EIPS Newsletter

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In This Issue: December 2008

The first meeting of 2009 will be February 28th at the home of Jeff and Kerry.

Click to read a thank you letter from the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

By Josh Spece

Hosta ‘Night Before Christmas’

Hostas are probably the last thing on your mind at this time of year, so what could be more appropriate than a hosta with a Christmas name?! There are a number of Christmas themed hostas, including ‘Christmas Tree’, ‘Christmas Candy’, ‘Christmas Cookies’, and ‘White Christmas’. One of the showiest, though, is ‘Night Before Christmas’.

Hosta ‘Night Before Christmas’ is a much improved sport of ‘White Christmas’. It has long, pointed leaves with a wide, green margin that occupies at least 2/3 of the leaf. The narrow center is stark white. ‘Night Before Christmas’ grows quickly and easily into a large mound that can reach 4 feet across. Many white centered hostas can be fussy and difficult to grow, but that is not the case with ‘Night Before Christmas’.

The hostas may be out of sight for the time being, but they definitely don’t have to be out of mind. Happy holidays!

This is the last Hosta of the Month. Thank you to Josh Spece for writing this feature article for the last two years...

from www.pondmarket.com

1) It can hide the perimeter of the pond and lead people to think they can walk in that area...they may fall in! Mark the perimeter of the pond with large upright sticks or other easily distinguishable markers.

2) Snow will not let light get into the water! Algae, Oxygenators and other plants which may still be alive will TAKE oxygen out of the water to compensate for not being able to generate oxygen. This adds to oxygen deprivation of the fish and will kill them rather quickly if the snow cover last several days and/or there are many fish competing for what little oxygen there is.

Take these pre-cautions: Gently sweep the snow you can reach from the edge of the Pond away (be careful not to step too close or on the pond, the ice will not hold you). Add a de-icer if still possible (the ice is not solid yet) and air pump (the small air stone can be pushed into the water through a very small hole. These small investments now can help prevent the devastation of a large number of fish lost, keep you from having to replace them in the spring and keeps the pond much healthier.

Something New?

Let’s have a section in our newsletter called Keep It Real... what does that mean? We want to hear from you members, what’s going on, did you lose fish, try something new you want to share. Did you bring your koi inside this winter? How much work was that, where did you house them, how is it going so far? Share with everybody the Good, Bad and Ugly. Are you worried about your fish if you shut down your pond for the first time or what are your concerns as we enter the winter season. Write it up & send it to mespringcove@aol.com or mail:

Monica Morley
6702 Spring Cove Ct NE
Cedar Rapids IA 52402

Inquiring minds want to know

Don’t miss being a part of it!

Thank you to the members so far that have supported the cookbook project: Dorothy Helms, Lora Meikle, Maria Hamilton, Tom Hamilton, Jackie Allsup, Erma Thompson, Kathi Albrecht, Jeff Garner, Kerry Shaner, Sharon Weiss, Rosie Michel, Monica Morley, Elena Murillo, Rose Milden, Cecy Bisenius, Pat Beuter, Stephanie Geers, Dave Bell, Joan Folkmann, Sandy Ludovissy, Shirley Bailey, Deb Gaddis, Eileen Serousek, LouAnn Jayne, and Deb Kontz,

Still time to join us in this club project. Take a few moments to pick some of your favorite recipes and send them in by email mespringcove@aol.com or mail:

Monica Morley
6702 Spring Cove CT NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

10% Discounts

see April’s Newsletter or the Commercial Supporters page.

In the Country Garden & Gifts
Iowa City Landscaping & Garden Center
Earl May, NE side only
Home & Garden Metal Art by A.J.

Fun (Pond) Fact

The fat in a Koi's body can get so cold and stiff that they may swim in some really strange positions (on their side, head down, etc), but once the water warms up this condition usually cures itself.


December Birthdays

Claudia Hovden - 13th
Carol Sanderson - 19th
Gil Morley - 25th

If you would like your birthday printed in the newsletter, email us at mespringcove@aol.com or sign in with the Hospitality Committee: Elena Murillo or Gil Morley.

by Rob Bernabe

If you’ve never seen an indoor fish pond or are of the mind that the only place for a fishpond is outdoors, it’s time to readjust your thinking. Many people love the idea of having a goldfish or Koi pond in their lawn and garden area but find the reality isn’t always as wonderful as the fantasy.

Every winter runs the risk of losing the plant and fish life in your pond with the first freeze. As a result, more and more people are coming up with a method for bringing the outdoors, in and forming your very own pond indoors is a beautiful alternative to a tired old aquarium. While an indoor pond doesn’t have to be beautiful in order to be functional, you can choose to make it a focal point and conversation piece quite easily.

