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Robyn's Pond Newsletter August 2003

Last Updated: 7/6/07

Introduction and Miscellaneous:

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?

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):


Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. This is a new page not having to do with ponds. I wanted to buy some fish for my 50 gallon lotus tub pond for summer but bought four very rare fire bar danios I could not resist! I put them in my 20 gallon tank. This page is about them. I know it's not a pond page but they are so pretty!

2. I made a new page about farm, swimming, fishing, earthen, big ponds. Since I don't have a big clay pond, I don't know much about these kinds of ponds but have gotten questions about them. For now, it just has links to other pages and lists books and web sites. Contributions are welcome.

3. I added a new short section on sticklebacks which are a type of native US fish sold as bait.,p> 4. I found a site that converts a few small pdf's for free and put my book flyer into a pdf file if any more store owners want to hand them out to customers (only one did).

5. I wrote a new section on turtle ponds in winter.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. The paradise fish male made another bubble nest on 7/5/03 but again, it lasted only a few hours. Perhaps the now partially clogged fountain is just too much water movement to keep the nest together. I'd rather not turn it off to prevent stagnation, and I really didn't need more fish anyway.

2. On 7/6/03, I squirted down the flosses as always and tidied up. The air was about 90 degrees F with the big pond at 80 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 78 degrees F. Three Fabiola pink lilies were blooming. I've never had more than one! They were so pretty but fleeting, only opening from about 9 am to 2 pm when I'm normally at work but since this was Sunday, and I went in the pond earlier than usual, I got to see them up close and smell them. One yellow lily was open as well. There was some bad news: the fish destroyed my poor red lily (no leaves or sign of the tuber which may be around the pond somewhere). The poor lotus now has 4 small floating leaves. Many plants were in flower. I think the pond was perhaps at its best. I wish I could have shared it with someone. Photos don't do it justice. After the chores, we went to get a new pet chicken (see non-pond news below). The lady we visited had a pond. It was maybe 400 gallons and green as green can be. A few lilies and not much else were in there. She says she has butterfly koi over a foot long in there and their babies. I've never seen my koi spawn or found babies with barbels. I told her that if I'd know she had a pond, I would have brought her some plants which is what she really needed! Of course her koi which I could not see at all would probably eat anything if they could find it! Off topic, earlier in the day, I ate a flowering almond fruit. They are gorgeous ornamental shrubs that aren't supposed to produce fruit but I got two red fruits. After consulting an on-line shrub expert, he said they were edible but not good. I thought it was yummy, like a cherry!

3. The morning of 7/11/03, a storm had been through the night before. My top heavy plants had fallen over so I used the long net to upright them with a struggle. The plants that fell over were lizard tail, common cattail, and hardy canna (Thalia dealbata). The lizard tail is in full bloom, and the canna is about to open its purple flowers.

4. On 7/12/03, my mother yelled, "Come quick!" which could mean anything around here! Well, the male hummingbird was dead. It had hit the sliding glass doors. We just have the one pair of hummers that have come to our feeders (which were not near the glass door) for about three years. I've always wanted to see one up close but not like this! The female was still around. Hopefully, she already has eggs or babies to take care of (he didn't help anyway). I feel so bad that our actions contributed to his untimely death.

5. On 7/13/03, I squirted the flosses, the bioballs, and the Cyprio bio-things all in one day. I did my chores and tidied up. The 1800 gallon was at 77 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 76 degrees F. The tropical lily finally has three small leaves up. Normally, it would be taking over the pond by now. Of course, the same could be said for the three lotus. Two are dead and one has just put up the first aerial leaf while everyone else's lotus are in bloom! My 50 gallon lotus tub pond looks super boring with no lotus!

6. On the morning of 7/14/03, as I passed by the 153 gallon pond to feed the fish, I came across a pair of green frogs amplexing in the grass. I don't know why they were out there where they were vulnerable to cats and other predators. I walked behind them, and they hopped over towards the pond, still the male on top of the female. When near the pond, they hopped over some rocks, and I can imagine it must have hurt the female! The male was safe on top though.

7. The evening of 7/16/03, when I went to check on the pond, I wondered if any of the orfe fry had made it. I looked into the shallow area where fry like to hang out and saw an orange fry of about 1/3 an inch. It dashed off. I think it was an orfe! My rosy red minnows in this pond have all reverted to fatheads, and I've seen enough rosy reds to know this was not one of them. Goldfish at that size are not yet orange, and not that orange shade that orfe have. The baby might have been a koi but I saw no barbels, and it was really fast. A few minutes later when looking for fry, I found a baby goldfish. If you've seen them, then you know they move funny. As he advanced, he moved his head from side to side like a windshield wiper! The cute fry was gray in color.

8. On 7/19/03, I could have sworn I'd seen a baby paradise fish in my front pond. They have a big bubble nest in the duckweed and fake floating plant now. My father mowed around the house. I later found a poor dead male toad sliced up by the mower. This year, for the first time ever, no toads even bred in my ponds so his life was more precious than usual. Because keeping short grass is more important than animals' lives, healthy air, or wild flowers, so many animals die or suffer. The turtle rehabilitator we visited last year said almost all box turtles he gets have scars from lawn mowers and sometimes the injuries are deadly. But we mow and drive on, killing millions of animals a year because we "have to." It's amazing that after driving for 13 years, I've never run anything over aside from some insects and worms. I would never forgive myself if I did. Unlike me, most people don't make it a habit of avoiding small animals in the road. Yes, I have swerved to avoid snakes, toads, birds, squirrels, ground hogs, deer, rabbits, cats, dogs, box turtles, butterflies, and more. I, of course, check for traffic first!

