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Robyn's Pond Blog for June 2010

Last Updated: 7/1/10

1. I changed the flosses on 6/6/10. The 1800 gallon was at 78 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 74 degrees F. When I pulled up the clams, there was one with its guts hanging out. This was the first time I had seen any insides, and it wasn't pretty. I think they may all be dead. Don't worry; I won't be killing any more clams. I didn't do much else because I had a cold virus, and it was raining.

2. The morning of 6/7/10, the heron was at my pond. He is not as skittish as he used to be. Once I even had to walk up to him flapping my arms to get him to fly off. My father saw him in the water. The big fish were scared and huddled together under the net in the deep end. I am pretty sure that most, if not all, of my five new fish and my resident frogs are gone now, probably heron snacks. I haven't seen the female bullfrog in a few weeks, and I have only seen baby (newly morphed) green frogs lately. I'm hoping they're just good at hiding.

3. I added these photos from last month.

These photos are from 5/19/10:
Water wisteria that I would put in the pond four days later.
White watercress in flower. Water celery is in the background.
Yellow watercress in flower. Water celery is in the background.

These photos are from 5/23/10.
Our pool being filled with water - It would be neat to have a waterfall like that all the time! I wanted to repair the pool in to a koi pond but my parents wouldn't go for that. So, the pool got a make over as it is 25 years old. Neither one of my parents will even get in! I get in once a week to vacuum it.
Purple iris blooming in the 153 gallon pond. There is a lot of duckweed on the surface too.
Anacharis and Jungle Valisneria potted up to go in the 1800 gallon pond.
Jungle Valisneria - close-up
Anacharis - close-up

4. On 6/13/10, I had to go to family events in the afternoon so I got up at 6 am and did the pond chores from 8 am to 10 am. Even though it was earlier in the day, the air temperature started at 78 degrees F and was nearly 85 degrees F by the time I went inside to clean inside. The 1800 gallon was at 76 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 72 degrees F. I squirted off all the flosses. I also squirted off the bioballs which was thick with black slop (pond gold). How so many people only clean their filters a few times a day is beyond me. If I did that, not only wouldn't I be able to lift the bags of bioballs and lava rock but the flow would have completely stopped many times over. I replaced another bioball bag leaving two smaller ones that are still old. I will change them out next time so all the bioball bags will be from this year! I changed the bag of AmmoCarb. I wanted to change the bag of oyster shell but instead refilled it with crushed coral as there's almost no oyster shell left.

There are now four dead clams of the six. I will probably remove the basket next week and see about the remaining two.

I got in on this day in my swimsuit and beach shoes, the first time this year although I certainly could have done it the last half dozen times too. It gets really hot in the hip waders. Plus, in this set up, I don't have to worry about the mess from cleaning the bioballs getting all over since I just squirt off my blackened legs.

I cut back the yellow flag iris growing in the overflow on the liner. I think there probably are some holes there because the maximum pond depth is a few inches below what it used to be.

I fertilized all the water lilies and lotus and many of the marginals. I didn't have time to repot any plants. All that are left are the sweetflag and iris (most of which should be done in the fall). Only the yellow flag and purple iris bloomed this year.

5. On 6/16/10, I put the Luft air pump out by the 1800 gallon pond. The air line tubing is too short so I will cut a longer piece Sunday. The electrical cord on this newer pump is only about two feet long so I have to place the pump on top of the conifer bush instead of on flat ground.

6. On 6/20/10, it was another scorcher. I started working on the pond at 10 am and thought I would be done by noon but I wasn't. When I started, it was 85 degrees F. When I finished around 1 pm, it was 90 degrees F. I normally wear a shirt over my swim suit when working on the pond but it was so hot that I didn't. I have a red back to prove it. I guess it would have been better just to be even more hot. The 1800 gallon pond was at 77 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 72 degrees F. It was lower because I topped it off before reading the temperature so the well water brought the temperature down a few degrees. I tied up the marsh mallow by the pond with twine. I cut a longer piece of airline tubing for the Luft pump and put that further out. For some reason, the bubbles coming out are much less than they used to be. I might need a new air stone.

