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Robyn's Pond Newsletter May 2006

Last Updated: 2/6/14

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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?

A few people have asked me for web page tips so I made a tiny site on making web pages at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/webtips/index.htm

This is a long newsletter. I guess I was busy!

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Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages; New Pond Photos:
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1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/clean.htm -
I moved the 153 gallon cleaning information to this page which links to three accounts (2004, 2005, and now 2006) of my cleaning of that pond. I will eventually move all information specific to my aquariums and ponds to the myfish subdirectory. Since I wanted to divide up clean.htm, I moved those pages now.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/clean3.htm -
This is the account of my cleaning the 153 gallon pond on 3/31/06. I used to put those accounts in the newsletter but they took up a lot of room. Included on this page are a lot of photos I took this day and a link to a VIDEO of the wood frogs calling and swimming after I finished cleaning the pond!

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/plants/index.htm -
This is actually the index for 33 updated pages of plant information! I finally finished redoing my 13 pages related to aquarium and pond algae and plants. This entailed moving and dividing the pages up; checking and fixing all internal and external links; moving all photos to the photo directory (which also effects pages not in the plant directory); adding Amazon links to any referenced books; reading all the text for additions, changes, and errors; adding updated plant prices to the plant lists; adding some new sections; adding more text and photos; altering the dozens of other pages linked to these pages; and more. Those are some of the things I do with each new directory. Some of the new sections include more on water lilies, iris, overwintering pond plants, UV sterilizers, etc. as well as a page on my terrestrial gardens and a section on water lettuce and water hyacinth weevils and moths. The next directory I'm working on is birds which includes chickens, turkeys, herons, water birds, and songbirds. It shouldn't take as long as this last one.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/plants/gardens.htm -
On my new terrestrial gardens page, not only are there photos of my land gardens but there are five new photos of my garden around the 1800 gallon pond so the pond is also in the photos.

5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/fishphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Spring 2006 are two new photos of my pond fish in one and my koi, Maggie, in the other.

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Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
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1. On 4/2/063, I replaced the filter floss and the basket (14" x 14" x 10") in which the pump and floss sit. The 1800 gallon pond was at 62 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 60 degrees F. The goldfish were spawning like mad so there was debris all over. In one day, the pond went from crystal clear to a semi-opaque mess as the fish stir up all the debris in the shallows and clog the filters. This is really the only time of the year that the pond looks dirty. The orfe were getting into it as well and kept getting stranded on the pots but managed to wiggle off. This and the fact that it's warm prompted me to put out the Cyprio filter a few weeks early. I pulled out the pot the Chawan Basu was put into in the fall of 2004. As I suspected, there were no living tubers in it so I got rid of that. I tend to not want to throw out pots with dead plants just in case they may come back to life! I removed that pot though. I added some pond salt and baking soda. I have a new container of koi clay but can't open it so I have to wait for my brother to visit in a week to open it. I set up the mosaic pond on the front porch (no animals or plants).

2. On 4/3/06 around 7 pm, we finally got a good soaking of rain which started out with 20 minutes of gumball-sized hail slamming into everything in sight. It shredded leaves and flowers like daffodils. If the waterlily leaves had been up, they would have been annihilated but they're not up yet. These were the same storms that spawned tornadoes further west. For a few moments there, I thought I could hear the train roar that one hears with tornadoes (not that I've ever been in one luckily) but I guess I imagined it. It was scary enough that we had to tell my mother to get away from the wall of windows, and then she wanted to find Gino and go to the basement (which we didn't). The storm was so loud for half an hour that you couldn't easily hear anything inside the house. After the storm, everything was covered in a layer of ice balls, from a quarter inch to an inch in diameter. It looked like it had snowed if you didn't look close and see the balls. Now we've had hail before but not that much! I couldn't see how the ponds took the force because there was zero visibility while it all came down. After, the ponds looked basically the same since they didn't have any vegetation to be damaged. Presumably, the ice balls melted right away or sunk.

3. On 4/9/06, I squirted off both sets of filter flosses and also the bioballs. Even though the main filter floss was cut new last Sunday, the floss was so completely loaded with slop (disturbed particles from the goldfish spawning frenzy), so much so that I had to move it to the shallows to lift it out. I netted some debris off the bottom and added a few additives. I cut a new green filter floss/material for the inside top of the Cyprio filter. This was only the second time I think that I made one after the original fell all apart. Both the 1800 gallon and 153 gallon ponds were at 54 degrees F. It was a cold week.

