EIPS Newsletter

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March 2004 Newsletter
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In This Issue: March 2004

March 28, 2004
4:00 in the afternoon
Peck’s Green Thumb Nursery
3990 Blairs Ferry Road NE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Sheryl Peckosh will be talking us through the new plant offerings for 2004. What’s new, and exciting in the garden this year. Bring your chairs and get ready for planting season!

The intersection of Blairs Ferry Road and Edgewood Road.

The first meeting of 2004 was called to order by our new incoming president, Kacy Novak. Being the well-organized person she is, she introduced herself, laid out the format for the meeting, and called for continued or renewed communications from all club members. She began, by going around the room and asking everyone to introduce themselves. She then proceeded to reintroduce the 2004 club officers and reminded all there that dues for the year were now due.

After opening formalities, we proceeded threw the long list of yearly organizational decisions that we perform every year as a group.

Dennis Sindelar began with an announcement about a very interesting magazine, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, which he subscribes to. It seems this month’s edition is dedicated to garden ponds and has lots of great articles and pictures. Should be on the newsstands soon, and he suggests it as great reading.

Meeting schedules were then discussed. After much discussion, it was decided to continue meeting twice a month, with some experimental changes. Harold Cassens made the motion to continue to meet the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 (This has not changed) but for the months of April, May, and June instead of our usual 4th-Sunday meeting, we will be holding meetings at 7:00 on the 4th Saturday evening. At the end of the June meeting, we will look at the attendance and decide if we want to continue Saturday meetings or move them back to Sunday. (If you’re confused, just be sure to check your monthly newsletters for times, days, and places. And, all those are subject to change if we need to accommodate a good speaker or something!)

Next item to discuss, was our participation in the Brucemore Landscape show to be held in August. Carol Sindelar moved to have another booth, Ron Rife 2nd. Motion carried.

Carol Sindelar next lead a conversation about upgrading our club web site. Mary Robinson made the final motion to actually buy a site (which will simplify our web site address and give us almost unlimited room to grow.) Rick Fangman 2nd the motion and it too carried. There was some discussion on the use of the site and how to download the newsletter. While some members could download and print it off, they still prefer to receive the letter by mail. (Something pleasant besides a bill, was their thinking.) Some even offered to pay a little extra in dues to help cover postage. Ultimately, the newsletter will continue to be mailed to members who prefer it that way. There will be no raise in dues required, but donations are never turned away either. Keep in mind the mailed version will be in black and white, while the web site version will print out in color. Carol also said she’d try to include detailed directions for downloading the newsletter in an upcoming newsletter for those of us that are not so computer literate.

President, Kacy, then asked the club for topics they would like to have presentations on during the upcoming year. Please contact Carol or myself, Jackie, if you want to hear about something and weren’t at the meeting to express an opinion. Once a month or so, I’ll also be doing short educational presentations on the different fish health issues I’ve been studying through the American Koi Club Assoc. schooling program.

Our annual Pond tour was discussed. Location has not been finalized. We need more volunteers for this committee. Anyone not signed up for a committee is asked to volunteer. We need suggestions as to locations. Early thoughts are somewhere in our northern/western tier, but there are concerns about that area. There was also some talk about an extra tour for assisted living residence as a community project. We need to address liability problems and investigate this more.

Meeting sign up sheets were passes around. We have many repeat hosts, and would like some new ponds to see. If you have not hosted a meeting in the past, but would like to, please contact Carol.

Ron Rife mentioned a new Health Care for Koi video that was donated to the library. He and Edna are in charge of the library this year and they encourage every member to use its references often. They won’t feel so bad about lugging it to every meeting, if members actually remember it’s there for their enjoyment and information. It contains many “how to” books and numerous magazines.

Nancy Baldwin gave a treasure’s report. Roger Thompson again thanked the club for our donation for the Springville fountain and gave us an update. We had agreed to give a donation there provided that Springville could raise the balance they would need for its installation. Roger was happy to report that was quickly done, so we hope the community will enjoy it for years to come.

