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Robyn's Pond Newsletter November 2004

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?

On 10/13/04, our hen, Clarice died. She had been lethargic for a short while and died of natural causes. She was a sweetheart.

My main folder has grown too huge to handle. Instead of making subdirectories for each topic which would be extremely time consuming (changing thousands of internal links), shut down my site or at least the updates for almost a year, and confuse people, I'm moving all the photos to their own directory. No one should notice the change. The only reason I bring it up is that if anyone has a link to a specific photo, it will eventually be moved. I am going through html files one at a time so it will take 6-12 months to move all the photos.

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/otherpondphotos.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm
3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/frogs/salyspecies.htm#amph [Updated when the amphibian pages were moved.]
4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/frogs/frogwinter.htm#indoors [Updated when the frog pages were moved.]

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. Under other ponds for summer 2004 are two photos of a water poppy flower.

2. I finally added a bunch of photos that I've gotten the last few months. Under turtles is a photo of snapping turtles hatching from Michelle and three of a chicken turtle from Mimsy. Under insects are three photos of blackfly larvae from Stuart. Under other photos are five photos of Terry's pond. Details are there on the page.

3. A new section on the amphiuma is on my salamander page. Don't know what that is? Neither did I until someone sent the photo shown there for identification.

4. Under Summer 2004 photos are a photo of the tropical tiger canna flowering and three photos of the 1800 gallon pond on 10/3/04 when the net was off before I put on the leaf net.

5. I wrote a new section I had been meaning to write for years on overwintering frogs and toads indoors.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 10/2/04, later in the day, I did remove that dying 7" orange common goldfish I mentioned in the last newsletter after it died.

2. On 10/3/04, I removed the heron net. Then, I squirted off all the flosses and bioballs/biothings. I will now switch to squirting out the main bioballs once every 5 weeks instead of four. The Cyprio filter will be put up in a few weeks. The 1800 gallon pond was at 65 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 68 degrees F.

While in the pond, I found yet another dead goldfish, another 7" mostly orange common goldfish. I looked at it very closely to find any symptoms and found these: the fish was super slimy; it had white dots on its gills which could have been tubercles; at the same time its vent was enlarged, almost like eggs were ready to come out which would indicate a female; the fish was very mildly (hardly noticeable, could be eggs or nothing even) bloated/enlarged; and there were small red veins evident on the underside. This could be indicative of a bacterial problem like septicemia. The fish certainly don't have dropsy (no raised scales), advanced tuberculosis, etc. but maybe could have an internal bacterial infection. Why so many would die and always one a day (and no other species of fish), I cannot figure out. If I knew what was going on, maybe I could treat for it. I'm vexed and saddened. So far, the 2 koi, 4 orfe, few remaining fathead minnows, and other goldfish seem totally fine. It's only when one goldfish a day goes into the shallows and just stops moving that I know something is wrong.

I cut and pulled some grass out of the waterfall and around the edges of the pond. I installed the 1800 gallon leaf net over the entire pond. I added a first dose of Microbe-Lift Autumn Prep to the 153 and 1800 gallon ponds.

3. The morning of 10/4/04, I found in the pond, you guessed it, a dead goldfish. This one was just a baby. An actual measurement gave 4" long but it seemed so small. All the others, I never really measured, except Jack who was 14" long. I guessed they were all 6" but they probably were in the range of 6-8". The only symptom the fish show is that the day before one dies, it hovers in the shallow area, barely moving and then having trouble staying upright. They don't gasp or spaz or anything. It's like they're falling asleep.

4. The morning of 10/5/04, I was hoping to not find another goldfish but did. I measured this one at 7.5". It was orange/red and white and had the same symptoms or lack thereof of the others.

5. The morning of 10/6/04, I did NOT find a dead fish! Hurray! There was one lethargic fish in the shallows, probably the next one. Ahhhhh!!!!!! We had an almost frost that night that wilted my tropical black taro. I plan to bring the tropical plants on 10/11/04 on a day off for that and doctor and vet appointments. I have 5 (4 are geriatric) sick animals (of my 18 non-tank/non- pond/non-wild animals) on 8 medications of 5 kinds. On 10/7/04, I didn't find a dead fish either! I hope this is a trend!

6. On 10/9/04, I removed a dead 8" red/orange goldfish in perfect shape from my 1800 gallon pond. This is poor fish #10 recently! I have never had a die off before. I'm at a total loss for what to do.

