EIPS Newsletter

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In This Issue: March 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008
2:00 pm
Greg & Martha Bickal
3653 Toddville Rd
Toddville, IA
Tel: 378-8961

Topic: Water Filtration
Speaker: Greg Bickal

From I-380 take Exit 28 aka, Toddville Exit, go left (west) on E 34 (aka County Home Road), the road curves down into town, take a left on First Street, which becomes Toddville road. House #3653 is 1/4 mile on right hand side (north side)

Directions from past pond tour

by Monica

February 23rd Meeting

Hey, welcome back everybody! The common cry was-“Will this winter ever get over with?” It certainly has been one of the very coldest and snowiest in a long time. But, what a better way to stave off the cold, than to get together with 21 EIPS pond members and 2 visitors?

EIPS kicked off our new 2008 ponding year by meeting at the home of Erma and Larry Thompson of Cedar Rapids. Larry completely covers his pond with his homemade greenhouse. His pond, thus stays open and running all winter long holding at a steady 45 degrees. The KOI magazine featured a complete write up last month on Larry’s set up. It was a great article featuring one of our very own members and everyone should try to read it.

Our newly elected 2008 president, Monica Morley, began the meeting by welcoming everyone back, greeting visitors Linda and Donovan Burke (Donovan is the president of the Northern Iowa Water Gardeners Assoc.), and thanking the Thompsons for the great meal they provided for all members. Erma and Larry had a complete buffet set up for everyone and several members brought food to share also. Yummy stuff, all appreciated by hungry club members.

Larry talked to the group about his pond and answered questions about his set up. He showed members some baby koi he brought in for the winter and discussed the vast growth differences in the different breeds. His Chagoi had grown almost twice as fast as the more hybrid Kohaku. All where fed the same and shared the same water.

I read the treasurer’s report. We have a total of $5544.14 in the bank. There were no minutes to approve. Monica passed around an additional committee volunteer sheet for the 2008 pond tour plant sale. There were no committee updates to discuss. Monica reported that we already had 3 confirmed ponds for this year’s tour. She also stated that we were thinking about including crafters, musicians, and artist (see details here).

Monica spoke of a couple reminders: Our 3rd annual photo contest will be held at the July 26th meeting. There is a “winter scene” category!! So get out there now and snap a few. April 1 is also the deadline for membership dues. After this date, you will no longer receive a newsletter. She also had a few left over recognition certificates and calendars for those that didn’t make the November recognition night.

Larry Thompson gave a very informative talk on “Ideas for starting up your pond in the Spring”. He had several handouts for members and started a lot of open discussion about stocking levels and the use of products like Koizyme and Microlift pl, just to name a couple of highly used products. He spoke of the importance of high O2 levels in the pond all year long and the use of quality food. Everyone exchanged ideas sparked from his talk and much was to be learned from this discussion.

After Larry’s talk, Vice President, Dave Bell, began a new segment of the meetings that he called the 3-P’s. Problems, Products, and Plants. He even donned the fishy hat to get everyone in the right frame of mind. Dave brings a lot of humor to the meetings and I look forward to this in meetings to come. What followed was another open discussion of member’s experiences with their ponds and strange animals that were in them. Removing dead frogs, and a myriad of drowned animals from skunks to all kinds of birds, and squirrel eating koi were all talked about! (Eeeuuuu that’s gross! What we ponders have to do at times. That’s when you really find out whose pond it really is. I can hear it now. It’s YOUR pond, no it’s YOURRRR pond!!! You get it out. No! You get it out!)

To close the meeting, Monica, again thanked the host for the great meal and talk. She mentioned that Erma would still embroider club shirts for anyone interested. And she does a mighty fine job of it too, I might add. (See details here).

No prizes were available.

There was a motion to adjourn and the meeting was closed.

Respectfully submitted, Jackie Allsup

Pictures from the February 23rd meeting at Larry and Erma Thompson’s home.

By Josh Spece

Hosta ‘Stitch in Time’

Occasionally a new Hosta is developed that is so unique and different that it is patented. Yes, plants can be patented! When you see a code such as PP#11,432 following a plant name, that indicates the patent number that was issued to that plant. Other times you will see PPAF, which stands for Plant Patent Applied For – a patent has been requested, but not yet issued. The patent ensures that the plant can only be propagated by a licensed grower and in turn, the person who developed the new plant is paid a royalty for every plant that is sold.