Linda and Tim Nolan agreed to handle all the door prizes this year. Carol again is writing letters to vendors to seek samples and donations. What a great source. Thanks to them for all their work. Door prizes for the meeting included fish food and water conditioners of various kinds. Joe Olsen, Joe Robinson, Kacy Novak, and myself were all lucky winners this week.

It was a long meeting and a lot of topics where talked about in a very short time. We adjourned to the pizza buffet, filled our plates, and proceeded to group up to discuss topics pertaining to each committee. It was a very productive meeting and great to see everyone again! I heard members bragging about partially open ponds (I was jealous anyway) and it was obvious we were all starting to catch spring pond fever already. Anticipation was in the air. I didn’t get a chance to get around to talk to everyone about his or her ponds, but overheard some discussions. It’s fun to hear excited owners as they finally get a glimpse at long hibernating fish, only to discover they are still slowly moving around down there and have survived the long cold winter.

Respectfully submitted…... Jackie Allsup

I don’t know about you but I circled February 19th on my calendar. That was the day the ice on the pond melted enough to see the Koi. They were just mulling around a couple feet below the surface. I am thinking they are looking forward to some sunny, warmer days. Me too! Dennis & I don’t seem to agree on the exact size, but the Koi babies who survived in the pond from last spring’s spawn seem to have grown, A LOT. I am saying a good 5 inches. Dennis is not that generous. They were all schooled together with the big guys. So cute. Speaking of the big guy, they say Koi don’t grow over the winter but I don’t remember then being THAT big. Even the Albino Channel Cat wondered by to let me know he was OK too. It just makes me more anxious for the ponding season to begin.

Along the edge of the opening and next to the bog, a piece of water mint is nice and green. Sorry I don’t know the scientific name. It looks like it is ready to take off growing even though last week it was in a solid block of ice, nicely formed leaves and all. I am guessing it is one tough plant and will get growing early to help my pond come out of this winter rest. It is one of those marginals that kick in to growth at 35 degrees. Forecast for this week is in the 40’s everyday. Yahoo!!

Several of you that I have talked to this month have got the Ponder’s Cabin Fever. Itching to buy some new Koi. Itching to get out and watch the fish in the pond. Itching to just talk ponding. Itching to build something bigger and better. Good thing we have this good support group, EIPSA, Eastern Iowa Pond Society Anonymous. Who knows what we would do if left to our own devises. “Hello, my name is Carol and I bought two plants and six Koi this week and the pond isn’t dug yet.” You know what I mean. This warm weather should help us recover a bit. Or make it worse.


By Tim Nolan

Just a reminder to everyone that our club has a library collection of books, magazines and video tapes available for check out. Go to the EIPS web page for a complete listing of materials and the check out procedures.

Ron Rife is in charge of the floating procedures this year. Look for his display at every club meeting. It’s easy to check out materials and he is happy to assist anyone looking for info.

If you are new to the club, you will find some stimulating information here. If you are an old timer, you might want to check to see if you have missed anything you are curious about, or perhaps in a transitional stage of ponding, and looking for more ideas.

Also, if you have any magazines, books, videos, or other materials that you believe would make a nice addition to the library collection, consider donating them to the club. We are always looking to expanding our reference collection!

We have five video tapes from the Easy Ponding Series. All are nicely done and present material in a simple, easy to understand manner. Though primarily aimed at beginning ponders, they contain enough interesting material to provide inspiration even to experienced pond keepers.

Tape #1 in the series is titled THE BASICS, and is approximately 30 minutes in length. Primarily intended for the beginning ponder and deals with ponds made from flexible liners.

The following points are covered:

A. Site Selection: choosing a size that is right for you. Access to water and electricity. Considerations of light exposure and scale for the available terrain.

