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In This Issue: March 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007
6:00 pm
Curt & Pam Moore/Tim & Linda Nolan
217 23rd St Dr SE
Cedar Rapids, IA

Meeting Topic "Photography" presented by Curt Moore

Directions: First Avenue go right (south) on to 23rd St Dr SE. Continue across Forest Dr and it is on the right hand side of the road.

By Josh Spece

Hosta 'Pandora's Box'

One of the great things about Hostas is that there is a plant suitable for most any situation. Whether your garden is large or small, there is an appropriately sized Hosta to fill the need. Gardeners seem to be drawn to the extremes – the giants and the tiny dwarfs.

Hosta ‘Pandora’s Box’ is one of the cutest dwarf Hostas out there. It is a sport of ‘Baby Bunting’ with rounded, 1” green leaves with snow white centers. A lot of white centered Hostas can be difficult to grow because of the limited chlorophyll in the leaves. ‘Pandora’s Box’ is surprisingly vigorous, though, and will form a mature mound about 3” tall and 8” across. Equally tiny, lavender flowers appear during the summer. This little gem is perfect for tucking among some rocks along a shady garden path.

Something beginning Hosta collectors learn quickly is that when a Hosta variety is new on the market they can be fairly expensive. The price usually drops quickly over the next couple years. ‘Pandora’s Box’ was first sold at the 1997 American Hosta Society National Convention for $600! Thanks to the wonders of tissue culture, ‘Pandora’s Box’ could be had for $20 just a couple years later.

Hospitality………………………..Elena Murillo
mespringcove@aol.com * 294-4866

Community Service……………… open - no volunteers

Recognition……………………….Gil Morley
mespringcove@aol.com * 294-4866

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

Writing…………………………...Monica Morley/Maria Hamilton

Publicity…………………………...Jackie Allsup
cedarserviceja@aol.com * 934-3665

Water Garden Tour…………….. TBD

Programs………………………….open - no volunteers

2007 Pond Expo Committee

Jackie Allsup: cedarserviceja@aol.com * 934-3665
Roberta Ward
Robert Ward
Pam Moore
Larry Thompson
Erma Thompson
Robert Hollenbeck
Herman Michel
Kacy Novak
Elena Murillo
Gary Hunerdosse
Monica Morley
Gil Morley
Tim Nolan
Linda Nolan

I started out this morning watching the birds hovering around the bird bath. Not too unusual of an activity, except that it is February and we are having an ice storm. Now why does a bird need to take a bath when it is raining/sleeting/snowing and the wind is blowing so hard they can hardly hang on? I have to wonder about these things as I ponder the back yard in wi nter. The robins that stayed on through the cold and dark of winter are stout balls of feathers. They come nearly every day to plump up and preen and look twice as big as the chickadees that wai t patiently for an opening at the bath. Of course the cardinals are around, and the mourning doves that live near us are there, too. The deer seem to be grateful for this ergonomically correct watering trough in the back yard. Not too sure I appreciate their gratitude; I think I would prefer that they went down to the creek and stayed out of the yard. Hate to have them get used to thinking that this is a cozy little diner with spring coming soon.

And spring will be here soon! The garden catalogues and advertisements are coming in the mail and the Winter Gardening Fair was almost held at Kirkwood by the Master Gardener’s of Linn County. I was signed up for classes at all three sessions to prepare myself for the upcoming outdoor chores. But the ice storm struck all with a vengeance and the Gardeni ng Fair was cancelled as was our February meeting for EIPS. By afternoon I couldn’t see the backyard out any of the east windows of the house due the ice cover.

We had a little business to attend to- May will fast be upon us and so will the Pond Expo at Hawkeye Downs. Jackie Allsup is doing a wonderful job taking care of details to have us ready. We need to respond by being there to help. The hours are a little shorter this year- 9AM to 5PM on Saturday, May 19, and again there will be speakers for education and vendors for entertainment. Please be ready to help when the day grows nearer.

And right after that (or so it seems) is the Pond Tour. Where will it be? Whose ponds will be on display? How many ponds will be included?

April 1st is the deadline to renew your dues.


Benefits of being a member includes:

Receiving a monthly newsletter.

Receiving advice from other members on projects of building waterfalls, streams, ponds, fish, etc.

Swapping plants and fish with other members.

Write something for the newsletter and get your name in a drawing at the end of the year. You can write as often as you want.. Tell us how you will be getting your pond ready this spring.

