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Robyn's Pond Blog for September 2011

Last Updated: 9/24/12

9/2/11 was my last day as a chemist. I am still working at the same place processing chemistry reports coming from other labs. I am working longer hours and with no breaks for anything personal. Years ago, I actually wrote most of my web site at work; and yes, my supervisor knew (I even used his computer). 9/3/11 was the last time I sent a newsletter out. I simply no longer have time nor do I have ideas. All things must end. I will continue with this blog and updates on my animals written in short spurts on Saturday nights. I cannot promise anything more. It breaks my heart that I can no longer add links and information to my web site or otherwise update it. Alas, there is only so much time in the day and a paying job and caring for my animals have to take priority.

1. On 9/4/11, I did the usual including squirting off all the filter flosses. The 1800 gallon was at 76 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 74 degrees F. I changed the PondMaster filters. I did about 1.5 hours of pond work.

2. On 9/5/11, Labor Day, I repotted all the iris in the 1800 gallon pond except for the yellow flag iris which was repotted last September. I found three two gallon pots of iris. I have no idea which varieties that they are. I repotted the iris in to five two gallon pots and put them in the shallows. The plant growth (parrot feather, water lettuce, etc.) is pretty dense there so it's hard to tell where the pots are. In a month or so, I have to drop the pots down deeper for the winter. I removed one spilt, empty one gallon pot from the pond.

3. On 9/7/11, we got 3.5 inches of rain from Tropical Depression Lee. Flooding was worse than the 5.5 inches from Hurricane Irene for some reason.

4. Check out this web page with great aquatic insect photos: http://www.aquaticinsect.net

5. On 9/11/11, I squirted off the flosses and did the usual. Both ponds were at 73.5 degrees F.

6. On 9/17/11, when I fed the fish their evening meal, Maggie, my largest koi, who is orange, turned to the side a bit while grabbing food. Something caught my eye. She appears to have a rectal prolapse. This is an un-treatable and eventually fatal problem. There has been too much fish tragedy this year. I choose to pretend I never saw it.

7. On 9/18/11, I squirted off the flosses and the bioballs. I did the usual and a lot more. I put up the mosaic pond for the year. The 1800 gallon and the 153 gallon pond were both at 62 degrees F. Another butterfly bush by the big pond died from some unknown disease that is killing them. This one was a volunteer plant by the cement bench. It seems very strange with it cut down. I brought the 50 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank basement pond outside and squirted it down so it was cleaner for the winter. That thing was heavy.

Since the koi show is next Sunday, and I'd like to go, I decided to put the full net on the big pond a week early. This seemed like an easier task than it was. The first problem was getting the half net off. It's actually more like a quarter net, covering about a quarter as much area as the full net. Plants had grown through the net. On pulling it up, I pulled up weed grass, other weeds, and my precious frog fruit, perhaps my favorite pond plant due to its rarity. I replanted the pulled portions in the overflow shallow water area and hope they survive. It took a while to pull the clumps of grass, weeds, dirt, and mulch out of the half net. After I did the chores in the pond, I put the full net on. It took a while to find the corners and find out which way it went. Once I got it pulled over the entire pond, waterfall, and overflow, it was just a matter of hammering in the plastic stakes.

After putting everything up, I was finally able to mow for the first time in about 7 weeks. It has rained every Sunday, the only day I have to do outdoor work. I've had no time off and am so overwhelmed by the backlog of yard work. I only got a third of the mulching done this year. I'm a horrible gardener simply due to lack of time.

8. I've been painfully neglectful of my web site due to lack of time. I have hundreds of my own photos to add and thousands that people have sent me over many years that I would really like to add to my site. And, of course, what I could type for content is endless. I did manage to link in these two photos from four months ago.

Dead goldish - right side, 5/26/11. The poor fish was in the middle of changing color. The fish was going from brown/gray/blah/natural to orange and white. The dark spots almost look like a disease but they are not. The common goldfish was 7.5" long and the fourth victim of a die off that spring.
Dead goldfish - left side, 5/26/11.

9. On 9/25/11, I went to the Mid-Atlantic Koi Club's annual show. They did not have one in 2010. I got Mac and Kojak in 2008 and Mac 2 in 2009. I made a pact not to get more koi but I am using the excuses that my brother, mother, and niece wanted koi, and not that I'm a fish addict as for why I ended up buying three purebred koi for $75. "Just in case," I had the 50 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank basement pond all ready to go. I know, I'm bad.

I "won" seven things in the raffle out of about 50 things that they had. These included three posters, a $30 bag of food, barley straw extract, water conditioner, and two small ceramic koi. Not bad for $20.

We then went and bought the koi. I got them from Kloubec Koi Farm who had a booth at the show. The fish had been in the same water for three days, and they were jumping quite often as the ammonia was really bad in there. The koi are all in the 3 to 4 inch range in size but very slender.

The three new koi are:
1. Nikita = Doitsu Kujaku; similar to my poor deceased Kojak; metallic gray and orange; named after the Nikita on TV who is very tough
2. Alex = Doitsu Sanke, similar to Mac and Mac 2 who didn't get to live very long; calico; Nikita's side-kick
3. Riley = Yamabuki butterfly; longfin metallic gold; my brother picked the koi variety that he wanted; my niece named her after a friend

When I got home, I poured the koi and water in to a plastic bucket with lid. I put in about 50% as much of the water from the basement pond. I repeated this every ten minutes for about four times. Perhaps it was faster; I needed to get them in to the pond. The water they were in was horrible, dirty, smelly. They seemed very happy after I netted them in to the basement pond. I got them some Hikari Gold koi food at the show.

I then did some Sunday pond chores. The 1800 gallon was at 72 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 70 degrees F. I squirted off the flosses and did the usual (tidy up, top off ponds, squirt filters, add additives, etc.). I squirted off the Cyprio biothings. I changed the PondMaster filters. The leaves haven't started to fall much so I have not put the net on the 153 gallon. Only a few leaves were on the 1800 gallon but every other morning or so, the net is down in the water which means the heron is probably visiting.

10. On 9/28/11, after I had fed the pond fish, I was inside making my dinner when I looked outside. There seemed to be a large dead orange goldfish in the pond that wasn't there minutes ago. So, I went out. As I approached, the fish thrashed. He/she was stuck in the rocks! I am amazed that this has never happened before. The pond edge is full of nooks and crannies where animals can go and hide, and go to get stuck. So, I grabbed the fish. If you've done this before, you know the fish are super slimy so I couldn't hold on. With each attempt to pull him out, the fish went further in to the crevice. Finally, he went all the way in, and I couldn't even feel him. I almost walked away but then decided to use adrenalin strength to try to move the cap rock. The rock had to be at least 100 pounds, maybe 200. I can't lift more than 40 pounds. I managed to move the rock sideways enough to see the fish. This made me determined to save him. I moved another rock, probably at least 50 pounds. I then was able to scoop out the fish and put him in the pond. I got the smaller rock back. Putting the larger rock back caused me to squish my fingers so I cried out. This brought my mentally-ill father to the window but he didn't come out to offer any help. I fixed it all by myself and saved a life. Then, back inside, I did a 10% water change on the basement pond as the ammonia was up to 0.5 ppm. I hand bailed up six buckets of water. My arms hurt so bad from moving those rocks but I persevered. I hope the koi can survive.

Continue to the October 2011 pond blog.

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