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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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For those of you who do not live in Arizona let me extend my heartiest condolences for the lousy weather you are experiencing. Here, we have had no winter. Today it is 75 degrees and sunny. That is the forecast until the end of the month, another 10 days or so. All flora and fauna are confused. Plants are either in bud or blooming and the Koi think spring has arrived. If there is, by some miracle, a frost in February it will kill all of the tender new growth – not a good thing. Below is a photo that I took today, January 23, 2014.

pond in winter

Arizona Koi Pond in Winter

The water quality remains fantastic. We can see the Koi and right now we only feed them occasionally so they are out sucking up residual algae on the rocks. Here are some photos of the Koi feeding. I put a hula hoop in the pond and throw the food within the ring. The Koi are trained to go there to eat. The white stuff in the photos is the food. We call the black/white/red Koi, Yum Yum. He or she is as wide as long and eats everything in sight. We call the orange Koi, Silky. It has the most beautiful flowing fins. Both are the largest fish we have and are easily nearly 2 feet long and each weighs a couple of pounds. We still lose an occasional fish. I have decided that when any variable in the pond changes, the weakest ones are affected and die off. The ones that are left are very hardy little dudes.

Silky and Yum Yum 25 fish 

I spent the past two weeks reinforcing the grommets on our shade cloth cover for the pond. During the monsoon season we can get some pretty strong winds. They put a tremendous amount of strain on the weakest points on the shade cloth  — the grommet holes. I purchased some duck cloth (under $8) and used a flexible pellon fusible cloth ($5) that I ironed on the shade cloth. It is now ready for another season. Here is a photo of the reinforcement.

shade cloth reinforcement

Since the pond was constructed I have had to slog through the dirt edging the south side of the pond. A few weeks ago we finally installed pavers in that section. It looks and feels so much better. Here’s a photo of the new pavers.

Pavers

New pavers around the pond

Soon we will do a water change and trim and fertilize all of the water plants. When that is accomplished we will be ready for the Koi breeding season as the water warms up. I read somewhere that cotton string mop heads are good havens for fish eggs and fry. I plan to get a couple and test that theory.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

water quality 3a

Koi pond in winter

Here it is December 9, 2013 and everyone is in the throes of preparing for Christmas. We tend to ignore our outside environment and focus on Christmas baking, shopping, and decorating. What about the pond?

If you do not live in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, here’s what our weather has been like. Highs during the day are in the mid-50’s. Since we live in a city adjacent to Phoenix our part of town is subject to freezing at night despite the fact that there may be no hard frost in the Phoenix downtown core. We have had about a half dozen nights of frost so far. For those of you who are dealing with snow, ice and really cold temperatures our weather seems wonderful and it is.

water quality 1a

Iris and lilies

water quality 2a

Gravel at pond bottom
Fish shelf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pond is in semi-hibernation. The shade cover was taken down in the beginning of October. The tropical lilies no longer cover most of the surface water and what leaves they do produce are small. The pond’s Iris are thriving. The cold doesn’t bother them a bit and we look forward to their show of blooms in the spring. We spend the most time covering and uncovering the plants that landscape the pond area  — the palm trees (still relatively small), Lantana, Ruella and Verbena. The large Agave and the Yucca seem to do just fine uncovered.

When I staggered outside about 8 AM today the outside temperature was 37 degrees and the water temperature was 46 degrees. The water is cold but crystal clear. The external filter and the two waterfall filters are running and won’t be cleaned again until spring. No algae dare grow at this time of year! Later on in the day, usually about 2 or 3 o’clock, after the water has warmed, the Koi will come out from beneath the fish shelf. They seem to spend most of their time doing nothing – just lying in place with occasional foraging for some remaining algae. As long as the water is this cold we don’t feed them and they do just fine.

Nature has graciously cooperated with our busy human schedules. The Koi and the pond are quiet, husbanding their strength for the burst of new growth and activity that will surely occur in February leaving us free to enjoy the season.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those 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, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. 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.

Another Rube Goldberg pond contraption

Posted by Joyce Clark on May 28, 2013
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pond vac 1

Pond Vac

Having put together our shop vac system to muck the bottom of the pond I wanted something to combat the free floating algae in the pond water. Back to Internet surfing again. This time I found a suggestion for an external filter. Our filters are doing a good job but there is so much fine, lacy algae they simply cannot keep up with it all.

I went to Wal-Mart and bought another bag of polyfill batting, a round sprinkler and a tall kitchen garbage receptacle. Again, my purchases were under $20. The only other items needed were a piece of hose and a submersible pump. Fortunately we had both lying around.

The old pump is submersible and moves 600 gallons of water an hour and can completely recirculate the pond water in about 12 hours. We placed the pump is in a sack we made of old, screen door netting to protect it from becoming clogged by algae. We attached an old shovel handle to it so that we can pick up the pump and move it around without having to get into the pond.

External filter inside

Inside of external filter
Poly fill batting
Sprinkler and hose

External filter trash container

External filter
trash container
holes drilled in
bottom, front

External filter hose and pump

External filter
hose from submersible pump
to sprinkler in trash container

 

 

 

 

 

 

A piece of hose runs from the pump into the plastic garbage can filled with polyfill batting. Again we drilled about 9 large holes at the bottom of the garbage can on one side only and drilled a hole at the top on the side to slip the hose into. We attached the sprinkler to the hose end draining into the garbage can. We run this external filter system during the day from about 7am to 11pm. It has been working for about a week and we can see that the water is clearing.

IMG_4330

Fish in May 2013

We will never rid ourselves of all the algae nor would we want to. The fish do eat the algae and as they root around the bottom and sides of the pond eating algae they disturb it and the fine stuff floats up to the surface. We do see clumps of this fine stuff on the water’s surface. I have tried skimming with our trusty pool net it but it is so fine, it just dissolves. However, it does float over to the internal filters where it is sucked into the system.

water quality 1

Water quality in May
in Arizona

As we enter the really hot part of the year in Arizona the water is becoming more cloudy and with time, we will not be able to see the fish. The filters will not be able to keep up with Mother Nature’s algae production.  I am determined, no matter the temptation, not to use chemicals this summer for summer will end, the water will clear and we will be surprised at how big the fish became while invisible to us.

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