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Robyn's Pond Blog for April 2012

Last Updated: 5/2/12

1. On 4/1/12, I did pond work. The 1800 gallon was at 56 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 55 degrees F. I squirted off all the flosses. I put the rest of the yard doohickeys outside. Since I now have some time, I'm going through my collection of aquarium and pond supplies and throwing some things out and organizing them.

The wood frog tadpoles in the 50 gallon tub pond are hardly noticeable now but I'm sure they must be in there somewhere! I found a dead female green frog in the 153 gallon pond. Since it had no face, it must be the one that I pulled from the net nine days previously. It was pretty yucky.

2. On 4/2/12, I saw the heron fly away from my pond but did not see it on the ground around this time.

3. On 4/3/12, I removed a dead 1.5" pickerel frog from the 1800 gallon pond that had been there for weeks. Then, I repotted four pond plants. I started with the regular cattails. They are in a 5 gallon pot. I had a lot of trouble getting some of them out of there. In the process, the ones I did get, the leaves got bent. Since those will just droop and rot, I had to cut most of the greens off. This was a shame as there was already over two feet of growth on them! Then, I repotted the two hardy canna pots. Both were two gallon pots that were severely warped by the roots. One pot had burst open from the roots, almost the entire length. I had to cut both pots off in two places. I could not use the shovel to get some pieces for repotting. I had to use a combination of the utility knife to cut through the 2 inch thick and many inches long tubers. After much struggling, I finally got a few pieces for two new two gallon pots. If I had more room, strength, time, etc., I would have repotted the hardy canna in to 5 gallon pots as well. Finally, I went to repot the lizard tail. One pot was attached to a pot of purple pickerel rush so I will do that one next time. The other pot was 100% full of lizard tail shoots, already a foot high! Remember, there is normally no growth on these plants this time of the year but it's been so hot, that they're ahead of me even though I don't to deal with getting time off work. I had to mutilate the lizard tail quite a bit and replanted more shoots than I should have, perhaps a dozen out of maybe 40! Since I already have two pots of this and some on land too (where it actually does well), I just tossed the glob in to the waste pile. If only selling them were an easy task. I also removed an almost empty two gallon pot. I don't know what used to be in there. Only 20-some repottings to go!

4. On 4/4/12, I released Nikita, Alex, and Riley in to the 1800 gallon pond. It was a little hard to catch them out of the basement pond. I took photos of them in the bucket and then acclimated them to the pond water which was at 56 degrees F. Within a couple of minutes, they joined up with the other fish, and they all act like they've been together all this time! After a 6+ month quarantine, the koi should be ubber-healthy. The ammonia level in the basement pond was at 2 ppm, and it never got under control. Nikita and Alex are around 7" long while Riley is more like 6". Alex is heavier. They more than doubled in size in quarantine.

5. On 4/5/12, I mulched the first section of the garden around the big pond. I put four new rocks in the mulch on the hill where nothing much grows. I put in 4.5 bags of mulch which is about 1/6 of the surface area in the area around the pond. At sunset, I turned the corner where the pond was and a heron flew off. He spilled the newly-repotted hardy canna in the process. The fish were petrified huddling together under the net.

6. On 4/6/12, I did some more repotting. First, I had to repot the hardy canna that the heron dumped over. I put it back in a more sturdy place. I pulled out the lizard tail after cutting the pickerel rush away from it. I repotted the lizard tail in to another two gallon pot as I had to cut the pot off. I potted the one two gallon pot of purple pickerel rush in to two two gallon pots. I repotted the arrowhead in its two gallon pot. There was a piece of iris in the pot with it that must have been free and rooted in there. I planted it in the ground as the pond has a lot of iris right now. Finally, I repotted the one two gallon pot of dwarf cattails in to two two gallon pots. There were two pots of it but one must have died. I had to cut the pot off the dwarf cattails as well as the roots had deformed the pot. I removed two two gallon pots with nothing in them. Next to repot will be the sweetflag.