4. Good Friday was one of our seven vacation days (although they want to delete it) so on 4/14/06, I worked at home. I repotted the Fabiola lilies which were in a 5 gallon and a 3 gallon (I think) pot. The pots weren't broken but they were warped so I put them into fresh pots with dirt, fertilizer, and topped with pea gravel. The lilies were in pretty good shape while my other three big pots aren't looking so good. I repotted those three last year (I repot hardy lilies every two years in the big pond). I tried to put fertilizer in the other lily pots. I say try because the lily feeding tubes still had fertilizer in them, and jabbing the pills in the pot itself was semi-fruitless. I also gave the soon-to-bloom iris a few fertilizer pills. I netted some of the debris from the shallow area since I had the net back off the shallows. I removed 5 pots of dead plants, three 2 gallons and two 1 gallons. One of the 2 gallons had a red lily from Sheila, one was full of dead roots (don't recall what was in there), and one was a newer pot with nothing left (not sure what that was). One of the 1 gallons was my bogbean which had lived for a long time (7 years!) so that was very sad. I counted 15 pots that needed repotting. I put in some new barley straw.

After that, I started mulching around the pond on that side. I removed 6 loads (industrial wheelbarrow-sized) of stuff and put in 5 loads of mulch. In four hours, I got about a quarter of the 1800 gallon pond garden done so it sounds fast but that was the easiest section because it has a weed barrier, the weeds are just starting to sprout (removing them takes most of the time), I'll have fewer days off, and it's only going to get hotter. The newly-mulched part looks so amazingly great that I just want to stare at it. In a few days, the weeds will be back though.

5. On 4/16/06, I squirted off all the flosses. Both ponds were up to 65 degrees F. I tried to squirt down the Cyprio filter but all the connections came apart so I spent most of the time reattaching those. I tidied up, added some additives (pond clay which I spilled all over the basement, salt, and baking soda), and topped off the ponds. I've started to pull out the pond ornaments (various statues, dewhickeys, etc.) and put them around the ponds. I replaced the mesh bag of Ammocarb (activated carbon and zeolite) with a fresh box. The pond was very murky from the goldfish who are spawnaholics these days. The main waterfall had slowed to just a drizzle before I cleaned off the flosses. Most of the restriction was from decaying plant matter that made it past the flosses and clogged the pump's actual plastic intake screen.

Since my koi have been a little under the weather, I put in a dose of MelaFix as well. It takes almost an entire bottle (about $12) to dose the pond once so the few times I've added it, I just do a dose instead of one a day for a week as I should. My koi, Maggie, has been a little lethargic but looks okay aside from some frayed fins. She seemed to perk up by the end of the day. My koi, Colin, has small scrapes on his back where green algae is growing.

I potted up a piece of pickerel weed that was just floating around into a 2 gallon pot. I repotted my two 2 gallon pots of hardy canna. Both pots were split open. Hardy canna has some of the strongest tubers and easily breaks out of pots in a season or two. One pot had canna that jumped the pot so I cut that piece off for repotting which was easy. The other one I had to use a utility knife and try jumping up and down on the shovel but ended up ripping the tuber off the side to try to get a piece to repot.

6. On 4/17/06, the pond is surprising clear. It's amazing what cleaning filters and adding some pond clay can do. The goldfish are still going though. Some of them have cuts now from the rocks. The koi seem better.

7. I took off 4/19/06. I mulched the front (east) side of the pond garden and put out most of the pond dewhickeys. I put out the Tricker pond with just a fake floating waterlily for now. I took a bunch of photos (see above) of the partially mulched garden. My pond plant orders should arrive any day now.

8. On 4/20/06, my AquaMart plant order arrived. I got three water hyacinth and three water lettuce which I put in the pond that day in my floating plant hoop thing. The other plants were a yellow tropical canna, dwarf papyrus, marsh marigold (tried a few times before but always died), horsetail (mine died a few years back), 15 anacharis, 12 hornwort, 6 jungle valisneria, and 6 cabomba. I unwrapped the plants and put them in two buckets (Scoop Away cat litter buckets; I use them for many things!) of water under the basement fluorescent plant lights.

9. On 4/23/06, it was pouring rain but it magically ended when I finally decided to go out to do the Sunday pond chores. Both ponds were at 58 degrees F. I squirted off all the flosses. Once again, the main pump intake was pretty well clogged, and the falls just drizzling.

