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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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A Christmas pond update

Posted by Joyce Clark on December 16, 2017
Posted in BlogsCity of GlendaleKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

So many of you who read my blog faithfully have asked for an update on my Koi pond and so, here it is. The pond is now 6 years old. In the beginning as a newbie, there were certainly a series of mistakes made.

When I saw my first algae in the pond I freaked out and added chemicals by the truck load. I created a toxic waste dump and all of the fish died. Disgustedly I vowed no more fish, drained the pond completely and let the pond rebalance itself for a year.

Feeling confident, I reintroduced Koi into the pond and they thrived. They are now quite big, sassy and very healthy. We now have about 30 Koi and as they continue to grow and thrive I imagine I will have to thin out the population. That is no mean feat as we know each fish. Some are very curious and brave while others are timid and shy. Even though they eat the same fare, some have certainly grown more quickly than others. The big guys and gals are the algae grazers. You can see them grazing among the rocks all the time.

Gone are all chemicals. Realizing that the original filter system was inadequate to deal with algae growth we researched and ultimately built an external, 4 barrel filter system. The pond water recirculates through the barrels each filled with different kinds of filter media. For example, one barrel has carbon pellets, another has fluffy polyester batting and yet another has sponges and the last has filter pads. The water remains crystal clear and when some algae does emerge during the hottest part of the year the easiest solution is simply to take it out by hand. There is never so much that the task is overwhelming.

We usually clean the external system once a year and will be doing that this coming January or February. It’s an all day job as the barrels must be drained and cleaned and new filter media placed into each barrel.

Over the years we have learned a great deal about plants in and around the pond. The lilies die back during the winter but come back with a vengeance in the spring. I would love to have some lotus. I have tried several times and in each instance I failed and they died. 

I have learned that a pond plant called ‘Snowflake’ replicates itself like crazy. Every time I think I have removed all of it I discover another new crop. The same can be said for some plants surrounding the pond. Yerba Manza, Taros and Ruella grow and spread prodigiously. I’ve managed to get rid of the Yerba Manza completely. There is still one clump of Taro that will be removed this spring and all of the Ruella ‘babies’ will be removed as well.

If I had it to do all over again, would I have installed the pond? Yes, most definitely. There is something special about hearing the waterfalls splash downward. I have discovered when the pumps have been turned off for an electrical outage, the absolute silence is disconcerting. We watch the fish whenever we have time (as a councilmember my time is now very constrained) and we still take joy in watching them. I read somewhere, sometime, that watching fish in an aquarium or pond lowers one’s blood pressure. I think it’s probably true as there is a calming effect in just sitting and watching, really watching the fish. Is there maintenance work? Yes but nothing so intense that it consumes all of your time after the pond and plantings have become established.

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you enjoy the photos I have included in this blog.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Koi pond update

Posted by Joyce Clark on April 25, 2016
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , , , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

It has been 18 years and 129 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Koi Pond April, 2016

Koi Pond April, 2016

This month we celebrated the fifth year of our Koi pond. We left the shade screen over the top all winter and it didn’t seem to hurt. So we will leave it up until it deteriorates. So far we have used it for 2 years and it is holding up well.

I discovered that the Taro plant is an invasive as the Yerba Mansa. This week we removed the all of the Taro on the left side of the pond. We discover runners that had

Koi Pond April, 2016

Koi Pond April, 2016

burrowed under the pond’s rubber liner and removed it all. We are leaving a small patch of Taro on the right. If it starts to become too invasive and we can’t control it, we will remove it as well.

I also removed a large tub of Iris in the center of the pond. It didn’t bloom this year and its height impeded a comfortable view of the large waterfall and pond. Once again, I left a smaller patch of Iris that sits in a pot on top of the fish shelter. It bloomed profusely this year with at least two dozen blooms. Beautiful!

IMG_0069 A

Water lily, Koi Pond, April, 2016

We added a funky wrought iron flower sculpture in the island between the small waterfall and the pond. It added a splash of color where it was sorely needed. We also added

Iris in bloom, Koi Pond, April, 2016

Iris in bloom, Koi Pond, April, 2016

a yellow hibiscus, yellow canna lily and some small plants, some with red flowers and some with yellow flowers to add more color to the island. Alas, the large Agave rotted and died. We decided not to replace it as it made it too difficult to maneuver on the island.

Our external, four barrel adjunct filter system is doing a fantastic job. It just keeps chugging along and keeps the water quite clear. I still add a mesh, laundry bag of barley to the pond every month or two. As the barley decays it releases a substance that kills algae.

The Koi are doing very well.  They have grown a great deal. Some of them are now 4 years old. We have about 30 of them and even though they are fed commercial Koi

Koi Pond, April, 2016

Koi Pond, April, 2016

food once a day, they spend a great deal of time foraging on algae that persists on the submerged rocks. I also periodically (when I think about it) make a small ball of bentonite clay, throw it on a pot shelf and watch the Koi attack it. They seem to love it.

From time to time, not frequently, I do use some Algae Fix to keep the level of algae down. We also spend some time hand removing string algae. It seems to love the small stream that meanders around a portion of the pond.

There is always maintenance: trimming of the vegetation surrounding the pond, removal of decaying lily leaves and removing string algae. But all is a labor of love.

Koi Feeding time

Koi Feeding time

This time of year, March and April, is Arizona’s spring, with several days of flirtation in the 90’s. Everything is in bloom, vibrant and colorful. This time of year we spend a great deal of time outside, enjoying Koi antics.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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