Meet Becki Lynch, she has been a water gardener for 1 1/2 years. Her pond was built in May of 2005 The sound and serenity from the flow of the stream is one of her most enjoyable things her pond gives her. The Marsh Maigold, water lilies and Parrot’s Feather are some of her favorite water plants. Her pond offers a home to around 80 Koi and various types of goldfish. She also shares the same concern as many of us hoping the fish will survive our Iowa winter. Becki has given the name “Miracle” to one of her fish due to the fact that he survived going through the pump and pipe from the bottom to the top (65’). Recovered for about a week in the top pond, and then came down the stream, over three small falls to the bottom pond. As she says “Now, that’s a miracle.”

Becki spends her ponding time cleaning, landscaping, watching the fish, tending to the beds surrounding the pond and just relaxing. Some of the unique things about her pond are the falls that are 5 feet wide with handmade stair steps, and a bog garden. Becki looks forward to changing and adding more beauty every year. The first year Becki fell in twice….missed her footing and over she went. This last year she tried to get out some leaves with the net and leaned to far and in she went. Becki joined the club during the Pond Expo last year. She became a Master Gardener Intern last fall and hopes to become more active in the club.

Faith and Richard Miene have been members for two years after Kacy Novak smooth taked them into joining, during the time Richard was installing a septic system for them. They have been water gardeners for eight years. Their pond was built in 1998. Faith and Richard were on the 2006 Pond Tour. They enjoy the sound of the waterfall and the flowers. Elephant ears, impatients and water lilies are their favorite plants. Their pond is a mixture of koi and goldfish. Last year Richard was nice enough to adopt quite of few of our goldfish. Gil and I knew they would be going to a good home. Like so many of us, they spend their ponding time pulling weeds and cleaning the pond. The pond has a 25’ rippling “brook” that connects the upper pond to the lower one along with statues, fountains and underwater lighting. One of their most memorable moments happened last summer during a wedding near their pond …… the ring bearer fell in with his tuxedo about one hour before the ceremony. Try to top that one!

In The Country Garden & Gifts.

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


Well the snow has finally found us. People thinking of putting in ponds want to know what happens to the pond during the winter snow. Take some pictures to share. Who knows, this could be the start of another photo contest……. Deadline will be in April.

Your photos would be a great addition for the club table at the Expo.


Best Fishes

Hey! It is almost one year since the 1st pond expo. I seem to remember a little fish contest going on with some of the members. Is it ringing any bells with anyone.

What’s going on? How much have they grown? Who has the biggest?

Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Remember that stress is a major cause of koi deaths. Stress may result from changes in pond conditions, over handling, over medication, etc.

-Koi USA

Eastern Iowa Pond Society Inc. Banner

A big THANK YOU goes out to our member, Erma Thompson, for creating this beautiful banner for the club. Erma donated many hours of her time.

Click here for a picture!

March Birthdays

Marilyn Oliver - March 3
Anita Heiserman - March 9
Jackie Allsup - March 10

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

Sponsored by The Pioneer Valley Water Garden & Koi Club & The Pioneer Valley Aquarium Club

June 23TH & 24TH at 9:00am – 5:00pm - - - Sun 9:00am – 4:00pm
Admission $5.00 – Kids under 12 free – Free Parking

This 2 day event will consist of :


Creative Gardening Series

Three lectures:

March 24
“Photography of the Garden”
Mark Kane

March 31
“Creating a Soul for the Garden”
Linda Wiggins Kraft

April 17

Beems Auditorium
Cedar Rapids IA

Spring Plant Sale
May 19 8:00 am
Linn County Extension

Look for the Master Gardeners at:

WMT Garden & Home Show
March 9-11
Hawkeye Downs
Cedar Rapids, IA

Brucemore Garden & Art Show
August 25
Cedar Rapids IA

Dates are subject to change


We were happy with this product. It worked on my waterfall and stream. I noticed my boulders in the pond looked cleaner. Like any other product, you need to continue with maintenance reapplying. The following is the ad for the product…...It is designed to treat algae in both small garden ponds and large earth ponds. Green Clean works through oxidation, which provides immediate control of the algae and complete biodegradation. There is not residual heavy metal from the product, which makes it ideal with copper sensitive species like Koi and Goldfish. Completely non-hazardous to fish & plants, This product is registered with the EPA and is Organic certified by organic materials Review Institute

Product used by Monica & Gil Morley

Disclaimer: The products are the opinions of the users. There are no guarantees you have the same results

From Jackie Allsup – KHA (Koi Health Advisor)
With excerpts from Richard E. Carlson’s KHA Continuing Education Program.

