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Robyn's Pond Newsletter October 2007

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?

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/other/other/cake.jpg -
A photo of the aquarium birthday cake me mother made me.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Summer 2007 are four new photos. Two are of the flowering white pickerel weed/rush. I have bought that plant maybe four times before but this is the first time it actually turned out white! There is also a photo of a flowering yellow primrose creeper and of the water lettuce covering the pond.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
Under frogs, etc. is a photo of a female bullfrog that Heather sent me.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/pictures.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under frogs and toads for 2007 are two photos of pickerel frogs in my pond and a photo of a gray tree frog that was on our house. Under birds is a photo my father took of the great blue heron that visited my pond.

5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/plants/marginals.htm#mystery -
I put up six photos of an unknown plant that Frank sent me. Do you know what it is?

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Lilypons/index.shtml -
On 9/2/07, I went to Lilypons and took a few photos that can be seen on this page.

2. http://www.pondshowcase.com/zoo/index.shtml -
We went to the National Zoo on 9/14/07. I put up 85 photos of animals from then. There are some pond photos mixed in.

3. http://www.pondshowcase.com/clydes/index.shtml -
After the zoo, we went to Clyde's restaurant because my mother wanted to show me the pond. I put up five photos of that pond here.

4. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Justin/index.shtml -
Justin got a tiny 6 gallon pond. It's so cute. I think he may have developed ponditis now and may build a larger pond.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. Since I had off 9/3/07 for Labor Day, I could afford the time to go somewhere the day before. On 9/2/07, I went to the Koi and Wine Festival at Lilypons. You can read more about that and see a few photos at the Pond Showcase page mentioned above. I intended to take more photos but my camera went nuts.

2. On 9/4/07, I did my pond chores a day late. The 1800 gallon was at 68 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 71 degrees F. I squirted off the flosses. I removed another four buckets or so of water lettuce (Lilypons was still selling it for more than $3 each so it's too bad I couldn't sell it). There were hundreds of honeybees and yellow jacket hornets all around and in the pond. They were using the water lettuce as a landing pad. I had to move slowly with my head down and look at everything before I touched it. They must be really docile because I didn't get stung. I did get attacked though, by a plant! The rice cut grass grabbed my hand and tore a minor bloody path. That stuff hurts! I do my best to avoid it. While in the pond, I saw a baby green frog, not unusual, except he didn't have a left eye! The eye hadn't been injured or bit off; it looked like there simply had never been an eye there. Since he didn't see well, I was able to pick him up and hold him.

I had gotten three plants at Lilypons. I got a white pickerel rush. I had previously bought "white" ones probably four times, and every single time, they flowered purple. I wanted to get one in flower but they brought me one with a bud instead. Luckily, on 9/4/07, it did open as white. I also got some primrose creeper which I've also had before that didn't last. I think it's pretty, and it grows like a weed at Lilypons. Finally, I got a variegated taro for half price (their special) since my black taro is not doing great. In order to make room for these new plants, I removed the two one gallon pots of free iris I had gotten last year. I found out this spring that they were just yellow flag iris. By this time, they had grow huge, jumped the pot enough to fill about three two gallon pots with nothing but them if I wanted. Each iris was in a mass more than 1.5 feet across. I stood them upright down in the weeds and where my pond overflows without dirt over the roots. If they survive, it wouldn't surprise me. I put one piece bareroot in my 20 gallon pond. I also removed a one gallon pot whose tenant was long dead (not sure which plant it was but probably one from this spring). I potted up the white pickerel in a two gallon pot. The primrose creeper was in eight pieces. I put one in the 50 gallon pond, stuffed two in the long dead lotus tub pot in the main pond, and potted the remaining five into a two gallon pot. I potted the variegated taro into a one gallon pot and set it as is on the deck next to the two gallon pot of black taro. I hope that it is safer there from the deer and raccoons. The taros will be coming inside in 1.5 months anyway.

3. On 9/9/07, I did my pond work at 10 am since relatives were coming over later in the day. I had to cancel other work to do that. The 1800 gallon pond was at 72 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 73 degrees F. I squirted off the flosses and the Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool. Since the partial pond net is all torn up, and water lettuce covers most of the pond's surface, I just took the net off completely. It's only about three weeks before I have to put the full net on anyway in preparation for the leaves coming. I threw out four more buckets of water lettuce. I'll leave most of it until next month when cooler days will start to kill it off.

4. On 9/16/07, I squirted off the flosses and did the usual. The 1800 gallon pond was at 64 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 68 degrees F. I fertilized the water lilies and one lotus in the 1800 gallon pond but nothing else. This is the last fertilization of the year. I had to upright my hardy canna and common cattails which had fallen over days before from high winds. Those winds also put a lot of leaves in the pond. In a few weeks, the nets will have to go on.

The day before, I changed the PondMaster filters which I usually don't note in the newsletter. I thought I would mention it because the fountain basically had stopped running for the first time ever despite squirting it off weekly. Why? They changed the polyester filter from a thick but airy one to a thinner more dense filter that clogs much more easily. I hate it when products change for the worse.

5. The morning of 9/19/07, I found that somebody had fun the night before. Numerous pots were knocked over. The filter in the 50 gallon tub pond was upside down. The feeding ring was out of the pond. But, most of all, the rocks at the top of the waterfall at the big pond were moved around so that the water was spitting outside of the lined area. The pond had lost about six inches of water which is not so good during a profound drought. I hope the raccoons were just being extra bad, and this wasn't the work of the neighbor's "dead" mastiff who reappears now and again.

