Last Updated: 12/8/08
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/pictures2.htm -
I got around to adding in some of the older (but not oldest) photos waiting in my e-mail. Under Fish are five photos of Andy's pond and orfe that I finally put on (sent 9 months ago!). Under Frogs are six new photos. First, there is a bullfrog eating a bird at the top, and then, skipping the next photo (which was already up), I finally put up three older photos of a bullfrog eating a goldfish. Further down, to 2/29/08, is a photo of a UK frog. Then, if you go back even further to 12/13/07, there is a photo with two gray tree frogs. Under miscellaneous, the last entry was already added in but the three before that I just put in. One is four photos of Adam's pond being built. Then, three photos of Tina's pond. The other is of Jeff's pond.
I did a quick look, and the oldest photos sent to me that I have yet to process are from February 2004! They are of tree frogs. There are probably 300 photos sitting in my two e-mails.
New Pages on Pond Showcase:
Photos that I took of the large ponds, turtles, geese, and other things at the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.
Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:
1. On 11/2/08, I squirted off the flosses and the bioballs which weren't too bad. I'm now switching to the winter schedule (flosses every two weeks unless the pond is frozen over, bioballs every five weeks). The 1800 gallon was at 50 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 54 degrees F. I shook the net and removed as many leaves as I could from the net. I cut a few marginals but not many as most are still green. In a few weeks, I'll cut down most of them. We haven't had a severe frost yet. I only have half a dozen water hyacinth left and removed half of them. A few huge ones remain that are still green. I put in another dose of Microbe-Lift Winter Prep so that's almost gone. Next week, I need to start raking leaves off from around the pond.
I brought in a lot of dewhickeys (all sorts of fake animals, little signs, and so on) from around the ponds but have more to get. The toad house still has a living wasp colony in there.
The water hibiscus in the basement pond has lost all its leaves, and I don't think it's going to recover. The other three tropical pond plants are hanging in (bluebells, dwarf umbrella palm, and yellow water canna).
2. The morning of 11/5/08, there was a male green frog, a female green frog, and a pickerel frog all hopping around on the 1800 gallon pond net! I got them under. It has been warm this week. The next day, the pickerel frog was back on the net. As I type this, it is 80 degrees F indoors at my work table!
3. On 11/9/08, it was all about the leaves. First though, I picked up the last of the dewhickeys including the three toad houses. They say "Welcome" which must be for the wasps and slugs I found! The 1800 gallon pond was at 54 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 56 degrees F. I stopped feeding the fish who were eating quite a bit this last warm week. I started on the leaves by getting the net back on the 153 gallon pond to squirt off the PondMaster filters (which I used to do weekly on Saturday but it is now too late and dark to do that). I shook the leaves back and raked in and around those ponds and gardens removing about three industrial wheelbarrows worth of leaves. I filled up the 153 gallon pond, 50 gallon tub pond, and 20 gallon tub pond with water after removing a lot of the leaves and pine needles in there.
Then, in order to even get in to the 1800 gallon pond, I had to shake the net down by pulling up various corners and then use the pond net to remove leaves off the top. There were so many that you could not see any water. I would then shake the net, collect more leaves, etc. until I got in the water. I removed the pre-filter from the main pump to squirt off the flosses (filter material). I skimmed the bottom a little with a net and mostly got rocks and one big trapdoor snail (glad to see one left). I also netted up a four inch brown goldfish who was flopping around. From in the pond, I shook the net more so that, when I got out, I could get the rest of the leaves off the net. In total, I removed about three wheelbarrows of leaves just off the net. I also was interjecting that work with raking around the 1800 pond garden (mulched area). I did move a few wheelbarrows full of leaves from there but mostly raked and pushed them down the hill to create a wall of leaves where the weeds start and the mowing/yard tending stops. My shoulder was really hurting.
I pulled back the net off the marginals and cut back quite a few of them including both of the hardy canna, the regular cattails, most of the pickerel weed, and some other plants. In a few weeks, I will cut what is left all the way down; it depends on the weather. We still have not had a hard frost. There are some water hyacinth still alive, and the impatiens are still flowering on the floating island. I plan to remove the tropical waterlily next week; all of the leaves have rotted off. If this new lily has not produced tubers like my old one, there is really no way for me to save it (at least I have failed many times before) but I may try to put it in to the basement pond. When I was done, I had worked outside in and around the ponds for three hours.
4. On 11/16/08, I had intended to be quick about my outdoor work as it was 44 degrees F and very windy. I ended up working for two hours! I once again never got around to the spring (yes, spring) mulching I never did. I only did about half of what I was supposed to have done. Anyway, back to the ponds. While it was 70 degrees F on Saturday when I was working on inside aquariums and animals, it was only 44 degrees on Sunday. The 1800 gallon pond was down to 49 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 53 degrees F. Winter is finally coming with our first hard freeze expected in a few days. I removed the PondMaster filter from the 153 gallon and replaced it with the Tetra Luft pump (aerator) and de-icer. The air stone was not bubbling much but I heard hissing. There was a hole in the black air line tubing so, instead of trying to patch it, I cut it. That will be a problem when I use the aerator in the big pond in the summer as the line is now too short (they do not sell that kind of tubing that I have found). I raked a few leaves around the smaller ponds and removed some off the net.
