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153 Gallon Pond Cleaning On 4/1/19

Last Updated: 4/9/20

Diary of Events 4/1/19

Photos from 4/1/19

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 2018 pond cleaning page as a guide to write this 2019 one but did change everything that was relevant or changed. It may look the same but it is not!

Diary of Events 4/1/19

Overview of the Day:

On 4/1/19, I cleaned out my 153 gallon pond. I got up at 6:00 am and finished the morning animal feedings at 7:49 am. I brought all the supplies outside. I started working on the pond at 8:29 am. I was delayed three times during the day for visitors (electrician, tree removal estimate, Home Depot delivery).

The air temperature was 32 degrees F at 8:30 am but it eventually went up to "pleasant" 42 degrees F at 12:52 pm. It was cold and miserable but there was no rain or snow. The wind was bad at times but okay at other times. I wore two layers of long johns under my clothes! I cannot work with a coat on (too bulky, and it would get dirty). The 153 gallon thermometer read 42 degrees F at 8:30 am. I bail filled three kiddie pools and two holding buckets (one for the fish, one for the frogs). The pond had a good amount of anacharis. I shop vacuumed the water level down somewhat to where I would not just be sucking up water. From there, 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. I hand pick out the frogs, snails, tadpoles, salamanders, and minnows. In the process, I miss some of the snails, tadpoles, worms, and insects. I am sure I did not miss any frogs, salamanders, or fish this year.

I put just the first green frog and wood frog that I found in the 50 gallon tub pond. The rest went in the aerated bucket together, all 17 of them! That is 19 frogs total this year!

When I got low in the pond, I saw something that shocked me! I looked down to see a huge, maybe 6" spotted salamander! Once I got a bunch of photos (not processed) and got over the shock, I realized that the four hazy egg masses in the pond were from her (or him but the other parent(s) was/were gone). I am assuming that this huge salamander was born in 2001 when I put spotted salamander eggs in my 50 gallon pond making her 18 years old! They say they will return where they were born to lay eggs. Is it possible that this salamander was 100% wild and not because of something I did, sure but I do not think it is likely. Now, I need to buy expensive live blackworms to feed the larvae because the pond has no visible insects, insect larvae, or worms (and I would know because I hand sorted every bit of the pond to do the 100% cleaning and have saved insects and worms in past years).

I squirted out the empty pond and used the OASE Pondovac to get all the rest of the stuff out. I replaced four cracked bricks. I used a trowel to scrape the brick capstones. I used to be able to buy new ones of those but now you can only get them if you buy an entire pallet of them for hundreds of dollars! The pond has regular bricks under the capstones, and I still have a pile of those from when the house was built in 1976. The brick capstones are something like 8" x 12" x 1" in size.

I started refilling the pond at 11:50 am. 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 dose of pond Stress Coat, and a dose of aquarium Stress Zyme. I forgot the baking soda this year. I let the Luft pump heavily aerate and put in the PondMaster filter. The tree guy showed up at 12 pm so I had to turn off the water. I went inside at 12:34 pm for lunch and was back out by 12:52 pm.

I continued to fill up the 153 gallon pond to the level it was from the bailed water (it was mostly there already). I bailed one of the kiddie pools back in.

I repotted the two waterlilies with fertilizer. I put them in the pond using hip waders and bailed in another kiddie pool after I got out. I repotted the four pots of water iris with fertilizer which I did not do in 2018 but did in 2017. I could not bare to throw out the extra pieces so I put them bareroot in the 20 gallon pond for now. Once all the pots were in, since the new water had been aerating for a few hours, I bailed in the last kiddie pool with green frog tadpoles and spotted salamander eggs. Then, I put in the green frogs, pickerel frogs, wood frogs, bullfrog, rosy red minnows, and adult spotted salamander. The 153 gallon pond was done at that point internally at 2:02 pm. I added some fresh pea gravel on the east side of the pond.

I then hauled supplies back to the back rock pond. I netted out the leaves, sticks, and debris. It smelled horrible, and I filled the wheel barrow with the stinking leaves. I found no life but I did not sift through the mass of leaves. I put back a lot of rocks that had fallen in to the pond. I filled the pond back up.

I was done outside with the ponds by 3:20 pm. All the pond supplies were put up by 4:16 pm. Yes, it takes almost an hour to put them up! I have to hand wash all the buckets, nets, etc. I did regular afternoon animal/aquarium/pond chores and put away the Home Depot order. That required me to move six 50 pound bags of concrete which I cannot lift. I had to roll and push and pulled some muscles in my back and shoulders. I did not shower until after 5:30 pm. I was exhausted but in a good way. I cannot imagine that so few people have worked this hard, especially women. Some of that is my own doing (wanting to do it), and some is because nobody will help me (at least not for free!).


A lot of anacharis!

A few sprigs of hornwort.

Here are the potted plants:

I started with six pots. One was the purple iris which sits in the small marginal shelf by the overflow (it takes up the entire shelf). In the deep end of the pond was two two gallon pots of waterlilies. In the main marginal area, there were two two gallon pots of purple iris and one two gallon pot of yellow flag iris. I repotted all six pots with fresh dirt, fertilizer, and pea gravel.

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 4/1/19

The photos have not been processed. I took lots of photos this year but do not have time to deal with them. I have to crop and resize, link to my web pages, upload the altered photos, and upload the altered web pages so it is very time consuming. I am about four years behind on photos now which really bothers me but I have no time.

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