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Robyn's Pond Newsletter November 2003

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?

While answering e-mails in early October and getting used to my new e-mail system (I don't like it as it's way too slow), Gino (my cat) was crawling all over me. With my confusion and his pushing me and typing for me, I accidently deleted an e-mail. I always answer legitimate questions posed by e-mail but this one, I only saw the title, "Hatchling." If by chance that was you, please e-mail me again. I didn't ignore you. If any of you do send me an e-mail with questions, and I don't reply within a few days, feel free to send another as this could happen again! My new site has gotten thousands of hits but has generated almost no e-mail. I didn't get one e-mail of any sort after I sent out my previous newsletter. Is anyone alive out there who actually reads this newsletter or my site?

I'm so sorry my life is so overworked that I don't have time to fill up this newsletter with useful information. I'm still looking for other people to contribute some pond tidbits but no one's biting.

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/pictures.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/box.htm

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. I added six photos taken at the Koi and Wine Festival at Lilypons in Frederick, Maryland on 8/31/03. They are under a new section called Lilypons. There are victoria lilypads, koi, a field of blooming lotus, splotched tropical lily pads, blue and white tropical lily flowers, and a great egret to see. I also have added five photos sent to me in the last three years by various people that I finally wanted to clear from one of my e-mails. Under frogs and toads, the sixth photo down is a bullfrog eating a bird (frogbird.jpg). Under fish, summer 2003, the first photo is a golden telescope (bought as a moor, goldfgf.jpg), and under fish, winter 2001/2002 (it's old!), is an underwater shot of goldfish (under.jpg). Under other animals and then reptiles, there are two photos of a huge common snapping turtle (snapper1.jpg, snapper2.jpg) (after the newer photos of a baby red-eared slider). I'm thinking I should remove all the photos of other people's ponds, pond animals, etc. and put them on their own page. My pictures page is too big.

2. We spent some time with our resident box turtle when she was found ill so I updated and moved my box turtle page to this page with new information. I know this is not pond related but I did have a box turtle in my pond (see http://www.fishpondinfo.com/story.htm#turtle).

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 10/5/03, I squirted the flosses and bioballs. I saw the baby pickerel frog using water lettuce as a raft. The big pond was at 55 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 58 degrees F. Green frogs were around the 153 gallon, and I helped one that was stuck on top of the net (which I put on the day before, mentioned in the last newsletter). After removing more water hyacinth, water lettuce, yellowing vegetation, and leaves from the 1800 gallon pond, it was time for its net. I got a new net since my old one had dozens of holes I had sewed up. I don't like the new one. It's a hard black (plastic) while the old one was a soft green (nylon). It was the only one big enough I could find to buy. It catches on everything, and even with my brother's help, it took a long time to untangle it and try to get it in place. It's 28' x 28' while I needed 20' x 30' (my green net was really close) which they don't sell so it barely reaches in one direction and has a ton extra in the short direction. I wonder how long it will be before the squirrels chew a dozen holes in this new net?

2. One disadvantage of the net is that wildlife has trouble getting in and out. So far, the frogs haven't gotten stuck but there was a huge dragonfly over my big pond that couldn't figure out how to get to the water. It was probably a female looking to lay eggs. Too bad I couldn't install a door for her!

3. On 10/11/03, I setup my indoor basement pond for the winter. I happened to see Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil at Home Depot and got a bag for over $6. I didn't need it but then when I thought about it, there was a reason I impulse bought it! Last year, the basement pond's pots keep letting out dirt from under the pea gravel and clogging the Penguin Mini filter I use. This expensive bought soil is arcillite or Fuller's earth. It won't cloud the water. So, I potted up my black magic taro that had been growing in the ground (where water spills from one of my 20 gallon tub pond) into a 2 gallon pot with damp Schultz soil and then pea gravel. The taro had one juvenile and two baby taros growing next to it that I stuck in there too. In a 1 gallon pot, I put in some dwarf papyrus that was hanging on. For both, I tied them to a bamboo pole stuck into the pot as the Schultz soil is unstable so the plants just flop over without support. I used almost the entire bag on those two pots. All my other tropical marginals died (two hibiscus, one canna, and another I think I forgot) except the canna in my 2 gallon pot pond which I intend to try to overwinter soon in sphagnum moss as two years in a row, keeping one potted in the basement pond led to its quick demise. The two pots were set on bricks in the 20 gallon tub pond. I bailed in a total of about 16 gallons of water with some Stress-Zyme and Stress-Coat and hooked up the Penguin Mini to get the pond started.

4. On 10/12/03, I squirted the flosses and tidied up. It was no fun walking around under the net and having it catch on my glasses half a dozen times. Due to the net, I become lax in cleaning up in the pond. I didn't remove much more water hyacinth and water lettuce but after the first real frost, it will all have to go. The 1800 gallon was up to 62 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 65 degrees F. I cut back the marsh mallow next to the pond. I wanted to collect the goldfish fry from the back 18 gallon lined pond which is basically a deer drinking hole with some torn up water hyacinth (from whence the eggs came). Because leaves were due to fall so soon and cleaning would be a waste, I decided to just net the water to collect the fry. It was so disgusting in there. The black sludge was thick and clogged the net. By hand-sifting the gunk, I hand picked out a total of 3 big (almost an inch) and 14 small (a quarter to half inch) black/natural goldfish fry. I think they were happy when I popped them into the basement pond or at least, in shock, because they could see! They also will be fed for the first time. They must have been living on microbes and all the daphnia in the back pond as otherwise, it's empty of life. I'm sure they also ate smaller siblings. Ok, I know 17 goldfish in 16 gallons is a no-no but they are very tiny and will still be pretty small when I put them into the pond with their parents next spring.

