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Robyn's Pond Newsletter August 2006

Last Updated: 2/14/14

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?

Our house is infested with ants. I had to move six cages of insects that they invaded. I didn't want to move my 10 gallon tank with 3" roaches in it so on 7/6/06, I bought a green anole. His name is Fourmi, French for ant. He is so neat. So far, the roaches and anole get along! Too bad Fourmi ignores the ants! I ended up moving the entire tank to the basement on 7/29/06. My new anole page is at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/animals/anole.htm.

My cat, Samantha, the one who had fly eggs on her on 7/1/06, had a stroke on 7/9/06. She survived and is hanging in.

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages, Photos, or Videos on Fishpondinfo

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/videos.html -
I added a video of gray tree frogs calling. There's no picture but I don't have the equipment to just do sound so I wasted the extra size of the file to capture their calls after the deluge of rain.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/fishphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under fish for Summer 2006, I put up two photos of my poor deceased fantail from my pond taken 7/4/06.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/painted.htm -
Near the bottom are two photos (text links) my brother took of a huge painted turtle when he went to Brookside Gardens.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Summer 2006 are nine new photos of my 1800 gallon pond and various plants in it. Included is a photo of my first tropical lily flower this year, a new one named Nora!

5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/otherpondphotos.htm -
Under summer 2006 is a new photo of my Tricker pond.

6. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/amphibians/bullfrogs/frogfish.jpg -
This one you just need a direct link to! I link to it in my bullfrog section as well. Someone sent this photo of a bullfrog with a goldfish in its mouth.

7. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/misc2.htm#shiner -
I added a couple of photos of gorgeous yellowfin shiners sent to me.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. http://www.pondshowcase.com -
Finally this site is functional! It is in the testing phase. There may be glitches yet. I tried to get the entire site ready but most of the samples still aren't done. I can handle a few new additions each week. I will list them here. Note that this new site will not work on old versions of Netscape.

2. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Robyn/ -
My ponds as displayed on Pond Showcase. I haven't gotten them all up.

3. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Ladew/ -
There are 57 photos that I took of mostly ponds at Ladew Topiary Gardens. That was too many photos for my main site but the new site had room. There are some gorgeous ponds, koi, painted turtles, and more in there!

4. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Wayne/ -
Wayne's Pond, see an orfe swimming up into one of those dome things.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 7/2/06, it was 90 degrees F outside. The 1800 gallon was at 80 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 78 degrees F. I cut new filter material for around my pond and tossed the old. I squirted out the bioballs which were so heavy with pond sludge and hair algae (top layer only) that I could barely lift them. I tried to stuff the bluebells back into the pot which didn't work. I hope to have time later in the week to actually repot them totally. My surviving lotuses are doing poorly, even the one that the animals can't reach. The deer, raccoons, fish, etc. uprooted the main tuber of the yellow native lotus so many times that the tuber is rotting. I try to stuff the tuber and other roots back in but it just tears up my hands. I can't pick up the pot to take it out to work on it without help (none available).

I don't know why my lilies never flower. I repot them every two years and fertilize them monthly in the warm months. My white hardy has done about two flowers this year while the changeable, yellow, 2 pink, and red hardy lilies have not had a single bloom. The four tropical lilies haven't flowered except the one in the Tricker pond but the raccoon bit off the buds while they were still underwater.

2. The morning of 7/3/06, there was a small, about 6" dead snake on the driveway. It was a ringneck snake, probably the Northern subspecies. It was gray on top, cream on the bottom, with a yellow ring around its neck. I had never seen that species before. I had to look it up.

3. The morning of 7/4/06, I found two poor deceased goldfish. The first was my only remaining fancy goldfish in my pond. She was a 8.5" female fantail that may have been part oranda since she had some growth on her head. She had no symptoms before or after death. I took photos. The other dead fish was 5.5", orange with white tipped fins. The air temperature went to the mid-90's. Plus, on 7/1/06 and 7/2/06, the power company browned us out and then blacked us out for an hour the first day and 3.5 hours the next day, during the peak heat. The fish probably didn't get enough oxygen while the power was out and even when it was back on with the waterfall and other filter going. The dying orfe is still alive!

