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153 Gallon Pond Cleaning On 3/30/13

Last Updated: 1/22/14

Diary of Events 3/30/13

Photos from 3/30/13

This is just the cleaning list. To see information on the 153 gallon pond's statistics, history, and past cleanings, go to my 153 Gallon Pond page.

I used the 2012 pond cleaning page as a guide to write this 2013 one but did change everything that was relevant or changed. It may look the same but it is not!

Diary of Events 3/30/13

Overview of the Day:

On 3/30/13, I cleaned out my 153 gallon pond. It went pretty much as planned although it was extremely hard for me physically. I got up at 6:00 am and finished the morning animal feedings at 8:37 am when I started collecting supplies. The air temperature was 42 degrees F, and it was a very rare nice day. It had been abnormally cold day in and day out. The 153 gallon thermometer read 46 degrees F (at 10:20 am as I forget to read it at 8:37 am). I hauled out all the supplies. I was ready to work at 9:08 am but I started by raking around the pond and cleaning up a bit. Then, I bail filled two old kiddie pools, the smaller kiddie pool, and two holding buckets (one for the fish, one for the frogs). The water had some suspended algae but there was an abnormal amount of hair/string algae this year. There was a lot of anacharis in the pond. I hand sifted the entire pond.

When I clean the pond, I bring up buckets and then go sit down on a gardener's kneeling pad. When I start, there is little debris so I pour it through an aquarium net and then look for movement. This year like last year, I had moved the wood frog eggs to other ponds ahead of time but I missed one large mass and a few select small globs. The eggs were nearing hatching and falling apart so I got them just in time. A few were lost. By the time I get to the bottom of the pond, there was so much debris that I net what I can and sift through that but eventually just had to pour blobs of gravel and slop on the ground and pick through it to find the animals I list below. I hand pick out the snails, tadpoles, minnows, worms, and insects. In the process, I miss some of the snails, tadpoles, worms, and insects. I am sure I did not miss any frogs or fish.

This year, I went in for lunch at 12 pm with the pond empty but not cleaned and refilled like most years. When I returned 20 minutes later, I did some work at the pond edges before continuing.

After the pond was empty, I replaced one brick that had fallen apart. There were two brick cap stones (pavers) that had moved so they were overhanging the bricks by two inches. I removed them and dug out the dirt and pea gravel near them so I could reset the bricks. These were two different cap bricks than last year. These were the ones over the previous pond on the south side where the ground had collapsed. I hand dug out rocks and dirt around the east and south sides of the pond. I removed four buckets of pea gravel, old rocks, and dirt. I wanted to do this when the pond was empty as I thought it would be messy. I also worked by standing in the empty pond. I put 1.5 bags of new pea gravel around the east and south sides of the pond.

I squirted out the pond and used the OASE Pondovac to get all the rest of the stuff out. I then filled up the 153 gallon pond. I refilled it to the level it was from the bailed water. I normally do this from the far spigot as the one by the ponds does not go through the sediment filter but I was in too much pain to haul out another hose so I just put in the sediment with the water. It is mostly formica which does not hurt the fish. I added the following additives:
About 1 cup of pond salt (~50% of the recommended dose on the container for ponds with plants), a half teaspoon of BZT, a half dose of pond Stress Coat, a little aquarium Stress Zyme, and a dusting of baking soda. I also put in the little barley straw pad in its holder. I got the PondMaster filter and bell fountain going and let the Luft pump heavily aerate. It was now 1:12 pm

Then, I repotted the plants. On the bottom was one two gallon pot of waterlilies. I potted the lily with clay dirt from our old garden. I did not need to prune it. I topped it off with pea gravel and gave it two Pondtab fertilizer pills. In order to put it back in the deep end of the pond, I rolled up my pants, took off my boots and socks, and put on water shoes so I could step in to the water. I brought a towel to dry off.

I repotted another two gallon pot with waterlilies but I put in some from the other pot as these were not in great shape. This pot went in the marginal area.

I squirted off the three clay pots (spawning sites for the rosy red minnows) and put the pots back.

I bailed the water, animals, and plants from the three kiddie pools back in to the pond. This year, there was a lot of anacharis. I did not save any mint this year. This is terrestrial mint that grows in the pond hydroponically not aquatic mint.

In the overflow was a two gallon pot of iris. I repotted it in Aquatic Plant Soil (like brown clay cat litter) and pea gravel. I did divide it.

The other pots consisted of two two gallon pots of blue and purple water iris. I had a lot of iris. This year, I divided the iris (they were overgrown). They were repotted in Aquatic Plant Soil and pea gravel. I put two two gallon pots back in the 153 gallon pond. I put the extra iris in a bucket of water and have to figure out what to do with those. Unlike yellow flag iris which will grow on land, the blue and purple will not survive if too dry.

In the frog bucket, a male wood frog amplexed with a hapless green frog.

All the saved water, plants, snails, tadpoles, insects, fish, and frogs were back into the pond around 2:10 pm.

This year, while I did put fresh pea gravel around the pond, I did not clean out the other ponds, set up the mosaic pond, or do any extra chores. I will do those things at a different time.

I was done outside by 2:42 pm. Everything was put up by 3:30 pm.

The air temperature got up to a warm 60 degrees F! The male wood frogs were quacking and the pond water was 60 degrees F!


A lot of anacharis!

A good amount of duckweed but I lost a lot of it.

A few wads of mint hang over in to the water. They were not significant so I left them there.

Here are the plants that I repotted:

I started with four pots. One was the blue iris which was in great shape and sits in the small marginal shelf by the overflow (it takes up the entire shelf). In the deep end of the pond was one two gallon pot. In the main marginal area, there were two two gallon pots all of iris (blue and purple iris I think) and a pot of waterlilies in poor shape.

In the 153 gallon pond.


Here is what I found in the pond! I had to hand pick through every bit of slop to get all these animals.

Photos from 3/30/13

All of these photos were taken on 3/30/13. I took a lot of newt photos, and most are fuzzy.

153 gallon pond area facing north before beginning.
153 gallon pond area facing northwest before beginning. The 20 and 50 gallon tub ponds can also be seen.
153 gallon pond area facing northwest half empty.
Aquatic beetle and a ramshorn snail waiting in a kiddie pool during the cleaning. This guy is probably an adult predaceous diving beetle, perhaps Acilius mediatus.
Green frog tadpole waiting in a kiddie pool.
Water strider waiting in a kiddie pool.
Pickerel frog in a bucket
Pickerel frog in a bucket

Eastern newt in kiddie pool
Eastern newt in kiddie pool
Eastern newt in my wet hand
Eastern newt in my hand
Eastern newt in my hand
Eastern newt in my hand, nice photo

The frog party consisted of two pickerel frogs, nine green frogs, and three wood frogs.
Frog party - green frog on the upper right
Frog party - wood frog on the right
Frog party
Frog party

153 gallon pond all clean, facing northwest. Look how nice the fresh pea gravel looks!
153 gallon pond all clean, facing west.
Wood frog enjoying the clean pond!

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