EIPS Newsletter

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April 2006 Newsletter
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In This Issue: April 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006
7:00 pm
Joe Hall
620 33rd Street NE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Joe Hall will be introducing us to a next step in ponding, that of Railroad Gardening. Joe built his pond, waterfall, and two rivers, then surrounded them with a miniature world of garden railroading. Built originally in 1994 and expanded several times since then, the garden, pond, rivers, and railway now cover Joe’s entire backyard (he has over 450’ of track and 30’ of rivers!). While it will be too early to see Joe’s prize water lilies and grasses, he has many miniature conifers and pines as well as full size roses. And plenty of rocks (with tunnels bored for the trains!). You don’t want to miss this opportunity to see water features integrated with miniature plants, ground covers, rocks, and of course trains.

Bring your lawn chairs

Directions: From I-380 take the 32nd Street Exit. East on 32nd street to E Avenue. North on E, one block, then left on 33rd Street.

Or: From 1st Ave East in Cedar Rapids take 33rd Street NE (Dairy Queen corner!), west, three blocks, house on the right-hand side. (620 33rd Street NE)

Saturday, April 22, 2006
2:00 pm
Joe & Judy Olsen
2003 206th street
Independence, Iowa

Devon Dietz will be speaking on Landscaping with Dwarf Conifers and Rock Gardens. Devon is a Linn County Master Gardener Intern. He has completed the education necessary to become a Master Gardener and is working to complete the volunteer requirements to be certified .

Devon has experience with trees and shrubs having landscaped several properties over the past 40 years. In addition he has used miniature and dwarf conifers in the landscape he just left when the they moved to Marion last year.

Devon and his wife have enjoyed traveling over the world to learn from the gardens of many countries including England and Japan. The trip to Japan in 2003 inspired Devon to create a Zen garden for his condominium in Marion.

A PowerPoint presentation will provide the audience with some ideas they might incorporate in their own landscapes. The presentation will include pictures of dwarf conifers and rock gardens and suggestions to consider when planning their use.

Directions: 380 to Hwy 150 exit. North to Independence. Hwy 150 through town to 13th Street. Right on 13 to 8th Avenue NE (3 blocks). Turn left (north ) on 8th and take that out of town; road turns to gravel . Go about one third mile till you come to the log home on the left. Name is on mailbox (2003 206th street).

March 25th

Peck’s nursery and greenhouses was the site for our Saturday, March 25th meeting. Our ponding year started out with a bang as the meeting reached a near record 3 hours long! President, Monica Morley, called the meeting to order as a huge crowd assembled around a stage of colorful Tropicals and interesting plants. She began the meeting by introducing Bill Hornett from the nursery department and Debbie Walser from the perennial department. Together they gave a great talk about considerations for plant selections round the pond. They answered questions and gave suggestions. A very nice presentation was appreciated by all.

Following the presentation, Monica began the business part of the meeting. Minutes were approved as written. Joe Olsen gave a treasurer’s report and reminded members that yearly dues are now due for the upcoming year. Joe also spoke about the question/answer section he has started in the newsletter. He asked that members submit questions they have about ponding and asked that members take the time to write an answers to be published in the next newsletter. We can all learn from each other this way.

The pond tour committee is still looking for volunteersto help with planning. They proposed to have the pond tour in the Cedar Rapids area again this year and it was voted on and approved. So the hunt is on for volunteers to show their ponds. As normal, we are looking for ponds that have never been on the tour. So, if you would like to have your pond on display or if you would just like to help by being on the committee, please notify Brady Lanham (pond tour chairman) or Dennis Sindelar. All helpers are greatly appreciated as this is a big project and requires many hands. We also discussed moving the pre-pond tour to a Saturday instead of the usual Thursday night, to give people more time to get around to all the ponds before dark.

