Last Updated: 3/3/10
Spring is coming! I don't know how I'm going to do all the physical work anymore - pond cleanings, mulching, weeding, pruning, repotting, mowing, etc. I don't have the time or the ability.
Hopefully, 2010 will be better than 2009. I went to the ER four times in 2009 for small bowel obstruction and had major surgery (a laparoscopic-assisted laparotomy) on 12/18/09 to remove some intestines with an endometrioma on my ileocecal valve. As a result of being completely non-functional for two weeks, three fish died. Two were rosy barbs who probably would have died anyway. The other was Enrique, my relatively-new green banded goby in my 12 gallon nano reef tank. He needed the frozen foods (brine shrimp and other small animals) that I feed once a day; my father only fed the tank pellets. My father kept the other animals alive for which I am very grateful.
2010 has not started off too well either partly due to two two foot snowfalls in the same week that caused quite a bit of trouble. You can read about it in my February pond blog and see photos and videos on this page. My chicken, Poulet, also died on 2/18/10 after being indoors for six months (she was unable to walk). My beautiful purple firefish, Pablo, disappeared the last week of February, 2010.
Drs. Foster & Smith (DFS) has split off their aquarium and pond supplies to a different web site. The new site for the aquariums and ponds is http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com. They also informed me on 2/23/10 that all their affiliate programs ended. That means that hundreds of links on my site to DFS and Live Aquaria go no where. I am deleting them as fast as I can. Sorry for the inconvenience. I can no longer make any money from purchases made through my web site to any of their sites. Thank you to all who did buy through my site. The other big place I like and get supplies from is That Pet Place (TPP, also called That Fish Place), and they accepted me as an affiliate on 3/2/10. So, if you enter their site from the banner at the top of my pages, I will get a few percent of your purchase at no cost to you. PetsMart and Wind & Weather are also new affiliates that can be found at the bottom of my pages. Wind & Weather has a lot of neat things for your garden and around your pond as well as the obvious weather supplies.
December 2009 Pond Blog
January 2010 Pond Blog
February 2010 Pond Blog
The Blizzards of 2010 - photos and videos
Scientists Debunk the Three-Second Memory Myth - someone finally figured out that fish are smart!
How Smart is a Fish - another article where they realized fish are not so dumb.
I read this interesting article in my college magazine on 1/26/10 about salt and its effects on
amphibians and other animals in a pond:
The Science of Salt
Orfe are gaining popularity in the US as the third main species of fish kept in ponds after goldfish and koi. Native to Europe, they have long been kept in ponds on that side of the pond. While the native blue orfe or ide is easy to find in the UK, I have yet to see it for sale in the US. My orfe have grown to about 1.5 feet long so they are intermediate in size between koi and goldfish. Unlike koi though who mostly meander, orfe are fast swimmers, shaped like torpedos so they need more room than one would think. Orfe love to eat insects at the pond's surface but are not too picky about food. My orfe school with the goldfish and koi to some degree but are much more skittish around people than those fish. More on orfe
Here is an opossum on the back porch on 1/26/10. Note the pink tips on his ears and that the tip of his tail seems to be bloody. This opossum was probably born in 2009 as he/she was small. The little one hissed at me right after I took the photo! Opossums are very interesting. They are the only North American marsupial, have a prehensile tail (which means they can hang from it), and can play dead. My mammals page
The king of the pond plants would have to be the lotus. Large and showy, humans have cultivated lotus for hundreds of years, not just as a food source (the tubers are edible) but for their flowers. Lotus flowers come in white, yellow, pink, and red for the most part. Standard lotus need large pots to do well, more than a 10 or 20 gallon pot would be best. Dwarf lotus can grow in as little as a 5 gallon pot. These pots can be in the pond or stand on their own. Lotus only need a few inches of water over their crowns which should be planted near the surface. The starchy tubers break easily. Caretakers ideally should repot their lotus every other early spring. Late March is good for repotting for Zone 7 in the USA. During the summer, lotus are heavy feeders and need lots of fertilizer to produce flowers. I always thought the flowers smelled like suntan lotion or wintergreen.
Aerators are under appreciated. Air bubbling through an aquarium or pond does a few things. First, the bubbles themselves provide some surface area on which gas exchange can occur. Nitrogen and oxygen go in to the water and excess carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide come out. Carbon dioxide is created from normal animal respiration while toxic methane and toxic hydrogen sulfide are predominantly by-products of anaerobic (meaning low in oxygen) bacteria feeding on decomposing leftover fish foods, animal wastes, dead animals, dead plants, and so on. Anaerobic conditions are generally on the bottom of an aquarium or pond if there is gravel with debris or a similar situation. A tank or pond with a bare bottom should have little anaerobic bacteria on the bottom. Secondly, the bubbles create water motion across the aquarium or pond as they break the surface. This water movement is said to provide the majority of the actual gas exchange and not the bubbles themselves although I think they both contribute. Aeration is especially vital in a pond during the winter if there is ice over the pond. Fish and aquatic frogs will suffer from lack of oxygen and too much carbon dioxide without good gas exchange. While waterfalls, fountains, etc. provide aeration too, they are often off or slowed down during the winter months. Tossing an air stone in the pond during the winter could be the difference between life and death for your fish and frogs. When an air stone is used in combination with a de-icer next to it, winter doesn't stand a chance.
Wind & Weather sells neat things for your garden!
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