again. Sadly, I found a dead 3" goldfish in the tangle of water celery. He may have gotten stranded. The 1800 gallon pond was at 50 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 53 degrees F. I added more Microbe-Lift Autumn Prep as well. Today, 11/24/03, it's in the 50's. Last year on this day, all my small ponds were frozen over and my big pond was half frozen over (according to my old newsletter)! What a difference!

9. It did finally get sort of cold. On 11/30/03, the main pond was down to 40 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 42 degrees F. I put the de-icers into those ponds even though there hasn't been any freezing yet. I cut down the rest of the iris in the 153 gallon pond and one bunch left in the 1800 gallon pond. Now, basically all the marginals are cut down for winter. I hand collected more leaves around the pond. The nets are due to come off next week but since it's still not that cold and is horribly windy every other day, I might keep them on longer.

10. The big pond had ice on it for the first time the morning of 12/3/03. About 30% of the pond iced over (the shallows). The air temperature was about 22 degrees F.

11. Ahh!! Today, 12/5/03, there's 9 inches of snow on my leaf nets! I took some digital photos and then spent an hour clearing snow from outlets, air pumps, light fixtures (another broke), nets, etc. Then I took more photos after. I ripped the net off the 153 gallon pond which was all but vanished under the snow. I don't want to tear the new 1800 gallon net so I only got it pulled back off the top of the waterfall, over the biofilter where I put the de-icer too. I hope the net doesn't snap from the weight of the snow! We are due for more tonight too. I was just too slow getting those nets off and now it's stuck until it thaws! At least I got my first vacation day in months! The next day, the net has collapsed all the way into the water. Now the fish can get stuck in it too! I took some photos yesterday that I mentioned earlier, and I'll tell you more in the next newsletter! Sorry.

Pond Tidbits:

1. This is what I do to keep animals out of my pond filter intakes. For my large pump, I have a plastic square plant crate/pot with holes in it. I cut various pieces of filter material/floss stuff to cover all the insides of the crate. This means one long piece that I clip together with diaper pins to make a cylinder. It goes in first, followed by a floor piece, the pump, and two top pieces. It's never a perfect seal though. This keeps out most animals but sometimes spawning female goldfish get wedged in there in spring. For my smaller pumps, I buy zippered nylon laundry bags sold to wash "delicates." I insert the pump with floss in a smaller square plant crate with holes for my 700 gph Magnum pump that goes to my Cyprio planter filter in warm months. I also zippered the OASE air pump thing (that died on me) into a bag as well to reduce clogging and cleaning frequency. Only the cord and tubing stick out the opening where the zipper closes. I don't have a skimmer but for those that do, you can probably rig up something with filter material, mesh bags, or something of that sort to block out most tadpoles, smaller fish, etc. You mostly need to reduce the suction force by dissipating it around the pump area so animals can swim away from it. Be careful for a skimmer that it doesn't clog too much with debris. If anyone has rigged something up like this, let me know so I can tell everyone in the next newsletter.

2. Well, I finally got my first contributed article. Enjoy!


Swimming With The Fishes By: Deb Cobern

I have always enjoyed fishing for the "fighters" of the underwater world, so when I had the opportunity to have an earth pond dug and stocked, I jumped at it. I live on ten wetland acres in the southern part of Alabama where the art and sport of fishing thrives and catfish farms abound. It is one of the largest businesses in the state at this time and growing. Knowing that I would not only want diversity in my stock, but also the ability to grow a few water plants on either end, I did a lot of information searching on the Internet. In fact, that is how I met Robyn Rhudy, whom I consider a veritable wealth of info on ponds and fish. My pond is about 100'+ ft. long by 50'+ wide and is about twenty feet from our home, not counting the back porch and fishing dock which actually is cantilevered about 5' over the ponds edge . This is where we enjoy sitting in the afternoons year round and summer evenings after feeding the fish. That is when the three ring circus begins!

After acquiring professional information from the company in Arkansas that we ordered our fish from, we ended up with 100 Catfish, 3 lbs. of Fathead Minnows, 50 Bream, (also known as Bluegill) and 10 Large Mouth Bass. We acclimated them as per instructions after picking them up from the feed store in town. All of this during one of the worst spring storms we had all season! One of the things I hear from people when I talk about my fish pond is: "Don't you have to deal with snakes?" Of course I do! We have three Water Moccasins who live in our pond till late October and we enjoy watching them as they swim around in the late afternoon. If they get too close to the dock that we are sitting on then we tap it with a stick and they turn directions immediately. Unlike something like a Copperhead snake that would just as soon bite you as look at you, Water Moccasins are shy and do not like confrontations with we funny looking humans. Some of the other critters that live in our pond are; frog species of all kinds, salamanders, crawdads (crayfish), leeches, snapping turtles, water spiders and beetles and snails. Since we live on a wooded wetland, we have Great Blue Heron and other water birds who visit our pond and keep all species in check. We thoroughly enjoy their visits.

As far as plants go, we have many natural sedges and willow trees that grow naturally around the ponds edges and we grow Lotus and a few other water plants in pots around the more shallow edges where we can find a ledge. Last, but not least, I cannot forget to mention our Mr. Goosly who patrols the whole pond and keeps everyone in line, including us!

Mr. Goosly is an African Gray goose. Last year he had a clan of five different duck species to guard but when mating season came around they wandered off into the wetland woods and were eaten by coyotes or bobcats. Many tears flowed, you can believe! We are starting over again in the spring with some new ducklings and goslings but will pen them up at night from now on. :-( Until then, we purchased some duck decoys off of Ebay to keep him company and he is happy as a lark. He tried mating with one of them all day on Thursday and I could not stop laughing! :-) At least he's not lonely anymore!


Web Sites of Interest:

1. Alan e-mailed me about his adventures with Victoria water lilies which are amazing. Check out his site as well as Victoria Adventure at these two web pages.

2. Check out Hank's page which has a lot of pond photos and some funky music:

3. Have you heard about the genetically-altered zebra danios that are going on sale next month? The company's site that sells them is http://www.glofish.com

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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