In other committee news: Kacy reported that she is now getting flooded with door prizes from vendors. She is attaching their return addresses to all prizes in hopes that the lucky winners will take the time to send thank you notes. The program committee reports all meetings have been spoken for except maybe one in Sept. Again, we are looking for new pond locations to see. So if you have never hosted a meeting and would be willing to let us come and visit, please contact Monica or Robert Geers. Some of the spoken for dates are repeat sites, so they may be willing to bow out, knowing someone new is willing. Carol Sindelar, from the newsletter, reported that help with articles has been good and she thanked everyone. In fact it was so good last time, it cost extra to mail. There was some conversation regarding why we were still mailing so many, when it could be received on line from the web site for free. It is still the general feeling of most members that they like to have it mailed. Some don’t have computer access while others just don’t like to go on line to get it. Jo Hunerdosse with the hospitality committee said they are still looking for ways to recognize new members and welcome them to the club. Elena Murillo with the Recognition committee showed us a very beautiful thank you note they plan on sending to all meeting host. Larry Tharp is ordering “Once a year” fertilizer tabs, if you are interested, contact him. Greg Bickal has received his bulk order of fish food if you’re looking for a supplier for fish food. I reported for the Expo committee, stating we have 20 vendors signed up to participate and the speakers are all still on board. I passed around a volunteer sheet to begin signing. I also sent around fliers, so people would have them on hand to pass out to friends or at other functions. Advertising is now the next big priority, and we need everyone’s help to spread the work for that.

Various volunteers will be making a visit to the Dubuque arboretum to talk about their pond. We’ll have a report at the next meeting. Pond Club shirts were handed out. I still have a couple orders that need picked up, so please get a hold of me for that.

In unfinished business, the committee regarding the club’s registration with the state of Iowa for incorporation gave their findings report. Incorporating with the state will only cost the club $20.00, but will afford some protection to officers regarding any lawsuits that may arise and it will legally register our club’s name with the state for the purpose of receiving donations. Jo Hunerdosse went threw the proposed Constitution and By Laws. This sparked a lengthy discussion. It was decided that they would be published and can be reviewed and changed at any time. While this was a time consuming and complicated matter, we’re grateful to the committee that took the time to fumble through this whole process to see what it would mean to the club in the future. Hopefully, with these important decisions behind us we can dedicate our future meetings to pond and garden chit chat. It’s important to have everyone’s input into these matters as we draw from our member’s expertise in their daily lives to help fortify and make us a better club to belong to.

In new business, Brady Lanham, by way of proxy since he couldn’t make the meeting, asked why the Saturday meetings were being held at 2:00 instead of later in the day. Discussion disclosed miss communication and an error on the web site. It still remains up to the host, but we ask they consider peoples availablity when they are planning their meetings in hopes that it will help facilitate more participation.

And finally, in anticipation of returning meetings to more “Pond” talk, Monica passed out pieces of picture matting and announced a “show and tell with your favorite photo” contest for the next meeting. You’re invited to bring up to 3 of your favorite pond 4x6 pictures to be judged with prizes to be given to the winners.

Numerous door prizes were drawn for as we adjourned.

Shewww. The minutes are long…but there was a lot that went on with lots of members in attendance. It was great to see everyone again. Respectfully, Jackie Allsup

Here are some responses to the March questions:

1. My pump quit (out of warranty of course). Where can I get it checked out to see if it can be repaired? New ones are really pricey. Can my pump be fixed?

When my aquascape 2600 gph pump quit working and I started pricing replacements I decided it was at least worth checking to see if anyone would look at it to see if it was repairable. I found a repair place that "diagnosed" it for no charge and gave me an estimate of repairs. $90 later I have a reconditioned pump. Somehow water had gotten inside. If you have a similar problem check out Thomas Electric Motor Service in Oelwein, 319-334-2709. Very nice people, did the repairs in a timely fashion and seemed intrigued with checking out a type of motor they had not worked on before. In this day and age, finding someone to look at something without charging is a rarity indeed. If you have the manual for your pump take that in with you when you go. I was pleased when he said the Aquascape pump motor was well built.

Dennis Sindelar also replied that he blew a seal on his Onmi-U pump. “I took it to Superior Motor Rewinding here in Cedar Rapids. They had it a long time, not getting anywhere. But then I found the specs for the unit, got it to them and they were then able to quickly fix it. And like you said, not as pricey as a new one. The down side of this story is that they are no longer in business. But should you find a place, I am saying, take the specs, especially if it is a foreign made pump.”