I put the rest of the Microbe-Lift Ox in the pond that I had which they no longer sell from my regular suppliers. It is calcium peroxide and releases oxygen into the water. It was only about 1/5 of a pound, and the dose for my pond is some 2 pounds but it was something. I put my Luft air pump into the 1800 gallon pond for added aeration as well. I pulled the pot of bluebells out, dumped all the planting media and rocks, and got the plant back down into the pot but it won't stand upright in the planting media (unlike dirt) so I lean it against other plants.

4. The morning of 7/6/06, I found yet another dead goldfish, dead a few days. This one was a 7" common goldfish, white with red encircling the eyes. The overflow area has a little bit of a oily film on it which my pond has never had. I wonder if that has something to do with the deaths. I don't know where it came from but it certainly could reduce oxygen levels by preventing gas exchange. I only see it in that one area. I may have to find some activated carbon and add that to the filter just in case.

5. Yep, I found another dead goldfish the night of 7/6/06. This one was an all white, 10" comet, a gorgeous fish, probably female. This one was bruised up quite a bit and dead a few days. I hate this!!!

6. On 7/8/06, I put two more fry that I found in my tanks in the Tricker pond. I don't see any surviving fry in there but I'd have to bail it to find out. I'll find out in the fall if any fish made it.

7. On 7/9/06, I started off my pond chores by murdering six innocent babies. I removed the English sparrow nest by my pond filter with 5 eggs in it and dumped it into the woods. The embryos never did anything wrong but their father felt no guilt in killing baby bluebirds either.

I squirted off the flosses and the Cyprio biothings (without removing them). The 1800 gallon was at 76 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 74 degrees F. I fertilized the lilies and lotuses. My Comanche changeable lily finally had a flower but aside from it and my Albata white, the other lilies have not bloomed this year! I finally did some more mulching around the big pond. It lasted a whole hour, and the area I did was less than 10 square feet! It was all weeds. You can't even tell where I mulched already in the spring. The year is more than half over, and I've only mulched about a third of what needs to be done! It's just too hot in the summer, and the bugs are all over me.

8. On 7/12/06, I removed yet another victim, a 6" orange common goldfish with no clues as to why so many of my fish are dying. This one I saw on the bottom the night before but he came up to the surface overnight. The deer and raccoons have really tried to trash my ponds. The deer have eaten most of the water celery, walking on and moving the waterfall rocks to do so. This has the benefit of removing the nutrients the celery used to grow but it sure looks ugly. They ate all the lotus plants long ago that they could reach and nibbled on various marginals. The raccoons splashed around in the Tricker pond again, spilling the little pots. I'm glad at least someone is enjoying the ever-declining ponds! The dying orfe is still perpetually dying and now has some bruises from laying in the shallows upside down most of the time. The other fish seem fine. I wish I knew why they were dying! I had a similar die off two years ago but that was in the fall.

9. When people tell me their ponds have problems, I always suggest testing the water chemistry just to be sure. But when my fish are dying left and right, I usually don't bother. I finally tested the water again on 7/15/06. As I suspected, it was its usual self. Here are the results: pH about 7.8, 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, 20 ppm nitrate (more than I expected but still safe), less than or equal to 25 ppm hardness (GH), less than or equal to 40 ppm alkalinity (KH which I brought up from basically nothing with baking soda).

10. On 7/16/06, I squirted off the flosses, tidied up, and topped off the ponds. The 1800 gallon pond was at 82 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 80 degrees F. It was in the 90's (degrees F) all week.

11. On 7/23/06, I squirted off the flosses. The 1800 gallon was at 79 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 78 degrees F. I squirted the Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool. I finally repotted a pond plant. I have many to repot, and it's been a while! I repotted the two gallon pot of cotton grass. I had to cut the pot off. I couldn't break up the mass so I had to bother my father to break it with the shovel. I still need to repot a bunch of pots of dwarf cattail and sweetflag at the least. When I went to cut the pot off the cotton grass, I discovered that there were goldfish eggs all over it! I rarely actually see the fish eggs (not really looking anyway). I pulled some (not all) off and put them into my 50 gallon tub pond. I don't know if any will make it. I did that before and none did. That pond is totally covered in duckweed and full of hornwort under that.

