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Robyn's Pond Newsletter March 2008

Last Updated: 7/2/10

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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?

On the morning of 2/5/08, my very rare female Philippine's sailfin lizard, Einstein, died. She would have been 15 years old this year. She will be immensely missed. When I moved my sailfin lizard pages to their own directory and divided up the pages, my site went to 501 separate URL's (web pages) so I am over the 500 mark. I would have been past it a few years ago if my job had not taken up all my time.

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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/pictures2.htm -
Under fish is a photo of an unknown fish (perhaps a dace) and under frogs and toads are three photos of a green tree frog with blue splotches and two photos that Barbara sent of a female green frog.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/frogs/index.htm -
Here is something you do not see every day. Someone sent a photo of a frog from Namibia. I did not know where to put it so it is at the bottom of my frog page as a text link. The frog has yellow stripes. [Link updated 7/2/10 with frog pages move.]

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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. On 2/3/08, the pond was finally melted out enough to get in to take out the filter floss and squirt it off. I had to go out in the afternoon so I did the pond chores from 9 am to 10:30 am. The 1800 gallon was at 36 degrees F and had just a little ice left. The 153 gallon was at 42 degrees F. The air temperature was only 36 degrees F but would go to 50 degrees F later in the day.

I squirted off the flosses and also the bioballs. Not one but two of the mesh nylon laundry bags that hold the bioballs failed. The zippers broke (unzipped from the wrong end by themselves). Bioballs were all over. I've never had two fail at the same time. In fact, only a few have ever failed. I found one large and two small bags in the basement that I put the bioballs in which took a while.

On the bottom of the pond, I found two poor frogs upside down. One moved so it was still alive, a pickerel frog about 3 inches long. I put him back but, the next morning, he was upside down again. The other poor frog was deceased, a 3 inch green frog. People always ask how I know that the frog is dead. Both of these frogs were upside down but the green frog was bloated, especially in the throat, the tongue was hanging out and wrapped around its head (no living frog does that), and it was whitish. The living pickerel frog moved a little. Its legs were reddish which may indicate septicemia-type symptoms.

There were leaves and sticks all over the pond nets from heavy winds earlier in the week. Since the ice had melted, I could finally get those off by using a long net and grabbers to pull or move them towards the edge where I put them into my buckets. It's basically impossible to remove the tons of leaves in my in ground 50 gallon tub pond (formerly the lotus tub pond) because it's also full of hornwort. It's hard to separate the two. The ponds were very muddy from heavy rain on 2/1/08, probably three inches of rain. The 153 gallon especially was muddy. The 1800 gallon has a lot of attached algae growing now, and there were bubbles on it. I don't know if that was from oxygen the algae was making, due to the heavy rain, or because I added water to the big pond (and only noticed the bubbles after that).

2. It's lucky I didn't need to get into the pond on 2/10/08. A front was coming through. There were severe wind gusts, some to 60 mph. I went outside twice. First, around 1 pm, I went to do my Sunday pond chores. I was about 50 degrees F. For this week, that just meant recording temperatures, topping off the ponds, and collecting some leaves. I managed to do that. The 1800 gallon pond was at 43 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 47 degrees F.

When I went back outside at 4:30 pm, after the gusts had (and were) so bad, there were leaves all over the ponds. The temperature was down to 32 degrees F. I have cages on over a hundred terrestrial plants (to keep the deer off). I found and re-anchored (using sod staples which are long metal pins that the wind had ripped out of the ground) more than a dozen of them that had blown over, a new record. The wind actually broke off the half inch thick metal post that had held my large bird feeder lid on for a decade; I have to buy another feeder.

Where the waterfall falls into my 1800 gallon pond, every inch of water was covered in leaves. Those leaves then migrated to the rest of the pond under the net to cover 25% of the main pond's surface. The wind was so bad, I couldn't really collect them. I would net some wet leaves, and then, it was so windy, the sopping wet leaves would fly off the net before I could get them to a bucket. By the next morning, it was 12 degrees F, and the ponds had flash frozen, sealing in all those leaves.

3. On 2/17/08, I started by taking the net off the 153 gallon pond. The wood frogs are due to show up soon, and the last thing I want is for them to get stuck in the net. It has been over a month since the heron was here so hopefully the rosy red minnows will be fine. I hand collected and raked 3 industrial-sized wheelbarrows full of leaves from around that pond which barely made a dent. I cut some vines around the 153 gallon pond but only about 1% of the weeds in the way there. The snow drops (bulbs) are flowering. I then realized that the snow iris will be coming up so I raked off and removed another 3 wheel barrows full of leaves from on top of the snow iris by the pool deck. The iris were indeed putting up leaves.

Then to the main 1800 gallon pond, I pulled out the filter material around the pump and squirted that off. It was actually pretty dirty. There were hundreds of leaves in the pond, most of them sunk by now. I used my hands, a net, and grabbers to remove a small selection of leaves. I also removed another wheel barrow full of leaves off the net and around parts of the pond. The 1800 gallon pond was at 37 degrees F (still ice in the shallows) and the 153 gallon pond at 46 degrees F. I put about two pounds of pond salt into the 1800 gallon pond. I found the poor 2" pickerel frog that was almost dead last time; he was dead now for sure (tongue hanging out).

4. On 2/24/08, I did not do much by the pond. I added some water and removed some leaves. There is a little dead frog in the 1800 gallon pond that I cannot reach until I get in perhaps next week. I feel so bad for the frogs; I have not seen live ones down there. The 1800 gallon pond was at 38 degrees F while the 153 gallon was up to 47 degrees F. The crocuses are setting flower buds already. I noticed that both my 1800 and 153 gallon ponds seem to have a lot of hair algae when they normally have very little. My big pond is in such sorry shape. All 30 some plants in pots need repotting. I can't do it myself but can't find anyone to hire to help. It's too bad my internet pond friends couldn't come for a visit to help repot; they would be paid, learn some things, and so on.

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Pond Tidbits:
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1. There used to be three pond specific magazines that came out every few months. There was one left, the others having gone out of business a few years ago. It was Aquascapes Lifestyles. They just sent me a notice this month that they have discontinued it. Now, there are no more print bi-monthly pond magazines!!
;-(

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Web Sites of Interest:
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1. http://www.vsitesecure.com/bio-formllc/product_info.php?products_id=38 -
BZT Aquaculture is on sale. This link goes to the Ponder's Special which was still 50% off in late February (not sure what it will be when this newsletter goes out).

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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