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Robyn's Pond Newsletter September 2006

Last Updated: 2/17/14

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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 set up a store on Amazon.com at http://astore.amazon.com/fishpondinfo-20 . They let you choose nine items on the main page and then categories to be in the store. It seems that the categories that include pet, aquarium, and pond supplies aren't available in the beta test. They actually sell a lot of those supplies and even live koi I found! Anyway, I get a few percent of any purchases made at the Fishpondinfo Amazon store or at Amazon itself if the person clicks through to Amazon at the upper right. Next time you order from Amazon, if you're not helping someone else out (non- profits do this too), consider ordering through my site. If you want to go right into Amazon, go to http://www.fishpondinfo.com/amazon.htm and put in a query in the search box to enter their site so that I get a few percent.

I have added a link to a form so people can add a comment, photo, and/or story to specific pages on my site. Each informational page has a link at the very bottom to fill out a form. I have a new directory (notes) that will include comments, photos, and stories relevant to my pages that are submitted to me.

I have yet to start work on the next subdirectory, birds, because work has been busy, and I keep getting ideas such as the above. I am also currently working on a few new amphibian pages in the frogs subdirectory. It's not done but you can see what I've done at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/frogs/index.htm

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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/animals/raccoon.htm -
I added two new photos of a raccoon eating at our porch; this is not directly pond related but this raccoon probably helps make the messes in my ponds.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Summer 2006 are two photos of lilies and hardy canna flowers in my 1800 gallon pond.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/otherpondphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Summer 2006 are two photos of my 153 gallon pond.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/pictures.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under frogs for 2006 are two photos of green frogs at my 153 gallon pond. Under insects is a photo someone sent me of an empty dragonfly exoskeleton.

5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpond.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
I added a new section that describes my pond filter material/floss and pre-filter/pump/filter system better.

6. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/videos.html -
I added a 8 new videos (actually hosted on Pond Showcase since Fishpondinfo is full until I can upgrade it) and divided the video pages up into 6 pages. The videos include cormorants and penguins from the zoo, the raccoon that visited (3 videos), my bristlenose pleco, my rabbit Harry, and my chickens.

7. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/fish/twerp.htm -
I put up a bunch of photos that were sent to me of a fantail goldfish with her eggs. This is not directly pond related but shows what goldfish eggs look like. These were infertile and did not swell up.

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New Pages on Pond Showcase:
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Look at the huge amounts of entries I've gotten since I opened this site a month ago! Two of these entries I had to beg for them to fill a form out. So, only one filled it out really. I obviously should have never made Pond Showcase. If I get very few entries, I'll probably move the site to Fishpondinfo when it expires next spring leaving a forwarding page.

1. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Aquamart/ - Aqua-mart pond store

2. http://www.pondshowcase.com/TerryO/ - Terry's Pond

3. http://www.pondshowcase.com/SadieMay/ - "My Outside Room"

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Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
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1. The morning of 8/6/06, one of my edge rocks was dumped into the pond. It was perhaps the smallest one, maybe 40 to 50 pounds. I couldn't move it. My father claimed he couldn't move it. But, together, we got it up out of the water and into the hole where it was. I think the deer must have moved it as it's too big for the raccoons. There's some deer damage farther into the pond so perhaps one actually got in which I've never seen. The rock squished a few plastic pots but the plants were already in bad shape anyway. The papyrus is there, mostly eaten by the deer.

On the afternoon of 8/6/06, I did the usual - squirted off flosses, tidied up, topped off the ponds, added pond clay and baking soda to the big pond. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were at 80 degrees F. I also squirted off the Cyprio things in situ (meaning without taking them out). I added some Microbe-Lift PL to the pond for the first time. The dying orfe is still alive, mostly spending his time upside down in the deep end now which is better (predators can't get him). My old tropical lily is growing like crazy while my other lilies aren't doing as well. The hardy lilies don't like the extreme heat.

2. The morning of 8/9/06, the Tricker pond had been messed up again, everything spilt. This time, I can't find the remnant of the tropical lily in there. Thanks to the raccoons, another one bites the dust. On the plus side, my old tropical night blooming lily had four flowers open at once! I had to go to work so I didn't get a photo. They close by noon.

3. I mail ordered another oxygen test kit (can't find my old one). The first time, it was missing a chemical but I finally got the right one. When I tested it on 8/9/06, it said about 8 ppm. The directions say at 77 degrees F (about what my pond is at), 8.3 ppm is saturation and 5 to 8 is ideal. So, at least at this point, my pond has a good amount of oxygen. That's assuming that I can tell apart slightly different shades of pink (no easy task)! This kit is not very accurate due to how hard it is to read how pink it is.

4. I was by the 153 gallon pond with my brother on 8/11/06 when I noticed a dead rosy red minnow! This was the first once I'd found dead in years. Some have died of course but they were probably quickly eaten. This one had a small wound but was pretty much intact. My sick orfe is still alive; I touch him with the pond net to be sure he moves when I notice him, and he appears still. Lately, he's been laying on the bottom, upside down of course which is his normal for months now. He has a number of sores from bashing into things but hasn't really seemed to have lost weight so he may hang on a while yet.

