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153 Gallon Pond Cleaning On 3/27/14

Last Updated: 8/9/14

Diary of Events 3/27/14

Photos from 3/27/14

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 2013 pond cleaning page as a guide to write this 2014 one but did change everything that was relevant or changed. It may look the same but it is not!

Diary of Events 3/27/14

Overview of the Day:

On 3/27/14, I cleaned out my 153 gallon pond. It went pretty much as planned although it took an extra hour, and it was super cold. But, I am stuck with the day that I have off from work! It was 21 degrees F at dawn with a few inches of snow over most of the ground (but not right up against this pond)! I got up at 6:30 am and finished the morning animal feedings at 8:21 am when I started collecting supplies. I put on longjohns, two shirts, and two socks (which kept coming off). I hauled out all the supplies beginning at 8:21 am. My water hose was frozen solid so I had to pull out two other ones, through 3" of snow! I was ready to work at 9:10 am. The air temperature was 32 degrees F at 9 am. The 153 gallon thermometer read 42 degrees F at 9:10 am. I bail filled two old kiddie pools, the smaller kiddie pool, and two holding buckets (one for the fish, one for the frogs). One of the big kiddie pools sprung a leak and got water all over the place making things more messy. All I could do was turn it so the hole was at the higher end of the ground. The water was very clear but with a lot of suspended debris (leaves?) and more anacharis than ever before. There had been a hair algae bloom on the anacharis about a month back but even the hair algae does not like this constant cold. 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, unlike every other year, there were no wood frogs or wood frog eggs. It had been too cold for them to show up! I hand pick out the snails, tadpoles, and minnows. I found no worms or insects this year! Cold must have killed them off too. In the process, I miss some of the snails, tadpoles, worms, and insects. I am sure I did not miss any frogs or fish. I brought out buckets of hot water to dunk my hands in when I started to lose feeling from the cold.

This year, I went in for lunch at 11:55 pm with the pond still full. Most years, it is empty by lunch time. I went back outside at 12:18 and finished sorting the last of the gunk. My strangest find was a bone, I think, a deer vertebrae. The air temperature was 41 degrees F at 12:18 pm. I trimmed weeds around the pond and picked up leaves. I changed out one brick under the bridge (east side).

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 added the following additives:
About 1/2 cup of pond salt (~25% of the recommended dose on the container for ponds with plants), a half teaspoon of BZT, a dose of aquarium Stress Coat, a little aquarium Stress Zyme, and a few tablespoons of baking soda. I let the Luft pump heavily aerate. Even though I had been using the hoses all day, white crud came out of them and in to the pond. I think it is dead fungus in the hoses which had not been used since the fall.

Since I needed the outlet to run the vacuum to the back liner pond, I did not start up the PondMaster filter just yet. I cleaned out the back 30 gallon liner pond after I removed an inch of ice off the top. I found just a few tiny pieces of anacharis and hornwort. All the animals (baby goldfish and tadpoles) were dead but I found no bodies. Then, I went back to the 153 gallon pond, and I set up the PondMaster filter.

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. There was only a few sprigs of terrestrial mint this year.

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. So cold!

I repotted another two gallon pot with waterlilies in the marginal area.

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

In the overflow was a two gallon pot of iris. I repotted it in Microbe-Lift Aquatic Plant Media (like brown clay cat litter) and pea gravel. I divided it and put the extra pieces in the 20 gallon tub pond.

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 Media and pea gravel. I put two two gallon pots back in the 153 gallon pond. I put the extra iris in the 20 gallon tub pond.

I put the fish and frogs back in the pond. Then, I topped it off the rest of the way.

This year, while I did clean the 30 gallon liner pond and put out the mosaic pond (but did not fill it up), I did not put fresh pea gravel around the pond, clean out the other ponds (already done),or do any extra chores. I will do those things at a different time.

I was done outside by 3:28 pm when it was 45 degrees F and windy. Everything was put up by 4:24 pm.


A lot of anacharis!

A few pieces of hornwort.

No noticeable duckweed or terrestrial mint this year.

Here are the plants that I repotted:

I started with four pots. One was the blue or purple 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) 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 3/27/14

All of these photos were taken on 3/27/14. I took a lot of newt photos, and most are fuzzy.

I did not add these to this page until 8/8/14! I am so far behind!!

153 gallon pond area before cleaning, facing northwest. Yep, that is snow!!
153 gallon pond before cleaning, facing northwest.
Snow iris blooming with snow on them.
Dead pickerel frog - on the snow. Yep, there is two inches of snow there, and I am cleaning the pond!
Anorexic pickerel frog - this one was alive but very skinny.
Newt, pickerel frog, rosy red minnows, and snails
Newt, pickerel frog, rosy red minnow, and snails
Newt and frog
Newt's belly
Newt and pickerel frog - side view; it looks like the frog has a long tail but that is the tail of the newt
Newt and pickerel frog - view from above
153 gallon pond after cleaning, facing northwest.
153 gallon pond after cleaning, facing east.
30 gallon liner pond after cleaning, facing north.
20 gallon pond after cleaning.

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