Hosta 'Stitch in Time' (PP#18,061) caused a buzz among Hosta fanciers the instant it debuted in 2007. This amazing sport of Hosta 'Summer Breeze' features a wide, gold margin around a narrow, green center. The heart-shaped, semi-glossy leaf is puckered and gathered along the intersection where the margin and center colors meet. The effect is very similar to that of Hosta 'Embroidery', but the stitching and coloration of Hosta 'Stitch in Time' lasts all season. ‘Stitch in Time’ will form a medium sized clump.

Mark Your Calendar for Saturday August 30, 2008

Social Picnic (potluck) at Noelridge Park
Lagoon Pavilion
5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Guest Speaker: Jamie Beyer

Monica Morley & Larry Thompson
Will update at later date

This is a social event without a meeting.

I wish to thank all the members attending the 1st meeting of the year. What a great start it was!! The club is so fortunate to have such talented members willing to give of their time to make the year ahead fun and successful. A big thank you goes out to the following: Larry Thompson for taking the time to put together an informative and enjoyable talk., Jim Milden for volunteering for the Publicity Committee, and big kudo’s to Kathi Albrecht for volunteering for 3 committees, including the new Plant Sale Committee. Everyone knows it is always difficult to find volunteers for the plant sale. That’s what it’s all about, so when you see the committee sign-up sheets, get on board with your fellow ponders, don’t let them swim alone...

Also, get your questions, problems, ideas, stories, and anything you want to share with the members ready for the 3-P’s, a 15-minute discussion at the close of each meeting led by VP, Dave Bell.


Off to a new year for the club. The participation we have had so far from our members contributing to the newsletter. has been great, keep it up...

If you have something you would like in the newsletter send it in by e-mail or just hand it to us at the meeting. Remember each time you submit an article, pictures, etc. for the newsletter your name is entered in the drawing at the end of the year. Everyone has a favorite recipe, send it in for the Recipe Corner.

Get more involved this year, trust me you’ll enjoy it...

What do you think?
Should we try it...

Do you know of a Crafter, Musician, Artist, Lawn Art, Sculpting, Pottery, etc who would like to volunteer their time during the pond tour demonstrating their skill. They keep all proceeds from their sales.

No commercial businesses.

Putting a new spin on the Pond and Garden Tour

Contact Joe Olsen– Pond Tour Committee
olywon@indytel.com or 319-334-2709

We are looking for your feedback to see if this is something we want to include during the pond tour. Participates will be responsible for any set up they need and will not be allowed to use electricity, etc. from the homeowner.

“News Flash”
By Monica Morley

Iowa City Landscaping & Garden Center located 520 Hwy 1 West in Iowa City is offering a 10% discount to our club members on pond plants & water gardening supplies (includes fountains & water bowls)

Members can pick up their membership cards at any meeting. You need to show your 2008 card at the time of purchase Stop by this spring/summer to purchase something special for your garden/pond.

Click to see Erma's embroidered EIPS design

Size is approximately
2 1/2” x 2 1/2” circle
Cost - $10.00

If you would like the above artwork on your own personal shirt. Give your newly purchased shirt to Erma Thompson

Any questions etlarryt@yahoo.com


Each year we donate a portion of the proceeds from the pond tour, so during the year keep an eye out for areas that could benefit from our donation.

Get all information to present to the club. It will be up to you to do all the footwork...

Join in with the Community Service Committee

Ideas from all members welcome...

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
-Winston Churchill

Step up and volunteer

Click to see Deb's “Winter Scene”

Keep your camera close this winter to catch that perfect picture for the 3rd Annual Photo contest July 26th One of the categories is “Winter Scene”

Eastern Iowa Aquarium Association
Tropical Fish Show
March 22-23
11:00 am - 5:00pm
At Noelridge Park Greenhouse

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

March Birthdays

Marilyn Oliver - 3rd
Jackie Allsup - 10th

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.

So people say that koi fish can live more than 100 years old. They usually age accurately (but sacrificially) by the examination of the bones of the koi's inner ear. The ages that derived from scales are most often inaccurate. A one year-old koi can have between seven and eleven rings on a scale, depending on the scale you choose.

Male Koi mature at 2 years and females at 4 years of age. Their average lifespan is 70 years which is dramatically longer than other animals. The oldest living Koi in Japan was born in 1751. She was a Higoi named “Hanako” and lived for 226 years.

See length/age chart here...

Koi fish are integrally liked with their watery environment. Which means they are reflections of the quality and your skills in maintaining it.

Putting vegetable filters actual plants in the koi pond is the next best thing to sliced bread. They help reduce nitrate levels and reduction in nitrates leads to reduction in algae growth. Simply because the nitrates are a plant food. Which is great.