7. On 4/8/12, Easter morning, I squirted off all the flosses, put additives in the ponds, and added water to the ponds. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were at 52 degrees F. It was cold and windy at 9:40 am. I found a mayfly larvae in the waste bucket from the 1800 gallon pond. I usually don't see insect larvae in the big pond as the fish eat them. That pond has a lot of aquatic earthworms living in the algae around the waterfall and filter. I haven't seen this species much until this year. When I try to wipe off some algae, there they are.

8. On 4/13/12, I repotted some more plants. We haven't had more than a few drops of rain in months so it was very hard to dig up some dirt from the old garden (nothing grows there now; it's in total shade). I got hard clumps in the wheelbarrow. I had to add a few gallons of water to the 10 gallons of dirt and let it sit to be able to work with it. The pond water was a chilly 52 degrees F but it's finally going to start to warm back up starting today. First, I removed the one gallon pot of water hawthorne. In my records, I see that I just bought it last year. It was in good shape and even had a flower bud on it! I removed three two gallon pots of sweetflag and one four gallon pot of sweetflag. I still have a few more pots as well! I repotted three pieces of healthy sweetflag in to the three two gallon pots. I retired the four gallon pot. Regardless of the pot size, sweetflag jumps the pot in a growing season or two. Finally, I repotted a two gallon pot of variegated sweetflag. It only had a sprig left. In my records, I show that I potted up three two gallons of it but this was all that was left. I removed a one gallon empty pot, not knowing what was in there. It turned out that it was actually two one gallon pots stuck together so I regained two pots! From my records, it was most likely rainbow water celery which died soon after planting.

I think I only have about five pots left to redo including a few more sweetflags. One is in with iris so that must not have been repotted last fall when I was supposed to have repotted all the iris! There are also two golden clubs and the water plantain left to repot. I counted nine pots of iris. I was supposed to have repotted them last fall. My notes show I potted up five two gallon pots of iris so adding in the yellow flag repotted in 2010 and the blue flag that I added this year, it seems I failed to repot two of the iris but I am not sure which two aside perhaps from the one with the sweetflag growing in it. Iris and sweetflag look very similar in the fall. This time of the year, the iris is much more lush. It will flower soon. The best way to tell them apart is to feel up the stem. If there's a sharp ridge up the middle of the leaves, it's sweetflag. You can also break and smell the tubers. Sweetflag smells, well sweet!

9. On 4/15/12, I squirted off the flosses, added water and additives in the morning. The 1800 gallon pond was up to 60 degrees F and the 153 gallon pond at 58 degrees F but that was after I put in cold well water.

10. First thing in the morning, on 4/16/12 (a day that would go in to the high 80's), the goldfish were spawning. About 10 minutes later, I walked past the window, and the heron flew off. I think he may have gotten a fish. I had to chase after him to get him to leave but it's only a temporary stay of execution for any fish too oblivious to their spawning to care about their life. I really wish I could have the entire pond netted 10 feet up. Net on = dead frogs and birds; net off = dead fish and frogs. There's no way to protect everyone.

11. On 4/17/12, the heron was in my pond first thing when I came down with the fish happily splashing all around him. Later that day, I did my last session of repotting for now! First though, I had to pick up some spilt plants from the fish spawning and squirt off the intake to the Cyprio filter which had slowed a lot from the spawning. I repotted the last half dozen plants. I will need to repot the yellow flag iris in September and the other 8 iris in the Fall of 2013 but otherwise I don't need to repot anything in the 1800 gallon pond until the Spring of 2014! Yay!

