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Robyn's Pond Newsletter February 2009

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?

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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/winter2.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
I put up five photos from 1/18/09 of the pond totally frozen over except for the waterfalls running with ice all around.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/fishvideos.htm -
From the same day are three short videos of the waterfalls.

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New Pages on Pond Showcase:
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1. None this month.

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Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
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1. I wanted to clarify a few things about my koi. I have two outdoor koi, Maggie and Colin, who are about 11 years old and 1.5 feet long. I have one indoor koi, Kojak, who is a Kujaku that I got in September. Mac was the Sanke who I got with Kojak. She is the one that jumped out of my indoor, basement, 50 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank through a slit in the net. She was 7 inches long at the time. A few people confused her with Maggie. Maggie is fine. I couldn't bare the thought of losing her.

2. On 1/4/09, I got in the pond to squirt off the filter floss and remove a ton of leaves in the water. The 1800 gallon pond was at 34 degrees F as was the 153 gallon pond. Half the pond surface was frozen over; I broke off a piece of ice so I could slip in from the side but closer to the deep end. The air temperature was near 40 degrees F but I wasn't cold except for my toes because, for once, there was no wind! I topped off the ponds over the ice. My 3-year-old niece and I raked some leaves from around the ponds.

3. On 1/11/09, the bioballs and lava rock were due to be squirted off, and the filter floss was due to be changed but I did neither. It was a warm 36 degrees F, and the pond was free of ice where it needed to be. I just felt lazy. Next Sunday, I have to take down the Christmas tree so I do not know when I will get the pond work really done! On 1/11/09, all I did was record the pond temperatures, top them off with water, and remove some leaves. The 1800 gallon was at 34 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 35 degrees F.

4. The morning of 1/16/09, it was 8 degrees F. While I do not think that was the coldest that it has been since I got the 1800 gallon pond in May of 1997, the waterfall was the most frozen over it has ever been. First, I went to the 153 gallon. With the outlet not working, the de-icer was off. I thought the air stone would be enough but only an inch remained opened. I ran another extension cord out and plugged in the de-icer. I also used the sledge hammer to gently widen the opening. Over at the 1800 gallon pond, there was not yet much ice sculpture where the waterfalls spill (in the past, they have built up to the top of the falls requiring removal to prevent pumping the pond out over the ice). But, down the stream and moving water, it was all sealed over in ice tunnels. I hammered off some of them but the ice was too thick. When I took the cover off the biofilter, I found the entire top of the filter was frozen! The water still went out the spillway thankfully. The de-icer was frozen in. I made a hole in the ice and had to try to grab what I could as it ran down the falls and tried to clog things up. I was wearing aquagloves. By touching the de-icer with them, I could feel it was warm so it was working. All the heat immediately was running over the falls and down it. Without the de-icer there, I don't know if something dire may have happened. It's supposed to go down to 3 degrees F tonight. I'm a wee bit worried!

5. Well, I only got about 4 hours of sleep from 1/16/09 to 1/17/09. I last checked the pond at 9:45 PM and knocked off some ice with the sledge hammer and aquagloves (so my hands didn't freeze solid). It's more like tapping; don't worry, the fish don't notice it since it's on the stream and barely anything (I'm pretty weak). I fell asleep by 10:30 PM and next awoke about 12:50 AM. I went out and again tried to keep the moving water going in the right direction by taping just the right ice off. Water was starting to run up over ice. The top of the biofilter was frozen solid with water running under it and down the falls. I felt the de-icer under the ice; it was hot. A few hours later, I fell asleep to awake bolt upright from a couple of nightmares. I went out to the pond around 3:40 AM. This time (and the next), I also brought out a gallon of scalding water to try to get the outflow of the biofilter open. I fell asleep after another hour or so to awake from a pond-related nightmare. I dreamt I was sleep walking and tending to the pond outside and couldn't wake up. Well, I woke up in bed and at 5:30 AM went out for the third time since going to bed to tend to the pond. The ice was forming more than I'd ever seen it before. By this time, it was 3 degrees F (the forecast was right for once!). I got out of bed at 7 AM and went out to the pond about 20 minutes later. Throughout the day, I fretted over the water. Perhaps 100 gallons of water that was drizzling off the sides and not with the main waterfalls had poured out over the ice. Most of the stream/waterfall was encased in ice with water running underneath where I couldn't see it. The top of the pond turned white because there was a layer of water on top of the ice and a layer of air under it.

6. The next night, I went out twice at 1 and 4 am but things weren't as dire. It was up to 30 degrees F by dawn. The next day, things remained mostly in the 20's degrees F. The ice cover has not decreased but it also has not increased much. Perhaps I could now get some sleep!

7. On 1/18/09, I awoke to find that there was no air coming out of the air stone in the 153 gallon pond! The de-icer kept a hole in the ice though. I could not blow air through the air line tubing (with nothing on either end). I cut some regular airline tubing and put it out with another air stone which worked fine.

Since the pond was frozen solid, there was obviously no way I could change the flosses or bioballs as I was supposed to have done last week. I did record the temperature of the 153 gallon pond as 38 degrees F. The thermometer in the 1800 gallon pond was frozen in. I topped off the smaller ponds. I wasn't sure if I should feed water back in to the 1800 gallon pond through the two small openings (about a foot wide). I opted for bucket pouring in about 10 gallons of water which wasn't much.

8. On 1/19/09, there were flurries at work but nothing stayed. When I got home, there were 2 inches of snow! I took my niece for her first sled ride down the hill, about a dozen times. She was euphoric! The ponds were beautiful in the snow. By the next morning, the temperature was 15 degrees F. The waterfall kept flowing but there was a lot of ice. The next few mornings, it was again down to 15 degrees F. I can only tell if the waterfall is running by going outside and looking. It's almost all covered in snow and ice. It's finally supposed to go above freezing for a few days but then get really cold again.

9. On 1/25/09, the pond was still frozen. The 1800 gallon thermometer was frozen in while I forgot to record the temperature in the 153 gallon (I put it on paper but forgot to put it here). I pulled out a garden hose and added water to the frozen 20 and 50 gallon tub ponds, the 153 gallon pond (mostly liquid; the deer have been drinking from it as well as other animals), and the 1800 gallon pond. I had to aim the hose output down the small openings in to the pond. I added water until the level came up to the ice. I didn't want the water to flow up over the ice sheet.

10. On 1/27/09, we got about an inch of snow. Over that night, we got an inch of freezing rain on top of that. The morning of 1/29/09, in order to get to my pond to remove some ice and check on everything, I sat on the ice and slid down about 15 feet; it was fun! If I'd tried to walk, I would have fallen (already did that retrieving the rabbits' bowls). To get back up the slight hill, I used the sledge hammer to make foot holes in the ice in which I could put my boot heels. I repeated the sledge hammer stair ways for a few more days twice a day.

11. On 2/1/09 for just one day, it was like spring with temperatures in the 50's! But, the pond doesn't melt that fast. I tossed some pond salt on the ice sculptures to help melt them. I managed to get the large ice sculpture off from the side waterfall (literally picked it up during the hottest part of the day) and dumped it in to the main pond (on top of the ice sheet). Aside from that, the pond was still a solid ice cube. I used the hose to squirt water in to the opening as I did last week. The 153 gallon pond was at 41 degrees F; it was totally melted out. The 1800 gallon pond thermometer and fish are missing, somewhere under the ice.

12. On 2/3/09, we got a dusting of snow in the morning as we did that night.

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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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