A fairly simple and inexpensive way to craft an indoor pond this winter season is by using interlocking landscaping blocks to form a basic outline, and place a pre molded plastic pond liner (to avoid leaks), and other landscaping items such as rocks, plants, and soil in order to fill in the gaps. Others have even used a plastic kiddie pool for the fish and disguised the pool by hiding it with bricks or landscaping rocks.

The main purpose of indoor ponds is to protect your fish and plant life from the extreme winter weather conditions. It is quite easy to move the fish and plants from one pond to another. Be sure to keep the indoor pond regulated for temperature and water freshness by using proper equipment. Taking these precautions should keep your Koi fish and your plants healthy throughout the harsher winter months.

By Nigel Paquin
from www.infokoi.com

Salt is pretty amazing in it's ability to control algae, detoxify Nitrites, kill parasites and it's antiseptic qualities. Salt is a great item to use for your water quality, but first... you need to know how much to add. We feel that a 0.1% continual salt bath is a good level to run at all the time. To achieve this level, add 1¼ ounces of salt per 10 gallons of pond water. The maximum level of salt that you can run without major damage to the fish is 0.3%. This high salt level is used for treating fish wounds and parasites. To achieve this level, add 3.8 oz. of salt per 10 gallons. This salt level is better suited for a bath, or in a hospital tank. Never ever take your main pond up to a level like this. Long term exposure to high salt content will damage or kill the fish and your biological filter. This salt level should be used for a 15 minute bath only.

From www.infokoi.com

The Cult of Koi
By Michuqo Tamadachi

This book is an excellent reference for beginners and experts as well. It gives a great overview of the history of Japanese, Domestic and German Koi. It gives an excellent review of the different types of Koi that have help me a great deal in identification. If your just getting into Koi we're sure you'll find this book to be very useful.

4th Annual Photo Contest Coming in July


  • Shades of Green
  • Miniatures around Pond and Garden
  • Koi
  • Winter Pond/Garden Scene

Must be your own pond/garden
4x6 size only
2 pics per category

From Monica Morley

Well, I came home for lunch and Elena (my mother) tells me to keep my coat on and go down to the skimmer, there is a big koi froze to the skimmer net. We keep the pond running during the winter. I get down there and sure enough the huge koi was froze to the skimmer net with just enough water to keep his head wet as a little water comes through the skimmer due to the water freezing. He looked dead to me but I had to get him out of the skimmer. I tugged at his tail, got it loose and sure enough he started to move. I ran back to the house, Elena had a bucket of water and a milk jug full of treated water ready to go. I poured it on the koi and he started moving to free himself. Got him free, getting hold of a slippery koi is not the easiest thing to do, but I got him and put him back in the pond through an opening from the aerator. He was still moving, I hope he makes it but who knows under the frozen ice. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

from Doctors Foster and Smith

Keeping your Pond Open Year-Round

When temperatures plummet, you may need to step up your winter pond care methods to ward off winter kill. Frigid temperatures make it more difficult for you to keep an area of your pond ice-free, but the health and survival of your pond fish depend upon it. The following tips help you sustain your pond's health during frigid periods.

Use A De-Icer

Properly install one of these devices before freezing temperatures hit. A de-icer helps keep a section of your pond open to allow oxygen and gas exchange. It does not, however, warm the water temperature in your pond. In order to maximize its efficiency, install it in the shallowest part of your pond and shelter it from the wind as best as possible. Some pond owners lay down a piece of plywood over a section of the pond bank where the de-icer resides. This helps keep warmth from escaping too quickly. Depending upon the size of the pond, its depth, and overall volume, more than one unit may be needed to keep a section clear.


An aerator keeps you pond well oxygenated and can help keep a section of your pond open in the winter time. An aerator works under the premise that moving water resists freezing. When using an aerator, you must remember a few things. An aerator is capable of hyper-cooling your water, if used when air temps are below freezing. To keep this from happening the aerator should be kept in an insulated chamber (outside the pond) in order to pump in less frigid air, or the pump should be kept indoors with just the airline and airstones being used outdoors. This will allow warmer air to be pumped into the pond and eliminate the risk of hyper-cooling altogether. Keeping the pump in the insulated chamber or indoors will also aid in keeping condensation from forming in the airline and subsequently freezing, shutting down the aeration device altogether. You should also avoid installing airstones at the bottom of the pond. This will eliminate stirring up sediments and will avoid putting any undue stress upon your inhabitants. It is believed that the extra currents that are produced form the aerator will cause the fish to use up more of their reserves because they will be forced to use their locomotive capabilities to stay still.