2. What is the formula for determining the amount of fish I should have in my pond?

The biggest problem with this question is that people are looking for some magical equation that they can apply to their pond's volume. While a ponds size, amount of filtration, and amount of aeration all add to the ability of a pond to hold more fish, we must first understand that the fish and the impact it has on our ponds today is not the same amount as the same fish will have a year from now. Example: a Koi that is 5" long, 2" high and 1/2" wide takes up 5 cubic inches of space. The same fish, a year later is now doubled in size and is now 10 "long, 4" high, and 1" wide and now takes up 40 cubic inches of space. 5 = 1 40 = 8 since volume is a cubic function, by doubling its size it now effects the pond 8 time as much. The same Koi at age 2 is now 15" l x 6 "h x 1 1/2"w, now he's 135 cubic inches, effecting the pond 27 times more than that cute little thing you added just 2 years ago. Knowing this, filtration, pond volume, and aeration must be planned for the future, not the present, when Koi keeping is in mind. That said one of the magic formulas that is widely recognized in Koi keeping is 1-12" fish per 10 sq. ft. of surface area (3' x 3') in an un-aerated pond; or 1-12" fish per 2-3 sq. ft. of surface area in a well aerated pond. Note: this is surface area of the pond not volume, because that is where a pond gets 90% of it's aeration. The rest is just pollution dilution. - Jackie Allsup

3. Is anyone using bog filtration for their pond and if so how is it working?

No replies on the bog filtration question. I will be in the front row at Dr. Novak's lecture on anoxic filtration systems at the pond expo.

April’s question:

I have chronic algae problems in my pond until August when things clear up. Have tried everything I know and can't seem to make much progress. What is the secret?

Do you have a ponding related question or problem? With over 85 members, EIPS is a tremendous resource of information. Beginning this month a new feature in the newsletter will give you a chance to ask that burning question and get feedback from the "experts " in the club. Email your questions to olywon@indytel.com...we will print them in the newsletter. Replies will be included in the following month's issue of Beneath the Surface. This will work only if you submit questions AND if club members with ideas reply (email answers to olywon@indytel.com before the last meeting of each month)...

Space is limited so be concise in both questions and responses. Let's have some fun with this.

What is Garden Railroading?

The hobby of garden railroading is nothing new in the world, although it is relatively new in the United States. It is a pastime that has been enjoyed for over a century in Britain and in European countries. There was a very small following in this country during the twenties and thirties, but it virtually died out in the late forties and fifties. Interest wasn't rekindled until the late sixties and early seventies, primarily through the introduction of the now famous LGB indoor-outdoor train system. Garden railroading is one of the fastest growing segments of the model train hobby in this country today.

Garden railroading combines model railroading with gardening, and is quite often enjoyed by the entire family. The garden railroader's goals include the creation of a railway-like atmosphere out-of-doors using natural materials. The trees are actual miniature trees, the lakes are real water, and in the winter the trains plow real snow.

Where can I get information on starting a garden railway?

There is a wealth of information available on garden railroading. You might want to read Building the Colorado & Pacific beginner’s series, which ran in the April, June, August, and October 2000 issues of Garden Railways and which is now available online. Just click on the title of the series above to get to it at Trains.com. Kalmbach Publishing sells a beginner book, Garden Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby and a 19-minute video called Building your first garden railroad. Click on the titles to buy them online or call 800-533-6644. Sidestreet Bannerworks also sells a beginner video called How to Build Your Garden Railway (www.sidestreet.info, 303-377-7785). Visit a local hobby shop to look at the variety of available products. Click here to find a hobby shop near you. There are a number of large-scale web sites, including www.gardenrailways.com, www.largescaleonline.com, and www.mylargescale.com.

The local Cedar Valley Garden Railway Society is another excellent source of information. EIPS member, Joe Hall, is the President and will be happy to answer any questions you may have as you tour his backyard.

The first ever pond trade show in the Heartland!

May 20th, 2006
Hawkeye Downs Fairgrounds
Cedar Rapids, IA
$6.00 gets you into everything!

