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Robyn's Pond Newsletter March 2007

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? I asked here last month if anyone read this and only Heidi said she did.

I buy almost all of my dry good products for my animals, fish, and ponds from That Pet Place and Drs. Foster and Smith. I've lamented that they don't have affiliate programs but now Drs. Foster and Smith does. I got rid of my Petco affiliate as not a single person in the last few years has ordered a single item after clicking there. I would appreciate anyone who is ordering from Drs. Foster and Smith to enter their site through the links now at the top and bottom of most of my Fishpondinfo pages. If you place an order, it will send a few dollars my way to pay for the almost $1000 a month I spend on my animals. Since we've established that no one but Heidi is actually reading this (at least who will admit it), thank you if you did.

"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir

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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 kind of went crazy with photos and videos on 2/6/07 and 2/7/07. From 2/6/07, there are nine photos and four videos of the 1800 gallon pond encased in ice. From 2/7/07, there are four photos of the ponds in two inches of snow over that ice. Then, on 2/24/07, I took three photos of the melting pond which shows leaves, my koi, and a pickerel frog. There are two close ups of the pickerel frog who was moving in the bottom.

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New Pages on Pond Showcase:
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1. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Phyllis/index.shtml - Phyllis' Pond

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Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
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1. On 2/4/07, I topped off the 1800 gallon pond with a few inches of water that mostly went over the ice. The more water (including ice) in the pond, the more liquid water there should be under the ice (since the overall ice depth will be about the same). I was able to walk in the marginal area of the pond. The ice is getting thick. I could not get into the pond if I needed to. The day before, I topped off the two tub ponds and the 153 gallon pond. The 1800 gallon thermometer was frozen in. The 153 gallon thermometer read 40 degrees F.

2. The morning of 2/5/07, the air temperature was 10 degrees F. The 1800 gallon pond now has an opening of about a square foot where the main waterfall falls in. Ice is started to form in the stream (making ice tunnels) and building up around where the water splashes into the pond. I looked under the green Rubbermaid tub lid at the top of the waterfall where the biofilter and de-icer are. Ice has started to form in the top of the biofilter with an open area leading from the de-icer and down the lip where it overflows. The 153 gallon pond has an area more like two square feet that is open from the de-icer and bubbler there. The birds are all coming there to get water. My two outdoor rabbits and in/out cat are all inside so I only have to worry about the ponds and the four chickens freezing (who no longer have a heat lamp but do have a heated water bowl).

3. The morning of 2/6/07, the air temperature was 7 degrees F. The waterfall and stream are now partially covered over in ice tunnels. Many are too hard for me to easily break with the end of the pond net. The few pieces I did break off, I had to then get out of the way because they immediately caused a blockade that diverted water. Breaking off some ice seemed to make things worse in a few cases where, after breaking a piece off, the water changed its route to pump over the ice instead of under it. I fixed it, at least as good as it was before I tried to improve the situation. Up in the biofilter, it's all iced over except for a path a few inches wide leading from the de-icer to the overflow lip. I worry about diversions created by the ice. The sculpture has started to rise around the main waterfall spill area. One year it made it all the way up to the waterfall [Note that about a week later, the ice did make it up to the height of the falls]. It's about a 1.5 foot drop. I can't remember this much ice forming on the stream part of the falls before. There are ice tunnels with water running underneath it. At least it's supposed to go to teens for lows the rest of the week but still way too cold for me not to worry.

4. The morning of 2/7/07, it was a toasty 15 degrees F. We got 2 inches of snow. I took some photos of the ice the night before and the snow that morning on the pond.

5. The morning of 2/8/07, it was 15 degrees F. The squirrel left footprints in the snow across the pond and under the net. I walked across the pond, pretty near to the middle section. I didn't even hear any creaking. I don't dare try that over the deeper sections because if I went through, it would not be fun! Plus, the net is frozen in over the deep end. Birds including bluebirds were drinking from my 153 gallon pond, probably the only open water for miles. I'll have to add more water to it.

6. Here are some more morning temperatures. 2/9/07 - 19 degrees F. 2/10/07 - 20 degrees F. 2/11/07 - 15 degrees F. 2/12/07 - 29 degrees F.

