EIPS Newsletter

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In This Issue: January 2008

Members’ view

We turn everything off and add a air stone and air pump to keep a hole open in the ice. We don’t take the fish out of the pond. Our dog enjoys running across the frozen pond. Sometimes in the late winter or very early spring we add water to the pond. Our winter tip is “Don’t get crazy and do any work on it before it gets cold out for your own comfort”.
-Dennis & Carol Sindelar

Our pond currently has the veggie filter drained and the main pond drained to ground level. I also add a cover. There is no ice on the pond and the fish appear to be doing ok. I pull out the pump and filter and use a air pump and stone and a small commercial de-icer. Our winter tip is “If you can cover your pond in some way to create a sort of greenhouse effect I believe you will benefit your fish. The water will stay warmer and the fish should be less stressed. I have used a cover in previous winters and kept the pond ice free. Without the cover I have had several inches of ice and would no doubt have had ever thicker ice if I had not removed the ice regularly. I use the de-icer as a back up to keep an open spot should I get ice. Also, remember that when the water warms back up in the spring to check the hardness levels and get them to proper levels for healthier fish. We check on the fish periodically through the winter months”.
-Dave and Janice Bell

We keep our pumps running through the winter months adding water when needed. All the fish remain in the pond with a store bought heater and two aerators going. My tip is “ If you continue to run your waterfalls and streams, keep a close watch that the water is not forced out due to an ice formation.” Our enjoyment is looking at the beautiful icescapes forming on the waterfall and watching the fish through the hole from the heater. Watching the different types of birds enjoying a quick drink from the waterfall or from the opening of the heater is nice. Unfortunately, we have found birds that have fallen in while getting a drink. One more tip “Never trust the ice to be so thick it will hold you” from experience, trust me the water is cold!!!
-Gil & Monica Morley

I do not keep the pump running. The only time I did this was the first year when we had great snowfalls to start winter and it basically insulated everything. The following year, no snow and everything including my pond froze solid. I leave the fish in the pond. So far, so good. I have store bought so many different types of heaters in the interest of saving electricity but when it gets close to zero the only thing that works is the green tank heater. I apologize for the carbon footprint I am leaving. Yes, I use an aerator but I’d like info on better ones for more air. Is it true you can keep an opening just with an aerator? No, I do not add water but when I kept the pump going I sure did and managing hoses when it is zero out is a challenge. Here’s my tip “Leave the plants in, see what survives and start over in the spring. I have hauled lots of plants in only to have them perish even under a grow light in the basement. I am trying to over winter Lotus in the basement, we shall see”. I certainly enjoyed it more when the water was flowing with the ice formations etc. other than that, monitoring things, watching the birds drinking at the heater hole and planning for next season are the most interesting. Falling through the ice during warm up seems to be an annual event.
-Joe Olsen

We shut down all the streams and waterfalls before they can freeze. Too risky, especially with 3 ponds to look after. All the fish stay outdoors. The smallest pond is too shallow to winter fish, so they are moved to one of the deeper ponds. As long as the fish are healthy and the pond is not over stocked, I think the fish are better off in the pond than indoors in a cramped tank. We use either a floating cattle tank heater or let a pump bubble up to keep the ponds from freezing over completely. I don’t use a aerator and only add water if the level drops for some reason. My tip is “ Try to get as much fall/winter prep done before it turns cold. It is no fun playing in ice cold water. My greatest winter enjoyment is seeking out new plants and ideas to try in the spring. I much prefer liquid water in my ponds and green growing plants.
-Josh Spece

I don’t keep my pond running. I bring the koi into my koi house, it’s 12,000 gallons indoors under one roof. I keep an opening by using my own DIY Bickal De-icer. I use 3 aerators inside. Each week I do a 10% water change. My tip is “Bring the fish inside”. I enjoy 6 more month of my fish by bringing them inside. They eat out of my hand during the winter.
-Greg Bickal

I don’t keep my water pumps running. However, my ecosystem is still “running’. That is I am keeping the whole ecosystem healthy by having an air pump pumping air in the deepest part of my ponds and all my clients ponds. I keep my fish out in the pond. Do not use any kind of heaters. Normally I don’t add any water during the winter. My tip is “ Keep organic load down by getting or keeping most of the leaves out. This organic load also refers to keeping the fish population within reason.” My enjoyment during the winter months is writing and organizing pictures of ponds, thinking of spring, and doing presentations on water gardening.
-Jamie Beyer

Our pond is frozen over. Our fish were taken inside around the 1st of November and are happy swimming in their large fish tank. The pond is very pretty covered with ice and surrounded with the miniature evergreens. And best of all, we do not have to take care of it until spring.. The worst part of winter is not being able to be out in the garden and hearing the water falling into the pond. This last ice storm makes the area around the pond look like a ’winter wonder land.”
-Rose & Jim Milden