At the big pond, I spent again a lot of time getting leaves off the net before I could even get in to the pond! I squirted off the floss (pre-filter material around the pump). I remove the tropical waterlily which I worked on later. I removed the floating plant island with happy impatiens still in it. I would later toss them over the hill even though they were still flowering as the frost is coming in just days. I felt bad like I had killed them. I didn't cut down many marginals due to lack of time but hope to get them after the hard freeze. The lizard tails have started to dump leaves in the water. It took an hour to get the leaves off the net, and I raked just a little bit (compared to last week) around the pond edge. Among the leaves on the net, I found a female green frog and later another green frog. They were pretty lethargic and must have come out the previous day when it was warm.
I put a de-icer in the top of the biofilter of the 1800 gallon pond and put the cover from my first pond (which was a 50 gallon Rubbermaid storage tub) on top anchored by two four pound lead diving weights. I pre-tested the corroded de-icers (all corrode after just one season in my pond) in the freezer. To do that, toss them in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Then, put your hand on the metal part and plug it in. If it's working, you will know within a few seconds as your hand will get hot (don't leave it there too long, or you'll get burnt!). If it's not, it will remain cold or be really slow to warm up.
Upon rooting through the tropical waterlily pot which is always a treat, I did find one nut tuber that was hard but it seems an awfully lot like my old tropical waterlily, the tuber I put in there last spring. I am not sure so I have stored that in reptile sand for the winter. I would think if it was the old tuber, it would have gone mushy. This nut tuber had no signs of being connected to the new main waterlily plant. The main part of the new tropical waterlily was a large growth head. I cut off most of the roots (the leaves had already fallen off on their own). I was going to toss it knowing that most plants I try to overwinter (especially waterlilies) never make it. Instead, I potted it in a small one gallon pot and set that in the bottom of the indoor 50 gallon stock tank pond just in case (as of 12/3/08, it shows no sign of life).
5. We got our first hard frost the morning of 11/19/08 with temperatures down to 25 degrees F. The last water hyacinth finally bit the dust. There was ice on the shallow end of the 1800 gallon pond but none in the 153 gallon since it's small with its own de-icer.
6. On 11/23/08, I was supposed to get up more leaves, cut down the marginals, top off the ponds, and so on. I did not because I had to do my 12 hours of standing-up Saturday chores on Sunday because I was in the ER on Saturday getting IV fluids because I had 12 hours of vomiting and diarrhea every 30 minutes that left me so dehydrated that I couldn't stand up long enough to clean out the cat litter pan. I felt bad that I failed the animals. I plan to do the pond chores Thanksgiving morning instead. There is some shallow ice in the marginal area. I am worried about the few plants I did not get a chance to lower down in to the pond.
7. On 11/27/08, Thanksgiving Day, I did about three hours of work around the ponds. The 1800 gallon was at 39 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 47 degrees F. It was actually nice outside (for me anyway), about 45 degrees F but no real wind. I started by topping off the tub ponds which were low. Then, I pulled the net back on the 153 gallon pond and cut back the marginals (just iris). I cut plants in and around the pond and tidied up some. I cut down the yellow flag iris in the 20 gallon tub pond.
At the 1800 gallon pond, I first pulled back the net off the marginal area and cut down everything. It was only a full wheelbarrow full of plants as many had already been cut down. I moved the golden club to the deeper marginal area. I cannot move all the pots lower because the entire pond floor is full of pots! I was saddened to find a dead bird tangled in the net, perhaps a female goldfinch. Putting the net back, I pulled it back off the side and got in. I brought the filter floss out to squirt it off. While in there, I shook down the net and then removed the leaves off the net (not too many now). I did some raking around the ponds as well but not too much. I cut down some terrestrial plants around the pond, the marsh mallow, catnip dried flowers (I am sure the cats would have loved to make a mess with those), and lemon balm dried flowers.
8. On 11/30/08, I put a bucket of water in the 50 gallon tub pond, checked on the ponds, and read the temperatures. That was it. Then, as usual, since I didn't write it down, I forgot the temperatures!
9. The only measurable snow last season was 12/6/07. The year before, it snowed on 12/6/06. So, it was only fitting that our first sticking snow was on 12/6/08. It wasn't much but enough that I went out and pulled the net off the 153 gallon pond even though I never got up a lot of leaves from around the pond. Even with a dusting, if the snow melts and re-freezes, it makes ice which prevents me from pulling up the net. I intend to try to move the 1800 gallon net off the waterfall tomorrow and clean the filters but I don't know if I will be able to. Check the next newsletter to find out. On my way in from pulling the net, I found a dead animal by the garage, a victim of our only outdoor cat (my parents don't want her inside; she won't use a litter pan). I was shocked. The animal before me I had only seen once before on 9/5/01, also dead. It was a male Southern flying squirrel. This time I took photos which I'll put up within a few weeks.
1. Pickerel frogs can release toxins through their skin. If kept in small confined quarters with other frogs, the other frogs may die from the pickerel frog's toxins. I've seen my pickerel frogs hanging out with green frogs and had no deaths. Of course, they weren't confined together.
Web Sites of Interest:
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