7. When I came home on 2/6/07, there was a frog on top of the ice, frozen dead! How did it get there? My guess is it was a pickerel frog that was hibernating in the biofilter which is the only liquid water from which the frog could have come. He must have hopped out of the biofilter and then down the falls onto the ice. When he couldn't find liquid water, he froze. The body was gone the next morning so someone ate him.

8. On 2/11/07, the pond was frozen solid (except for the moving water) so I couldn't really do anything even though the filter floss and bioballs were due for their cleaning. The 153 gallon pond thermometer read 40 degrees F, kept warm by the de-icer. The 1800 gallon thermometer was frozen under an unknown depth of ice.

9. I stayed home on 2/13/07 and 2/14/07 which is rare for me. I was pretty sick. That alone wouldn't normally keep me home but we had a few inches of snow on 2/13/07 and a total mess on 2/14/07. On 2/14/07, we got 4 inches of solid snow/ice balls/sleet/ice. It was so heavy (in weight) that it took my father almost three hours to plow to the mail box (about 1000 feet). The lawn mower couldn't push the stuff with the blade down; the chains would just spin so he had to slam into the piles from the top down. If it had been 4 inches of light snow, it would have taken less than an hour. The stuff was heavy, entombing everything. Then, the winds came. By morning, the 4" of snow was so dense and frozen that I could walk on top of it with hardly a mark. The morning of 2/15/07, it was 14 degrees F. It had been windy all night. The waterfall was the most frozen I have seen it. All but a few inches of it was running under an ice tunnel. Yet, it still ran. I was more worried about the power going out. If that had happened, the power would have to have been turned off to the pond before the main power came back on. If not, the pond would pump out over the ice since the openings would then be frozen sealed. Once sealed, who knows how long it would have been before I could get it pumping again. Luckily, the power stayed on. My two-month-old Prius was not so lucky. I backed into one of the rock-solid snow piles and damaged the bumper slightly.

10. The morning of 2/16/07, it was 12 degrees F. The waterfalls were even more covered, water running under ice. Water was starting to slowly trickle over the ice formations (which are up to the level of where the waterfall drops off) instead of all going down into the pond. I took the sledge hammer and, with a light wack in two spots, got the two falls going better by removing a chunk of ice where the falls splash down. The end of the pond net pole couldn't make a dent in most of the ice anymore, just the crust over the running water. I want to remind everyone that hitting the ice on the pond is not a good idea because the shock waves can bother the fish. In my case, I was making just a few light hits, up a few feet above the pond water level, on the falls. Although the ice formations are all connected, hopefully, it had little effect down where the fish were. I've done this a number of times in past winters.

11. On 2/18/07, the pond was completely frozen. It was 15 degrees F that morning. I still can't clean the filter. The thermometer was frozen in the 1800 gallon pond. The thermometer read 40 degrees F in the 153 gallon. Finally, on 2/20/07, dawn broke above freezing, 40 degrees F. It's supposed to be in the 40's all week. The rabbits went back outside to their hutch, and the ponds will start to thaw out. This dangerous time for the ponds seems to be over. I will have to wait for a lot of thawing before I can see if there are any casualties under there.

12. The morning of 2/23/07, my ponds were full of leaves due to high winds. I can't get them out (have to go to "work," can't reach them all, and it's cold water!).

13. On 2/24/07, I saw a pickerel frog moving around in the bottom of the pond in the deep end. I went to get my camera but he had moved. Amazingly, he still showed up as you can see in the links above. I've been able to see Maggie and Colin (my koi) for a few days as well as a few goldfish who seem fine. I can only see through an opening. One of the photos shows that.

14. On 2/25/07, we got four inches of snow. I couldn't get in the pond, of course. The 153 gallon pond was at 40 degrees F. The thermometer is still frozen into the 1800 gallon pond.

15. The morning of 2/28/07, the pond was melted in most of the deep end. The fish are all fine including the orfe that has been living on its side for almost a year. The pickerel frog that I put into a pot a month ago because I wasn't sure if it was dead was definitely dead (whitened). I removed the 3" pickerel frog.

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Pond Tidbits:
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1. I have been too busy to do much work on my web site or this newsletter. I write most of the stuff at work, and they've swamped me. At home, I can only spare an hour or two a week to work on my web site. I feel so bad.

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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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