No, I do not keep my pond running, it is put to ‘bed’. I leave all my fish out in the two ponds. I also use a 300 gph pump, on a shelf about 9’ down. it bubbles about 2 inches above surface, I also use store bought heaters. No need to add water. My tip “I use PVC pipe across stream and ponds this year to help keep netting up. Worked much better to support the net and keep leaves elevated. My most enjoyment is in watching the birds and animals get drinks from the open water.
-Becki Lynch

One (Koi pond under greenhouse using Nexus filters) running until water temp hits 40 degrees, then it runs with only an aerator. Our garden pond is shut down. Our Koi are outside under the protection of the greenhouse. Goldfish are inside in Rubbermade tubs. A hole is kept open by a small aerator without an airstone pumping large bubbles and small 100 watt stainless steel heaters. We use two aerators, a small size in the garden pondkeeping a hole in the ice and a larger aerator in the Koi pond at to keep the water active in one end. I change water in the Koi pond at least every three weeks. My tip “Clean pond in the fall and change water. Make backup plans for a disaster if a storm, ice, snow, severe cold, power outages or equipment malfunctions. Not much enjoyment during the winter, but I do take some enjoyment in knowing I’m doing the best I can to keep the Koi and Goldfish healthy with all of the work it takes during the winter.
-Larry & Erma Thompson

Our fish went south for the winter. That is about a mile south into a friends larger pond. Our pond is shut down for the winter as we'll be going south like our fish.
-LouAnn and Larry Jayne

The fish seem to have enjoyed the few warmer days of sunshine that we have had; they swim ever so slowly around the ice opening. They also seem to like the air stone we put in to try as our “keep the hole in the ice open” trick for this year. We have tried several different home-invented tricks and this one is by far the easiest - plug it in and walk away. It is located about two feet from the edge of the pond on the shallowest level of the pond. Other than the circuit breaker tripping once in a while it seems to be working and Gary has had to break the ice open only on the coldest days. We did add some water before turning off the pump for the winter figuring it would be much easier to add before the temperatures dropped than after! The ice around the waterfall has melted a bit from its earliest form but is still an interesting art form. And often there are critter tracks over the top- cat, dog, deer, Gary, etc…..No big cracks from anything/body breaking through yet but there’s plenty of winter left for that!
-Jo & Gary Hunerdosse

We shut down our pond. Our Koi are left outside also. We use a aerator and add water during the winter. Our tip is “ Try to do a little work each weekend to prepare for winter coming. Our enjoyment during the winter months is watching birds come for the water. Between 4:00 & 5:00 Turtle Doves (about 10) come to drink everyday. And with the snow, it’s just beautiful!
-Rosie & Herman Michel

I usually try to at least keep the waterfalls running till late December, but this year’s extra cold days caught me off guard and my pipes to the waterfall actually started to freeze and water dammed up all around the smaller falls, so I was forced to shut things down and pull pumps (external pumps) one cold night after work in the dark, I won’t do that again. Normally by January, we have everything shut down and winterized. We have an 8x8 ft. pond in our basement that houses 13-15 12”fish (young fish, that I don’t want to take off feed for 5 months). The main pond outside still houses another 15 fish that will stay out all winter. We use both an aerator stone and a self-made floating heater. It’s simply a tire inner tube, with a piece of styrofoam on top. A single 25 watt light bulb hangs under the foam board in the center of the tube. It keeps a hole open no matter what the temps are. I usually run 3 stones during the summer, and one during the winter months. On the nice days, we’ll still pump water out and replace it with fresh water. We also try to keep all the snow off the pond to provide sunlight to the fish and prevent pH fluctuations. My tip is “The single suggestion would be to make sure pond bottoms are as clean as you can get them, going into winter. Cold fish will be lying on the bottom where all the gunk collects. Not healthy, Keep your holes open, remove as much snow as you can and pray for a short winter. Start doing small water change outs as soon as weather permits to freshen stale water.”Well, I kind of enjoy the rest away from the gardens and ponds. I do worry about the welfare of the fish though. The fact that I can’t even see them is unsettling. Perhaps, someday we’ll figure out how to cover the pond during the winter like some of the other members do, but until then I sit and worry and anxiously await the arrival of Spring.
-Jackie Allsup

By Josh Spece

Hosta ‘Allegan Fog’

Most Hostas that are commonly available fall into one of three categories:

  1. Solid colored – the leaves are entirely one color
  2. Marginally variegated – the leaves have a dark colored center and lighter colored edge
  3. Medio variegated - the leaves have a light colored center and darker colored edge

A few plants don’t perfectly fit into any of these classes, as is the case with Hosta ‘Allegan Fog’.

