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Robyn's Pond Blog for October 2009

Last Updated: 11/2/09

1. On 10/4/09, I went to the Mid-Atlantic Koi Club Show. This was my fourth show. Last year, I won two things at the raffle so the thing I wanted to do the most was the raffle. For the first time, my family went with me to the show. We got three door prize tickets and did not win anything. I also did not win the super raffle with expensive prizes. In the regular raffle, I bought 30 tickets for $20 and put one each in about 28 things and a few extras for a few of them. I think the most expensive thing was a container of pond plants probably that would sell for $100. I won five things! First was a koi sketch (copy, not original). Next was a little original (actual) water color of koi. Those things I wasn't too excited about but it's nice to win anything of course. Then, I got a small bag (five pounds?) of koi food which I can always use. Next came a cardinal flower. Finally, I gave my brother the $25 gift certificate to a restaurant that's an hour away (too far for me). My ticket was the only one in that container!

In addition to the raffle stuff, I decided to get a replacement koi for Mac the Sanke who jumped out of quarantine this past winter. I did not quarantine Mac 2 so that is a big risk but she seems very healthy. Mac 2 came from Eastern Nishikigoi. I didn't measure her but she was about 5". I paid $30 for her. I also got four free "Koi Nations" magazines. The club member who stores the 20 gallon high tanks for the fancy goldfish show was selling the show tanks for $15 because he doesn't like to move and store them so I got one as a spare for whatever. I bleached soaked it to disinfect it. The date stamp reads 2005; he said the tanks were two years old but perhaps more like four. I just looked on-line, and it seems 20 gallon high tanks are about $40 so I paid a little more than a third.

Some web sites of interest from the show and one of the Koi Nations magazines:
Mid-Atlantic Koi Club
International Waterlily and Watergardening Society
Goldfish Keepers
Pond Tile Art - boy I wish I could have one of those!
Pond Product Reviews

When I got home, my niece "helped" me do the pond chores. "Help" for a preschooler means "hinder to the best of my ability." The 1800 gallon was at 61 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 65 degrees F. I squirted off the filter flosses and the bioballs. I told her to stand back but she got some pond slop on her nice clothes. While doing this work, I was acclimating Mac to the pond by putting her and the water in a plastic litter bucket with a lid. I added about 50% the volume with pond water to the bucket and added more every 20 minutes or so for an hour before releasing her by hand. I removed four buckets of water lettuce from the pond and some leaves from the net (not too bad yet but some leaves are coming down). For the first time in months, I saw my koi Kojak. I swear, he has doubled in size! I'm guessing 8". Still, next to two-foot-long Maggie and Colin, he is itty bitty. I hope that the new Mac bonds with Kojak. We (I did; my niece hampered as she tried to flick dirt all over) planted the cardinal flower that I won in the ground near the pond. Cardinal flower is sold as both a terrestrial plant and a pond plant. I've had it a few times but it has never overwintered. I tried both overwintering in the pond and on land. I've read that they overwinter better on land so I planted this one in the ground at least until spring. I hope the deer don't chomp it down right away.

2. I couldn't do my pond chores on Sunday, 10/11/09, because we went to the Renaissance Festival. I had to do a rush pond chore list after work the next day. So, on 10/12/09, I squirted off the flosses and the Cyprio biothings in the filter. They were due for a kiddie pool cleaning but, since that filter is being put up in a few weeks, I decided not to bother. I removed a few buckets of leaves from the net and a little more water lettuce. It has stopped spreading due to the cold. I added water to all the ponds which were low. The 1800 gallon was at 55 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 58 degrees F. The air temperature was 55 degrees F at 5:30 pm, and I worked for an hour until sunset.

3. I had a dream in the early morning of 10/15/09. A klutzy co-worker cracked two elevated 30 gallon or so aquariums which each had about 10 goldfish of various varieties in them. This was in some huge underground room. I hand-carried those goldfish over to a pond. This pond had no liner or nothing to hold in the water. It was a square area of a bathroom floor with all the bathroom stuff having been removed except for the tile floor (which held in some water; there was cement under the floor) and the bathtub. A board held the water in from the side that went in to the great room where the aquariums had been. I put in the goldfish in the bathroom pond which only had a few inches of water left. I couldn't see or find my goldfish and koi in there. I grabbed a hose from the other end of the room and squirted water in to the pond, hoping the fish would magically appear. I've had many dreams with ponds on flat, indoor floors with nothing to keep in the water. Why? You'd think I'd know better! In one such dream, it was the living room wood floor that was flooded and held fish. I went to the basement and watched water poor down from above (of course!). Emptying ponds and missing fish seem to be a recurring dream theme.

