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Robyn's Pond Blog for February 2015

Last Updated: 3/2/15

1. On 2/1/15, I added water to the two largest ponds which were down two inches. While it warmed up to 40 degrees F, the net on the main pond was frozen in so I couldn't get in to clean the filter. The 1800 gallon pond's thermometer was frozen in while the 153 gallon pond's thermometer read 44 degrees F. I removed a few leaves but couldn't do much else.

2. The morning of 2/3/15, there was no air coming out in the 1800 gallon pond. The humidity in the airline tubing froze up and blocked the flow. I had to get another line and air stone as the other ones were frozen in the pond. I tossed it in to the small opening that the waterfall made. The pond really froze up without the air stone. Air temperature was in the upper teens.

3. On 2/8/15, the air temperature got up to 52 degrees F! The thermometer was still frozen in the big pond but I could get in. The 153 gallon pond was at 46 degrees F. I squirted off the filter material and bioballs in the main pond's filter. There was a little pickerel frog in the bottom of the biofilter but I left him in there. I was able to switch the air pump back to going through the older airline and air stone as it was melted out. I rmemoved the newer one. I removed leaves from the ponds and debris from the waterfall. I put in a small bale of barley straw in the big pond and also some pond salt. The snowdrops were blooming by the 153 gallon pond, the first flowers of spring!

4. You know what the worse nightmare for a ponder is? It's a pond pumped dry. What's worse than that? A pond pumped dry on the coldest day of the year. Luckily, my inability to sleep when the power goes out prevented that. The power went out at 11:30 pm on the coldest night of 2015, 2/14/15. The winds were howling like a freight train. The night light was shining in my eyes as it comes on when the power goes out so it woke me up. After I called it in, I turned off the breaker for the big pond. Why? Well, luckily the power came back on at 3:30 am. I turned on the breaker and went outside. The pump did kick on, and water came out of the biofilter but it poured out over the pond which had flash frozen. Before the power outage, there was an opening at least four feet across but four hours without power and hell winds, and it was gone. So, I had to turn off the pump and falls until the pond thaws. The little pickerel frog in the bottom of the biofilter presumably froze solid as did any insects, snails, bacteria, water celery, watercress, etc. in the filter and falls. I threw the de-icer from the biofilter on to the ice where the falls should go in. I went to bed. At dawn, it had melted a hole just the size of itself. It was only 4 degrees F after all with 40 mph winds! I got another airline and air stone and tossed it in the hole. The other one was frozen solid. I put in another one in the 153 gallon pond, also frozen solid (there are now three lines in there, two frozen).

5. Pond chores on 2/15/15? Nah, forget it! The thermometer was frozen in the 1800 gallon pond. I did note the 153 gallon pond's thermometer's temperature but forgot to record it. The de-icer flipped itself over and then back again. By 2/16/15, the hole was much bigger but the de-icer froze in to the ice. The heating element was warm but the bubbles under it pushed the heat away from the plastic part of the de-icer which froze in place.

6. There was 3 to 3.5" of snow on the ground the morning of 2/17/15, the most this year. Every night is so cold lately, in the single digits. I normally like it cold but this is too much! I need heat. Every time the power goes out (multiple times this week), I have a heart attack that my animals are going to die.

7. The morning of 2/20/15, it was 0 degrees F! It has been years since it has been that cold. The coldest ever here in my life was -10 degrees F a few times but I don't think I had the ponds yet.

8. On 2/21/15, we got 6.5" of snow by 4:30 pm, then a few more inches. Then, there was sleet and rain overight. By the morning, the fresh snow depth on the road was 9" with an ice crust. The forecast was for 2 to 4 inches! Then, it got warm, a toasty 45 degrees F! I took my coat off. So, I thought I could get the waterfall going on 2/22/15; however, the pump wouldn't turn over. Either it's dead, or, more likely, the water in the line at the water level is frozen. There's no check value so, when the power went out, the water dropped to the level of the pond. Even though the pipe leaving the pond was in melted water, the tubing must have been iced up. I also tried using the hose to squirt the snow off the waterfall but that didn't really work either. Then, I discovered that for the umpteenth time, the air stone was not producing bubbles. I had to put in yet another airline (the fourth?) to aeration. Even though it was warm, humidity got in the line, and it froze. The 153 gallon pond's thermometer read a toasty 44 degrees F since that pond is smaller with a de-icer so it stays warmer. Not having the sound of the waterfall when out there is eerie and wrong. I later threw some pond salt on the snow on the waterfall. This serves two purposes. It will melt some snow, and then as the snow drips in to the pond, it will increase the salinity at a much slower rate than just tossing the salt in the pond. I didn't add that much salt, I rarely do. [Update: The salt did nothing. Score another point for winter.]

Continue to the March 2015 pond blog.

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