5. On 10/18/03, I brought in the little pump and filter that was in my 50 gallon lotus tub pond. The next day, I tried to catch some tadpoles but the vegetation is so thick (submerged plants mostly) that I didn't have much luck.

6. On 10/19/03, I squirted the flosses. I dismantled the Cyprio planter filter with 700 gph pump to dry it on the porch to put it up until next spring. I cut back the dwarf cattail and some other yellow leaves on the marginals. The leaf net had quite a few leaves so I shook it while in the pond. The net kept catching on my glasses, fingers, and hair and generally pestering me. I walked around under it doing some clean up but it's hard. It would be more work to remove such a large net while working in there though. The big pond was down to 54 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 57 degrees F.

7. On 10/26/03, first I shop vacuumed the back 18 gallon liner pond. There was almost no water in there, mostly sludge, leaves, water hyacinth, water lettuce, and twigs. I looked at what I removed and saw no movement (the only way I could check for remaining goldfish fry). I don't see how they could have lived in that anyway. I filled it up with fresh water. Then, I worked on the 2 gallon pot pond which was a 2 gallon pot of tiger tropical water canna. It was hard to get it out of the ceramic pot over the plastic one but my father got it out. I had to cut the plastic Lerio pot off. Then, they say, just collect the tubers. Easier said than done! I had to jump on the lump with a shovel which busted up many tubers. I tried pulling them apart. It was very overgrown. I got 12 pieces which I squirted with the hose to clean off, let sit for an hour, and then put in a bag with sphagnum moss. I also dug up one pitiful tropical land canna (2 tubers) that I put in another bag with sphagnum and 4 peacock orchids that go in a bare bag. I wasn't sure if the sphagnum should be damp or not so I put it in dry and later searched the internet. Some sites say dry and some say wet! Since the one time I tried to bareroot overwinter the land canna, the thing shriveled up, I think I will keep the moss a little wet. Then, I took to doing the main pond's chores which means pulling the net back, removing the basket with floss, getting out, squirting it off, getting back in and putting it back together, getting out to turn on the pump, and getting back in to tidy up by removing more water hyacinth, water lettuce, leaves, yellowing plants, etc. I forgot to wipe down the waterfall this week (to remove algae, moss, etc. to keep it flowing nice). The 1800 gallon pond was down to 54 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 58 degrees F. I also wanted to remove my two pots of tropical water hibiscus. I only got one out but it looked like it had leaves that might sprout. I'm not sure if it's trying to live or not so I removed it (it was tiny) and jammed it into the 2 gallon pot of dwarf papyrus in the basement pond for winter to see if it comes back to life. It hasn't had any leaves in months. My big tropical water hibiscus is dead for sure but I just didn't feel like trying to get to it through the net and pots. I cut down my big cattails and another pot of dwarf cattails. The catkins are nice to look at but I really don't need cattails sprouting on their own. I put in some pond clay and the next months dose of Microbe-Lift Autumn Prep. There's a lot more small leaves now in the water that went though the net. I helped two huge dragonflies that were stuck get out, one each under my 1800 gallon and 153 gallon nets.

Pond Tidbits:

1. A local article a few months ago said that a particular urban pond was now devoid of calling frogs where there had been some in the past, frog counters were lamenting, and they have found goldfish in there which were the sole reason. We contacted the people in charge and made a few points. The pond also had crayfish. They not only would keep goldfish fry in check by eating them but would eat some tadpoles as well. Regardless of whether the pond had fish, any frogs in the area would call there anyway. It would be years before they died off if all the tadpoles died. The local area in question was not frog-friendly with mono-culture, pesticide-laden grass, pavement, dense housing, etc. There were no nearby natural water areas where frogs could come from to replenish the pond. The area had little plant cover. They hadn't tested the water for pesticides, such as mutagenic atrazine which feminizes male frogs. They also mentioned that mosquitoes and algae would be or were a problem, and they wanted to add bass to eat all the goldfish. As far as I know, goldfish eat mosquito larvae and algae quite a bit but bass do not. Anyway, they're going to do what they want. At least they're not poisoning the pond. It's a shame that non-native species seem to always take all the blame for something when we should all look in the mirror at the worst-behaved non-native species. For example, the mute swans they want to kill in the Chesapeake are not the sole reason that plant and bird diversity is down. The water also happens to be polluted, surrounded by over-development, and treated with disrespect. I would bet that the swans impact is very tiny. Even native species are treated this way, such as the whitetail deer in our area. There's a massive slaughter campaign in place now which may lead injured deer followed by newby hunters to trespass on our land. Their aim is to kill "every" deer (yes, even fawns) in half a dozen parks, one which is 1/4 a mile from us. Why are there too many deer for the tiny bits of natural land left? People. I wish those who hate deer and other animals could see them as the individuals that they are and not things to be destroyed. But, that will never happen. I've probably offended all of you now so I'll stop.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. Kathy on rec.ponds sent out a link to this story on frog eggs falling from the sky during Hurricane Isabel (sorry for the LONG URL!):
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-ct--flying frogeggs1001oct01,0,3584098,print.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire (note to viewers: I could not get this link to go through as the URL is too long but if you type it, it might work).

What's your favorite pond-related web site(s)?
Do you have a web site you want me to mention here?


"Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten." - Cree Indian prophecy.

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