I needed to pull up the four 3-gallon pots of submerged plants (long empty of plants) with their submerged plant protectors to pot up the new submerged plants. They were so heavy but I got them out. I had ordered four new submerged plant protectors a month ago but the order from that place has not come for some reason. I figured I would cut the protectors open with scissors (they are not re-sealable, once tied, only a rare person can get them open) and tie them shut with more fishing line as before when done. Well, I decided not to use the death traps again. They stunk horribly, not a submerged plant was in sight, the floating ring hasn't floated in years, and the remains of my huge male bullfrog were trapped in one of them. He was mostly bone with a little flesh. My stupidity to think these protectors were useful caused his death. He got in but couldn't get out. Last year, the same thing happened but I rescued him in time (and took photos since he was in bad shape). What to do with the submerged plants? Well, since the fish would eat them any way, I just removed the rubber bands, squirted them off, and tossed them into the pond. In the 1800 gallon, I put 12 anacharis, 8 hornwort, and 6 cabomba in loose. I potted up the 6 jungle valisneria in a 2 gallon pot of planting media topped with pea gravel. A few hours later and a few of them were also floating around since the fish can't resist them. I don't know why I'm so stupid to keep adding submerged plants. The experts say you have to have them but they don't say that most goldfish eat them all! In the 153 gallon pond, I put in 3 anacharis and 2.5 hornwort. In the 20 gallon pond with the growing wood frog tadpoles, I put in 1 anacharis and half a hornwort bunch for them to nibble on. The buckets that held the submerged plants for three days until I could get to them stunk horribly. This seemed to mostly be from the cabomba which disintegrated to near nothing. I used to pre-treat submerged plants with potassium permanganate or dilute bleach but stopped because it takes a lot of time, many of the plants died from it, and my pond already has every species of algae, snail, leech, insect larvae, worm, etc. that there is to have that could come from plants. I found a weird half-inch plastic ring in one pot; I don't have a clue what it was.

I potted up a cock's comb plant into my little floating plant thing. When I set it into the water, it promptly tipped over, spilling all the planting media and gravel into the pond. I tried repeatedly but it wouldn't balance right so I finally stuck it into the shallow overflow area and hoped the deer didn't notice.

I potted up 6 impatiens into my big floating pond island thing. There are 4 small pots which got two each of red and pink impatiens and a larger pot in the middle with one red and one pink. I used the planting media and topped with pea gravel. The bottom of the pots have holes, and I covered the holes with mesh nylon filter bags to keep the dirt in. To keep the "island" in place, I usually use fishing line to tie it to one of the submerged plant protectors. With those gone, I tied it through a PVC pipe down there.

While I was back in the pond, I netted what I could of the spilt planting media and gravel and netted all around where the submerged plant pots used to be, removing 2 buckets of dirty gravel. I squirted that in portions and saved about 3/4 of it to be used to pot/repot the marginals.

The fish had released the water hyacinth and water lettuce from their floating thing so I had to put those back.

I potted up the four marginals. The yellow canna went into a 2 gallon pot while the dwarf papyrus, marsh marigold, and horsetail all went into 1 gallon pots. I used the planting media and topped with the pea gravel from the pots that were in the submerged plant protectors. I added one PondTabb fertilizer pill per gallon and put the plants in the most shallow end of the pond.

I added some more pond salt, baking soda, koi clay, and a dose of MelaFix to the pond (which really foams!).

I still have the full net on the pond even though the iris, dwarf cattails, and cotton grass are pushing on it. I want to put on the net just on the deeper areas but Maggie and Colin, my koi, are spending a lot of time in the shallows. The goldfish also go there to spawn. I am so afraid that would make them easy pickings for the herons who I know are just waiting for me to pull back that net. Maggie and Colin haven't been feeling well. It kind of looks like someone ran a cheese grater over their backs. The scraped areas are growing algae on Colin so he's part green. The MelaFix and salt don't seem to be enough so I ordered some KoiZyme (in case it's ulcer related) and medicated koi food shipped 2-day air. I don't have those on hand because the regular places I order from don't carry them so I had to order elsewhere. My bent orfe, Bendy, seems better.

I need to put out the only surviving tropical pond plants that I have indoors out soon - a taro and the bluebell. I also have the tropical waterlily but it goes out last. There is a major aphid and other plant pest infestation destroying the house plants overwintering in the basement. I want to pull them outside Wednesday but my mother says to wait a few more weeks. Many of the plants are dying. Once outside, the plant pests normally don't do as well (predators, warmer?).

My one or two hours of Sunday pond chores stretched into more than 3 hours so I got no more mulching done.

10. I took another "vacation" day on 4/26/06. This included 2 hours of feeding the animals, half an hour of using a sickle (spelled wrong?) in our old dog pen since the mower doesn't fit in there (that is a true work out, mowing the way they used to before lawn mowers), 2 hours of mulching 15 mostly-caged trees and shrubs, an hour to plant a few land plants and repot my lizard tail in the pond, 1.5 hours mulching around the main pond some more, 2 hours of mowing (riding mower), a shower, an hour of afternoon animal chores, 1.5 hours of e-mail, and finally dinner and tv. I repotted a 1 and a 2 gallon pot of lizard tail into a 2 and a 3 gallon pot. I used dirt from the old vegetable garden topped with pea gravel. The lizard tail in the 2 gallon pot was so overgrown, it had broken through the plastic in about 4 places. I barely got a few pieces apart from the mass for the new pots.