B. Laying out your design on the site. Computing the size of the liner.

C. Digging, Staking, and Leveling

· Nice example of a shelved, multi depth pond.
· Use of backing material.
· Edge reinforcement using wood and plastic materials.
· Providing for overflow.
· Installing the liner.
· Figuring the amount of edging material.

D. Plants for beauty and utility.

E. Filtration:

· Mechanical and Biological , including a home made Bio Filter.
· Figuring your gallonage and volume.
· Calculating a size for your pump.
· Filter media types for a bio filter.

F. Fish: basic types and procedures for introducing them to the pond.

G. Electrical Procedures: this tape skips over this important subject by recommending that you consult a professional electrician. Not a bad idea, but could have addressed the subject more.

All in all, this is a fun tape to watch for beginners, gets the juices flowing for anyone who is about to embark on the “First Dig”!

Dennis Sindelar still has locally spawned Koi. $2 each, first come first choice, cash and carry so wait until you have a place to put them, 319-365-1839

By Dennis Sindelar

(A note to let you know where I am coming from on this article. I’ve been raising/keeping fish for 35+ years. Some say I’ve begun to think like a fish. Anyway, it can be a very enjoyable experience if you like it and plan ahead, not only with your parent fish, but also what to do with the potential thousands of babies you could end up with. A gravid (full of eggs) female fish can throw 1000+ eggs. So be forewarned I am over the top and I do ramble a bit. Signed: bored in the middle of January)

Basically this article is for the person who is inexperienced with Koi/Goldfish, Sex/Babies in the pond. There are a couple of things necessary for babies to happen.

Besides the obvious, water and fish, the adult stock have to be old enough or developed enough, 2 to 3 years and older. They have to be “conditioned”. Which basically means they have to be well cared for:

A. Well fed—there are a wide variety of foods out there. (that can be a whole article in itself) Suffice to say, we are all healthier with a balanced and varied diet—your fish are the same. And the old: “You get what you pay four”. Spend the money, feed the fish well.

B. Water quality must be top notch. (clean water) Constantly! Not just clean to the eye, but clean = containing little or no fish waste and/or decaying material. Yes your fish really do enjoy and benefit form a water change. Partial water changes 1/4 of the volume of the pond, monthly.

C. Next thing necessary is 70 degree water. This is up to nature and comes every spring.

Then Wham Bam! Spawning happens! Usually 1st thing in the early morning (they wake up early). It is not difficult to discern spawning behavior in Koi and Goldfish. Note: Don’t let your minors read on if you don’t want them to hear about fish sex. To start with, you should know what your fish's normal behavior is. If you know normal, spawning behavior is definitely different.

The male/males appear to be nudging the side/underside of the female/females and appear to be pushing them around. And yes it is a frenzy. Off and on like a feeding frenzy. Some are excited enough they can & will flip themselves or someone else right out of the pond. This is another good reason to have a tall berm or wall on they pond’s edge.

Of course the female scatters and the males fertilizes the eggs in one big push. Occasionally a female will need to be removed because of the rough treatment and the length of time the male can persist. Watch for lost scales and bruising. Much of a day can be spent spawning. In the case of our pond last spring, our best calico male Koi initiated things the day of spawning and was dead the next morning. What a way to go. And that was why we were inspired to save some of the eggs to see if we could get a new off spring of the same coloration .

If and when you see this behavior, with much closer inspection you will see eggs looking like small glass beads as big as a dot of an “i” on this page. The eggs are scattered and adhesive, so they will be found on everything in and along the edge of the pond., plants, rocks, algae, everything. At least immediately they will be clear. The longer they are there more of them will fungus or turn white for one reason or another. White ones are bad but they are easy to see and will confirm that you have had a spawning in your pond.