It is probably safe to say that most pond owners in Iowa have ignored their water quality over the winter months but now it is critical to start working to get the water right. Obviously the goal here is to take away yet one more major stressor on the fish. Here are some tips for managing the pond water’s health coming out of winter:

1. Water change…….there is never a bad time for a water change. Do it NOW…even if it is a small one. All pond water tends to go stale, even over winter and even with the melting snow and ice, so change your water. Add dechlorinators as needed.

2. Check KH levels, NOW!! The pond is still “living” and activities such as fish respiration, waste elimination (nitrification) and photosynthesis are producing CO2, which is neutralized by the carbonates in the water. The net result is a reduction in the carbonates that could cause a pH swing or a pH crash. This happens more than we realize and a number of fish deaths that are attributed to cold water are in fact, from pH problems. Many folks now have green water from the increased production of algae as the weather and water warms and more sunlight is hitting the pond. The increase in algae means an increase in photosynthesis and this means more CO2 which means that the carbonates are being eaten up at a faster rate. Without carbonates to balance the acid load from CO2, the pH will swing first, then drop like a rock with the result being dead fish. Remember to warm your pond water to room temps prior to testing and if needed, start adding baking soda to get your KH levels to the 100 or so mark.

3. Salt for parasites. If you are convinced that your water temps will not drop back into the 30’s, add salt to your pond (up to .3%) to help control parasites.

4. Until your water hits 55 deg F or so, don’t even concern yourself with ammonia and nitrite readings as the biofilter bugs aren’t awake until then. Concentrate on KH and pH readings first. Ammonia is far less toxic at cooler water temps and nitrite is most likely not even present yet. As your filters start to kick in and you start to read nitrites, add salt to .15% to protect the fish until the nitrites levels are gone. As mentioned, a number of fish deaths are attributed to the effects of cold water initially but once we look closer at the problem we very often see that water quality, and in particular pH swings or pH crashes have driven the fish into a high stress condition. When investigating fish deaths in a cold water/spring situation, do not overlook water quality as more often than not, this is the cause of fish deaths in cold water and early spring conditions.

Two common fish problems you may see in the Spring:

Bloating fish, including bulging eyes and raised scales. (Not dropsy, which is a bacterial infection) A fish’s metabolism slows as the water temps decrease and one of the results of this process is an adverse effect on the osmotic regulation system. Once the osmotic system gets out of balance, caused by a pond’s water temps fluctuating in the colder ranges (35-50 deg F) where a fish is moving in and out of torpor the fish may bloat as a result of not being able to expel excess body fluid. A bloated fish needs to be warmed in pond water, very slowly. As the water warms slowly, bring the salt levels up to .3%. Anything above 52 degrees and holding steady is good. Warm water and salt should jump start the osmotic regulation system. If no improvement is seen in 48 hours, up the salt level to .4%, repeat this every 48 hours up to .6%. If you suspect a bacterial infection then medications will need to be given and a vet consulted. .

Cold Water Fungus: One of the most common ailments we see in our ponds during spring warm –up is the cold water fungus saprolegnia. Sap looks like fluffy cotton. Sap starts out either white or grey in color and over a period of time may turn brown or green as organic particles or algae adhere to the filaments. If fuzz stays white, you may be dealing with the parasite Epistylus. The presence of Sap generally means there is a bacterial infection (ulcer, fin rot, etc) of some sort underneath it. Both conditions need to be address. Sap flourishes in colder water by producing and releasing increased zoospore counts into the water. The combination of stress, suppressed immune systems and increased spore counts give sap the ability to cause major problems in cold water. Sap infections are commonly the cause of “winter kill.” Malachite Green, hands down, is the best treatment for all fungal problems. Read labels carefully for instructions. MG is not recommended as a pond-wide treatment a bath is preferred. A distant second is salt. A strong 0.6-1.0% salt bath for 30 minutes. This is can be very stressful on fish. Formalin: Diluted versions of formalin products, such ProForm C offer a nice one-two punch where MG takes out the sap and formalin gets the parasites. It is not recommended to us formalin on open wounds. Formalin is also more toxic to fish in cold water. Potassium Permanganate (PP)- In the right hands, PP is one of the better treatments for sap. PP treatments at 4PPM will eliminate most of the sap. Surface treatments using PP paste may be required. The down side of PP, of course, is the inherent danger of using it at all. It is not recommended for those inexperienced with its use. So, when treating a sap-affected fish, first eliminate the sap from the surface of the fish and then treat the actual wound site, which is most likely starting to look like an ulcer. For the latter, Tri-Cide Neo, iodine, PP paste and/or Debride topical ointment are good choices. Depending on the extent of the underlying wound, injectable medications may be required and a vet consulted. If you have any questions about any of this, please call, Jackie Allsup 934-3665 or email Cedarserviceja@aol.com

