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Robyn's Pond Newsletter September 2007

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?

On 8/27/07, my cat Samantha died. Her exact age is unknown but since the vet said she was 5 when we first took her in in 1994, that would make her about 18-years-old. She had chronic renal failure for more than five years.

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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/myfish/amphphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under frogs and toads 2007 are two new photos of a toad. I am not sure if it is a common toad or an American toad. I'm also not sure on the sex. What do you think?

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Summer 2007 are two new photos of the pond and two photos of my water lilies that were flowering.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
At the very bottom are three photos of a pond at the Land of the Little Horses. Under frogs, etc. are two photos of a Northern leopard frog.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/insects/index.htm -
At the bottom of the page is a new section on a strange egg mass that Lynne sent me. It was insect eggs but the eggs were large and formed a ring. I am not sure what they are.

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New Pages on Pond Showcase:
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1. None.

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Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
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1. On 8/5/07, I squirted of the flosses. I tidied up. Both fish ponds were at 79.5 degrees F. The water lettuce now covers basically the entire pond so I have to move about blindly, tripping over pots and rocks even though I know their basic locations. I saw two newly-morphed bullfrogs which must have been from the two tadpoles my mother got me a few months ago. One was riding on the back of my small fake alligator. It's too bad I didn't get a photo. I completely dumped the stale water in the mosaic pond on the front porch and put in new water. I need to do the same with the Tricker pond next Sunday.

The 2 gallon pot pond which has black magic taro in it was not doing well, contrary to the previous few years. My mother had put lots of big tomato plants near it on the pool deck (the only sunny place the deer don't denude plants) that had shaded it out and made it hard to get to. The raccoons had played "de-pot the taro" every night as well. I pulled it out and jammed it in deeper and put some new pea gravel around the top. I put the pot in a new location with more sun so hopefully it will do better.

I mulched for almost an hour but only did a foot wide strip along the west side of the pond. The drought it so bad that it's impossible for me to dig a hole, even a small one with a trowel. The clay dirt has cracks in it all over. That means I couldn't weed properly; instead, I just dumped mulch on top of the dirt and weed roots. Not much is growing but the weed grass on land and the water lettuce in the pond. When I'm near the waterfall, I feel like a giant in the middle of a busy airport with all the bees and wasps flying in and out. How I've avoided being stung, I don't know. I just try to move slowly.

2. I was e-mailing back and forth with a real koi person. She kind of got me to pay more attention to things that I should be paying attention to. I ordered my first real microscope. I had an antique one with no electricity that my father had found at a Hamfest 15 years ago. Now, I can play with this new one. I mentioned the die off I had a few years ago of no known cause. She was concerned about the copper from our pipes in my ponds so I ordered some heavy metal neutralizing liquid just in case. She also said my GH and KH are too low resulting in possible pH swings. I tested them on 8/7/07. I tested the tap water before aeration (after aeration, the pH will go up), my 50 gallon aquarium where I've had the most sick fish (rosy barbs with fish tuberculosis), and my 1800 gallon fish pond. The pH of the tap water was 6.5, the 50 gallon was 7.8, and the pond was somewhere between 7.8 and 8.0. The GH (general hardness, test kit only shows results in increments of 10 ppm) was 30 ppm for the tap, 50 ppm for the 50 gallon, and 80 ppm for the pond. The KH (carbonate hardness, related to alkalinity) was <35.8 ppm for the tap, <35.8 ppm for the aquarium, and 71.6 ppm for the pond (since I add baking soda).

By the way, ppm means parts per million. One ppm is equal to 1 mg/L (one milligram per liter) in water solutions and 1 mg/kg (one milligram per kilogram) otherwise. For water, 1 L = 1 kg or 1 mL = 1 mg. To convert from ppm to percent (weight/weight for solids and weight/volume for water solutions), divide by 10,000. So, 10,000 ppm is 1%. To say I have a GH of 30 ppm thus basically means that 0.003% of the weight in the water is due to calcium and magnesium (for the most part).

3. On 8/12/07, I dumped out the Tricker pond after removing the floating plants and filled it with fresh water so that pond can start over. The water was totally green. I squirted off the flosses and the Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool. The 1800 gallon was at 76 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 79 degrees F. I removed four buckets of water lettuce from the pond because every inch of the pond was covered in it. The only openings are where the waterfalls land and the air stone bubbles. Without those, the pond would have suffocated under water lettuce which must love the intense heat. The bonus of the water lettuce is that it keeps the pond cooler (see previously- mentioned temperatures), shades the fish, hides the fish from predators, and filters the water. I put some water lettuce in the Tricker pond and the back liner pond (watering hole cesspool). I added a dose of heavy metal neutralizer, actually half the dose for my size pond (45 mL). That should take care of any extra copper from the pipes that's been sitting in the pond. I don't do water changes because it takes about 15 minutes of well water every other day in this heat just to top off the pond. The well is kicking up small rocks in the drought.

4. On 8/19/07, it was finally raining a little but it had to be when I was ready to do my pond work. I went out an hour late when it let up to a sprinkle. I squirted off the flosses and did the usual. The 1800 gallon was at 71 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 72 degrees F. It seems that so many of my pond plant pots are dumped, half empty, or otherwise messed up from the raccoons and fish. I just don't have the time or energy to repot them. Plus, the animals would just then undo my work. I tossed four more buckets or so of water lettuce. The raccoon bit off 6 of the 10 leaves on the lotus at the base. He/she didn't eat them, just bit them off. It didn't matter that the lotus was in the middle of the pond or how much care I put into it. I haven't gotten a single flower in years and now it may not survive this latest attack. Someone asked a few months back if cutting a lotus leaf below the water level kills the plant. Well, obviously not because this isn't the first time Cooney has bit lotus leaves off. I pulled some weed grass out of the top of the waterfall and had to reset the rocks (all of which are completely loose and free to get into trouble). I finally had time to mulch but was thwarted once again by my niece coming over and the rain which made everything wet the rest of the day.

5. On 8/26/07, I squirted off the flosses, bioballs (in the kiddie pool), and Cyprio biothings (in situ for those). I put the last bag of lava rock that was in a 10 year old torn up bag into a new bag. The 1800 gallon was at 76 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 78 degrees F. I tossed out more water lettuce and tried to get it out of the hose hoop and feeding ring I had put out to try to keep an opening through which to feed the fish. There are actually fish down there but you'd never know it.

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Pond Tidbits:
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1. None 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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