Last Updated: 2/17/14
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? Is anyone reading these newsletters?
Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):
(URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/mosaic.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:
1. I kind of went crazy and added 13 new photos to this page even though I don't have much room left in my account (so the photos are kept small). Under big pond summer 2002 photos, I added two photos of the pond taken facing South on 8/25/02 where you can see tons of water lettuce and a reflection off the waterfall's water (augpond3.jpg and augpond4.jpg) and three photos taken on 9/21/02 which are facing NW, NE, and SE so it's like taking a walk around the pond (septpond.jpg, septpond2.jpg, septpond3.jpg). You can also see my new fake heron in two of those photos. Also under this section is a photo of my pond birthday cake (cake2.jpg). Under other ponds summer 2002, there is a photo of my new mosaic pond taken 9/21/02 (mosaic.jpg, see below for the story behind this pond), two photos of my two gallon pot pond with the yellow canna in flower taken 8/25/02 (canna2,jpg which shows it from a distance and canna3.jpg which is a flower close-up), and a photo showing all my ponds near the 153 gallon with the 20 gallon tub pond behind it with taro and the 50 gallon lotus tub behind that taken on 8/25/02 facing NW (all.jpg). Under frogs and toads is a photo of an excellent close-up of a female green frog on my sandstone bridge at my 153 gallon pond on 9/21/02 (femfrog.jpg) and a more distant view taken at the same time showing a male green frog waiting in the water for her among the hair algae and hornwort (froglove.jpg). Under other animals and then insects is a photo of a tiger swallowtail feeding from a butterfly bush near my 1800 gallon pond on 9/21/02 (swallow.jpg).
2. I added a new section about my new ~20 gallon mosaic pond. See below for more information as well.
Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
1. On 9/8/02, the water was 70 degrees F. I replaced the floss around the two pumps with fresh floss, some of it has barley straw but most is plain. I use diaper pins to hold the largest piece of floss in a tube shape. I squirted out the Cyprio bio-things in the kiddie pool. Some of them had what must have been the empty pupation cases of the many midges that fly out of the filter. It looked like fish poo but it was stuck to the curler-like bio-things and had an opening in the free end like a tube. I collected a lot of water lettuce and various yellowing plant leaves for disposal. The fall die off of plants has begun but ever so slowly. I put fresh mosquito dunks in six of my ponds (that's all but the large one which has hundreds of fish to eat mosquito larvae).
2. For my birthday, my mother bought me a big fake heron and a new pond. The heron looks really fake close up but from afar, it could trick someone at first. The pond is about 20 gallons. I had mentioned it to her after seeing it, as the goldfish mosaic in the bottom was gorgeous. The rest of it is not high quality but because it's expensive, I asked her not to buy it. She did anyway so now I'll have yet another pond. It needs to be buried in the spring and comes with a pump with fountain and a little light. Because the plug has a bulky AC adapter on it, it won't fit into the outdoor plugs. I also don't know if I could have the pump run and not the light as they are on the same line. If you have any ideas, let me know! I also need some keystone capstones or rocks that will form a circular necklace if anyone knows where I can buy those for this new pond. My mom also had a pond cake made. It was amazing. A blue pond with a few candy water lilies, gummy frogs, gummy goldfish, and candy edging. There was raspberry jelly in the middle. It was a great cake! A photo of the cake is at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/other/other/cake2.jpg. Thank you to the two members of this newsletter who wished me a happy birthday. I sold only one book in September on 9/11/02 of all days so thanks to that person.
3. Early on 9/15/02, I got into the pond to squirt the flosses, squirt off the main bioballs and lava rock, fertilize the plants one more time, upright four fallen pots, remove yellow leaves from the plants that are starting to die back for winter, and tidy up. I only fertilized a few plants that I could get fertilizer into. Mostly just the tropical water lily and lotuses got fertilizer for one last time. The water was 72 degrees F.
4. At dusk on 9/21/02, six frogs were ringed around my 153 gallon pond. Through binoculars I could see that four were green frogs but two were young bullfrogs (slightly larger than the green frogs but not big enough to eat them yet).