by Doc Johnson

Euthanasia in fish...Should be considered when a fish is intractably ill or deformed by disease beyond hope of salvation. It is believed that a fish feels no deep pain because they have no spinothalamic tract. Still if they are hopeless, euthanasia is a humane choice.

Ideally, hypothermia is the recommended way to dispatch a fish. Place the fish in a modest amount of water so that it may recline upright and comfortably. It should not spend its last moments frantic for water. Place the bowl (or bag) in the freezer and close the door, providing darkness. As the poikilotherm (cold blooded animal) loses heat, the enzymes that sustain consciousness are inactivated and they lose sensation and finally all systems eventually arrest, painlessly and completely.

Alternatives would involve severing the head behind the gill covers. For larger fish, a sharp blow (with hammer or other weighty object) to the head between the eyes is effective. Then the head is severed.

"My favorite method is the freezer method, with plenty enough water for the fish not to feel alarmed." ~ Doc Johnson

Many people add the step of sedating the fish in Oil of Cloves or Finquel and then, when the fish is totally unawares, they decapitate or freeze. When you see the fishes' reaction to the taste of these sedatives, you'll wonder if you soothed the fish at all. However, over-sedation before any euthanasia [or even as a form of euthanasia] procedure is endorsed by the AVMA.

by Rupert Bridges

Koi, as with many other fish, are able to see in color, and the structure of their eyes is roughly similar to ours. However, there are a few differences. For example, the lens are more round, since there is less need to bend light so dramatically to focus it on the retina underwater. Most fish, including koi, focus by physically moving the lens forward and backward, whereas the human eye uses muscles to change its shape. Koi also do not use the iris to alter the amount of light entering the eye (although some fish do). Instead they perform an equivalent function by changing the position of photorecept ive cells in the retina. Basically, light is passed through the cornea (at the front of the eye) and is focused on the retina by the lens. Light is absorbed by cells in the retina called photoreceptors, which then pass messages along the optic nerve to the brain. Two types of photoreceptors are found in koi: cones and rods. Rods are able to absorb light in dimly lit conditions; cones are used for color vision. Koi possess four types of cone cells used for absorbing red, blue, green, and ult ra-violet light. Koi have fairly good vision

From www.ponddoc.com

Complications of Ammonia

The presence of high ammonia will burn the gills of the fish and the fish will die unless the ammonia is neutralized by an ammonia blocker or an immediate water change is made. The fish can’t breath if their gills are damaged and you’ll notice that they hang by the water return or float at the top of the water as if gasping for air. Upon examination, the gills are gray in color or the tissue appears burned away. There is good news if the fish survive the initial ammonia spike. The tissue does regenerate over time and the fish should return to good health.

Nitrite Poisoning

The term “Nitrite Poisoning” is used whenever fish experience complications from a high content of nitrites in their water. It doesn’t act like ammonia and burn the gills. Instead, nitrites travel through the blood system, poisoning the fish and turning the blood brown instead of red. Nitrites can be more deadly than ammonia simply because it stays with the fish longer and can do more permanent harm. An immediate water change is once again necessary if the water tests high in nitrites. Addi ng non-iodized salt to the water will help neutralize the continuing intake o f the nitrites into the fish’s blood system. Other corrective action must be taken along with the salt. Since high nitrites indicates a low presence of the Nitrobacter bacteria (The one that changes nitrites to nitrates) it is necessary to help establish the bacteria by cutting down on feeding, reducing the fish load and/or increasing biofiltration.

