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Robyn's Pond Newsletter January 2008

Last Updated: 2/5/14

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Introduction and Miscellaneous:
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If you have something pond-related that you want to share (information, jokes, web sites, pond secrets and tidbits, something pond-related for sale), let me know, and I will add it to the next newsletter. What topics would you like me to cover? Do you have a question that I can answer or pose to others in the next newsletter?

It's been months now since I've been able to update my web site other than simple things. I moved my animal pages to their own directory but then never got to continue. As a growing entity, my web site is officially dead. My bosses and parents both expect me to do the work of 100 people so I have to do what they want. I have so many ideas that will never get written down that may have helped others and their animals and ponds.

On 12/9/07, my mother came home with 11 feeder goldfish for the heron but she also brought home another hermit crab! I told her I didn't want another but there's no stopping her so now I have another charge. I'll do my best to keep him alive. He has the vastly original name of "Crabby." Crabby is a purple pincer hermit crab while Herman was an Ecuadorian hermit crab.

Happy New Year!

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Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages, Photos, or Videos on Fishpondinfo:
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1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/animalphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under birds are five photos and three videos of the great blue heron on 12/9/07 and three photos and two videos of the great blue heron on 11/27/07.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/winter2.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Winter 2007 - 2008 are four photos and one video of my 153 and 1800 gallon ponds on 12/6/07 after four inches of snow the day before.

Those six videos plus one of my new crab bring my number of videos up to 50! They are all in the video section but I am now also putting copies in the relevant photo sections too.

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New Pages on Pond Showcase:
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1. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Wilbur/index.shtml -
There are some photos of the koi party I went to on 12/1/07 of their huge koi pond and their indoor pond. It was after dark so the photos are not very good.

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Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
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1. On 12/2/07, I squirted off the filter floss. When I put it back, the tubing popped off the pump intake. It was a big hassle to try to fix it. The tubing is ten years old. It was a ribbed white pliable plastic but is now hard as a rock; I can't bend it at all. It no longer fits over the intake which the builders modified by permanently gluing stuff onto it so I can't undo that. I pulled out my new pump with an actual adapter but that doesn't fit either! I couldn't get the old metal hose clamp off because it was rusted but finally did and put on a new one. The intake of the pump literally only goes on a millimeter or two! It is so barely on there; I know it's going to pop again, probably some morning when it's 20 degrees F, and I'm on my way to work. When that happens, I'm going to try the new pump with a 1" output instead of the 1.25" that the white tubing is supposed to be (or used to be when it had some give). I really need to have the tubing replaced but it's all buried and would require a ton of money and trusting someone to tear apart a large section of my pond and landscape around it. I have neither. For that matter, I'd really like to redo the entire pond and make it the way it was supposed to have been with some improvements. That would take a years salary, a week off work so I could supervise (have only had one in 10 years, more likely I'd win the lottery), and trusting strangers to take over (which I absolutely cannot do).

The 1800 gallon pond was at 36 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 40 degrees F.

I pulled out three de-icers (all old); I have six I think. I put those in the freezer for a while and then plugged them in. One was dead. I put one in my 153 gallon pond next to the air stone and one in the biofilter (where the waterfall starts) in the 1800 gallon pond. I covered the filter with the lid from my first pond (a Rubbermaid 50 gallon tub) and put down two five pound divers weights to hold it down. The cover keeps the wind from deactivating the de-icer.

The dying white goldfish is still alive and laying sideways on the bottom. I know if I ever had the pond redone, when I put the fish back, some fish would die. I couldn't live with that. I've never had the pond cleaned since it's too big for me to clean in a day if at all but I know some people remove large fish every year to clean.

2. The winds were really bad on 12/3/07. The morning of 12/4/07, my 1800 gallon pond had its first ice of the season, just in the most shallow areas.

3. We got our first snow of the season on 12/5/07. The total depth was 2.5 to 3 inches that night and 4 inches by morning. The pond nets are now collapsed into and stuck in the ponds until it melts enough for me to remove them. I'm supposed to remove them before the first snow but the leaves never stopped, and I never caught up on them. Just a few days before, the winds were blowing leaves all over. Plus, while the snow was coming down, my parents said the heron spent the day by the ponds so I guess it was good the nets were on. By the next morning, the air temperature was 18 degrees F, the lowest so far this fall. I took photos.

4. The bluebells in my basement pond have died! They lived for years and always did well. I will try to find more to buy next spring. The two taro and two bettas are doing well though.

5. On 12/8/07, I got the net off the 153 gallon pond.

6. On 12/9/07, I didn't get into the pond. The 1800 gallon was at 39 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 46 degrees F even though the air temperature was 40 degrees F. I did get the net on the big pond un-pegged and moved so that the waterfall area and overflow are clear of the net. There are still billions of leaves everywhere including near the pond. In past years, I usually got most of them. I just can't do it anymore. The first time the wind picks up, they will all be in the ponds. I wanted to remove the net but I didn't. With the net on, it collapses with snow and ice and makes it impossible to get into the pond to squirt off the flosses and tend to the pond if it's below freezing. I had to leave the net on, not just because of the leaves and wind but because of the heron. He's been hanging out by the pond all week. Now, he's barely scared of me anymore. I got photos and video. I went outside; he didn't even try to fly away half the time. My mother insisted we feed him. She wanted me to de-net my ponds for him but I refused. I suggested feeder goldfish. I put 15 gallons of water with some aquarium salt and Stress-Coat and an air stone in a kiddie pool about 15 feet from my 153 gallon pond. I removed the air stone after four hours. My mother just dumped in 11 feeder goldfish without even floating the bag! From 70- some degrees to 40 degrees F in an instant. I'm surprised they survived. It wasn't for long though; the heron found and ate every single one in less than an hour. I saw him eat two. I never got to see the fish of which I'm glad (I would have tried to rescue them). The heron said, "Nice appetizer, now for dinner!" and went back to my 1800 gallon pond to await a "stupid" goldfish to swim in the shallows. Then, he can spear it through the net. That will kill the fish but the heron won't be able to take it up through the net to eat. I have one white goldfish that's been dying for a week; I wonder if this is why. I told my mother feeding the heron would only encourage him. Now, after his "snack," he has more power to go after my pet fish. He's now back at the kiddie pool. I guess he knows my mother will probably send my father out tomorrow to get more victims.

