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Robyn's Pond Blog for March 2016

Last Updated: 3/29/16

1. On 3/2/16, I found two large masses of wood frog eggs in my 50 gallon pond! I haven't even seen or heard any wood frogs yet! I did see a splash that was probably a wood frog. After work, I dipped a bucket in to the pond to get the eggs and put them in my 20 gallon indoor tub pond. The reason is that, one it's going to get below freezing again and soon, and two, I haven't yet cleaned out that pond. Once I get tadpoles, it's too hard to sort them out from the debris. I use a pond vacuum too which doesn't care what it sucks up. The future tadpoles will be going back in that pond before they are ready to morph.

2. The morning of 3/4/16, there was two inches of snow on the ground. It was gone by the time I got home from work.

3. On 3/6/16, I did pond work. The thermometer in the 1800 gallon pond has detached from the rock to which it was anchored. I can't find it. The 153 gallon pond's thermometer read 41 degrees F, about the air temperature. I squirted the flosses. I threw in a small bale of barley straw. I trimmed back the evergreen bush that hangs over the pond near the pump. It's time to start using Bt again the ponds to kill mosquito larvae in the ponds without fish.

4. It got really warm in the 70's, and the wood frog males were quacking on the evenings of 3/8/16 and 3/9/16. They're dropping in more eggs. I need to clean those ponds but I have no time!

5. I did pond chores on 3/13/16. The air temperature was in the 50's, and it was drizzling off and on. The 153 gallon pond thermometer read 50 degrees F while that in the 1800 gallon pond was out of reach until I got in the pond. I removed both of the pond de-icers, the green lid over the main biofilter, and the lighted candycanes by the big pond.

I had to get those tub ponds cleaned so I did that first. I bailed down the 20 gallon pond. I found 16 green frog tadpoles and one adult predaceous diving beetle (Acilius mediatus). There were no plants left. All those animals would be put in the 50 gallon pond after I cleaned it.

I removed three massive wads of wood frog eggs from the 50 gallon tub pond and set them aside. I bailed the pond down. Once I was half way down, it was obvious that there were no surviving tadpoles so, to save time, I used the pond vacuum to drain the pond down quickly. Luckily, the frogs are good at avoiding the suction. I found a total of one baby green frog and seven wood frogs! I put them in the other ponds while cleaning the 50 gallon. I also found another predaceous diving beeetle, a few pond snails (didn't work hard to save those), and seven Melantho snails. I found a few anacharis and hornwort plants but not a ton like in previous years. Once the pond was cleaned out, I turned my attention towards the three two gallon pots. One had nothing left in it so I dumped that one. One pot had a water iris and one had a waterlily. Instead of repotting this year, I just topped off with gravel due to lack of time. Also, the water iris rarely flower the year they are repotted. I put the plants back, put the air stone from the 153 gallon pond in the 50 gallon pond for about an hour while I did the chores below, and then put back the plants, snails, and wood frog eggs. I removed another three clumps of wood frog eggs from the 153 gallon and put them in the 50 gallon pond. I can't have them hatching before I clean out that pond. Cleaning the 50 gallon pond took about 1.5 hours not including the time waiting for the pond to aerate while I did more chores.

Then, I did work on the 1800 gallon pond. The outlet was full of ants again; I put in a fresh ant trap. I was supposed to change the filter material around the pump which needed it but the new roll of floss I got was a foot too short when I unrolled it so I just squirted off the flosses and ordered more floss the next day. I squirted out all the bioballs. There were two young green frogs in there that I moved to the 153 gallon pond. I found the thermometer and reanchored it where it is supposed to be. I forgot to record what temperature it read. I removed a dead 4" pickerel frog from the deep end of the big pond. I moved two two gallon pots of golden club and one two gallon pot of pickerel rush to more shallow water. I have more such pots to move but had stirred up too much debris by that point to find them.

6. On 3/19/16, I moved two batches of wood frog eggs from the 153 gallon pond to the 20 gallon tub pond. The next day, I would also put some wads of java moss from the 50 gallon aquarium in the 20 gallon tub pond. The wood frog eggs in the 20 gallon basement pond died. They turned white and rotted. In the past, I had brought in some eggs but I guess those went in the 50 gallon tub pond which had aeration. The 20 gallon tub pond is stagnant. Despite being inside, the embryos died from low oxygen, high bacterial load, and/or high fungal load. Some of the eggs outside have died too but many are developing. I wonder if embryos can perish from Chytrid fungus like adults.

7. On 3/20/16, the air temperature was 42 degrees F but I did pond chores. The 1800 gallon was at 46 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at a chilly 44 degrees F. I changed the floss around the main pump which I couldn't do last week until I ordered more that was long enough. I topped off ponds and put in additives. I've stopped feeding the fish for now as it's like winter again. We had a dusting of snow the night before.

The raccoon has twiced knocked over a rock of about 40 pounds at the edge of the pond. It's one of the smallest and least secure. I had to do more than just put it back after that resulted in it ending up back in the pond the next day. I dug out under where the rock went. Once I heaved it back up pulling my muscles, I then wedged some smaller rocks under it to try to make it more stable. I will see if that works. One of the three light fixtures (that hasn't worked in years) is near there, and I tried to straighten it out, and it just snapped off. Like a loose tooth being held on by a nerve (god I hated that when I was a kid; I had a tooth held on by just a nerve for many months), the light fixture is still connected by one wire. There should be too but the other must be part of the piece that remained underground when broken. If only I had the time and money to redo the lighting. But, I don't need it. I have no human pond visitors aside from myself, and I am quite adept at using a flashlight.

8. The first wood frog eggs started to hatch in the 50 gallon pond on 3/25/16.

9. I could hear toads trilling at a natural pond a few properties away on 3/26/16.

10. I did pond work on 3/27/16. It was a chilly 55 degrees F outside. I moved two batches of wood frog eggs from the 153 gallon pond to the 50 gallon pond. One blob was in the process of hatching! I will probably have to try to catch some tadpoles if I ever get to cleaning out the 153 gallon pond which takes all day. The 1800 gallon pond was at 53 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 52 degrees F. I removed the full net from the big pond.

I set up the Cyprio filter a few weeks early as it's been so warm, and the water is starting to cloud. I cut a new piece of filter floss that goes over the Cyprio's pump. Where the tubing connects to the filter, it leaks really badly. If I had a man, he could fix it but I'm no good at those sorts of things. The water loss is minimal. Most of the leak falls back in to the pond. The connector is old and damaged.

I sure wish I had time to clean out the 153 gallon pond but it was Easter after all, and there was a feast to attend. I squirted out the flosses. I pulled out the lotus tubers and potted them in the 12 gallon tub pond. I put out half a dozen yard doohickeys; only 100 to go! I put the half net on the pond. I tied on the feeding ring.

Continue to the April 2016 pond blog.

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