Last Updated: 7/5/12
1. On 6/1/12, we got 1.5" of rain in a single storm. The new pond's liner inverted yet again! The tadpoles were left with almost no water so I had to add more as the water under the liner receded.
1. On 6/3/12, I squirted off the filter flosses and did the usual. The 1800 gallon was at 68 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 66 degrees F.
The pump in my 50 gallon tub pond is dead again! It's a Quiet One 800. They don't seem to last but a year. It's the only small pump that I've found with a long enough cord.
We took the pool cover off. I had my brother pour the last of the yucky water through my sieve. I put the gunk with water and tadpoles in a bucket overnight. I hadn't counted on the raccoon getting in to it but he only dumped out some leaves and killed a few tadpoles. I used a net to get most of them off the surface and then ran the water though a net. I hand sifted the last of the slop. The tadpoles were all put in my 30 gallon pond out back which now has probably 1000 tadpoles in there! I would like to think that I saved about 80% of the tadpoles but I have a feeling that many won't survive their overcrowded conditions. I did put a few dozen in my 50 gallon tub pond as well.
2. I linked in some more photos.
Crushed pump pre-filter - inside view of the inlet filter for the PondMaster Mag Drive Pump Model 12; it collapsed due to heavy debris during spawning. I bought a new one.
Crushed pump pre-filer - outside view
We went to Lilypons on 4/25/12. Here are some photos.
3. On 6/9/12, in the morning, I came to realize how much of a genius the resident raccoon is. He/she had taken/removed about 20 rocks from around the pond and literally made a staircase to get in to the pond! I am not kidding! The pond has a drop off in the shallow end, and the raccoon thought it was too deep. The animals are just so much smarter than I. Many of the larger gray treefrog tadpoles are gone now. I never saw any with legs so I fear that the raccoon ate his fill.
I installed a new pump at the 50 gallon tub pond and a new solar pump in the 30 gallon new pond. The pump for the 50 gallon pond just won't work. I took it apart, and the drive shaft just spins wildly back and forth instead of in one direction. The old solar pump was pathetic. When full sun hit it, it would drizzle. The new pump is the same strength but new. It is a Smart Solar Sunjet 150+. When full sun hit it, it ran like a small real pump! It requires full sun to do anything though but something is better than nothing for the poor tadpoles. The pump could be put on the bottom (tubing did not reach the surface) or floated so I floated it on the Styrofoam piece which was rather large. The whole thing was anchored to the bottom by fishing line and a mesh bag with a heavy rock. I had a bad feeling about what the raccoon would do.
At mid-day, I glanced out back, and there was a red-tailed hawk sitting on top of the old wooden swing with a large frog in his beak. He was eating one of my precious green frogs! The crows tried to come in and steal it so the hawk flew off. My frogs just cannot catch a break!
4. On 6/10/12, the day started off poorly. As predicted, the raccoon went for the new solar pump in the 30 gallon pond. At first, I saw nothing but, after fishing, I found the pump and mesh bag with rock. The Styrofoam, fountain head (two pieces), and fishing line were simply gone. The raccoon took them and ran away. He probably ate the Styrofoam (as he had done with the fake Styrofoam plants before in other ponds). As luck would have it, the uptake tube and fountain head for the old solar pump fits the new one so I put those on. So, it works. But, it does not stick to the liner (with suction cups) so, every morning, the raccoon has knocked it over, and I have to fish around in there for it as well as remove the 3 to 15 rocks that he tosses in there.
After feeding the animals, I did the usual with the ponds. I topped off all the ponds, squirted all the filter materials, put in additives, changed the PondMaster filters, and squirted off the Cyprio biofilter things. I started the pond work at 9:30 am as it was going to get to almost 95 degrees F this day. It was already in the 80's when I started. I detest heat. The 1800 gallon pond was at 72 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 69 degrees F.
I also cut down the yellow flag iris in the overflow. Why? First, it was not supposed to be there to begin with (I threw seeds there when my pond was new); it is invasive; I worry about it putting a hole in the liner; and, by removing the biomass, it will grow new stalks and thereby remove more nutrients from the pond. Speaking of which, the deer ate basically all the water celery to the ground thus removing many pounds of nutrients. I hope they leave it alone long enough to regrow!