I took the clam basket out of the pond. I cut open the lid. I tossed the four clams that were open and empty. Two were still shut and gently pulling on them did not open them so they may still be alive. I stuck them loose in the pond near where the Cyprio filter spills out. If they are alive, they can move to a location that they like. The fish, raccoons, heron, or other animals may eat them but, I know if I had left them in the basket, they would have perished. This way they have a slight chance. I was surprised to find limpets on the bottom of the clam basket. They're about 5 mm long and stuck on like suction cups. I have them in my 153 gallon pond but had never seen them in the 1800 gallon pond. Since they couldn't be removed from the basket, their lives had to be sacrificed in order to take the basket out and put it away. It's drying in the bathtub.

I had bought some black sweet potato vine which is supposed to like the water. Since it is poisonous, I didn't want to put it in the actual pond. I also didn't want the deer to eat it. I had a little single floating thing and stuck the vine in that. I tried setting that in the top of the biofilter with the intent to anchor it to the side but as soon as it was in the water, it tipped and spilled all the pea gravel out and made a big mess. Instead, I stuck the single floating island in the waterfall where there is a little pool that collects. Neither the deer nor I can even see it down there unless we look directly from above since the falls are overloaded with water celery and watercress. I pulled out the three dead impatien pots from the floating island that the racoon killed and potted them up with new little impatiens.

I squirted off the flosses. I added various additives to the ponds and topped them all off. After cleaning up, I did two hours of mulching around the pond in 90 degree heat but, for some reason, I wasn't as heat prostrated as I usually am. The pond mulching will be done with two more two hour sessions. Since I only can fit in two hours of work each Sunday for mulching and mowing, alternating, that means two more months before that's done and then I have four other gardens that need weeding and mulching. The garden that includes the 20 and 50 gallon tub ponds and the 153 gallon pond hasn't been tended in many years (maybe six?). It's so out of control (with honeysuckle, multiflora rose bush, poison ivy, pokeweed, crab grass, and Japanese bittersweet which alone comprises half the greenery), I can barely find the ponds!

I finally repotted one of the sweetflags. It was the one in a four gallon pot. I saved two pieces to repot. The ground was rock hard. This surprised me because it has been pretty easy to dig up until now. Even though we've had rain off and on, it's so hot that the clay earth is cracked and hard as a rock. I finally got it done. There are at least four other pots of sweetflag but most of the sweetflag is growing bareroot having jumped the pots long ago. The hardy canna and lizard tail are in bloom.

The bad news for the day is that the deer, who had been unusually good, found the three calla lilies which were about to bloom and took care of them. I can't cage everything. The good news for the day is that there are baby flycatchers in the back nest box.

7. The morning of 6/25/10, I discovered a dead goldfish in the marginals. It was a 9" female common goldfish that was mostly orange with white on the fins. She had very minor scale damage and very minor tail fin damage. Because her mouth was wide open, I think she got stranded out of the water during spawning and suffocated. She then must have fallen or been pushed back in to the water.

8. On 7/27/10, I started the pond work at 12:30 pm. It was already 90 degrees F and would be 95 degrees F by the end of the day (100 degree F record in the city). The 1800 gallon was at 81 degrees and the 153 gallon at 75 degrees F. The smaller pond has more plant cover, and you can see how much cooler the pond is as a result. I spent 1.5 hours cleaning off the flosses, cleaning the Cyprio biothings in the kiddie pool, changing the PondMaster filters, topping off ponds, and adding water additives. There were a lot of blackfly larvae in the waterfall (and honeybees coming in for water). The jungle valisneria is growing really well. It is obvious why it is also called tape grass. For some reason, the fish have left it alone. As for the anacharis, little is left.

9. The morning of 6/30/10, I found a dead ~2" rosy red minnow in the 153 gallon pond. I had seen a struggling male rosy red a few days prior so it was probably the same one.

10. When I got home on 6/30/10, the power was out. It came back on around 7 pm. I went and checked on all the aquariums and ponds. The Luft air pump was not putting out anything. I brought it inside and could hear it make the tiniest of noises but it's essentially dead. I pulled out the spare, and the bubbles in the pond were so strong, I had to turn it down to medium instead of high. The airline tubing was kinked near the output so I wonder if that killed the pump. It always pays to have spares! I'll now have to order another one.

Continue to the July 2010 pond blog.

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