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Robyn's Pond Blog for November 2015

Last Updated: 12/1/15

1. I did some pond chores on 11/1/15. The 1800 gallon pond was at 54 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 56 degrees F. I squirted the filter materials, topped off the ponds, put in additives, and collected leaves.

2. On 11/3/15, I bought two new female mice to keep Regina company. Their names are Butterscotch and Dottie.

3. On 11/6/15, my pond nightmare came true. At dawn, I looked out at the 1800 gallon pond, and it was nearly empty. The cause was that the net over the biofilter was pushed down over the outflow of the filter, most likely due to the raccoon who spilled the cat's water (always know it is them due to mud in the water and footprints) and pushed the net down in the 153 gallon pond that night as well. This would not normally matter but, if you add in a pile of leaves, most of the water was pumping over the edges and away from the lined area. I put the winter cover over the filter to prevent this from happening again. The filter was boiling like a cauldron as the pump was pulling air. The pump being off the bottom was the only thing that saved the fish who had just enough water to survive. The plants were all out of the water. Since we are on a well, I cannot add a lot of water at once. I normally add no more than 20 min's at a time but put in 35 min's worth. This got the pump and lilies under water. The marginals were still out of the water. On a normal November day, this would not matter but it was going to be 80 degrees (and it was when I got home)! If I had been home, I would have watered them. The koi had red fins from the stress but should be ok in a week once I get the pond filled back up, a few hundred gallons at a time. I would guess there are about 1200 gallons left to go! I put in some salt and baking soda to buffer the water as the well water is low in alkalinity and ions. Another reason I can not add too much at once is the shock to the fish, and the possibility of gas bubble disease as the water is full of carbon dioxide that comes out in their blood. The one good thing is that the pond is finally getting a water change. I just hope the well is not pumping air when I go to clean tanks and cages tomorrow. The well runs out about 10% of Saturdays as it is, meaning it burps up air as it cannot pull water in fast enough.

4. When I got home on 11/6/15, I put in 25 more minutes of water and got most of the plants in the water. The well was burping air that night. The next day, since I was chaning all the aquariums, I did not put more water in the pond. The morning of 11/8/15, I put 20 more minutes in the pond. I repeated this on 11/9/15 to get the pond just a few inches below full.

5. On 11/8/15, I did some pond chores. The 1800 gallon was down to 55 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 57 degrees F. I removed the PondMaster filter for the season and put in the Luft pump aerator. I squirted the main flosses and bioballs which were both pretty dirty. When I removed the cover on the biofilter, I saw something wiggle, kind of like a loach. It was a little, two inch or so, salamander! It was not the Eastern newt that I had previously unless she got considerably smaller. The little guy was wiggling too hard to make much out other than a plain, brown sort of salamander. As the fish in the main pond fish could eat him and living in the biofilter means sure death if the power goes out in the winter (which drains the filter so anything in there freezes solid), I put the salamander in my 153 gallon pond. We shall see if he/she is there in the spring (photos then if so). I also found a small green frog in the filter who went to the 153 gallon pond too. More flakes of paint came off the inside of the fiberglass biofilter. More than half has broken off.

I was so short on time that I decided to try to get the tropical waterlilies out without pulling the pots. The lower water level should have helped. The problem was that I stirred up so much gunk that I could not see in to the water so I had to do everything by feel. I found four growing tips and one hard nut tuber in the pot with the bigger tropical waterlily. I didn't have time to pot up the growing tips so I just put them in my 20 gallon basement tub pond. I put the one hard nut in damp sand per usual. Then, I tried to find the pot with the other tropical waterlily. I knew where it was but, by feel, I couldn't find it! I figure it's ok since that waterlily only had a few leaves this year, might be dead, and hasn't flowered in many years. It may be time to try something new.

6. On 11/14/15, I could only find three growing tips in the basement pond which I potted in to a one gallon pot. I used Aquatic Planting Soil instead of dirt and topped with pea gravel. On 11/15/15, while in the pond, I found another growing tip just floating around which I added to the pot in the basement pond.

7. On 11/15/15, I did pond chores. Both the 1800 gallon and 153 gallon pond thermometers read a chilly 48 degrees F. I squirted the flosses, put in additives, added water, and collected a lot of leaves. I cut down some perennials around the pond. I cut down all the remaining marginals in the 1800, 153, and 50 gallon ponds, mostly iris that was left. As mentioned above, I found a tropical waterlily growing tip that was in the buckets of water lettuce and water hyacinth that I threw out. The big pond is still one third covered as we have not had a strong enough frost to kill the water lettuce (and a few water hyacinth) yet. There is a sick goldfish in the pond. It is perhaps the worst case of dropsy that I have ever seen. I thought the fish was dead but he/she moved when I went in for removal.

8. The weather finally got cold. It was only 45 degrees F and windy when I went outside on 11/22/15 to do pond chores. I had to wear long johns and a hat. I can't wear a coat in the pond because it would get wet and restrict my movements. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon thermometers read 48 degrees F. I squirted off the one remaining filter floss, picked up leaves, removed more water lettuce and water hyacinth (finally with frost burn on it), added water and additives, and raked some leaves from around the big pond.

9. I did pond work on 11/29/15 but did not get in the pond. I am now cleaning the filter floss every two weeks. The 1800 gallon pond was at 52 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 48 degrees F. I didn't need to top off the ponds because it had just rained and everything was very wet. I put in a few pond additives (BZT, baking soda, and koi clay - just a little of each). I put the lighted candy canes out by the outlet so I can tell if there's power out there with a glance which is very important once things start to freeze. Next week, I'll try to put out the de-icers, take the net off the smaller pond, and move the big net off of the waterfall.

Continue to the December 2015 pond blog.

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