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153 Gallon Pond Cleaning On 3/30/06

Last Updated: 1/22/14

Diary of Events 3/30/06

Photos and Video from 3/30/06

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 Section.

Diary of Events 3/30/06

Overview of the Day:

On 3/30/06, I cleaned out my 153 gallon pond. It went pretty much as planned. I got up at 6:30 am and finished the morning animal feedings a little after 8 am. I have done this cleaning on mornings with snow on the ground and days when I had to repeatedly plunge my freezing hands into hot water. This was no such day! I started collecting supplies at 8:24 am, and the air temperature was 54 degrees F. I forgot to check the water temperature. I was ready to start bailing around 9 am. I bailed water into my two old kiddie pools, a smaller new kiddie pool, and three holding buckets (one for the fish, one for the wood frogs, and one for the green frogs so the wood frog males would not try to amplex and squish them like last year). The two old kiddie pools leaked last year so I was able to find the holes and cover them with electrical tape. They did not leak this time. By 11:54 am, the pond was empty but not clean so I went in to rinse my face, wash my glasses, put on a short sleeve shirt, and eat lunch. I was back out by 12:05 pm. The air temperature was up to 65 degrees F. Yes, I do eat lunch in under 10 minutes basically every day! A few hours later, and it was up to 70 degrees F, and I put on shorts. After the pond was vacuumed out with the Pondovac, I refilled it to the level it was from the bailed water. I added the following additives: about 1.5 cups of pond salt, about 100 mL of aquarium Stress- Zyme, about 50 mL of pond Stress-Coat (they no longer sell it; it was leftover), a few teaspoons of BZT, a sprinkling of Pond-Zyme, and a dusting of baking soda. I got the PondMaster filter and bell fountain going and let the Luft pump heavily aerate while I repotted all the plants in there. All the saved water, submerged plants, snails, tadpoles, insects, fish, and frogs were back into the pond by 1:45 pm. The water temperature was 64 degrees F so the 70% or so water change did not lower the temperature to a chilly range. I was mostly done outside by 3:10 pm. By 4 pm, most of the stuff was put up, soaking in buckets with dilute bleach, or drying in the bathtub. I then did almost any hour of my regular afternoon chores starting with feeding the very hungry pond fish. When I got out of the shower around 5 pm, I discovered my mother had let my two virile bucks (rabbits) loose by accident. I threw underwear, a t-shirt, and boots and went to catch them which we luckily were finally able to do. Then, I did an hour of e-mails before finally having dinner and continuing with my normal work day after work schedule.

I replaced two of the bricks in the pond as they disintegrate over time.


The pond had some submerged plants left but the tadpoles had gnawed most of them away. In this pond, they are not anchored in any way. I will get some more soon. In the mean time, I feed the fish and tadpoles with tropical fish flakes and Cheerios so hopefully they will have enough to eat. Cleaning a pond removes some natural algae and things to eat but also reduces fungal infections. I have found many tadpoles get fungal infections if there is a lot of rotting debris in a pond.

I used the Shultz Aquatic Plant Soil this year to repot all the pots in the 153 gallon pond (and two in the 20 gallon tub pond). This was like having a helper who dug the dirt out of the garden for me! I really hate digging dirt out of the garden. Right now, there is a bad drought. Normally in March, we get almost 4" of rain here in MD. We have had no measurable rain in over a month! The back yard is like a dust bowl. Digging is nearly impossible. I pre-wet the aquatic "soil" in one bucket and pea gravel in another. I filled each pot with the "soil" and then put in the plant, a PondTabb fertilizer pill (one per gallon), and topped off with pea gravel. It is easiest for me just to repot all plants while cleaning the pond. I become more lazy later in the year. Because iris bloom in May, in repotting them in late March, I get very few flowers. On the other hand, all the iris pots were overgrown so I need to keep things under control. Here are the plants that I repotted.

In the 153 gallon pond.

In the 20 gallon tub pond.


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

In addition to cleaning out the 153 gallon pond, I did the following.

Photos and Video from 3/30/06

All of these photos and video were taken on 3/30/06.


While the wood frogs were in the buckets, several males started to call. This surprised me as they are very shy. After I put them all back into the 153 gallon pond, the males started calling again. I tried to get a few short videos with the digital camera. I uploaded one of the videos onto my frog videos page. There was one amplexing occurring but it was a male wood frog on a poor green frog! You can see it at the end of the video. I am sure he thought he hit pay dirt with a really big egg-laden female!


Supplies laid out on the back porch

153 gallon before cleaning is started. You can also see the 20 gallon tub pond and buried 50 gallon lotus tub pond in the background.

Close-up of spring flowers next to the 153 gallon pond. I forget the name of these early-flowering bulbs.

153 gallon being refilled, it is about half way refilled here. I forgot to take a photo of it empty this year.

Wood frogs waiting in the bucket.

Green frogs waiting in the bucket.

Water strider close-up in the fish-waiting bucket.

Female wood frog sitting on land. She looks like she is ready to blow since she is full of eggs.

Male wood frog in the water.

20 gallon tub pond after cleaning.

Wood frog eggs - view of the entire bucket of wood frog eggs I set aside from the 20 gallon pond and then spread around into the 20, 50, and 153 gallon ponds.

Wood frog eggs - view closer in.

Wood frog eggs - close-up of a few eggs so you can see the tadpole's heads.

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