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Robyn's Pond Blog for May 2015

Last Updated: 6/3/15

1. When I opened the drapes on 5/3/15, off flew a huge great blue heron from the shallows of my pond! They are always just waiting! I did pond work later in the day. The 1800 gallon pond was up to 66 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 64 degrees F but I forgot to read the thermometer before I added in cold well water. I squirted all the flosses, put in additives, and topped off the ponds. I noticed that the waterfall has no watercress on it. I will have to see if the grocery store has some. The cold winter must have killed it. The water celery, however, is all over.

2. The heron came back every morning or two all week. The morning of 5/10/15, it was deep in the marginal area, and I scared him/her off. I didn't think much about it but 1.5 hours later when I went to feed the pond fish, there was a huge goldfish laying next to the pond! I grabbed her fast and started moving her in the water. She started breathing. That was at 8 am but by 5 pm, she was still on her side, appearing dead but breathing. She has two punture wounds, one minor, one pretty bad but survivable in my opinion. I think though that she was out of the water for too long. She was my biggest surviving goldfish, about eight inches. She was also the best colored one with white and orange. It seems the herons always go for the best fish! The heron couldn't swallow such a big fish so he/she just dumped her by the side of the pond. If you want a silver lining, my pond is never overcrowded with fish. I've never had to "get rid of" any goldfish. I only have one big one, a half dozen medium ones, and maybe a dozen smaller goldfish left! The heron has really been chowing down. So far, the 4 koi and 2 orfe have escaped damage. All are too big to swallow and probably too big for the heron to lift (I hope I don't eat those words!).

3. I did pond chores on 5/10/15. It was too warm for me, in the low 80's with 100% humidity. We haven't had a measurable rain in over two weeks but it's supposed to rain in the next few days. I sure hope so! The land plants are really suffering. I can only water so many. The 1800 gallon pond was up to 70 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond wasn't far behind at 68 degrees F. I squirted all the filter materials, put in additives, and added water. I changed the PondMaster filters. I squirted out the Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool.

I have five five gallon pots in the pond with waterlilies but only two were alive (the Albata white and Chromatella yellow). The Arc-en-ciel that I bought last year was dead. Whatever other one I still had was also gone (perhaps James Byrdon or Comanche). Looking at my pond inventory, seven years ago, I bought three hardy water lilies, and they all died! At least I didn't buy any this year. Anyway, I had nut tubers of two species in sand from last year's tropical waterlilies. I put one group in one pot and another in a second pot. I didn't want to dig dirt so I just stuck them in there with some fresh fertilizer and rinsed rocks and gravel on top. I set the third dead five gallon pot aside after dumping it out.

4. I linked in a few old photos.

A red-tailed hawk spent some time looking at my pond fish longingly on 1/18/15 but could not get them because the pond was netted. He/she is kind of fluffed up as it was cold.
Red-tailed hawk

1800 gallon pond on 2/15/15, facing west. The pond was completely frozen over except for a small hole with an air stone and de-icer. The power had gone off so the waterfall system would not re-start and was off a very long time.

5. The morning of 5/14/15, the large female goldfish that the heron had injured was simply gone. She was alive and in the shallows the evening before. I am pretty sure that the raccoon took her although there was no evidence. She had four days to improve enough to swim, and she couldn't so she probably wouldn't have survived. I think maybe she was paralyzed.

6. On 5/16/15, I got some watercress at the grocery store. It was not rooted but I stuck it in the waterfall, and some may take root. My previous watercress (two species, one with white flowers and one with yellow flowers) has all died out.

7. I did pond chores on 5/17/15. It was warm at 75 degrees F when I started at 10:30 am with 100% humidity. The 1800 gallon pond was up to 70 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 68 degrees F. I squirted off all the filter materials and the bioballs. I put in additives and topped off all the ponds. I discovered that there are tadpoles in the back rock pond. They are probably from gray tree frogs but this would be the first time that they laid eggs in there on their own. I never saw the eggs. The bird house by the pond has baby chickadees, and the one by the mail box has baby bluebirds!

8. On 5/24/15, I did the usual pond chores. The 1800 gallon was at 68 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 64 degrees F. I squirted all the flosses, put in additives, and topped off all the ponds. I fertilized my two surviving hardy waterlilies and the lotus. The tropical waterlilies are not doing much. One has a tiny leaf. For the other one, I cannot even find where it was alive when I put it in. The fish must have been rooting in there.

9. On 5/28/15, my Tricker ordered arrived. The orders always come when I have no time to take care of them but I have to do so. I ordered 12 trapdoor snails. I got 10 adults, 2 adult empty shells (hello workers, look for bodies before you ship!), 7 babies dropped en route, and 1 black ramshorn snail hitchhiker. They went in the big pond after I washed them with water. I set up the floating plant ring and put in three water hyacinth and three water lettuce and three free pieces of hitchhiking salvinia. The forget-me-not, bacopa, floating heart, and free variegated water celery (not labeled but I know what it is) went in one bucket, and the 12 anacharis went in another bucket that I put in the basement under the plant light until Sunday. The huge leech that I found in the sink after washing the floating plants went down the drain.

10. On 5/31/15, I did pond chores at 10:15 am when it was already 82 degrees F with 100% humidity. The 1800 gallon pond was at 76 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 72 degrees F. I squirted all the filter materials, put in additives, and topped off the ponds. The water iris are starting to bloom. I have white, Colorific, and purple. For some reason, the yellow flag iris, which blooms a few weeks earlier, did not bloom much this year even though it normally blooms the most.

I planted my remaining new pond plants. I pulled out a one gallon and a two gallon pot from the pond that showed no life. Due to lack of time or interest, I removed the gravel and stuck the plants in the old dirt, put in fertilizer, put back the rinsed-off gravel, and topped with a little fresh gravel. In the two gallon pot, I put a free variegated water celery plant and one bacopa. In the one gallon pot, I put the floating heart. The forget-me-not, I just stuck it in the overflow area. I ordered it because I thought mine was all dead but there actually was more of it, and it is currently blooming. I washed off the 12 bunches of smelly anacharis (shipped anacharis also stinks horribly) and just dumped them around the main pond. I used to pot them but the fish always root them up anyway so I save myself the work. I think of it more as supplemental feeding than trying to get plants to grow.

Continue to the June 2015 pond blog.

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