My order for KoiZyme arrived that night, and I put in the first dose. I hope it helps my two koi!

11. On 4/27/06, I got the dry goods and some of the plants from my Paradise Water Garden order. I ordered a dozen trapdoor snails and counted 13 okay ones, 1 dead one, and 1 with a bad hole (this one floated in the water). They were shipped without water and just some hornwort. It seems to me that they should have been in some water as other orders of snails that I've gotten have been in the past. Such water usually is pretty smelly by the time I get it. I released the snails in my 1800 gallon pond. I put an American yellow lotus (third try trying to keep one alive), red sensation hardy water lily, 3 parrot feather, 1 dwarf red parrot feather, 1 marestail, and 2 tropical water poppies into a bucket in the basement until this weekend when I have time to plant them. I put a batch of salvinia in my Tricker pond but will put some in the floating plant protector in the big pond this weekend when the net is back. I also ordered these plants which have not yet shipped (the tropical lilies because it is too soon): Islamorada tropical lily, Nora tropical lily, and three snowflakes.

12. On 4/29/06, I planted some of the water poppies, parrot feather, and marestail around my ponds. I put one poppy in my 50 gallon lotus tub pond. I broke up the parrot feather and marestail. I put parrot feather in my 153 gallon wedged under a brick at the overflow, in the bottom of the big pond's water, in the waterfall itself, and in the Cyprio filter top (which wilted). Pieces of marestail went in the waterfall, overflow, and Cyprio filter. I put the dwarf red parrot feather in the overflow area in one mass. I also put the water hyacinth, water lettuce, and salvinia back in the pond as I'd taken it in the night before because they said there was going to be frost (there wasn't).

13. On 4/30/06, I squirted off the flosses as I always do. The waterfall had slowed to a drizzle, and the filter floss was really heavy and filthy. I took the Cyprio biothings out and squirted them all off as well. I pulled off the big net (what a mess it is) when I started this week's chores and put the green nylon mesh half net (full of holes) on when I was done at the end. I hope the herons stay away when the fish are in the shallows is all I can say! The green net blocks my view of the fish even more than the black plastic net but it's much easier to deal with! The 1800 gallon pond was at 64 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 63 degrees F.

I planted one of the water poppies and one of the parrot feather each into two tiny pots with pond "soil" and topped with pea gravel and put those into the Tricker tub pond. I potted up the American yellow lotus into a shallow pot of maybe 5 gallons of dirt. I set this in the main pond, near the edge so I hope the deer don't eat it, or I'll move it. I potted the red sensation lily into a 3 gallon pot. I used dirt from the garden for those two plants. When I went to drop the lily by the edge of the pond to get in, I was surprised to see someone looking at me. Then, he/she moved. It was a small garter snake. A minute later, I was getting in and sitting right where he/she had been which shows that I wasn't scared of him/her (just surprised).

14. The morning of 5/3/06, I found that the raccoon(s) had spilt the two small pots of water poppy and parrot feather in the Tricker tub pond. The ledges are just so dinky. I saw the first hummingbird of the year come to one of my sugar water feeders. The next morning, the raccoons has spilt out the marsh marigold completely. Luckily for the pond (but not for my wallet), it was potted with "aquatic plant soil" which is like red cat litter and doesn't mess up the pond much. I had to repot it from scratch that night.

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Pond Tidbits:
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1. Why not start your own pond page? Posting the story of your pond with photos not only allows you to share with others and keep a diary (of photos, inventory, happenings, etc.) but you will get input that you wouldn't get otherwise. My site started out with 9 pages with a total of maybe 10 pages of text. It was meant just to "show off" my animals and ponds. Then, I just kept writing. And people kept asking me questions like I'm some kind of an expert. If you don't want questions, you don't have to put your e-mail on your site. If anyone has a pond web site, I would be glad to link to it.

I wrote the above before I bought http://www.pondshowcase.com and am thinking of using it to host pond web sites including simple free ones as well as more advanced paid versions (to make my money back on hosting, not for all the time involved). You wouldn't need to know any HTML (just fill out forms). I don't know if this is a good idea. It would be a lot of work and money initially but, if successful, it might pay for itself. It might be more than I could handle. What do you think?

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Web Sites of Interest:
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1. A list of plants that may be poisonous to fish -
http://www.bonniesplants.com/how_to/poisonous_plants_to_fish.html

2. A group of people taught fish to do "tricks:" http://www.fish-school.com/
I assume this is serious because it was in the National Aquarium's magazine.

3. http://www.insects.org - self explanatory

4. Turtles of the world - http://nlbif.eti.uva.nl/bis/turtles.php?menuentry=inleiding

5. "What's that stuff in the water?" -
http://www.umaine.edu/WaterResearch/FieldGuide/inthewater.htm

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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