4. Five years ago (11/5/04), I bought four baby fantail goldfish and put them in a 20 gallon indoor pond. One died right away. The other three (all boys) I intended to add to my big pond in the spring but changed my mind. They would find their way to a 65 gallon tank by 2007. Aragorn, Legolas, and Frodo did really well until 2009 when they started to show symptoms of fish tuberculosis. Poor Frodo, a calico fantail died today on 10/17/09 when his tuberculosis tumor ruptured out through his vent. This disease is like a cancer in fish, insidious, untreatable, and unforgiving.

5. On 10/19/09, I squirted off the flosses. A white goldfish was stuck in there but seemed okay. The air temperature was 50 degrees F. The 1800 gallon's water was at 48 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 50 degrees F. It rained all day the day before but the rain had stopped. It was still cloudy and a little windy. Due to the cold snap, I stopped feeding the fish for now. I put up the air stone for the winter. I added some Microbe Lift Autumn Prep to the pond. I brought in a few pond/yard dewhickeys and need to bring in more. I cut off a piece of hardy canna. It's hard to cut the marginals with the net on so I'm going to wait until many need it and pull the net back for cutting. I pulled the pump out of the 50 gallon tub pond.

6. I took off work on 10/20/09 to bring in all the tropical house plants for the winter. It took 7 hours. I also set up the basement pond and brought in the bluebells. There were something like eight huge pieces of it. One was about four feet long, and I broke it in to three pieces. All of the bluebells were growing bareroot or in other pots as the original plant had jumped the pot and run all over. The bluebells had buds on them. I put in the PondMaster 190 pump this year but not the air stone. There are no pots in there except for a clay pot on its side for the fish to hide in. I also put in the little bridge/cave for the fish. I put in a little aquarium salt, Stress Zyme, and Stress Coat. I netted the pond and ordered four bitterlings and two small shubunkins to spend the winter in there. These are my first bitterlings.

7. On 10/24/09, I got the four bitterlings and two shubunkins. They are all around 1.5 inches long or less, very tiny! One bitterling might have a small fuzzy white patch of fungus but they otherwise seemed fine. They loved the 50 gallon basement Rubbermaid tub pond. The bitterlings and shubunkins school together! I really cannot see the bitterlings until I see a goldfish, and then I have a place to look and see them. So far, so good! The new page on bitterlings can be found here.

8. On 10/25/09, I squirted off the flosses. The air temperature was 55 degrees F. The 1800 gallon pond was at 58 degrees F and so was the 153 gallon pond. I took the Cyprio filter apart for the winter and put the parts on the porch to dry out. I removed about four more buckets of water lettuce. There's still a good amount of it but I can see more fish now. I see Kojak almost every day but have only seen Mac 2 a few times. She's smaller and hides well. I removed about five buckets of leaves off the nets. I brought in about eight more garden/pond dewhickeys. I cut down one of the dwarf cattails and the lotus leaves which had crinkled up despite no real frost. There was one pseudo-frost so I guess that was enough. I found a dead less than 2 inch green frog in the back 18 gallon liner pond which is filthy and untended.

9. Horrible news. I found one of the new shubunkins deceased on top of the net in the basement on 10/26/09! There are small gaps in the net where the fountain comes out and where all the bluebells stick out. I stitched them up more with about a dozen cable ties. Then, I cut a piece of net and put it around the fountain. That made a ton of noise so I figured out laying some pieces of busted brick on the net there would cause it to collapse in to the water and quiet the noise. If more fish still manage to find little crevices through which to end their lives, then I guess I will not be able to keep fish in this pond in future winters.

10. I uploaded the following photos on 10/24/09 to my site and linked them in later:

153 gallon pond on 10/18/09 covered in my new white net. It looks like a spider's web so my mother had to add a big fake black widow spider to the net!
153 gallon pond on 10/18/09, closer in.

I set up the 50 gallon Rubbermaid tub basement pond on 10/20/09. Here are those photos:
Basement tub pond just set up with bluebells. My cats, Tinkie and Barney were anxious to "help."
Basement tub pond - view from the other direction
Basement tub pond shown from a distance in the basement. You can also see Sweetie, my rabbit, and her cage, my 20 gallon long tank (with six spotted roaches and a hermit crab), and the tons of house plants that I brought indoors for the winter.
Basement tub pond and all the house plants. Yes, that is a water fountain for the cats.
Basement tub pond - looking in to it past the jungle.

Here are photos of the bitterlings (3 of the 4) and shubunkins that I got on 10/24/09. They are in the water they came in which includes some blue stuff.
Three Bitterlings
Two Shubunkins
Two Shubunkins

Continue to the November 2009 pond blog.

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