‘Allegan Fog’ most closely fits in the medio variegated group. It has a white leaf center surrounded by a dark green margin. The catch is that the white center is speckled and misted with green. The center is nearly pure white first thing in the spring, but soon the green specks start to develop. The misting becomes heavier throughout the summer until the center in more green than white by fall. ‘Allegan Fog’ forms a very distinct mound of pointed, twisty leaves that grows quickly to about 14” tall by 30” across.

A new sport of ‘Allegan Fog’ called ‘London Fog’ lacks the green margin and has leaves that are completely speckled and misted with green.

T'was the Day Before Christmas and all through the pond...not a fish was stirring. Not even the big yellow ogon!

Click here for pictures!

Happy New Year To Everyone...

I hope everyone is looking forward to a new year for the club. With everyones’ help we’re going to “Kick it up a Notch” starting with a pond/garden topic to be discussed at each meetings, (there will be a time limit). For example: Make your yard as great as your pond, Pressure filters vs. Biological filters, My pump quit working now what, Tips to make your baby fish survivors and many other topics I hope you will enjoy. There also will be time set aside for problems you may be having and need advice to ideas you have to share with fellow members.

How do these mini events sound to you? A summer picnic at Noelridge Park, social night time pond/yard lighting/wennie roast, Hosta buying road trip in Cedar Rapids, demonstration on how to divide water lilies, and the 3rd Annual Photo Contest!!

Have more ideas? Send me an e-mail or call me.

--Librarian: Herman & Rosie Michel

Has materials available for members. Suggests reading to members. Gives list of book, etc. for the newsletter.

--Water Garden Tour Committee: Monica & Gil Morley, Jeff Garner & Kerry Shaner, Joe Olsen

Finding ponds & getting the tour organized. Recruit volunteers to help at the ponds. Responsible for dispersing & collection of pond tour signs. Coordinate & help with publicity. Print maps & directions. All other duties to ensure the event run smooth.

--Publicity Committee: open

Organizes & gets publicity for meetings & activities. Works closely with Pond Tour group to get advertising everywhere. Develops & maintains our club informational brochures and sees that they get to the dispersed. Organizes booth at area events.

--Hospitality Committee: Elena Murillo, Jackie Allsup, Gil Morley

Welcoming new members. Promote Library. Organizing scrap books and/or collecting pictures of club activities. Mentoring new members. Nametags and membership cards

--Recognition Committee: Elena Murillo

Puts together year-end recognition of volunteers and officers. Thank-you notes to speakers at club meetings.

--Commercial Relations Committee: Bob & Stephanie Geers

Responsible for making contact & maintaining our relationships with area retailers. Establish club discounts. Conduct drawing for prizes at club meetings. Distribute club information to dealers to give to customers. Send thank-you notes to all retailers donating products.

--Community Service Committee: Deb Kontz , Jim & Rose Milden, Jackie Allsup

Works with the Pond Tour committee on dispersing proceeds. Brings ideas to the club to help educate the public learning the pleasures of water gardening

--Plant Sale at Pond Tour Committee: (New) open

Works with the Pond Tour Committee. Decides what plants are in demand. In charge of setting up plants for sale at the tour, setting up pools, etc. Disposes of all plants left after tour. Any other duty to ensure this runs smooth.

--Writing Committee: Jackie Allsup, Carl Unkel

Write articles for newsletter. Assist the secretary at her request.

--Programs Committee: Jo Hunerdosse, Larry & Erma Thompson

Responsible for finding and organizing programs & speakers for meetings. Introduces speakers at the meetings. Plans & organizes club activities, such as trips, club workshops, etc.

Get involved this year...Make a commitment, sign up for a committee...

Our Sympathy goes out to Janice & Dave Bell. Janice’s Mother passed away early December.

Eastern Iowa Pond Society Inc. members enter 2008 eager to continue to focus on our mission through successful programs and events with the help and support the members give. Contact me at mepringcove@aol.com to find out how you can become a E.I.P.S. volunteer for our many events and activities.

Monica Morley

Dave Bell
Vice President

It’s Time to Renew Your Membership!

Fun Facts

Laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system.

Six-year olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 15-100 times a day.

Keep your camera close this winter to catch that perfect picture for the 3rd Annual Photo contest. One of the categories is “Winter Scene”.

In The Country Garden & Gifts.

E.I.P.S. members receive a 10% discount. Must show your current membership card at time of purchase.


Prairie Creek Nursery

4100 Bowling Street SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404


Stop in to see Shirley and Kevin at Prairie Creek Nursery

** Pond Supplies
** Design & Installation
** Aquatic Plants
** Japanese Koi & Goldfish
** Aerators & Fountains
** Gifts for the water gardener

January Birthdays

Jo Hunerdosse - January 13
Janice Bell - January 15
Dennis Sindelar - January 16
Kathi Albrecht - January 26

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

by Tony Roocroft, The Pond Professor

The first thing to realise is that oxygen concentrations are highest in winter because water is cooler. This means the concentration of oxygen can be higher. Because oxygen concentrations are high the oxygen reserve is not depleted so quickly during the night. Plant and animal life has also slowed down significantly.