7. The morning of 12/12/07, I put the net back on the 153 gallon pond. Why? When I came home 12/11/07, my 2.6-year-old niece was telling me that she saw turtles. I asked my father if they went to the pet store to get more goldfish but he said no. I asked my mother. She then told me a story. She watched the heron eat not one but two of my rosy red minnows and did nothing to scare him off or stop him. She thought it was very interesting, and he deserved to eat them! They did go out and buy 15 more feeder goldfish. So, I put a net back over my 153 gallon pond to protect the remaining rosy reds. I only counted about 14 minnows by flashlight last night (I should have dozens). You might say, no big deal! But, it took a lot of work to take a batch of sick feeder rosy reds years ago and make them healthy and into a breeding, self-sustaining population who number 24 to 60 depending on the year in the spring. If the heron just eats a few dozen, that may be it. I meant for some to be taken by predators. The problem with herons is that they don't stop until they eat them all! That pond is 2 feet deep but it's warm today, and the minnows are frolicking in the shallows and surface. The feeder goldfish were orange, orange and white, and bronze/natural. I could tell they weren't 100% healthy but, if I look too long, I feel so bad. I just know I could fix them up! Of course, I have no place for them. My big 1800 gallon pond is netted except for the waterfall (so I can get off ice in the winter) and overflow, and it looks like it will be like that forever! When I got home, all 15 feeder goldfish were history.

8. We were supposed to get a "wintery mix" on 12/15/07 and 12/16/07 so I decided to do my pond chores Saturday morning around 11:30 am, 12/15/07 instead of the next day even though it would throw everything off. It turned out that all we got was rain followed by horrible winds on Sunday so I could have done my work then after all. Anyway, on 12/15/07, I got into the pond and removed the filter material around the pump and squirted it off. Luckily, the tubing didn't pop off again (I was very careful and slow). The 1800 gallon was at 38 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 45 degrees F. I pulled up the tops of the submerged plant protectors which were all squished. There might be a sprig of plant left in there actually. I lifted up the plastic heron protecting fish den from the bottom of the pond to be sure nobody was stuck in there. It was really packed full of fish! They made it hard to put it back down on the bottom. I didn't find that white goldfish that was mostly dead a few weeks ago. I wonder if it recovered, or I simply haven't found it yet? I had bought a new de-icer and put it into the 1800 gallon. I have one new this year and now five other de-icers (all with corrosion from salt damage but they all work since I tested them). I removed the net from the 153 gallon pond to prepare for the "storm" (which ended up just being rain). On Saturday, I also pulled then now 100% dead bluebells out of my 20 gallon indoor tub pond. I will miss them.

9. On 12/16/07, I was decorating the Christmas tree next to the big windows that overlook my 1800 gallon pond. I noticed something gray hunched down on the net. It was the heron! He's back! I grabbed the 153 gallon net, stakes, and hammer and went out and put the net back on for the second time this month! The winds really kicked up. By the next morning, 12/17/07, there were leaves all in my 1800 gallon pond. I had pulled the net off the waterfall area and overflow area. Those areas of water were completely covered in leaves (no evidence of water) and some of those had blown or washed (by the moving water) into the main area of the pond, under the net where I can't easily get them. How do those of you with ponds near trees manage all of your leaves if/when you take your leaf net off? I need some ideas! I will try to get some leaves up with a flashlight tonight since I can't do it in the morning since I have to get to work.

10. My brother wanted me to go see a movie at the theater on 12/23/07 (which I last did a few years ago) so I didn't get to do my pond work that Sunday. I did record the temperature, top off the ponds, and pick up some leaves in the water on 12/24/07 at 3:45 pm when I took a vacation day. The 1800 gallon was at 42 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 46 degrees F. The bioballs were due for cleaning but not the filter material so I decided to wait and do both the next Sunday. The power was out at the 153 gallon pond. The circuit was not tripped either inside and resetting it outside did nothing either. Ants were pouring out of the outlet again so they ruined it again. I ran an extension cord out from the porch to run the Luft pump aerator in the 153 gallon pond. The de-icer has no power but it's rarely needed anyway. If it does get super cold, I will have to run another extension cord out for the de-icer.

10. On 12/30/07, I changed the filter floss/material around my 1800 gallon pond's pump and also squirted off the bioballs. The 1800 gallon pond was at 40 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 41 degrees F. My father fixed the outlet by the 153 gallon pond after throwing a tantrum (or two or three).

11. The 1800 gallon pond was 90% frozen over (just a thin layer of ice) the morning of 1/3/08 as it went down below 20 degrees F that night and was windy the day before. The young orfe and goldfish were under the ice in the shallows. I always worry about fish flash freezing into the shallows; at least one goldfish did so a few years ago. Luckily, it is not going to get colder but warmer over the next few days. Ok, after I said that, it went to 15 degrees F that night but then it is supposed to warm up. The fish this morning, 1/4/08, were all in the shallows under the ice again.

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Pond Tidbits:
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1. None this month.

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Web Sites of Interest:
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1. None this month.

What's your favorite pond-related web site(s)?
Do you have a web site you want me to mention here?


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