7. On 10/10/04, I squirted off the flosses. The 1800 gallon pond was at 62 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 66 degrees F. I found two more dead goldfish unfortunately while in the pond that had been dead a day or two. One was a 7.5" mostly white goldfish with a few red color spots, and the other was a 4.5" mostly white goldfish with a few larger red spots. They were very similar in pattern and pretty fish. Now, it's up to a dozen victims of I don't know what! I removed most of the tropical pond plants to go inside for the winter. From the 1800 gallon pond, I pulled a one gallon pot of bluebells, a two gallon pot of regular papyrus, and a two gallon pot of Aztec arrowhead. I cut most of the papyrus long pieces off because they were all bent. The huge tassels are neat on the papyrus. The only improvements I made to those three plants was to add some new small pea gravel to the tops to make them look neater. It makes it look like they've just been repotted but they haven't. I will wait a few weeks still before bringing in my big tropical tiger canna. From the 20 gallon "tropical" tub pond where the deer chomped everything to bits, I removed a tiny, chewed up bit of regular taro which I potted into a one gallon pot and another of the tiger canna which I stored in damp sphagnum moss. From the pool deck, I removed the two gallon pot pond of black taro which I pulled out of the pot and repotted. The bluebells, papyrus, arrowhead, and regular taro all fit into the 20 gallon indoor tub pond. The black taro I left free standing under the plant light with a layer of water over the gravel. The next day, I cleaned brought in dozens of terrestrial tropical house plants that my mother keeps buying and buying and buying. Needless to say, a good portion of the basement looks like an undernourished tropical forest but without enough lighting. I also have started tossing more water hyacinth, about a dozen big ones this day. As soon as the first real frost hits, they will die en masse. The deer run right over when I toss out plants. They love lily leaves the most. I put new barley straw in the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds. I cut back the two pots of overgrown dwarf cattails.

8. As it is cooling down, I have stopped feeding the pond fish on mornings that are below 50 degrees F. By 10/13/04, that's basically every morning. They will still get afternoon feedings for a few more weeks.

9. On 10/16/04, we got a hail storm! Marble-sized hail pelted for 5 minutes and put holes in the lotus leaves as well as other plants. The ground was covered in ice for about 15 minutes before it all melted. This same storm later caused the largest chain reaction pile up of car accidents in Maryland state history on Route 95. On 10/17/04, my mother and I went to the Renaissance Festival all day so I took the next day off to do my Sunday chores. We saw a young two-headed red-eared slider. The poor Siamese turtle was being treated like a freak. The two heads started fighting while we were watching them.

10. On 10/18/04, I squirted off the flosses. Alas, under the main pump was another dead goldfish, an 8" red/orange with white tipped fins. It had been dead at least a few days (pew!) so I still don't know if the death streak is over or not. The whole pond kind of smells like dead fish! I hope under all that water hyacinth, there's not a lot of dead fish! There still hasn't been a hard frost so I haven't removed the majority of the water hyacinth yet. The 1800 gallon was at 51 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 54 degrees F. I dismantled all the parts to the Cyprio filter with 700 gph Mag Drive pump from my 1800 gallon pond. I cleaned them as best I could and set them in the kiddie pool on the porch to dry to be put up for the winter.

The Chawan Basu lotus in my 20 gallon lotus tub needed to be moved into a pot to go into my 1800 gallon pond for winter as the tub pond freezes solid. First, I tried to dig up some tubers and got a few. Then, I tried pulling on the leaves but they just broke at the rhizome. After making a thorough mess of the tub pond, I got enough pieces to pot into a 3 gallon pot. I covered the tubers with pea gravel and put it into my 1800 gallon pond in the middle. There are still a few leaves attached there (normally a first frost would have wilted them by now). It's not great to repot lotus this time of year but the only way I can try to salvage it from a tub pond. I've done that maybe 6 times but the last few times, the lotuses didn't make it when repotted either out of or into the tub pond. Hopefully, it will work this time! I cut down the regular cattail plant that kept falling over anyway. By jostling the net, I am able to get most of the leaves to one side for removal. The next few months will be about leaves, leaves, and more leaves!! I pulled out a piece of water poppy from my 50 gallon (dead) lotus tub and put it into my 20 gallon indoor pond for winter. I've tried overwintering water poppy before to no avail.

