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Robyn's Pond Blog for May 2016

Last Updated: 6/2/16

1. We are way behind on rain, and it finally rained some, of course on my one day to do outdoor chores. It did let up long enough for me to squirt off all the filters on 5/1/16. Both thermometers in the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds read 56 degrees F, about the air temperature. At least I didn't need to add water to any of the ponds for once. I changed the PondMaster filters. Everything was wet so I spent most of the day indoors catching up on chores there. Not that I ever actually catch up but I did maybe 0.05% of what I need to do inside! That's more than zero! For example, I dusted out some shelves in the entertainment center and put away some photos. This had never been done in the life of the piece of furniture which is maybe 15 years old (not sure).

I had set up the lotus tub pond on 3/27/16. Unfortunately, we had some hard freezes after I set it up. I think they finished off the tubers. By 5/1/16, it seems apparent that they are not going to put out any growth. It is now too late to order lotus until next winter. The dead lotus looks to be an Empress lotus that I got eight years ago according to my inventory.

2. On 5/8/16, I did pond chores on a windy but dry day. The 1800 gallon was at 62 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 60 degrees F. I squirted all the filters. I didn't need to add water to the ponds because we've finally had lots of rain. I did yard work but not much in the pond.

3. On 5/15/16, I did pond work. It was cold and windy around 52 degrees F! The 1800 gallon pond was at 59 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 58 degrees F. I squirted off all the filters and the bioballs and lava rock. I changed the bag of oyster shell for fresh. The salamander was in the filter again. He/she is a small brown salamander. I dug the dirt and rocks out of the lotus pond and put it in to two five gallon pots. The lotus were all dead so I tossed the tubers. I set one of the five gallon pots aside to hold the dirt. In the other pot, I potted up one large and two small tubers (two different species of tropical waterlilies that I overwintered). I put them in the big pond and hope that the fish don't root them out since it doesn't have a protector like the two hardy waterlilies.

4. I usually tag e-mails with animal photos with "Photos Add to Site," and they stay there for years as I don't have time to process them. This photo, however, was so unique I did it right away!
Ronda sent this photo of a tree frog on 5/18/16, perhaps a green tree frog in Georgia. What is so unique about it is that it is half blue! I have seen similar colors on green frogs and green tree frogs that people have sent me.
Green tree frog with blue areas

To add to that section, I will process these photos of the green tree frog and gray tree frog that I saw last year.
On 8/30/15, I took these photos of a little green tree frog I found on my lotus leaf! His right eye ias missing.
Green tree frog - top view
Green tree frog - right side
Green tree frog - showing the size of the frog versus the lotus leaf
Green tree frog - top view
Green tree frog - right side with my finger
Green tree frog - top view; look at his little sucker feet!
Green tree frog - left side
Green tree frog - right side
Green tree frog - left side

On 10/11/15, I saw this tiny gray treefrog, missing its left eye. He was sunning on my butterfly bench. What's with the missing eyes?!
Gray treefrog - close up; also noted while processing the photo that there is a spot on the left leg that looks like some sort of viral cyst.
Gray treefrog - farther away with my finger for scale.

I processed even more photos!

I saw a common water snake at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens on 7/3/15 in a waterlily pond.
Common water snake

5. Got some year old photos linked in!

From 6/7/15:
Purple and colorific iris in the marginal area.
Purple and colorific iris in the marginal area.
Purple iris in the marginal area, close-up.

This one is not pond-related but it was a good photo!
Praying mantis on 10/22/15.

6. On 5/22/16, I did pond chores. The air temperature was 55 degrees F, and it was sprinkling. I had to wear a baseball cap to keep the rain off my eyeglasses. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were at 58 degrees F. I squirted all the filter materials and put in additives. Nobody needed water as it's been raining non-stop for over a month it seems. I put fertilize in the two hardy waterlily pots in the big pond and the one surviving lizard tail. I don't usually fertilize the water iris or sweetflag except when repotting as both grow like mad.

I took the Matala pads out of the Biosteps filter and squirted those all off. I used the MagDrive 700 gph pump that I removed from pumping to the old Cyprio filter and adapted it to put out the Biosteps filter through a garden hose. They have the drain on the bottom back, and that would just run the dirty water right back in to the pond! I pumped it down until it sucked air and then poured out the remaining dirty water in to a bucket to discard. I took out the waste valve and went inside to see if one of the o-rings I have fits. I tried one that I would have sworn I tried when I set up the filter. It didn't fit then but now it fits! So, now the drain valve doesn't drip a drop per second but just a few drops per minute. One problem was sort of solved.

7. A few more photos I processed from a year ago.

From 6/20/15:
Lizard tail and pickerel rush in flower.
Pond facing northwest. I see my oldest koi, Colin, and some goldfish.