The deer have been reaching into the pond, eating most of my poor pickerel rush and some water plantain, lilies, etc. They destroyed all the water celery. They normally eat some but don't normally pull it all out. The waterfalls are bare. This is bad because those plants were my vegetative filter. The water hyacinths are just started to multiply but the water lettuce mostly died back so a lot of my pond is open which is unusual for mid-summer. The open water improves gas exchange but reduces the natural filtration.

12. I had told my boss about my fish dying and my thinking it was oxygen related. He told me to bring in water for oxygen testing which I did on 7/17/06. I thought they weren't going to do it but another chemist gave me the results on 7/25/06. My boss claims they are valid even though the sample was in the refrigerator for over a week. The dissolved oxygen (DO) in their aerated distilled water was 8.7 ppm (near saturation). The DO in my pond water sample was 5.7 ppm. In looking for the ideal concentration, each web site says something different. Basically, below 4 ppm is bad but fish may not die until below 1 ppm. A reading of 5-6 ppm is good according to some pages but others say that coldwater fish need at least 6 ppm and koi 8 ppm which is near saturation. So, while my pond water is lower in oxygen than I would like, it shouldn't have been deadly. The sample was taken in the early morning when oxygen levels are the lowest. I haven't lost any more fish since 7/12/06. I also read the pH and got 6.25 on the meter which seems way too low. The meter wasn't stable. I intended to test my pond water at home that night.

13. On 7/30/06, I squirted off the flosses and bioballs. The bioball and lava rock bags were extra heavy with sludge. The 1800 gallon was at 82 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 81 degrees F. It's going to be in the high 90's all week. I did my usual work, mostly removing dead and dying waterlily leaves, topping off the ponds. My sick orfe is still alive but now has bloody spots from bashing into things. I wish I knew what was wrong but that would require a fish vet, and there are none around here. My heart skipped a beat the day before when I saw some orfe-colored small fish but they were just goldfish. I've never had baby orfe. I found two dead trapdoor snails (empty shells) on the bottom of the pond but also found two live ones.

I pulled out a water sample to check the water chemistry. An old liquid pH test kit said a pH of about 8 which the dip test also said. I'm not sure if the pH meter was accurate (it didn't want to stabilize). The dip test also said about ~20 ppm nitrate, 0 nitrite, ~75 ppm hardness, and ~80 ppm alkalinity. The hardness and alkalinity were up to near normal which is good. I add baking soda since my water is super soft.

14. The morning of 7/31/06, my tropical water lily that I've overwintered for years opened its first pink/white flower. And to think I didn't think it would make it this year! It has a ton of sharp leaves now. I pulled back the net for the aerial tropical waterlily flowers. By 8/1/06, it's supposed to be near 100 degrees F. It's 82 degrees F according to my thermometer and 100% humidity at my work table (that's inside; the air conditioner has never worked or been fixed in 9 years) as I type this in long pants and a heavy cotton lab coat. I feel dizzy. There are two of my white/pink tropical lily flowers open today but I'm not home to see them!

Pond Tidbits:

1. I have no ideas or time this month. Contributions are welcome!

Web Sites of Interest:

1. http://oase-usa.com/html/solar.shtml -
Finally! OASE has created a real solar system for running pond pumps and lights where you can't have electricity. The only downside - $$$$$$$$$$$$. With daytime solar powered pumps, it's going to be $500 to $800 or more. If you want a charge stored to run over night, add another $800+ to that. But, if you have money and just not power, it will work. The pumps only go up to 800 gph. If they were cheaper, I certainly would get one for when the power goes out. If you live in a hurricane zone, it sounds like a good investment. Stores are just starting to carry these.

2. http://conceptrecycling.com/cms/gallery/Ultraviolet+Acquiescence/ -
This was a link request for an art exhibit in Pittsburgh, PA that uses a pond with fluorescent lighting and hydroponics. I'm sure you've never seen a pond like this!

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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