5. On 9/22/02, the pond water was 74 degrees F, and it was like summer with temperatures in the 80's and 100% humidity. I squirted the floss and the Cyprio bio-things. Then, I covered both fish ponds with leaf nets (I don't cover the five smaller ponds and have to collect leaves there daily). They were due the following week but due to two events I had to attend, I wouldn't have enough time to do it then. I had to sew a patch over a hole in the 153 gallon net with fishing line and a piece of netting. The next morning before dawn, I could see a large frog bouncing up and down on the main pond's net like a trampoline. When I got outside later to feed the fish in daylight, the large bullfrog was kind of stuck in a corner so I lifted the net next to him and guided him into the water. He pushed off of me and felt pretty strong (and slimy)! On the 153 gallon, three frogs were bouncing up and down. I guided the green frog and two young bullfrogs into the water. This pond has the net up on one side so the frogs can come and go into the 20 gallon tub pond and 50 gallon lotus tub pond but somehow, the frogs end up on top as often as finding the right path.
6. On 9/28/02, when I went to feed the 153 gallon fish (which I never see), there was a young bullfrog (a little larger than my adult green frogs) on the brick edging, on top of the net. I thought he was dead at first but his eyes rolled. His legs were all mangled, with bodily fluids and exposed bone. It was all my fault. I had to put up the nets early because I'm too busy. This bullfrog couldn't find the large openings I left in the netting on one side and must have jammed himself repeatedly into the net trying to escape a predator, most likely our raccoons or perhaps a cat, skunk, or opossum. He was obviously in pain. I set him in the weeds and hoped he wouldn't suffer much longer. The raccoon probably ate him for dinner that night.
7. On 9/29/02, I got in the 68 degree F water in my swimming suit still to remove and squirt off the flosses. I tidied up a little but didn't do enough work on the ponds that day.
8. This is a story that took place in my 40 gallon tank and not my ponds but it involves two animals frequently kept in ponds in warmer areas or in temperate ponds during summer. My father told me that some loud noises were coming from this tank on 10/3/02 around 9:20 pm. I figured it was Plecy, my 13 inch plecostomus (Liposarcus pardalis) who knocks things around. When I looked in, I couldn't believe what I saw. It appeared as if Plecy was trying to eat my huge 3" albino mystery snail (Pomacea canaliculata, an apple snail). Then, it became apparent that in fact, the snail had shut his trap door over Plecy's lip, and they were stuck together. Plecy was having trouble getting enough water through his gills and was thrashing around, slamming the snail hard into the glass. Since you don't just pick up a pleco covered in spikes, I put on my pond gloves and tried to catch/hold Plecy but that was futile as he is much stronger than I! Instead, I grabbed the snail, and then, Plecy was able to thrash free of the snail. Plecy was fine. I was worried that the snail might have cracked his trap door or shell but he was around cruising a half hour later. It was a battle of the nocturnal giants, like Godzilla and Rodan or something! If I hadn't been able to intervene, the snail would have been smashed by Plecy, and Plecy probably would have suffocated. If it happens again, I'll have to separate them but I don't want to put either plant-eating machine in my other smaller, planted tanks.
Interesting Animal Sightings:
1. My mother saw an opossum on our porch on 10/1/02.
Web Sites of Interest:
1. Ever wonder what those strange acronyms in e-mails mean? This site will teach you all sorts of strange abbreviations to include in your e-mails: http://www.gaarde.org/acronyms.
2. To read about the story of a sick goldfish and her operation at a hospital that treats fish, check out http://online.wsj.com/article_email/0,,SB1031531933774896595,00.html (what a URL!).
3. This is an interesting UK site with information and microscopic photos of all sorts of microorganisms found in pond water: http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/pond/x_index.html.
4. Here are two web sites with some interesting information on feeding pond koi and goldfish.
Feeding Koi and Goldfish -
Koi articles - http://www.dragonflydream.com/January.html- includes one on making medicated koi food.
5. Lake Jackson Turtle Ecopassage at http://www.lakejacksonturtles.org is a site about the fight to save hundreds of turtles and other animals being killed crossing one section of US Highway 27 in Florida; they're working on having a permanent ecopassage installed. The site also has some photos of some interesting turtles.
What's your favorite pond-related web site(s)?
Do you have a web site you want me to mention here?