Huge Trade Show! First of it's kind in Iowa!
Vendors from all over the country will be there to show you what's new in the water gardening and fish world.

Goldfish and Koi vendors
Pond supply vendors (Nets, pumps, filters, plants, and food)
One stop shopping!

Expert Speakers all Day!

9:00 Doors Open
9:30 - 9:45 Welcome - The Three Laws of Ponding - Bob Passovoy
9:45-10:25 Water Plants - Ann Passovoy
10:35-11:25 Filtration - Dr. Kevin Novak
11:35- 12:25 Water Quality - Bob Passovoy
12:25 - 1:00 Lunch - food on premises
1:00 - 1:30 Pond Side Triage - Bob Passovoy & Bryan Bateman
1:30 - 2:00 Fish Nutrition - Stephanie McLean
2:10 - 3:00 Goldfish varieties and care -Peter Ponzio
3:10 - 4:00 Koi classifications and care - Dr. Bryan Bateman
4:00 - Pond Q & A Panel
5:00-7:00 Trade show still open
7:00 Closed- Thanks for coming!

Subject to change

Fliers and Vendor Information can be found on the Pond Expo page.

Meet Our Speakers

About our seminars: Since many of our participants are experienced ponders already, we have tried to push the talks ‘up a notch’ to address the more experienced person’s desire to learn yet more about what goes on inside their pond. For the beginners, we hope you won’t find this information over whelming. Water gardening and fish keeping is a wonderfully flexible hobby, that is suitable to all degrees of time and experience.

Ponding is for EVERYONE

Dr. Bob Passovoy

Bob and Ann Passovoy are two reunited halves of a Legendary Mythic Ponder from the Vastly Deeps of Time. Sucked into the Black Hole of the water gardening hobby 10 years ago by two water lilies, a Meier’s muck bucket and an otherwise inoffensive comet goldfish, they now wrangle a 4400 gallon koi pond powered by a 425 hp supercharged Mad Science filter array complete with an Illudium –Q-238 Pond Modulator, a Flux Capacitor, a Mr. Fusion and a Laser Containment Field. That’s Bob’s territory; Anne runs the plants, the goldfish bog and Bob. She signs a lot.

Bob will open up our seminar talks by telling us about The Three Laws of Ponding. 1. There is Always A Better Fish. 2. There is Always A Better Filter and 3. There is Never Enough Water. Join us as Bob reiterates what we experienced ponders already have regretfully come to realize and what newbies will come to learn.

Later in the day, Bob will also help us try to demystify the whole Water Quality issue. It’s probably the most confusing part of water gardening yet the most important part of fish keeping.

Just after lunch Bob will join Dr. Bryan Bateman and show us some simple Pond Side Triage. (Treating a simple sore or ulcer that we might find on our fish caused from an injury of any type.) This is treatment that you can do yourself with a little know how! You won’t want to miss this talk!

Ann Passovoy

A Pond is not complete without the Water Plants! Whereas, Bob can explain the technical parts of ponding, his wife Ann has agreed to talk a little about the plants. Coming from Chicago, Ann can tell you what will work in our zone. She’ll highlight the common plants and tell us about a few plants that work well in the pond that we may not have thought about. Come and enjoy her pictures and see what the people from Chicago may be doing differently than us.

Dr. Kevin Novak

With an PH.D. in Ichthyology (study of fishes) and post graduate studies in Limnology (Study of inland water, ex. lakes and ponds) and being a mechanical programming design engineer by profession, Dr Kevin Novak has been in the hobby of ponding since his teenage years. The problems encountered with the growth of plants and the misunderstanding of biological bacterial processes in the pond hobby resulted in an intense research project some 20 years ago. Today, he has designed what he believes to be one of the most versatile and easy to maintain a filtration system that is now available to all hobbyists. Controversial in nature, his design addresses iron deficiencies to plants and “anoxic” low oxygen levels for tiny beneficial organism like bacterium.