From 7/25/15, in the big pond:
Chromatella lily flower
White tropical waterlily flowers
White tropical waterlily flowers - close-up

8. In July of 2015, some animal tore my 1800 gallon pond apart. They ripped out and/or ate all the yellow flag iris, all the common cattails, most of the hardy canna, most of the lizard tail, etc. On 5/25/16, I finally put the links to the photos in here:

From 7/10/15:
Messed up pond - facing southwest; it is hard to tell from this distance
Messed up pond - marginal area with plants down all over
Messed up pond - deep end with pots and roots floating around (the animal or animals ripped some plants from the pots and left empty pots)
Messed up pond - marginal area

9. More old photos I finally processed when it was slow at work which is rare.
From 7/12/15:
Messed up pond - entire pond, facing southwest
Chromatella water lily flower - life goes on
Messed up pond - marginal area
Yellow flag iris remnants - this was all that was left; I repotted it on 7/12/15; it did not survive at all.
Cattail remnants as well as pickerel rush and sweetflag it looks like. The common cattails were the very first plant in my pond (same exact plant as in 1997). I repotted the remnants on 7/12/15. The cattails did not return in 2016. They died from this attack. An era ended from when my pond was flourishing to now languishing.
Messed up pond - marginal area

From 9/27/15 when the pond was covered in water lettuce:
Pond - facing southwest
Pond - facing west
Pond - facing northwest

Pond on 10/11/15, facing northwest.

On 11/6/15, the pond pumped half way out as the leaf net was pushed down over the biofilter outlet which then clogged with leaves and diverted water away from the pond. I took these photos of the half empty pond but, looking at them more than six months later when I am finally processing them, it is really hard to tell that the pond is half empty! The photos were taken at dawn so they are still pretty dark. I only processed about half of the photos that I took because I could not tell there was anything special going on.
Broiling Biofilter - the pump was sucking air so it was pumping air in to the filter which looked liked it was boiling
Half Empty Pond - facing northwest. That five gallon pot in the middle of the pond is normally submerged but was completely out of the water. I see my koi, Colin.
Half Empty Pond - facing northwest.
Waterfall - this is the output of the smaller waterfall as it goes in to the main pond. Normally, there is no drop there. You can sort of see that there was now a drop with the pond partially empty.
Half Empty Pond - this shows the deep end of the pond where the main waterfall goes in. It is hard to tell that it is not normal.

Big pond on 1/17/16 after a light dusting of snow, facing northwest.

We had a blizzard on 1/22/16! I measured 19" but the news said 26" but I never found that much. These photos were taken on 1/24/16:
153 gallon pond - on the left is the Luft pump's black cover box which I cleared off. On the right is the de-icer and bubbler.
153 gallon pond - shows all of the pond proper, facing northwest.
Big pond - facing southeast; note the air stone
Big pond - side waterfall (the dark line in the snow is where the heat from the waterfall melted the snow)
Big pond - waterfalls
Big pond - facing southeast
Big pond - showing the aerator in the deep end that made a hole in the snow
Outlet and lighted candy canes (which tell me at a glance if there is power out there)
Big pond - facing northwest
Aeration hole
Big pond - facing southwest

10. The morning of 5/26/16, I went out to the pond to discover that some mystery animal (must be a deer as I haven't seen any bears) had gotten in to the marginal area of my pond again. I don't mean eaten things from the edge of the pond but gotten in there and torn things apart. Plants were knocked over, iris were ripped from the pots, and it was a general mess. It wasn't as bad as last year but I was not happy! When I got home from work, I drove three metal fence posts in around my pond. I then got some rope and strung it across. I am hoping that will keep the deer out of the pond. It might help with the heron too.

Update 6/2/16: I found out this morning that there is a young black bear in the area! It was spotted 5/28/16 a few miles southwest of here, and it was spotted on 6/1/16 less than a mile east of here! Maybe it was a bear who tore up my pond?!

11. On 5/26/16, I got my Tricker order late in the day, and I wouldn't have known it except I went to water the hanging plant on the front porch. It was a hot, hot day. The box included two tropical waterlilies, one Comanche hardy waterlily, three water hyacinth, three water lettuce, three parrot feather, a water plantain, a cardinal flower, a free dwarf green taro, and a dozen trapdoor snails. I counted up the snails (12 adults and 3 babies born in transit), rinsed them off, and put them in the big pond. The rest would have to wait until I had time. I unpacked all the plants, put them in buckets of water, and put them under my plant light in the basement.

12. On 5/28/16, I tied a brick to my new floating plant protector (old one ripped) and set it in the pond. I put the water hyacinth and water lettuce in there.

13. On 5/30/16, I did pond chores. I normally do them on Sunday but this was Monday, Memorial Day. My brother and niece came over on Saturday so I had to do Saturday chores on Sunday and Sunday chores on Monday. The air temperature was about 82 degrees F. I found a pair of American toads amplexing and laying eggs in my big pond! I haven't seen them in that pond in a long, long time. I sometimes see them in my smaller ponds. I changed the PondMaster filters, squirted off all the other filters, and so on. I ran some fishing line along the bottom of the one "fence" that I recently installed. Herons don't like things they can't see so that's a surprise for them!

I had a lot of pond plants to take care of! I found and removed one two gallon pot with nothing alive in it. I prepared three five gallon pots. They were planted with three waterlilies: blue sapphire tropical waterlily, pind sapphire tropical waterlily, and Comanche hardy waterlily. One of the tropicals went on top of the fish's hiding place (plastic box thing). The other two lilies went in the moderate depth area of the pond. I moved the pot with the old tropical waterlily tubers to a more shallow area. They were planted last week but show no signs of growth.

I potted up the following marginal plants in one gallon pots: Water plantain, parrot feather, and dwarf green taro (the free, bonus plant). I potted up the following marginal plants in two gallons pots: Cardinal flower and bits and pieces of water iris from my pond that the deer tore out. I put a few sprigs of parrot feather in the main waterfall and a few in the 153 gallon pond near its overflow. I noted in the waterfall that the deer had actually walked out on to the waterfall to eat the water celery that should have been out of reach!

Continue to the June 2016 pond blog.

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