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Robyn's Pond Blog for June 2015

Last Updated: 7/6/15

1. On 6/7/15, the great blue heron was standing in the purple iris first thing in the morning! I would go out later to notice that the iris were all smushed, and my big goldfish are pretty much gone. I have lots of little ones but I miss the big ones! Luckily, the koi and orfe are all fine.

2. I did pond chores later in the day on 6/7/15. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were at 67 degrees F. It was a very nice day. I squirted off all the filter materials, put in additives, and topped off the ponds. I changed the PondMaster filters. I squirted the Cyprio biothings out in a NEW kiddie pool! After years of looking for a new rigid plastic kiddie pool, I finally accidently found them at Target so I got two. The threw out the blue one which was riddled with holes. The front mosaic pond was filthy (thanks to the raccoons using it as bathtub) so I removed all the water, scrubbed the black algae off, cleaned out the fountain, and put it all back together with fresh water.

3. When I got home on 6/12/15, the power was out, and my father said it was out since 9 am! It was out a total of 9 hours, and he did nothing to help the animals (or keep our food from rotting). He can no longer hook up the cord for the generator by himself. I don't think any of my animals died but one of the batches of watercress in the waterfall died because it was left high and dry with no power, and it was in the upper 90's degrees F today so it got fried. I still have other patches. All were doing really well. These were the ones from the grocery store. They root so fast. The fish looked slower than usual but lack of oxygen will do that to you.

4. On 6/14/15, I did pond chores. It was about 85 degrees F out and oppressive. The 1800 gallon was up to 80 degrees F! The 153 gallon was at 75 degrees F. I cut new filter flosses for around the main pump. I squirted out the bioballs. I changed the Ammocarb in a mesh bag in the filter. I squirted all the other filter materials, put in additives, and topped off the ponds. I finally got my first waterlily flower for the year! It's an Albata white flower. The two tropical waterlilies now have leaves at the surface. If it stays this hot, I'm hoping to get flowers!

5. I took water from my sink (well) and my 1800 gallon pond to work on 6/16/15 and tested it for a few things. Here is what I got. I used a meter for the pH and conductivity. I ran anions by ion chromatography. Note that in water at 25 degrees C, mg/L (milligrams per Liter) = ppm (parts per million).

Well pH = 6.9
Pond pH = 8.0
Well conductivity = 88.5 us/cm
Pond conductivity = 342 us/cm (due to added sodium chloride mostly)

Well fluoride = 0.040 mg/L
Pond fluoride = 0.058 mg/L
Well chloride = 3.809 mg/L
Pond chloride = 53.347 mg/L (from added sodium chloride)
Well and pond nitrite = below 0 mg/L (small peak in well but none in pond)
Well sulfate = 1.185 mg/L
Pond sulfate = 0.886 mg/L
Well and pond bromide = not detected (no peaks)
Well nitrate = 2.969 mg/L (not good! The legal limit is 10 ppm.)
Pond nitrate = 1.740 mg/L (expected due to algae growth)
Well phosphate = below 0 mg/L (small peak)
Pond phosphate = 1.257 mg/L (one site says it should be <0.035 ppm in a pond)

6. On 6/21/15, I did pond chores. The 1800 gallon pond was at 80 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 76 degrees F. When I went to squirt out the PondMaster filter, it was filled with newborn green frog tadpoles stuck in the floss so I swished them out in the pond first (also putting dirt back in the pond) before squirting them off which freed most of the little guys. I squirted all the flosses, put in additives, and checked things out. It rained 1.5 inches the night before so I didn't need to top off any ponds except the mosaic pond since it's on the porch. I cut some young pokeweeds out of the waterfall area. The new watercress, which had been doing so well, was all chewed up. It was covered in green caterpillars, maybe a species of cutworm. I fertilized the lilies and lotus. I have only had that one lily flower this year which makes me sad.

So, I let the milkweed grow wild around my pond, and it is in flower. It was covered in insects including half a dozen species of butterflies, milkweed bugs, bumblebees, and a really strange bug. I had to look him up! It was a Laphria thoracica which is a species of robber fly (kills other bugs) that looks like a bumblebee (but I knew it wasn't). That things was weird, and he looked at me funny, craning his head. He sat for a while but, of course, as soon as I went for the camera, he flew off.

7. I did pond work on 6/28/15. We had 3.5 inches of rain the day before! Needlesstosay, the ponds were all full, and I didn't need to water any plants. The 1800 gallon pond was at 72 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 70 degrees F. I squirted out all the filter flosses.

Continue to the July 2015 pond blog.

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