Dr. Novak will be talking to us about his proven Anoxic Filtration System. Don’t let the extensive scientific research scare you away from learning all about this exciting alternative to “buying the big filtration box”. Dr. Novak will walk us through his DIY filtration system. Part veggie filter/part settling tank (but with a big twist) you can put this system on any existing pond or new construction. All natural, he works with Mother Nature to teach you how the laws of chemistry and physics can and will bring you sparkling clear and healthy water. He guarantees this will put an end to all your filtration woes. (Remember Rule #2!)

Stephanie McLean

Stephanie is the Southern area rep for one of our gracious co-sponsors, Mazuri foods from Land O’ Lakes Purina. She is a graduate of the University of Florida. Stephanie has been working in the animal nutrition industry with Land O’ Lakes Purina Feed for over 12 years. During that time, she has worked with the North Florida Koi, San Diego ZNA, Orange County, Southern Arizona, and the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix) Koi Clubs, as well as numerous koi breeders, dealers, and pond and water garden centers on koi nutrition issues.

Stephanie will take a few minutes to explain a fish’s nutritional needs and how various types of food are required to satisfy those requirements. A short talk full of lots of information on how to get maximum growth and the brightest colors possible from our fish friends.

Peter Ponzio

Peter has been a goldfish judge for the past 12 years, and led a committee which wrote the standards on judging goldfish in the U.S. and were adopted by the GFSA in 1995. Peter has been past Chairman, Membership Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and frequent contributor of articles in the GFSA. Peter’s articles on goldfish have appeared in the Midwest Pond & Koi Society, Louisville Koi and Goldfish Society, the Northwest Koi & Goldfish Society, the Goldfish Report and MAKC Report. Peter currently writes and maintains the site www.goldfishpages.com.

Peter is here today to educate us on the different Goldfish Varieties. The different types of goldfish are as numerous as Koi. This is a much overlooked side of ponding. People see common comets and koi in ponds, but there are a whole host of beautiful and fascinating goldfish to be had and enjoyed. We feel after you hear Peter’s presentation, you may consider the addition of a goldfish pond. (Remember Rules No# 1 and 3!)

Dr. Bryan Bateman

Bryan and his wife Bay have been involved in the Koi hobby for 15 years. They enjoy showing their Koi at shows. They have shown throughout the Midwest and have won Grand Champion on five occasions! Bryan has served as President of the Midwest Pond and Koi Society. Bryan has also served as AKCA rep for the past 5 years and was certified as a Koi Health Advisor by the AKCA in 2003. Bryan joined the AKCA koi judging program in 2002 and was certified in 2005. He was recently selected to judge in the prestigious Holland Koi Show near Amsterdam this coming August. Bryan enjoys writing articles on all things Koi and has written articles for the MPKS newsletter, Mid-Atlantic Koi, and Koi USA.

Ever stood by your koi pond and had someone point to a fish and say “I love your Kohaku”? Kohaku, Showa, Sanke...it’s all Japanese to some of us. There are actually 14 different recognized Classifications of Koi. You know the difference between a German Shepard and a poodle, maybe it’s time you learnt the difference between your Bekko and an Utsuri. Bryan will help us understand the differences and maybe even give us a few clues on how to pick out that 2007 Expo Grand Champion! (See Rule #1)

I wish to thank the members attending the Saturday meeting for their time and patience during the long business meeting. I believe members at a meeting are to be informed and have input on all issues that pertain to the club. Thanks again. Your time is always appreciated.


It is spring and many of the ISU Master Gardeners and garden centers are have gardening evens, open houses and speakers. For the next couple months watch this purple pencil logo for lists of area events. And if you know of one you would like other EIPS members to know about, email that information to me at Fishlounge1@cs.com. Watch for area events.

Spring In the Country Open House

May 13th
In The Country Garden & Gifts
Independence, Iowa

Josh & Sue invite you to visit them during their Open House, see the new greenhouse and hear these speakers:

10 am - Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate
with Cathy Wilkinson Barash

12 pm - Evening Gardens - Nighttime is the Right Time to Enjoy the Garden
with Cathy Wilkinson Barash

1:30 pm - Pond Construction 101
with Owen Twedt

Registration is not required, but is greatly appreciated!

You can register by calling (319-334-6593), e-mail info@inthecountrygardenandgifts.com

Check out the web site www.inthecountrygardenandgifts.com For additional information.