High Nitrates

Nitrates are basically fertilizer for plants. Until recently nitrates were not taken seriously and testing for nitrates was not encouraged. Studies have shown that high concentrations of nitrates can be harmful to fish. High nitrate readings in water have been attributed to swim bladder problems, such as fancy goldfish turning upside down. In fact, in all our tanks that house fancy goldfish that are beginning to “flip over” we found high readings o f nitrates. High nitrates are associated with blood i n the fins and weak fish. An easy way to bring down the concentration on nitrates is to add plants to consume the fertilizer.

Click for all the details of the 2007 Pond Expo!

Click for a fun Winter Picture!

Click to learn about Koi Teeth!

from www.ponddoc.com

The call comes in. One of our customers is on the phone. His fish are acting strangely. Two of them are beating up on a third (poor fish) and he’s had one jump out of the pond. Fortunately it was found in time and survived the ordeal. There’s a strange foam on the water...

What is wrong? What CAN he do!!!?

This is a common and so very natural occurrence. His fish are not ill — they are in love.

Goldfish and Koi have very "active" sex lives. To put it in laymen’s terms, the male chases the female in a rather brutal show, literally to beat the eggs out of her. Then he fertilizes the eggs. Many times you will notice several males "courting" one female. This can be stressful to the female and can be a cause of injury. Many females, frantic to get away from their suiters, jump during this time and injure themselves against rocks or simply jump out of the water and onto the ground.

Mating activity usually happens whenever the water heats up rapidly and is more apt to happen in the morning and evening hours. If you wake up to find your pond full of white foam chances are your fish have been "up to no good". The white foam is a by-product of their escapades.

In large lakes fish go into the shallows to mate. The "shallows" in a pond could be your favorite bog plant if the surface of the pot that houses the plant is near the surface of the water. To help them out during this time you can give your finny pets a "shallows" of their own by filling a lily pot up with large round egg rock and placing it on a shelf. It may be construed as spying but it is entertaining to watch ‘em go!

It becomes dinner (or breakfast) time when the mating ritual ends. Goldfish and Koi are not cannibalistic by nature, however, until a fish recognizes small fry as another fish, the fry is a pretty tasty meal, especially if it is an egg and not yet hatched. All the fish in the pond are treated to "caviar" just after the eggs are laid and they will soon all gather in the "shallows" to grab a tasty morsel. Eggs look like tiny pearls scattered all over the black pond liner and clinging to the plants. The fish generally are full after spawning occurs and they feast on the eggs so don't expect them to eat fish food for a couple of days.

If you remove the homemade "shallows" and place it in a bucket of de-chlorinated water before the adults have had a chance to pick it clean you may be in for a treat of your own when the eggs hatch in about 7 - 14 days. If the mating grounds go undisturbed and you let nature take its course the fish will eat most of the eggs. Mother Nature controls fish populations this way and somehow, with a little luck, a few babies may survive. It has been our experience that goldfish spawnings are more numerous and yield more naturally surviving young. Goldfish mate and produce young earlier than koi.

Do Goldfish and Koi Interbreed? The answer is yes but the offspring aren’t what you would call show quality. In fact, they are not the prettiest of fish and thank goodness they are sterile.

Unless you are interested in becoming a breeder of fish we recommend letting nature take her course. You’ll find that a few babies will survive although odds are against it.

Eastern Iowa Pond Society Membership Application

March 24
6pm Moores & Nolans—Cedar Rapids

April 12
7pm Larry & Erma Thompson—Cedar Rapids
“Building a Greenhouse over a Koi Pond” - Larry Thompson

April 28
7pm Wayne & Pat Beuter—Walker
“Trash to Treasures” - Master Gardener, Judy Stevens

May 10
7pm Dennis & Carol Sindelar—Cedar Rapids
Plant Swap

May 26
5pm Quinn & Kacy Novak—Cedar Rapids
Open Discussion on Pond Related Topics

June 14
7pm Dorothy Helms—Vinton
Open Discussion on Pond Related Topics

June 23
Jim & Rose Milden—Cedar Rapids
Pre pond tour

July 8
Pond Tour

July 28
5pm Jackie Allsup—Quasqueton
“Hybrid Lily—Queen of the Garden” - Master Gardener, Joyce Robison

August 9
7pm Gary & Jo Hunerdosse—Cedar Rapids
“Summer Gardening” - Master Gardener, Ellen Skripsy

August 25
Herman Michel—Cedar Rapids
Herman’s Birthday Celebration

September 15
7pm Joe & Judy Olsen—Independence

September 22
4pm Sharon Weiss—Vinton

October 27

November 17
Recognition & Election Night—T.B.D.

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.

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