On occasions fish in ponds with no fountains or waterfalls may look listless in winter due to carbon dioxide levels being excessive but this is normally associated with a long run of calm dull days - in these circumstances there is no natural wave action to allow oxygen to be transferred to the water. The problem quickly sorts itself out when windy and bright weather returns.

In summer water can hold much less oxygen and the animal and plant life (algae) is also thriving due to higher temperatures along with more nutrients in the water associated with feeding fish. The living organisms are therefore emitting more carbon dioxide in a situation of potentially disastrously low oxygen levels . Fish then die from suffocation.

Measuring carbon dioxide is possible using a test kit but it is not normally required to do this.

pH and carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide dissolves in water to form carbonic acid which has a pH of less than 7 so pH will tend to fall when carbon dioxide is high. This is what happens during the night with a reversal during daylight hours. There is some quite complex chemistry involved here which I will ignore save to point out that when pond water pH levels fall below 7 then the potential for carbon dioxide problems increases. Pond pH should ideally be around 7.5 to 8.

Aeration of ponds: Aeration of pond water achieves two things both of which are very good for pond water and the fish: Oxygen levels increase, carbon dioxide is "blown" out of the water and this tends to push up pH levels. Remember what Nigel Caddock is very fond of saying. There should only be 3 things in a pond water, fish and air. Aeration also protects against those algae blooms and their dying - when they die they rot and release carbon dioxide by using up the oxygen resource in the water. In summary it is difficult to over-aerate a pond and aeration has all round advantages in a pond. The downside is the cost of a special aerating pump. All top koi keepers' ponds bubble with air as do their filters. Deeper ponds without waterfalls and/or fountains as the means of creating circulation or mixing during calm periods also could be more prone to carbon dioxide problems. Aeration and water mixing dwaterfalls) are the MOST effective methods of controlling potential carbon dioxide problems.

If you are interested in participating in the 2008 Pond and Garden Tour let us know...

A few things to keep in mind, are your walkways safe for the public (senior citizens) to walk. Do you have an entryway to enter and one to exit. Do you have good parking.

Send a e-mail to mespringcove@aol.com An application with be mailed or emailed to you.

At a later date the Pond Tour Committee will set up a time to come out and view your pond.

You also must be a current 2008 Member.

by Tony Roocroft, The Pond Professor

Excessive organic matter in the pond provides nutrients for algae, contributing to its growth. Algae can obscure the view of colorful fish, and more dangerously, it robs the water of valuable oxygen and releases harmful pollutants.

UV clarifiers also are effective tools that use ultraviolet light to destroy the reproductive ability of suspended algae. Dead, microscopic algae will clump together into particles large enough to be removed by filtration.

Increasing the amount of floating and oxygenating plants in your pond is another simple solution to keeping the water clean, and clear. Floating plants such as water lilies, water lettuce, lotus and water hyacinth provide shade, reducing sunlight in the pond, which helps control algae growth. Submerged plants, also known as oxygenators, affect the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels of the pond by competing directly with algae for light and food. Oxygenators absorb nutrients from fish waste and minerals through their leaves, helping to starve algae, keeping the water clear. Some examples of oxygenators are Hornwart, Anacharis and Parrot's Feather.

from Monica Morley

Coffee Cake

1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 teas. Baking Powder
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter

Sift dry ingredients. Cut in butter to make crumbles.

Add: 1 egg beaten
2/3 cup Milk

Mix well & pour 1/2 into greased 8x8 pan.

Cinnamon Mixture:
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Flour
1 teas. Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Melted butter
Pecans or walnuts if desired.

Mix well & sprinkle 1/2 over batter. Spread remaining batter over cinnamon mixture & top with remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake at 375 for 25 - 30 minutes.

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.

February 23rd - Larry & Erma Thompson 5:00pm

March 22nd - Greg & Martha Bickal
Speaker Greg Bickal/ Pond Filtration

April 10th - Gil & Monica Morley/Elena Murillo
Jackie Allsup/ Hands on dividing water lilies

April 26th - Bob & Stephanie Geers

May 8th - Dave & Karen Frieden

May 24th - Carl Unkel 5:00pm

June 12th - Jeff Garner & Kerry Shaner

June 28th - Pre Pond Tour

July 13th - Pond Tour

July 26th - Roberta & Robert Ward
Photo Contest

August 14th - Jo & Gary Hunerdosse 7:00pm

August 23rd - Hugh & Kathi Albrecht 7:00pm

September 11th - Becki Lynch

September 27th - Bob & Deb Kontz

October 25th - Herman & Rosie Michel
Jim Durbin/ Bird Feeding

TBD Recognition Night

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