6. I sometimes have those "Aha!" moments when I finally put the pieces of the puzzle together and get it. Here are those pieces. The pond has been messed up more than usual. The morning of 9/20/07, I noticed that there were pieces of bee comb in the pond overflow. Where did they come from? On the way to work, I got out of my car to look up close at a dead skunk only a few thousand feet from our land, the first one I had ever looked at up close. I have yet to ever see a live skunk anywhere but the zoo, and that was a spotted skunk, not a striped skunk. When I went to feed the fish on 9/21/07 after work, I noticed the solar light fixture (on the west side of the pond next to the old post that used to have a bird house but now has a flower pot on it) was knocked over. I leaned over to fix it. I saw yellow jacket hornets on the right so I looked over. There was a huge hole in the ground/mulch with hornets flying all over. Puzzle solved. A skunk had dug up the yellow jackets and had at least contributed to some of the messes around the pond lately. It cost him his life, not from all those stings, but from someone who squished him. Here's the good part. Because I had been unable to mulch that part of the area around the pond due to lack of time, I had avoided what might have turned out to be at least a few stings. If I had been pulling weeds there and rooting around, I imagine those very docile hornets might have changed their mind. I actually felt sorry for them as they were flying around as if to say, "Where's my home?" :-(

7. On 9/23/07, I did the usual Sunday chores. The 1800 gallon pond was at 69 degrees F while the 153 gallon was at 75 degrees F. All that water lettuce really keeps the big pond cooler! I squirted off the flosses, the main filter bioballs and lava rock, and the Cyprio biothings (in situ which means in place, without removing them). The bioball bags were really heavy with black pond gold (slop) even after just 4 weeks. I can't imagine those people who say they never clean out their filter material.

I put up the mosaic and Tricker ponds for the year. Both are under 20 gallons. Both were very green with suspended algae despite adding AlgaeFix weekly. Neither had any plants or animals worth saving. The Tricker pond had some mostly dead water lettuce and salvinia, that was it.

The yellow jacket hornets have made temporary homes at the top of the post on the west side of the pond that used to have a bird house but now has a geranium in a pot and also inside my fake heron. The fake heron has a big hole in its back where I accidently hit it with the sledge hammer a few winters ago! So, I have to be wary of the hornets but I can't not do what needs to be done. That meant that they flew into me a few times but luckily didn't sting. I also got a honeybee down my boot but felt it right away so I froze and moved my boot/foot so she could fly out without incidence. I try to remain calm surrounded by stingers but it's hard. I keep saying to myself, "I'm just any old animal, and the hornets don't attack animals just living their lives that aren't bothering them."

8. While I was cleaning the biofilter out, there was a small, maybe 1" green frog in there that I hand removed after half a dozen failed attempts to catch him. I thought I'd done a good deed. The next morning, 9/24/07, I found a frog just like him/her deceased, upside down by the side of the pond, partially mutilated. I'm pretty sure the raccoon did it. I had also seen two baby pickerel frogs the day before when working on the pond. I took photos. I hope the raccoons or other predators don't get them too!

9. On 9/28/07, I put the net over the 153 gallon pond. There were high winds the night before and during the day so that both ponds were covered in leaves.

10. On 9/29/07, I examined some water from my 20 gallon tub pond under the microscope. It had a lot of what seemed to be really large daphnia that were not daphnia. Under the microscope (after they had sat for a day in a cup and calmed down), I could see they were enclosed in a shell and had little hairy appendages around the edges. They were seed shrimp. They were pretty neat. This pond had no added animals at the time. I think I also saw a copepod shoot by.

11. On 9/29/07, I went to the MAKC koi show. I took a class on scraping koi for parasites. I did not find any on the poor feeder goldfish there. When I got home, I scraped one of my rosy barbs and found nothing. They handed out some color photos of parasites. There was the photo of anchor worm from my web site (without credit). At home, I put in anchor worm on Google images, and the photo came up first but not on my web site! Apparently other web sites have used the photo without credit at all as well. I found it on three web pages with no credit (such as name, web site, or anything). That photo was sent to me by someone, and the exact photo being used was one I personally cropped. I don't mind people using my photos, feel free, but please give credit at least to the person who took the photo. In this case, it was Larry who deserves some credit for an excellent photo he sent to me for identification.

At the show, I tried not to look at the koi since my pond cannot accommodate any more. I wore my shirt with "Robyn's Pond" and my web sites on the back but zero people asked me about it or talked to me. The rich koi folk are out of my league.

12. On 9/30/07, I completely changed the filter floss material around the OASE Nautilus 60 pump that runs the main waterfall in my 1800 gallon pond. The 1800 gallon was at 64 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 69 degrees F. After hand removing as many leaves as I could while in the pond and out, I put the net over the 1800 gallon pond. While in the pond, I had an "incident." I rarely fall which is amazing since the geniuses who put in my pond put it all on a slope instead of stair stepping it. While moving blindly (the water lettuce blocks all view below) among the water lilies, one leg slipped down the slope. With nothing to grab onto, the rest of me went down too. I managed to keep the water out of my hip waders but got my shirt a little wet. I hope I didn't injure the liner by grinding in gravel. I just know if my brother had seen it (he was inside), he would have guffawed for a few hours.

13. When I got home on 10/3/07, my mother said she had seen a great blue heron by the pond that morning. The next morning, I saw it too. It's a good thing the pond is netted! They always seem to come back. Since the pond is totally covered in water lettuce still, they must find it either by sound or memory from previous visits. The fish are safe but any wandering frogs outside of the net may be eaten by the heron. Today, 10/4/07, it has been four years since I moved my web site to fishpondinfo.com.

14. I saw the heron again the night of 10/4/07 and the morning of 10/5/07. His/her head is so slender! My father got a photo that I put on my site.

Pond Tidbits:

1. None this month.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. None this month.

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