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Robyn's Pond Newsletter December 2007

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?

Herman, the hermit crab that my mother came home with one day in July, died on 11/23/07. I do not plan to get another one.

Happy Holidays!

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
Under fish are three photos sent of a young goldfish. Under frogs are 19 photos that Tom sent me months ago of bullfrogs and pickerel frogs (held in his hand).

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Fall 2007 are four photos of my 1800 gallon pond before and after I cut down all the marginals.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Catoctin/index.shtml -
On 11/9/07, in the cold and rain, we went to the Catoctin Zoo. I put photos and two videos up on this page. There are a few pond-related photos.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 11/4/07, I smelled that a skunk had been by my pond in the morning but everything was in place. That afternoon, I squirted off the main pump's floss. Things are finally starting to get cold so I used aqua gloves when pulling up the pump. The 1800 gallon pond was down to 48 degrees F and the 153 gallon to 54 degrees F. Removing the water lettuce sure lowered the temperature! With the time change (so it's dark when I get home and too cold in the morning) it looks like the fish are now going to have to do without added fish food. I normally would have phased them out of it but it's been so warm until recently that I was feeding full warm weather rations.

I finally put up the Cyprio filter until spring. I had to squirt all the parts and swish all the biothings in water and put them in the kiddie pool to dry out. I also brought in the small pump in the 50 gallon pond (which was dismantled yet again by possibly the raccoons). I removed two buckets of water lettuce from the shallows among the marginals and more from the open area of the pond. The impatiens are still alive and well, the latest ever. I'll leave them until they start to rot. I raked tons of leaves from around the pond and down the hill. I did three wheel barrows full but also moved down a bunch of them raking all the way down the hill (maybe 4 wheel barrows of leaves?). I brought in the terrestrial tropical canna so my only tropical left outside is the tropical waterlily which I'll get next Sunday. I forgot to move the waterlily pot that fell into the deep end so I'll get that next week if I remember! I dug up some dirt and filled in the hole left where the yellow jacket hornet nest was. I normally don't note what non-pond things I do. After the pond work, I put fresh straw in the chickens' run and dug up 4 wheel barrows full of chicken waste (dirt, straw, pine shavings, leaves, and chicken poo) and dumped it elsewhere since the pile was getting too big.

2. On 11/11/07, I squirted off the flosses. The 1800 gallon pond was down to 42 degrees F and the 153 gallon to 49 degrees F. I finally pushed the waterlily pot that had fallen into the deep end back up to its ledge in the medium-depth area.

I hauled out the tropical waterlily. I found one nut tuber which I think is from my old lily. It showed no sign of life but also was not soft or smelly. So, I will try to overwinter it in sand and see if it can come back to life even though it did nothing this year. It's a very long shot. I also found three small clumps of roots and leaves from the tropical waterlily that I put in that same pot this year. It's one that doesn't make the hard nut tubers. I stuck those three rhizome things into the pots already in my 20 gallon basement pond. I've never been over to overwinter lilies that way but will try again. The growing rhizomes turn to mush if kept in damp sand unlike the hard nut things. [Sorry for the lack of scientific names!].

It was finally time to remove most of the vegetation above the water in the pond. I cut the water celery hanging off the falls into the pond. I removed the floating island with impatiens which finally wilted a few days before. Never before had they grown so much. They were root bound; I almost couldn't get them out of the pots. The roots had grown into the styrofoam too. I pulled the net back off the marginal area and cut everything down. This took well over an hour and resulted in about four wheel barrows full of plant material. Most of the leaves were still green but this has to be done at some point. I used the dip net and my hands to remove what water lettuce I could but there's still a lot in there. I took before and after photos (see link above).

3. Homer, the male betta in my 20 gallon basement pond has been building a lot of bubble nests in there. The taro plants are doing well. I went ahead and bought Homer a friend. Marge is my first female betta. So far, she just hides (I put in some extra fake plants for cover). He has not been aggressive to her at all contrary to everything I've read. I don't plan to do anything to raise fry but, if any survive on their own, I have places a few can go. I just felt bad for Homer being all alone. He is loving his pond, much nicer than a cup!

4. On 11/17/07, I removed the PondMaster filter from the 153 gallon pond for the season. I replaced it with the Tetra Luft pump for aeration. It's still too warm for de-icers.

5. On 11/18/07, I squirted off the floss around the only remaining pump outside (in the 1800 gallon pond, the OASE Nautilus 60, 2600 gph) and also the bioballs and lava rocks. The 1800 gallon was at 44 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 47 degrees F. I cut down the iris and terrestrial mint (which creeps into the pond) in the 153 gallon pond.

6. On 11/22/07, Thanksgiving Day, it was 73 degrees F. We ate with the windows open at my aunt's house! Then, the winds came. By the morning of 11/23/07, the air was at 25 degrees F, the first hard frost of the season. The plants still holding leaves did something I had never seen before. For example, the mulberry trees still had bright green leaves. They were raining down off the trees by the hundreds all at once after the frost caused them to disconnect from the tree.

7. On 11/25/07, I squirted off the floss. The 1800 gallon pond was down to 39 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 45 degrees F. I spent most of the time getting leaves off the net and raking them around the pond. So many leaves! I cut down the remains of the marsh mallow next to the pond.

8. The morning of 11/27/07, a great blue heron was spending time by my ponds. I took a few not-so-great photos and two videos which I will put up next week (and mention in the next newsletter).

9. When I got home on 11/29/07, I saw a white goldfish down in the filter material around the pump. I tried to get him out with the net but he did wiggle to get away so I left him there. The next morning, I put on hip waders and gloves and went into the 37 degree F water to pull him/her out of the pump intake area. I could have sworn he/she moved and tried to get away but once I got the fish out, he/she showed no signs of life. The fish had some red areas from presumed physical damage but nothing major. I left him/her in the pond. I thought I would be removing the fish that night but, when I pulled him/her out, his/her tail moved ever so slightly so I put the fish back.

Pond Tidbits:

1. Does anyone have tips to share?

2. What is the strangest thing you have seen one of your "pet" pond animals eat? A few people have seen bullfrogs eat birds. Has anyone seen them eat a rat (they are supposed to do so)? Wayne in Canada saw his 13" orfe in 36 degree F water with a goldfish in its mouth that was maybe 4 inches long.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. http://www.wemakemaps.com/skimmerbox.htm - one person who made their own skimmer

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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