Indian Creek Nature Center Plant Sale

Saturday, May 6th.

The Nature Center Guild offers wildflowers, hostas, geraniums, and a variety of perennials and prairie plants for your choosing. Numerous vendors provide garden art and accessories to create a charming garden showcase in your yard.


Indian Creek Nature Center
6665 Otis Road SE Cedar Rapids

Once a year Fertilizer have arrived

The Pond Pak 1-year time release fertilizer packets from JRP International are in. If you ordered some or even if you did not and would like some,

Contact - Larry & Rita Tharp 396-3293 or tharp.larry@mcleodusa.com.

They are 25 cents per packet.

Gardening Rule:

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

Spring in the pond:

Just a note to those who are new to ponding. It is spring in Iowa and the pond fish are starting to move around again. On some days they are even coming to the surface. They look like they are begging. And we are moved to want to FEED THEM. But wait. Fish do not digest food well before the WATER TEMP. reached 55º F. So enjoy them, but don’t feed them yet. Just a reminder.

We wish to acknowledge and thank the following manufacturers who donated items for the door prizes at our meetings.

Sunterra LLC
5901 W. War Memorial Dr
Peoria, Illinois 61615

PO BOX 381
Toldeo, OH 46397-0381

Tetra Holdings
3001 Commerce St
Blacksburg, VA 24060

E G Danner Manufacturing Inc
160 Oval Dr
Islandia, NY 11749

A Division of Hartz Mt. Corp
400 Plaza Dr

Ocean Star Int. Inc
65 North Stone Rd
Snowville, UT 84336

A personal letter of appreciation to the company if you receive a door price would be appreciated. Also, if you especially enjoy an item you win, let the company know about that product. They look for feedback.


April - Eileen Serbousek 4-17

We would love to remember your birthday. If you have not submitted your birthday, please contact the Hospitality Committee. Elena & Gil / Hospitality Committee

Curt Moore

Since we have a pond photo contest coming up, I thought it might be a good time to share a few tips which, hopefully, will help you capture that winning image.

First, a little about me. I am not a professional photographer. However, I have been dabbling in photography for a little over 30 years and it is one of my favorite hobbies. I shoot almost entirely digital these days, and haven’t shot a roll of film for almost 3 years. I imagine that most of you are also using a digital camera of one sort or another, but the tips that follow work equally well for film cameras.

I won’t go into equipment here. I figure you already own a camera and a discussion of equipment could fill a small book. No, let’s concentrate on the “how” of pond photography rather than the “what.” More specifically, I’ll limit the discussion to just two areas that I consider critical for producing an interesting image. These are composition and lighting.


When contemplating that award winning pond photo, the first thing you need to consider is “What story do I want to tell with my photo?” Many people’s first thought is to take a photo of the entire pond, including surrounding plants and foliage. While that can certainly work, there may be an even more interesting image lurking out there. Perhaps the story you really want to tell is how peaceful the sound of running water makes you feel after a hard day’s work. Will a photo of your entire pond best tell that story or is there another image that tells it better?

Maybe the story you want to tell is how proud you are of your first water lily bloom of the season. How about the little frog that comes out every night and croaks for a while. I bet his story is just waiting to be told.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about. Which do you find more interesting – photo A or photo B? Hint - there is no right answer.

Photo A

Photo B

Some may like photo A. It tells a story of beautifully arranged pond with abundant plant life and nice stone work. On the other hand, some may find photo B more interesting. It’s the same waterfall as in Photo A, but it is now the center of attention and it doesn’t get lost in the rest of the photo. You can almost here the water cascading down the rocks in Photo B.

The neat thing about composing an image of your pond is that you don’t need a camera to do it. All you need are your eyes and the ability to visualize what you will see inside the viewfinder of your camera. Walk around your pond and take mental snapshots of what interests you. Keep in mind what it is you want to tell the viewer when he or she looks at your photo.