9. On 7/20/03, I squirted the flosses and tried to fertilize the plants, at least the lilies and lotuses (two are dead but I still feel the need to fertilize; I just can't accept it I guess). I did ordinary sorts of chores and tidying up which takes almost an hour in the water. The goldfish like to nibble on my legs. The 1800 gallon pond was 75 degrees F, and the small pond was 73 degrees F. My new "white" pickerel weed flowered. It's purple! This is the fourth one I've tried. The first turned out purple too! The other ones died. I guess a white one I was not meant to see. :-(

10. The morning of 7/24/03, I saw an adult great blue heron in my back yard. In the past, they were always juveniles. He was not anywhere near my pond and flew off in short order.

11. After I changed some water and cleaned out the front mosaic pond on 7/26/03, I saw the baby fish again! I held it in my water-filled hand. It was not a hallucination! Now, I wonder if it might have accidently been added from the main pond's water because if it were a paradise fish, why wouldn't more have survived? I put in some extra trumpet snails from my 20 gallon tank to clean up. Plus, I wanted to see if the paradise fish ate them. If they do, I don't really want to put them in that tank when fall arrives. I also found a batch of green frog eggs in my 50 gallon lotus tub pond! It's the first I've seen this year. The ponds should be hopping with newly morphed ones from last year but there are almost none. As long as a batch or two of eggs grows each year, I hope to have green frogs every year.

12. On 7/27/03, I squirted the flosses and Cyprio things (not well!) and did myriad chores. The big pond was at 77 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 75 degrees F. A bullfrog has taken over the spot under the bridge in the 153 gallon pond like the troll in the song about Billy Goats Gruff (which you'll only know if you're over 30 it seems! It's on one of my old records called The Teddy Bear's Picnic..). The lemon grass in the 1800 gallon pond that my mother wanted me to grow is dead. So are the green taro I overwintered for 3 years, the new dwarf papyrus, and the new tropical canna all in my 20 gallon tropical tub pond. Three of my tub ponds died off! The other two had lotus that died. It looks like my indoor tub pond for next winter will only contain a new blackish taro that's growing in the ground next to that outdoor tub pond and my new nearly-dead water hibiscus (my old one died after 4 years). I will try to overwinter the surviving taro and tropical water lily in damp sphagnum moss and sand respectively. My brother and I saw a small orange fry in my 1800 gallon pond. He insists it is a rosy red which it does look like but I'm hoping it's an orfe (or am I; my pond can't hold any more big fish!).

Pond Tidbits:

1. This is a sem-repeat of previous information but as it was years ago and is now timely, I thought I would tell you a little about the secrets of getting water hyacinth to flower. First, confine it to a floating plant protector or a loop of old garden hose (cut, joined together, and sealed in a hoop). A plant protector is good if you have goldfish or koi who keep eating the roots off and harming the plant. I start mine off there and as it jumps the hoop with the mesh bottom, I put some in my garden hose hoop and let some go free. I do the same with the water lettuce which does not have a flower. When confined in a tight spot, water hyacinth is more likely to flower. If you think like the water hyacinth, you can say that if you have room, why not reproduce asexually by sending out a runner with a new plant that will eventually break off but if you can't do that as you're out of room, you have to put up flowers to produce seeds that will spread to a new spot with room. Also, if your water hyacinth are puny, yellow, not flowering, etc. and the fish aren't eating them so bad as to be the cause, then you need to add potassium. I add FloraFin but only at about 10% of the dose to save money.

2. If you have the type of algae that dissipates after a heavy rain, you probably have floating blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. It is really a bacteria that uses photosynthesis. If the heavy rain breaks it up, so will water movement. I added a small fountain to my 50 gallon lotus tub pond when it was taken over by this coat of blue-green algae on the surface that would be in sheets on your arm if you put it in there. Now, it's all gone with the water movement. I hadn't put in a pump before because lotus like still waters but my poor lotus died. A lot of larger ponds get this kind of algae. A larger fountain or water turnover system with aeration will help dissipate blue-green algae and most likely will help with other types of algae as well.

Non-Pond Animal News:

1. On 7/6/03, we picked up another chicken that my mother wanted. Since my brother was in Paris, she wanted her to have a French name. I speak French and threw some out. She liked "Poulet" which means chicken. I don't like the name; it makes her sound like dinner. She is an ancona which is black with white tips. Photos and more on her are on my chicken page at

2. I have gotten a number of e-mails from people who keep turtles in aquariums and find turtle eggs in the water. I always tell them that the eggs are no longer viable if they've been in water for more than a moment. Aquatic turtle eggs aren't aquatic although turtles are! I'm also usually asked how to hatch them which is on my web site at but in most cases, their turtles were alone. While it is an extremely rare occurrence in some species of bird and reptile to produce fertile eggs from a female without having a mate, it's not very likely for turtles. Such offspring are genetic clones of the mother. This infertile hatching has been noted in wild turkeys and some smaller reptiles. So, when my female Philippine's sailfin lizard lays an egg, I admire it for a day or so, take a picture, and toss it in the trash which is what those people who have female turtles without a male of the same species should do.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. If you're interested in native fish and ponds, check out this Yahoo group on native fish ponds run by Robert Rice (THE native fish expert):

2. Here is an article on rearing livebearers in tub ponds during the summer: ml .

3. This is site from one of the newsletter subscribers on her pond:

4. Nedra from rec.ponds has the most gorgeous blooming lotus in her pond! I have ZERO! These photos had me salivating. Her first flower opened this year on 6/19/03. And here I just got my first aerial leaf in July! See her pond and lotus at r a118 .

5. Doc Johnson of fame has added some new web sites to his collection that you might want to check out. They are, koi- (for koi news), (classifieds to sell pond stuff), and (another fish health site).

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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