Thawing Out

If you are responding to a frozen pond emergency, you'll need to first thaw a shallow section of your pond. To do this, use boiling water contained in bags or containers to melt the ice. A Thermal-Pond-De-icer can also be placed on the surface of a frozen pond and will melt its own hole through the surface. Do not whack your ice with a chisel or any other tool, for the shock to your fish can kill them.

Remove Snow from the Pond Surface

Microscopic aquatic plants continue producing oxygen as long as light penetrates the ice. However, a blanket of snow over the ice prevents light penetration, making it impossible for the microscopic plants in your pond to produce oxygen. Combined with the decomposition of vegetation and fish waste, there may be insufficient oxygen for fish, causing them to suffocate. Snow removal, from at least a portion of your pond surface, will help reduce the likelihood of this happening.

Prepare For the Unexpected

During severe winter storms, power outages often result. Keep a plan in place for how you will power de-icers and aerators if this happens. Investing in a generator or a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) will help protect the investment you've made in your pond. Depending on your pond's fish load, a complete freeze can deplete the available oxygen in a relatively short time.

by Carolyn Weise

I wonder what my fish are thinking under that ice. I live in the north in the USA, and for about 2-3 months a year the pond is covered by ice. I keep a small hole open for the gas exchange, but I can’t see my fish. What is going on under there? Did you ever wonder?

Well, that would depend upon how carefully you cleaned their pond before the cold weather set in. There are a few scenarios that might be happening under the ice, and hopefully everybody is okay down there. If the pond was not cleaned, what is probably going on is parasites. Parasites do not sleep or hibernate in cold temperatures. They proliferate in the mulm and debris on the bottom of ponds. In the cold, pond water will be clearest and has the most dissolved oxygen. The fish metabolism will shut down at around 45C F whereas any parasites in the pond will continue to go about their business unaffected by the low temperatures. Eventually, the parasites will begin feeding on your fish but the fish won’t notice until the temperatures begin to warm up and their feeling returns. (So, that’s why all the flashing and jumping is seen in spring.)

If the pond was cleaned well, the fish should be sleeping and comfortable. But, another thing might be happening: are they sleeping in their own “stew”? Meaning, did you shut down the bottom drain in order to keep the bottom a slight bit warmer through the winter months? Well, there are different schools of thought on this. Some want a mid-water winter draw and return while others insist upon leaving the bottom drain open to continuously clean the area in which the fish are living. I lean to leaving the bottom drain open and functioning normally. I leave my filters on year round. Although bacteria in the filter do cease to perform below a certain point, they will be there come spring. And I want the mechanical filtration to continue. Any leaves or fish urine in the water, or ammonia from the fish’s gills, is not what I want my fish to stay in. I want them in clean water, whether the water is warm or cold. This also will remove more parasites and places for parasites to live.

One more thing that I can think of, under the ice, could be happening. The fish could be in serious trouble if that hole in the ice layer closes up. The gases that build up would be carbon dioxide, and when it cannot be released into the air, can become lethal. It will actually become carbon monoxide without the influx of new oxygen.

So, please keep that hole in the ice open, keep the pond clean, and keep the filters going this winter if you live in a cold weather region!

by Monica & Gil Morley

Gil and I made stepping stones and a couple of pieces of garden art as one of our summer projects. On the next page you will see how the process works. Really not that hard and fun to see the results. I am experimenting with different types of cement. For faces or detail I would recommend using the Quikrete Vinyl Concrete Patcher runs about $10.00 for a 40lb bag, you would get at least 2 maybe 3 projects depending on size completed. I also use regular motor oil to coat the molds. Next year I’ll try to stain/paint the finished project.

Click to see before, during, and after pictures.

Eastern Iowa Pond Society Membership Application

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

Times determined by the Host/Hostess

Programs will be updated as available along with the times of the meetings.

Inside home or garage is a possibility with Iowa weather during March & April Meetings

February 28th (Saturday)
Jeff Garner & Kerry Shaner

March 28th (Saturday)
(inside home) OPEN

April 9th (Thursday)
(inside home) OPEN

April 25th (Saturday)
( inside home) OPEN

May 14th (Thursday)
Erma & Larry Thompson

May 23rd (Saturday)
Dorothy Helms

June 11th (Thursday)
LouAnn & Larry Jayne

June 27th (Saturday)
Pre Pond Tour

July 12th (Sunday)
Pond Tour

July 25th (Saturday)
Elena Murillo/Gil & Monica Morley
4th Annual Photo Contest

August 13th (Thursday)
Cecy & Bob Bisenius

August 22nd (Saturday)
Jackie & Harry Allsup

September 10th (Thursday)
Lavonne & Dick Isard

September 26th (Saturday)
Pat & Wayne Beuter

October 24th (Saturday)

Recognition Night

Contact Monica mespringcove@aol.com or 294-4866 if you would like to host in March or April or October.

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