1. John-Paul from beautiful Colorado Springs has some useful pond tips. His pond is about 300 gallons, 5' x 6', and 3 feet deep. It's shaped like a cone or a vortex filter so all the debris goes to the bottom. The pond has a few dozen minnows and shiners, 6 goldfish, 2 small koi, and 2 medium koi as well as half a dozen tadpoles and mystery snails. A black bear even was in his pond "daily stirring things up" but didn't get any fish. Here are his pond tips.
"...I'm a stickler for hiding cords, tubes and hardware in & around my pond so nothing unnatural shows, & though I'd share some thoughts....I wrapped my tube and cord that go to my pump with artificial ivy garland. Hobby stores sell garland in all sorts of plant varieties and they come in long lengths and look entirely real under water. With all the other underwater plants, my cords now disappear beautifully. I've disguised underwater lights similarly. Where the tubing surfaces on the side of the pond (I place it right by the edge of the waterfall), it's wrapped with a smaller leafed garland almost identical to the Vinca minor (periwinkle) planted around the edge of the pond. From there it snakes up through various plants and grasses to the top of the waterfall. Since no tubes or wires are underground, I can pull out the pump, straighten the tube, and flush it out easily. I'm also big on simple maintenance. My only filter is a 5 gallon bucket buried at the top of the waterfall. Inside the 5 gallon bucket is a 2 gallon bucket filled with lava rock. I push the tubing from my pump to the bottom of the 2 gallon bucket (I stuck a larger rigid pipe in first, to make it easy to get the tubing in and out). The rim of the larger bucket is cut out on one side so the water spills out & makes the waterfall. Hyacinth completely cover the surface of this 'upflow' filter so the inside edges of the bucket don't show at all. They also complete the filter. Cleaning the filter just means lifting out the 2 gallon bucket with its handle, squirting off the lava & hyacinth and plopping it back in....Self-regulating stuff is important to me because we're gone a lot. I connected a drip system - tiny plastic tubing hooked to the water spigot - to keep the pond topped off. It's not as accurate as a float valve, but it's easy to install, invisible and takes no room. I don't have a water line out to my pond, so I bought 200 feet of water hose and ran it along the side of the yard to connect the house-side spigot to the pond. I covered it with mulch and snaked it behind some rocks. Near the pond, I buried it about 4 inches and connected it to a water spigot I bought at the hardware store. With the right adapters, I'm able to leave the water on at the house, split the spigot at the pond into 2 valved sources, connect a regular hose to one source and the micro tubing to the other. No leaks at all. Cost less than $100...for the whole shebang & was light duty to set up....My main planter is a big ceramic 'strawberry pot' (fluted pot with holes on the sides). The rim of this pot is only about 1 foot from the surface. My water lily (I have just one but it makes huge pads that cover «+ the water surface) is planted in this pot 6 inches below the rim. Pads trail out through the side holes as well as the center. Since the water is clear, I like the pot to be as pretty as the plant, and this pot fits the bill nicely...."
2. I use my Tetra Luft air pump with its air stone in my 1800 gallon pond in summer to add extra oxygen and in my 153 gallon over winter to keep the bottom aerated so the frogs don't die. They no longer make that pump though. The closest thing I can find is the OASE pond-air aeration pump. Both Aqua-Mart and Drs. Foster and Smith sell it. See my pond catalogs page for their contact information. I may have to buy one when/if my Luft pump dies. Other companies sell large aeration systems but they cost hundreds of dollars and would cause too much boiling/rolling of water in my small ponds. Drs. Foster and Smith and Pond Guy are two places selling new expensive air-stone systems which are great for larger farm or koi ponds.
3. You can really help out your local amphibian populations by setting up a pond. Providing cover and water benefits so many animals that it is well worth the effort. Remember to avoid using pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, especially near where amphibians hang out. Try going au naturelle! See my organic pond page (http://www.fishpondinfo.com/orgpond.htm) for information on how to deal with "pests" without harming your froggie friends!