11. So far, I've lost 13 goldfish since 9/1/04. That's 16 in 2004 so far. By comparison, I removed the bodies of 5 goldfish all the year of 2002 and 4 goldfish all the year of 2003. This only includes goldfish whose bodies were found, not other fish, and not goldfish who may have been eaten or decomposed without notice.

12. On 10/24/04, I squirted off the flosses. I started using pond gloves. The 1800 gallon pond was at 52 degrees F and the 153 gallon to 54 degrees F in the drizzle. I cut down some sweetflag but since we've yet to have a real frost, a lot of plants still aren't ready to be cut down so I wait. The water hyacinth is still alive but I removed half of it, filling an industrial wheelbarrow over full twice. I can see some fish now! My koi, Maggie and Colin, are fine as are at least a few orfe. Despite the die off, there are still goldfish under the hyacinth as well. It's been a week since I found a dead goldfish so maybe the mystery die-off is over. I'm cleaning out the pond for winter little by little. There's so much vegetation!

13. On 10/31/04, it was 75 degrees F outside! The 1800 gallon pond was up to 60 degrees F and the 153 gallon to 62 degrees F. It would have been a nice Halloween except the winds were horrible. Leaves were flying all over the place. If there were only one leaf on the earth flying around, it would find my pond! Leaves gravitate towards water. I found a dozen leaves in the pond and found the hole, just large enough for one leaf. "Hey, look over here, a hole, let's go in!" I sewed the hole together with fishing line and a sewing needle. I removed two industrial wheelbarrows full of leaves from the pond net but while doing that, half that amount blew down onto it. I couldn't keep up. While under the net pruning things, it's very uncomfortable. I get stuck in the net, the trimmers get stuck, my glasses get stuck, and I end up looking like a hunched-over fly stuck in a spider web. If I pulled the net back further, not only would it be a hassle to get it back on, but a zillion leaves would run for the opening.

I squirted off the flosses. I took out some water hyacinth but not much, just a wheelbarrow full. We still haven't had a frost! I cut back some more sweetflag. I yanked some water celery off the falls. There is still SO much vegetation to remove but without the frost, most of it is still green. I removed the tropical tiger water canna. After cutting off all the tops, I cut the pot off with a utility knife. Then, using a hose and my hands, I pulled the tubers all apart and cleaned them off. They weren't that large but there was a lot of them. I dampened a bucket of sphagnum moss. I laid some into a paper grocery bag, then put in some tubers, some more moss, some more tubers, and some more moss. The bag is stored in the basement until spring. Water is added as needed to keep the tubers moist.

Earlier in the day, I changed the PondMaster filters and cut down all the iris and sweetflag in my 153 gallon pond. I ran a net through the back pond which removed some mostly dead/eaten water hyacinth and leaves. The water was totally black and stinky but I didn't have time to shop vacuum it so I just topped it off. I didn't find any baby goldfish this year but there was a small green frog in there (no other life except maybe a few insect larvae). With the high winds and thousands of leaves flying around, the almost four hours I spent outside really were not pleasant despite the warmth (I was in shorts.). My ears and eyes were glad to come in.

14. The morning of 11/1/04, when I looked over at the pond, a 6-month-old doe was stepping out onto the net! She had been standing in the area where the waterfall comes down which is full of water celery and shallow. She was eating the water celery through the net and beginning to walk beyond that area and into the main pond which drops off to two feet deep! I waved at her; she ignored me. I went outside and acted like an idiot, and she finally backed off, luckily away from the pond and not into the center. The net gives animals the sense that there's footing when there's not. If she'd gone out, the net would have snapped off its anchors and collapsed in. It did that one time when a buck fawn tried the same thing a few years ago and put a huge hole in the net.

Pond Tidbits:

1. It seems if I have something worth writing about, I just put it on my site and link to it. I'm not sure what to write here anymore! I'm sorry that this newsletter no longer provides any useful information. I'm just so swamped with work, I don't have time to think something up. What do you want me to talk about here? Sorry this newsletter is just a pond diary now. What should I do? Should I include information on my other animals and aquariums in this pond newsletter to increase its size? Should I include updates on those pages here as well? Do you like specifics about my ponds or do you prefer generic tips? I don't like to repeat myself with things already on my website but maybe that's what you want? I just need some more ideas.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. Out of ideas here too!

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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