In about 3-4 days depending on the water temperature they will begin to hatch. I liken their appearance to a small eye lash with a yoke sac and two eyes. Still mostly clear. Kind of like this. —:

Your parent group is not against eating as many as they can find. As well as any frogs, toads, turtles or other fish you might have in your pond. We have an albino channel cat in our pond to keep the population down. The hatch rate will also depend on how well fertilized they are and how many are damaged in the spawning “event”. Since the eggs do stick to what ever they are scattered on to, the spawning media, (floating plants, etc) may be removed soon after they are done spawning and put into another container for hatching.

Again, be careful for you too can have a population explosion. Yes, Roger, the capacity of your pond is not infinite. TIP: The fewer fish the less care they take. Also if and when you loose them the less $$ you’ve lost.

If you are still interested in raising the fry (babies) this is what I did this time: After watching them spawn much of the day, early June 2003, I removed a clump of hair algae with eggs on it. (one time hair algae is good for something). From a 1-gallon ice cream bucket full of hair algae I can now estimate we hatched out 500 + fry. It doesn’t look like that many when they are so small. And as they grow they need an increasingly larger container. Filtration is absolutely essential. Well established (one that has been up and running for a long period of time) is best because it will be ready to breakdown fish waste already. If your goal is to raise some fish, your filter can not eat too many. I used a 20 gallon aquarium with an undergravel filter and a sponge filter to start. This worked well until they got to be too big for the 20 gallon. Then I split them up into 2, then 3 20- gallon aquariums and a 55-gallon. Then a 20-gallon and 2 110- gallon stock tanks. Then another stock tank.

Another good thing about having not all your eggs in one basket/aquarium, is that when one group is not well cared for and crashes, killing many of them, the others are OK. We lost one group along the way. It’s pretty much a constant battle keeping up with 100 + babies in one container. Even as babies, Koi eat like pigs. So keep up the 1/4 water changes and keep the filtration clean. They need to eat several times a day.

Needless to say, when they first hatch out, they are very small and eat very small pieces. But, like every fish that comes from an eggs, they have a yoke sac that they feed off of for about 2-3 days, so DO NOT try to feed them because they will not eat until after they absorb the yoke sac. Then they will eat microscopic food. If you are LUCKY enough to have green water, they will be in Koi baby heaven. Yes, the green in your “green water” is usually a floating green algae that is a perfect first food for Koi. So if you have green water you need small creatures, like baby Koi to eat it. But of course Murphy’s law in reverse (or in the rear) always happens to me and there is no green water on earth when I NEED it. If you do not have green water, you must crush Koi flake food to a DUST or smaller so they can eat it.

Today we sit for hours at a time like Mother Hens, watching the tubs full of babies, some as big as 5”. It is fun to see what colors and patterns developed from our collection of Koi: Calico, Butterfly, Black & White, Orange & White, Gold, Platinum, German Scale. We even have colors we never saw in the original stock. It is fascinating. It will be tough to part with them. But the pond had about 12 babies survive and we thought it had enough to start with. So the final words—BIGGER POND!

We have a NEW web address www.eips.org Isn’t that an easy one! Pass the word.

It is that time of year again, time to renew your membership. Fill out the membership form and mail to the PO box or deliver it to Nancy Baldwin at the next meeting.

Website newsletter

Thank you to everyone who opted to down load the newsletter rather than have it mailed to their homes. Anyone who would like to have their names removed from the mailing list and receive the newsletter online, please contact me at fishlounge1@cs.com. You will receive an e-mail message each month to notify you that the Newsletter has been posted.

Spring Pond Reminders

It is exciting to see the fish moving around in the pond as the water warms. But remember, don’t feed the fish until the water temperature is above 50 degrees. And then only low protein, high carbohydrate food like sugarless Cheerios.


EIPS has several committees. If you would like to help out on one of these committees, or would like more information contact Kacy. All of the committees need help. Is there a committee that needs you?

Community Service Committee
Program committee
Commercial Relations Committee
Hospitality Committee
Writing Committee
Water Garden Tour Committee
Publicity Committee
Recognition Committee

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