There were a dozen dead dragonflies under the apex of the net again. Even though the net only covers a third of the pond and is full of holes, the dragonflies follow it up to the highest point and die under the net just an inch from a way out if they would just go down and up. The net saves the fish from the heron but dooms the dragonflies. I try to prop up the corner to help lead them out but they truly are lacking in intelligence. Perhaps they need a lesson from the raccoon.
After I did the filters in the big pond, I turned on the switch and nothing. I had to pull out the extension cord and adapters again to get things pumping. My father was able to take the switch apart a few hours later, remove a part that my uncle was supposed to have removed, and get the switch working again, for now.
Later in the day, I found a large male, green frog dead in the bottom of my 1800 gallon pond. One eye was dislodged, and there were minor leg wounds. My guess would be the raccoon.
5. I linked in some more poorly-made videos. These were made blindly as the camera's LCD went white so I had no view finder.
Pond Flood - Video #1. On 5/23/12, we got four thunderstorms in the afternoon and almost 3 inches of rain. Here the area above my 1800 gallon pond flooded and then ran like a stream in to my pond. Mulch and dirt went in the pond which was not good. The reason this happened is that the new gutters (which were guaranteed to never need maintenance) clogged so water cascaded off the roof instead of being drained below the pond.
Pond Flood - Video #2. This video is a little longer. It shows the gutters pouring off the side at the end. You can also hear a gray tree frog call at the end.
6. On 6/14/12, I saw a great blue heron flying away from my 1800 gallon pond. He's baaaaack!
7. On 6/16/12, I did a 100% water change on the mosaic pond and wiped it down. The raccoon made it in to a dirt pit.
8. On 6/17/12, I did the usual first thing in the morning. At 9:10 am, the 1800 gallon pond was at 69 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 67 degrees F. I squirted all the flosses and the bioballs which were in bad shape, full of black pond slop. I used the hedge trimmers to open the paths on the east side of the pond and the one going up to the biofilter so I could more easily get in there to remove the bags of bioballs and lava rock. The deer were so kind as to get in the pond to eat the top off of my tropical water canna which might have bloomed. I moved it to deep water and set it on a brick. It might survive but it probably won't flower. The purple pickerel rush and the lizard tail are in bloom though. The old water plantain and new bluebells and iris seem to have died or nearly so. I fertilized the lilies and lotuses. I fertilized just some of the marginals to save money and effort. Most are doing well without added fertilizer anyway. I took a few water hyacinth and a few water lettuce out of their protective hoop and put them in the pond free to go their way. When I turned everything back on, there was no power again! The switch is dead again. I ran the extension cord and electrical strip out there again.
9. The morning of 6/18/12, I looked out in the morning to see the fountain in the 153 gallon was squirting all over! The raccoon pushed the bell fountain head down. I went out there. The pond was 80% empty! I put in about half the water then, and the other half was put in a few hours later. If this happens again, I will have to remove the fountain every night. I've given up trying to keep the raccoon from redesigning the new pond every night. There are rocks on the bottom every single morning. I'll never get the rocks back just so. It's like a Planet of the Raccoons version of Planet of the Apes (which I was watching last night).
10. On 6/22/12, the power went out for about 25 minutes during the day and then another minute an hour later. Hours later, when checking on the ponds, I found that the Cyprio filter was not running. There was no squirting of water anywhere so my guess was that the pump was dead even though pumps rarely really die. A thunderstorm was rolling in so I waited until I thought it had passed and got in the pond. The pump was not pumping anything but was scalding hot. I unplugged it, and while I was pulling it from the pond, it poured rain for a few minutes (fun!). I keep a spare of the Mag Drive 700 gph pump as it goes not only there but with my PondMaster filter in the 153 gallon pond. The spare worked fine. The next day, I took the old pump apart. It turns out that the plastic broke on the piece that goes over the impeller. So, the pump itself works but since the cover is broken, the impeller just vibrates and does not turn to move water. I can keep it as a spare assuming the next dead pump has a good cover plate.