Try different perspectives as you take your mental photos. Get down low and take a frog’s eye view. Stand on a ladder and look down on your pond with a bird’s eye view. Unusual perspectives can produce some incredibly interesting images of otherwise hohum subjects because they give us a view that we don’t normally see. If it helps, write down what you see and where you are standing as your mental camera clicks away. Once you have visualized the story you want to tell and the image that best tells that story, then taking the actual photo is almost an afterthought.


Lighting is almost as important as composition in creating an interesting photo. My first recommendation is to turn off the flash (strobe) on your camera. Ponds were meant to be photographed in natural light. Camera flashes product a nice white burst of light that is great for some things, but ponds isn’t one of them. The light from your strobe is usually very bright and will cast harsh shadows that detract from the pond’s natural beauty. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Turn off the flash.

OK, now that we are ready to shoot our pond under natural light, what time of day is best? Does it matter? The answer to the first question is “It depends,” and the answer to the second is “Definitely.”

My favorite times for shooting almost any landscape subject are right after sunrise or just before sunset. The sun is low on the horizon at both times and it tends to impart a warm golden glow to everything. The shadows are soft and long. It’s no wonder that these two times of day are affectionately referred to by many photographers as the “magic time.”

So does that mean you can’t take pictures from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm? No, definitely not. The light at mid day will be brighter and harsher, but you can still get nice photos.

Another thing to consider relative to natural lighting is what is going on up in the sky. Is it cloudy and overcast or nothing but blue? Cloudy sky will act as a giant diffuser for sunlight, giving you less harsh light. Some people actually prefer to shoot under overcast skies for this very reason. Cloudless skies will produce the brightest light and the deepest shadows.

I personally prefer somewhere in between. Big puffy clouds on a blue sky background cut the direct sunlight as they pass in front of it and can make for some really neat reflections in your pond. Here are a few examples where reflection plays a big part in the overall image:

And speaking of reflections, be sure to look for interesting reflections of objects on the edge of your pond. These can make for dramatic subjects. Note that certain times of day will enhance the reflection, so you need to study things for a few days to see when your subject’s reflection is at its best.

The last thing I related to lighting is that I recommend using a tripod for your camera if at all possible. If you don’t have a tripod, a beanbag laid over a fence or a railing will work in a pinch. Since you are photographing your pond under available natural light (no strobes or flashes!), your shutter speed may be relatively slow. So in order to prevent blurring that otherwise Pulitzer quality photo, stabilize your camera for best results.

That’s a wrap

Hopefully, you will be able to put these tips to good use this coming pond season. If you master the concepts of composition and lighting, you are 90% of the way towards great photos. At the end of the day, it’s about having fun. And that is my very last tip.

Good luck!

by Carol Sindelar

If we get our heads thinking in the right direction, this water gardening hobby can loose some of the mystical element it carries. Some of this stuff is so simple I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t see it before.

So here I am selecting plants for my water garden and I want them to help out with the water filtration. The garden center gives me lots of choices, all beautiful. Over here are wonderful plants from the south. There are the “annuals” of the pond. Also referred to as Tropicals. Then the ones from a little bit warmer zone. The ones the might make it through the winter. Sometimes. And finally, the plants that are native to this area. Which ones are going to help out the filtration the most. By help out, I mean remove the most ammonia and nitrates from the water. And when I need it removed.

It is a simple choice if we analyze how the removal happens. Water movement is a key point. Water movement over the root system allows the plants to “eat” , absorb the nutrients as they wash by.

The Tropicals are usually in a slight state of shock when they arrive. Think of stepping off the airplane this past winter in Iowa when you thought you were going to Cancun. Shock. And the water has to warm up quite a bit before they fully recover and start growing and absorbing the nutrients, ammonia and nitrates. So actual filtration starts about mid June, if you are lucky, and ends with the first frost in September. Hold that thought.

The plants from just south of here are not quite as shocked as their Tropical relatives but they too want the waters warm and the days long before they get going. Maybe mid May to late September. Humm.

Now for the next one, take a look at your pond or my pond. There is still some ice on it that comes and goes with the sunshine. The iris, cattails and other native plants are already pushing out new growth! They are using nutrients already, and we are just turning the calendar to April. Over the next two month they will do a lot of growing and use a lot of nutrients. They start the year ready to work for you.