5. On 8/13/06, I squirted off the flosses and did the usual. The 1800 gallon was at 72 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 74 degrees F. Fall is in the air.

6. The morning of 8/15/06, I found that the tubing to the Cyprio filter was pulled out. I'm guessing it was the raccoon. A plant pot was also totally knocked over. Most of the dirt and rocks were dumped out. I can't find the plant, can't even remember what it was. The deer have eaten the plants the raccoons missed. I want to fence the ponds and gardens but my parents won't allow it.

7. The morning of 8/16/06, the intake to the Cyprio filter was off again but right up next to the box so the water was squirting a little on the land but not enough to pump the pond out noticeably. I can't hold up the filter and screw in the hose clamp with one hand by myself. So, I'll have to just keep sticking it back on until the next time I empty it out and can flip it over and really tighten it. The hose doesn't have any slack because it's misrouted around sweetflag that's jumped the pots.

8. I didn't mention this before but the second week of August, the raccoon decided to de-pot plants in the 153 gallon pond as well. He pulled out a waterlily and a sweetflag. I tried to repot them (most of it was dumped but I got some more gravel). The morning of 8/17/06, I saw a waterlily tuber floating around on its own. I will try to repot it tonight.

9. On 8/20/06, I squirted off the flosses and did the usual. Both ponds were at 80 degrees F. I pulled out a lot of the weed grass growing in the waterfalls and some the previous day. Very little water celery, watercress, or parrot feather remains that the deer missed. The falls are mostly bare now (not good for filtration purposes) with the rocks shifted from deer walking where no one was meant to walk.

10. On 8/27/06, I did my usual. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were at 78 degrees F. I squirted off the flosses. I squirted off the Cyprio things in the kiddie pool. But it was not a usual day for pond work. I walk between the marginals and the water lilies so that I can walk along where the lilies are and remove the yellow, brown, and torn leaves. I brush aside the marginals including my huge yellow flag iris. I bent down for about 30 seconds to pull up some lilies. My bare upper left back thigh was against the yellow flag iris. It felt strong but not painful. Then, when I stood up, it started to burn, a lot. I recognized the pain as most likely being from a poisonous caterpillar. I searched for the culprits. I almost blamed a lonely spider until I found half a dozen small caterpillars munching at the end of a yellow flag iris leaf. I pulled the end of the leaf off and got out of the water (even though I wasn't done; I went back in a few minutes later). I went inside and called for my mother. She actually came. She could see a about 2" x 1" bright red, swollen area from the caterpillar spines, and she put some Benadryl anti-itch stuff on the spot. It was really burning. I also had a smaller attack on my left arm where I'd pushed the iris aside. The pain didn't last too long though although it remained swollen for a few days. I had not seen this species of caterpillar before but had been stung by saddleback caterpillars a few time. I looked through all the pages of my new extensive book on caterpillars. I found no exact matches but found similar ones which are in the group called buck moth caterpillars. The book says their sting is like a sea nettle. The author once got stung and still could see the spine marks 10 days later. Well at least things aren't boring! I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried! Here's a site on buck moths:
http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/entomology/factsheets/buckmoth.html
Here's another one: http://bugguide.net/node/view/471
Here's a nice site on stinging caterpillars and includes the buck moth and saddleback in there: http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu/IPM/Landscape/F1/nStingingCaterpillars.htm
I took some photos of the caterpillars that got me. You can view one at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/insects/caterpillars/buckmoths.jpg but it's a little fuzzy. The camera just will not focus close-up on anything.

11. As of 8/31/06, my caterpillar attack sites are still obvious but not too itchy (still hot). My dying orfe has lost some obvious weight now. The 153 gallon has been torn up repeatedly by the raccoons. It's normally covered in waterlily leaves and duckweed. There are only a few leaves. One waterlily and sweetflag have been repotted almost daily so I give up there. The tadpoles and snails are running out of plants to eat and finishing off what the raccoons missed. I moved some duckweed and salvinia to that pond from my tub ponds which are completely covered in it. Now, all my ponds with pots all have a few empty pots where the plants were dumped so often that I've given up. Raccoons are stronger than I.

12. From 9/1/06 to 9/2/06, the remnants of Hurricane Ernesto came through. We got about 3.5 inches of rain. We haven't had really any rain in a few months so we needed it. The winds were strong enough to knock down the huge yellow flag iris which probably weighs 100 pounds, the tall hardy canna, the cattails, the lizard tail, and the various grasses. I used the pond net to push them up as best I could both days until I get in on 9/3/06. I realized I need to repot my iris; it's been two years next week. I don't know how I'll deal with that huge yellow flag iris by myself again! I guess I can try Labor Day which is my first "day off" since Fourth of July. I do labor on Labor Day every year!

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Pond Tidbits:
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1. I have no ideas or time this month.

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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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