4. Back in early August, I got a series of questions from a ponder regarding how and when to thin back anacharis in a pond. If you have adult koi or goldfish in a pond, you will not have to worry about too many submerged plants. My 1800 gallon has basically none left (I've put in hundreds worth probably $500 over 5.5 years) but my 153 gallon with just six small dace and a load of frogs, tadpoles, and snails has a profusion of mostly hornwort with some anacharis. My tub ponds are covered with duckweed in summer, and my main pond is covered with water lettuce this year (water hyacinth and salvinia have taken over in past years) during late summer. How and when do I decide to remove some? How much harm do these plants cause in excess? Well, for the submerged plants, the main concerns are that the animals don't have enough room, other plants don't get enough light, and overnight, the plants may use too much oxygen. If you think you have too much anacharis, hornwort, or whatever submerged plant, you probably do. In my case, I would put them in other ponds like my 1800 gallon where they would be quickly eaten as a treat. If you only have one pond and no pond or aquarium friends, then the compost heap will do (or feed them to wildlife). Never put any pond or aquarium plants in natural bodies of water. If you have fish and/or frogs/tadpoles, keep at least 1/3 to « of the area in the water free of vegetation so they have room to swim around. Add aeration via waterfall, fountain, or air stone (from air pumps or compressors) to increase oxygen in ponds laden with plants in summer. If there is anacharis or other plants blocking light to your other plants, move those plants to another area of the pond or take them out. In late summer, I remove healthy tropical lily leaves from a huge prolific plant so the hardy lilies can get some sun. Most excess plant removal occurs in August and September in my area (Zone 7, Eastern USA). Floating plants can really get out of hand. The concerns are the same as with submerged plants except they usually don't reduce swimming room. The biggest problems are thus blocking sunlight to other plants (in which case, you should remove some) and cutting off air exchange. So the fish get enough oxygen, again be sure there's enough aeration in summer and early fall. Except for duckweed, most prolific floating plants (water hyacinth, water lettuce, and salvinia) are tropical plants. For duckweed, I start scooping excess by hand out in late summer and putting it in my big pond for the fish to gobble up. By fall, rains usually wash most duckweed out of my tub ponds. In fall, it will sink to the bottom and return in spring, even in 20 gallon tub ponds. Duckweed is usually not a problem in large ponds unless they lack herbivorous fish like goldfish and koi. Duckweed also hates moving water. The tropical floaters (only water lettuce this year as the water hyacinth died during mid-summer thanks to repeated munching by the raccoon) will take over my pond by August. I start throwing out buckets weekly then but always leave plenty behind that within a week fills in the open areas. By late September, tropical floaters will start to turn brown and yellow. Then, I remove a larger percentage. After the first frost, they die. It's important to then remove all that are left before they rot and sink. I toss them in the weeds. No animals I have found will eat the water lettuce except aphids but the deer like water hyacinth.
Some Not-So-Fun Things That Often Happen at Your Pond:
1. You will drop the fish food lid, fertilizer pills, etc. into the pond, often.
2. The pump will pop of the tubing, when you're late for work.
3. The fish will splash you, when you're all dolled up.
4. The power or pump will fail, on the hottest or coldest day of the year. When the power goes out, the first thing you think about is the pond(s).
5. The de-icer will fail when you need it the most, as will your 2 or 3 backup de-icers.
6. When visitors come over, the lilies will close up, the leaves will fall in, the fish will not come up to feed or be seen, the frogs will hide, and it will drizzle.
7. The most leaves will fall into your pond the week before you put on the leaf net and the week after you take it off when winds will blow back all the leaves you're carefully spent two months removing off the pond, around the pond, and in your yard.
8. That special lily or lotus will finally bloom, when you're at work, and you miss it all.
9. A special plant in or around the pond will finally set buds and the day before it opens, the deer, rabbit, or other critter eats the buds off. (If you had the forethought to cage the plant, the animal will have removed it.)
10. When in the pond, you will slip and fall on your rear and someone will be nearby to laugh at you.
11. You will have stupid pond nightmares like me. I often have dreams about a large un-lined room being used as a pond and my having to rescue the inhabitants by moving them elsewhere to put a liner in this big room. Makes a lot of sense, huh?
12. If you leave the waterfall running through winter like I, you will not be able to sleep on really cold nights until you get up at 2 am in 10 degree F weather to check to be sure the waterfall outlet hasn't jammed with ice and pumped the pond dry.
Despite all of this, when the day is through, it's worth it! All these things have happened to me! If you have not so fun things you've done for the love of your pond, let me know for the next newsletter. Enough pond prattling for this month! Go tend to your pond!
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