So it is spring, anyway the calendar has said so for over a week, and the fish are waking up. The native plants are waking up to the same alarm clock. A perfect match.

For more information on making vegetative filtration work and for charts on the ratio between fish mass and plant mass, see the article Vegetative Filtration part 2 by Stephen M. Meyer in the May 2001 issue of Aquarium Fish Magazine. I found it very informative.

Following are the 2006 committees and the names of those who volunteered at the November meeting.


no one!!!!


*Bob & Stephanie Geers 363-2448 hawkskier@yahoo.com


*Kacy Novak 362-0487 cqknovak@msn.com


*Gary & Jo Hunerdosse 364-6627 gfhunk@mchsi.com


*Carol Sindelar 365-1839 fishlounge1@cs.com


*Brandy & Lisa Lanham 362-7672 lanhamb1@earthlink.com


*Carol Sindelar 365-1839 fishlounge1@cs.com


*Ron & Edna Rife 247-0206 RLrife@aol.com


*Jackie Allsup 934-3665 Cedarserviceja@aol.com
Pat Beuter 448-4147
Kathryn Durnan 448-4681 DKL4489@AOL.com
Dennis Sindelar 365-1839 fishlounge1@cs.com
Roger Thompson 854-7229
Faith Miene 393-4142 rfmiene@yahoo.com
Richard Miene 393-4142 rfmiene@yahoo.com
Tim Nolan 363-9408 nolans@mcleodusa.net

Eastern Iowa Pond Society Membership Application


(Thurs) 13
Joe Hall
620 33rd St NE
Cedar Rapids
Garden Railways: How to Get Started
Responsibility: Jim

(Sat) 22
Judy and Joe Olsen
2003 206th St.
Rock Gardening and Miniature Conifers: Devon Dietz, Master Gardener
Responsibility: Jim


(Thurs) 11
Murillo and Morley
6207 Spring Cove St NE
Cedar Rapids
Nature Photography: John McHugh, Windsong Photography
Responsibility: Jim

(Sat) 27
Quinn and Kacy Novak
601 Wilder Drive SE
Cedar Rapids
EIPS Buy, Sell and Trade: Fish, Pond and Landscaping Supplies
Responsibility: Stephanie/Rose


(Thurs) 8
Brandy and Lisa Lanham
2057 Eastern Blvd SE
Cedar Rapids
Bat Houses: Master Gardener
Responsibility: Erma

(Sat) 24
Bob and Stephanie Geers
3615 Honey Hill Dr SE
Cedar Rapids
Making Cement Stepping Stones: Erma Thompson
Responsibility: Erma


(Sun) 9
Locations: TBD
Pre-Pond Tour

(Sat) 22
Joyce Jensen
172 Gray Street
Elk Run Heights
Cake Decorating Contest: Aquatic Theme
Responsibility: Rose


(Thurs) 10
Gary and Jo Hunerdosse
306 Red Fox Rd SE
Cedar Rapids
Landscaping for Residential Areas with High Deer Population: Brian Hughes, Smith-Massman Landscape and Design
Responsibility: Larry

(Sat) 26
Robert and Roberta Ward
3313 Waveland Dr. NW
Cedar Rapids
Fall Bulbs and Plantings: Master Gardener
Responsibility: Jim


(Thurs) 14
Larry and Rita Tharp
338 Mayberry Dr. NW
Cedar Rapids
Program: Open Discussion on Pond Related Topics
Responsibility: Stephanie?

(Sat) 23
Murillo and Morleys
6207 Spring Cove St NE
Cedar Rapids
Jackie Allsup, Pond Fish and Their Care
Responsibility: Larry


(Sat) 21
Larry and Erma Thompson
131 Rosedale Rd SE
Cedar Rapids
Larry Thompson: Winterizing Your Pond
Responsibility: Larry


(Sat) 18
Pizza Village
Election of Officers

Agenda: Business Meeting: 30-40 minutes
Program: 30-45 minutes
Tour of host’s pond/water features: 40-60 minutes

All locations and topics are subject to change. Read your monthly newsletter for details and updates.

EIPS Newsletter Archives