I repotted the two golden club plants in to the same two gallon pots. I repotted the water plantain in to the same two gallon pot. It is barely alive while it thrived in the past and was always pot bound. I found three more pots of sweetflag. All had jumped the pots and two had grown well in to the gravel in the marginal area. I had to gently tear them out. I don't think they went in to the liner but that's always a risk so I removed them. One of the sweetflags was in a pot of iris where it had jumped in by itself. I repotted just the iris in to the two gallon pot. I potted up some sweetflag in to a single two gallon pot because I really don't need two more pots when I have three others (plus the variegated one). That gives a total of five pots of sweetflag. I need some room for new things. The only pots in the 1800 gallon pond that have not been repotted are eight pots of iris (which are fall repots) and a two gallon pot of parrot feather. The parrot feather is all over the pond actually but quite a few roots where in this one pot which I just put in the pond last year. It makes more sense to say parrot's feather by the way but the official name of this plant is parrot feather. It normally dies in my pond in the winter but, this year, it was so warm that it stayed green all winter.

12. I have finished the move of the crustacean and mollusk pages to their own directories. It only took almost two years!

13. I have shifted most of my Saturday chores to Friday and sometimes some of my Sunday chores to Saturday until I get a new job. This allows me to go to a few of the many events that I have always missed. We went to a daffodil show on 4/21/12. Since it was due to rain (finally!) all day 4/22/12, I started my pond chores on 4/21/12 at 10:40 am but couldn't finish them then. The 1800 gallon pond was at 63 degrees F, and the 153 gallon was at 61 degrees F (after I added water). I cleaned the filters in the 153 and 50 gallon ponds, put additives in all the small ponds, and topped them off. It wasn't until the next day, 4/22/12, that I got to work on the big pond. It was raining but not too heavily; it was 47 degrees F (air temperature). At 9 am, the 1800 gallon pond was at 61 degrees F and the 153 gallon pond at 60 degrees F. I squirted off the filter materials around all three pumps in the 1800 gallon pond which were clogged from spawning. I squirted out the Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool and the lava rock and bioballs from the main filter. I got a new pump intake for the newest MagDrive pump since the intake collapsed a month ago from clogging. This one has a plastic ring for added support. I took photos of the crushed one.

14. I got a few plants in the mail from waterplants.com (first time using them) on 4/23/12 and planted them the next day. I potted up three two gallon pots and two one gallon pots. In the two gallon pots went new bluebells (Ruellia brittoniana, mine did not overwinter as they had before), Iris fulva (a red iris that I have had before), and "Bengal Tiger" canna which is a variegated tropical canna. In the one gallon pots went water poppies and a plant new to me, the water snowball. I also got three water hyacinth and three water lettuce but will put those out later in the week when it's warmer as it's been cold. I set them in the basement pond for now.

As a side note, I tested my OASE air pump that I thought was dead years ago because I wanted to be sure so I could throw it out. Well, it works which means that the problem at that time must have been the outlet which, by the way, still has not been fixed and probably never will be.

15. On 4/25/12, I stopped by Lilypons. I hadn't been able to find the net that I wanted for my pond and needed to see the choices in person. I bought a 20' x 30' Laguna net which is just like my good green nylon net except that it is black. If it works fine in the fall, I will cut the old green one and use part of it for the 153 gallon pond and part as the summer net for the 1800 gallon pond.

16. On 4/27/12, I put the three water lettuce and three water hyacinth out in the 1800 gallon pond in the floating plant protector.

17. On 4/29/12, I did some pond chores in the morning at 10:30 am. The 1800 gallon pond was at 54 degrees F and the 153 gallon pond at 52 degrees F. I changed the PondMaster filters in the 153 gallon pond. I squirted off all the filter material big pond. When I was done and switched on the power, nothing happened. The outlet is totally dead (probably the switch on top of the bad outlets). I ran an extension cord out to the pond to run the three pumps for now. I fertilized just the iris in the 1800 gallon pond.

18. On 4/30/12, my uncle came over, and, for $100, he replaced my main pond outlet and switch. It took three hours! The old parts were rusted and in bad shape. Thank you so much for finally fixing it Uncle Rich!

Continue to the May 2012 pond blog.

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