11. On 6/24/12, I started the pond work at 9:15 am. I had to start by re-filling the 50 gallon tub pond which was 80% empty. You guessed it! The raccoon moved the output of the pump so this pond pumped dry! Last week, it was the 153 gallon pond. I think the raccoons just live to get in trouble. The 1800 gallon pond was at 74 degrees F and the 153 gallon pond was at 72 degrees F. I topped off all the smaller ponds and put the additives in them. Then, my brother called to say I had to go out on a day trip with him, NOW! So, with no warning at 10:09 am, I threw everything inside and left for the day.
12. The next day on 6/25/12, I got in the big pond and removed all of the flosses for squirting. I added additives to that pond and topped it off with water. I removed the floating plants from their protector and let them free so I could remove the floating plant protector. There were green frog eggs in there so I tried to wipe them all off.
13. On no, on 6/26/12, I saw a dead frog in my 1800 gallon pond. I removed this female green frog. She had no signs of physical injury or any reason why she may have died. One possibility is drowning while amplexing. The males hold on tight and force the females under the water if they are scared. Being on top means that he might be able to breathe but she cannot.
14. I linked in some pond-related photos.
These photos from 5/3/12 show my poor, dead koi Maggie.
Maggie - entire right side, with ruler
Maggie - right side of her head
Maggie - strange scale on her chest that looks like an extra fin
Maggie - protruding vent; you can see her internal bacterial infection that ruptured her vent
Maggie - entire left side
Maggie - entire left side, with ruler
Maggie - left underside, shows where two scales came off and a bacterial lesion
Maggie - underside of her head with barbels
These photos are from Day 1 of construction of my new 30 gallon liner pond on 5/8/12.
Grass area before digging
Hole mostly dug
Underliner - I put some old Ultiliner (from the 153 gallon pond) on the bottom for cushioning. If I had had some sand available, I would have used some.
From 5/13/12, continuing to build that pond.
Liner full of rain water. I would have to drain that. There was water under the liner too.
Rock pond - almost done!
Rock pond - closer view of the north end
Finally, from 5/15/12, the new pond was done!
Rock pond - done, facing north
Rock pond - done, facing east
Rock pond - done, facing south
Rock pond - done, facing west
15. On 6/29/12 at 11 pm, a derecho hit us. You might call it a huge thunderstorm. I will call it hell. Out of nowhere, winds in the 60 to 100 mph range slammed us with heavy rain and near constant lighting. The power went out almost instantly. I was scared of a tornado and went downstairs. In the light, I could see a large branch down at the edge of the pond but nothing major in it. I went to the laundry room where three of the cats spend the night. Barney was huddling between the door and the wall in fear. It lasted a few hours, yes hours. I couldn't fall asleep. At dawn, it was worse than we thought. Luckily, no people, property, or non-aquatic animals were killed. It turns out that the derecho hit the entire state and knocked out power to over half a million people.
My freshwater aquariums have automatic battery back up air pumps. I put their biowheels in the tanks to keep them wet and put manual battery air pumps in the two nano marine tanks. At the pond, I found one of my huge orfe seemed dead. When I went to remove him, he gasped once. Later in the day, I would remove this larger 18" victim of the disaster. A large goldfish was also in bad shape and would die by the end of the day. He was 10" long and a common orange goldfish. With air temperatures in the 90's all week, and the water over 80 degrees F, the pond fish were suffocating. All were at the surface gasping desperately. I took the battery air pumps from the marine tanks and two others that I found and put them in the big pond. I couldn't even worry about the fish and animals in the 153 gallon pond because it is 100% plant covered and pretty deep.
My father couldn't start our generator which was no surprise because it didn't work last time. It turns out that it just needed oil but he took it apart. My brother came over to clear the road which was impassable from trees down. Neither he nor I could fix the generator so it went to the shop, and they told my father two weeks to even look at it! My mother called around and found one place that said they might get some generators in soon. The high winds made a path about 1000 feet long on the front of our property where more than a dozen trees had their tops completely removed and bark ripped down the sides. These trees were mostly 35 years old including half a dozen white pines. Tulip poplars dropped branches like you might throw a toothpick. I used my mini chain saw to remove the branches on the big pond's mulched area while my father cleared the road. It took hours. Dozens of caged plants were flattened, the cages beyond recognition but the plants in the cages might recover. The first day sans power topped out near 100 degrees F but the fish (expect for the orfe and goldfish) made it through the day.
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