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Robyn's Pond Blog for April 2016

Last Updated: 5/1/16

1. On 4/2/16, the goldfish spawned. They immediately caused the Cyprio filter to stop running so I turned it off until tomorrow. The temperatures then took a nose dive.

2. I did some pond work on 4/3/16. It was below freezing at dawn and only 40 degrees F with very high winds when I went out before noon. The 1800 gallon pond was at 47 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 50 degrees F. I squirted the filter flosses. The Cyprio filter's mesh laundry bag was sucked in to the intake which was why it hadn't been running. I put fertilizer in the lotus tub pond. The tubers had a fuzz around them. I hope they haven't died from the cold.

3. I had 4/6/16 off work. It was 26 degrees F at dawn and only 52 degrees F by late afternoon with winds kicking up. All the pretty flowers and new leaves were damaged by the cold. The power was off from 9 am to 1 pm (scheduled) so I worked to the din of the generator. I mulched around the pond (north side) for three hours. I found a little pickerel frog hopping in the weeds of the garden and a big toad that appeared dead buried down in the dirt. Hopefully, he just looked dead because it has been below freezing so I covered him back over.

I put some more pea gravel in the lotus tub pond. I think the lotus may have died from the ice. I put some more pea gravel alongside the 153 gallon pond.

I pulled out the three pots of hardy waterlilies from the big pond. The Chromatella was doing okay. I repotted it with fresh dirt in to the same pot. There was nothing left but some rocks in the Albata pot. A third five gallon pot just had a dead tuber in it. I'm not even sure which variety it was anymore as they've been doing so poorly. I potted up the Albata tubers from the 153 gallon pond (which originated from the 1800 gallon pond) in to that third five gallon pot in new dirt. I put them both back and hope the fish don't destroy them too. The groundhog is out of hibernation even though it's so cold, and he's been eating all my plants. He was so good in previous years but not this year.

4. I did pond work on 4/10/16. The 1800 gallon pond was at 48 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 51 degrees F. I squirted off the filter materials, added additives and water, etc. I had bought some new drain pipe connectors to try to staunch the leak at the inlet of the Cyprio Planter Filter. The 3/4 inch size fit but I had two problems. First, in order to use it, I had to take the waterfall thing off the filter. Second, even with it on, it still leaks because the plastic tube underneath is damaged. My father tightened the clamp over it too hard about three years ago. He can longer do anything mentally or physically. I have nobody else willing to help. As the leak was squirting out of the pond, I put a sock over it so now it runs back in the pond. At this point, I figure I might as well get a new filter. You know though that nobody sells a decent out-of-pond filter that doesn't look like a black or green box or cylinder! I wanted something that looks nice my my old Cyprio filter which was discontinued more than a decade ago. I guess I'll be stuck with a hideous black box. I skipped squirting out the bioballs. It's just been too cold.

5. On 4/14/16, I removed a dead 2" green frog from the 153 gallon pond.

6. It was finally nice (ranging from 65 to 70 degrees F air temperature) on 4/17/16. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were up to 60 degrees F! I started by removing dead pots from the big pond. First were two five gallon pots which I repotted on 7/12/15 after the deer massacred the yellow flag iris and common cattails by getting in the pond. The plants never recovered and never regrew. I also removed a three gallon pot, two two gallon pots, and a one gallon pot. I don't know what plants were in those. There was nothing left. The planted pots are now 70% iris. Not much else can survive my ponding skills! There's one surviving lizard tail (there were three; I always had too much of it but the deer hit it too last July), a pickerel rush, the two waterlilies I just repotted, a couple of golden club, and not much else. The hardy canna have not sprouted but did not look dead either so I don't know about those yet. They were also attacked last July.

I squirted all the filter materials and the bioballs. Amongst the bioballs were a baby green frog of a few inches in length and a little salamander of maybe three inches long. He/she moved like a snake and managed to get to the bottom of the filter as I pulled out lava rock and bioball bags. Once at the bottom, I couldn't see him/her but he/she was not harmed in the filter cleaning. I changed the Ammocarb. In the 153 gallon pond, I found an unfortunate dead one inch pickerel frog. There were lots of live frogs in both ponds so that's some good news. Most were green frogs but I have the one huge bullfrog.

I had hoped the new filter to replace the Cyprio filter would have come by today but it didn't. When I plugged everything back in, nothing came out of the Cyprio. I moved its pump plug to the location of another outlet which was running the air pump just fine, and still there was no response. So, I pulled out my spare MagDrive 700 pump. This new one had an intake basket which was nice so I set that up and got the Cyprio filter flowing again and leaking again of course. I brought the "dead" pump inside and put it in a bucket of water. I put my hand over the output just in case and plugged it in. Water squirted all over. It was good my hand was there! So, what is going on with this pump? It might have a loose wire, or it's just being a pain in the rear. I'll keep it as the spare. The new pump in the mean time is producing about 25% more flow out the Cyprio than the old pump did. Hopefully, it will work well with the new filter.

7. I had 4/20/16 off of work. I set up my new filter. It's a Biosteps 10 with 8 sheets of Matala. Unlike my Cyprio filter, which was decorative, this thing is a hideous black that also gets hot in the sun. The tubing I ordered (despite matching what the pump said and what I measured) did not fit but I had enough adapters to rig up something. The old filter had one place that could leak which it did. This new filter has three places to leak, and theyíre all leaking! They have o-rings. They say hand-tighten only but I screwed and screwed but, Iím not a man, and they leak. The drain doesnít have an o-ring because they didnít say to use one, and I used up all those that came with it. It drips a drop per second way outside the pond. The inlet is far from the pond. The Cyprio inlet was on the pond side while this one is as far from the pond as possible. Who designs these things? I rigged up a drain connector with two clamps. If it pops off, the pond will pump down to where the pump is (half the pond). Iím afraid it might. It leaks just barely (itís barely wet only, not dripping). The return has a waterfall. It leaks too but that drips a drop per second in to the pond for the most part. New does not equal better! What a hunk of expensive junk! I need a man to fix it but that will never happen. Like most things, I'll just have to live with it. If it becomes a problem, I can always go back to the leaking Cyprio planter filter.

I set up the auxiliary pump going to the main waterfall so water now gushes out there. I cut new filter floss that goes around that pump.

I also set up two waterlily protectors on my two remaining waterlilies. They take up a lot of swimming space for the fish so I can't really use them for the tropical waterlilies when I put them out. Have I mentioned that anyone else would have given up?

As an added bonus, the ants have set up shop again the electrical outlet. It's only a matter of time before they kill it. You wouldn't think there would be enough room in there to live but it's full of ants.

8. I did pond chores on 4/24/16, earlier in the day. It was 58 degrees F at 10:23 am. The 1800 gallon pond was at 56 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 57 degrees F. I squirted all the filter materials, added additives, and added water.

9. On 4/27/16, the great blue heron was back! Ahhh!!!

I also tore down the 20 gallon basement pond. I potted up the remnants of the bluebells in to a one gallon pot and put that in the big pond. I repotted the taro in to a two gallon pot and put that on the pool deck, just sitting by itself.

Continue to the May 2016 pond blog.

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