Permission by www.bonniesplants.com

If you bought the fish at a Koi show chances are that it has not eaten in a few days to a week. Fish are fasted that are sold at shows so that they do not contaminate the water. This is not the case if the fish are purchased at a dealer's location. Keep in mind the smaller the quarantine tank and the number of gallons of water in relationship to the number and size of the fish is going to make a difference in the water quality.

You can feed the fish a very small amount of food after they have been in the quarantine tank about 6 to 8 hours. Keep the feeding very small and remember it is better to feed 2 smaller portions 2 times a day than one larger portion once a day. New fish may not eat for a couple of days until they adjust to their new home. They may also "hide". This is very common. Usually after a couple of days they will adjust and come out of hiding. You may want to float a piece of Styrofoam on top of the water to give the fish a place to hide for this reason alone. Keep in mind many a small fish have jumped and landed on the Styrofoam and died. Use small pieces so that if it does land on the Styrofoam it can flop and get back in the water.

If you have purchased fish from me, I have included some of the food they are used to eating. This should last you a few days. I have found my fish do better if they stay on the food they are used for a couple of days. The food I feed is called Sho Koi.

A few days to a week to a couple of weeks after adding the fish you may detect Nitrite. Nitrite poisoning interferes with the ability of the fish to uptake oxygen. It causes the blood to run brown. Fish can and will die from nitrite poisoning. The salt in the tank will kept the fish from up taking the nitrite and from suffering from nitrite poisoning.

Some believe in water changes if you have ammonia or nitrite in the water. While you may want to do small 10% or so water change once a week I do not recommend larger water changes. First of all it slows down the nitrogen process and you will find that even with an 80% water change the ammonia or nitrite level will be right back to where it was before you finish adding new water. Not only that, large water changes are stressful to the fish and the last thing you want is a stressed fish in quarantine.

How Long Should You Quarantine?

There are many thoughts on this topic. I would say the very minimum would be 3 weeks. I quarantine for at least 30 days and monitor the fish daily . Many say 6 to 8 weeks. A proper quarantine will include observing the fish, checking for parasites.

Read further on treatment at www.bonniesplants.com under koi care

Signs Your Koi Are Stressing Out

  • Jumping
  • Lying partially on its side
  • Remaining near the bottom of the pond
  • Failing to snorkel near the surface when feeder is near
  • Rubbing against items in the pond, as if to dislodge something from the skin
  • Staying by itself, not joining with others to feed
  • Swimming lethargically or with a tighter, almost jerky rhythm
  • Trying to hide under ledges or under waterfall out flows

Physical Symptoms Are Changes In Appearance That Often Point To A Specific Disease

  • Clamped fins
  • Fin damage
  • Pale gills
  • Raised scales
  • Swollen areas of the body
  • White spots on the body and gills

Permission by www.bonniesplants.com

The first thing you want to do is get your pump and filter up and running if it was shut down for the winter months . This will add aeration to the water and help in removing any mulm that is in the pond. Use a sturdy net and remove any dead frogs, leaves, dead algae and anything else that is in the ponds that does not belong there.

Check ammonia, nitrite and pH. I f ammonia is present add Amquel or Prime to bind up the ammonia. I f there is a lot of ammonia, there is probably a lot of "mulm" on the bottom of the pond. This must be removed ASAP! If nitrite is a problem, leave the salt in the pond at a .1 level as this will keep the fish from up taking the nitrite.

If the ammonia is real high, then drain the pond, and clean it out. Y our fish will be in jeopardy if the ammonia is real high and you do not get rid of the source of the ammonia. If necessary, remove the fish. Have on hand Potassium Permanganate. When the water level is about 50% down, add 1 teaspoon Potassium Permanganate for each 1000 gallons of water that is left in the pond. This will kill any "ickies" that are in the water and help break down the organics .

NOTE: when using Potassium Permanganate

It is necessary to have lots of aeration to the water. Make sure that you have regular hydrogen peroxide 3%, handy to neutralize the effects of Potassium Permanganate should the fish become distressed. We left a deep hole for the fish to go to during the winter and as we drained the pond there was enough water in that hole to leave the fish undisturbed in the Potassium Permanganate while we sc rubbed the pond and cleaned everything out.


If you had salt in your pond for the winter, it is time to s tart removing the salt through water changes . When the water temperature reaches a cons istent 45 degrees for several days in a row, s tart removing salt from the pond by water changes . Do this over a few days . Simply siphon or pump some the water out each day. I remove 25 to 33 percent a day. Replace with new water. Check the temperature of the water coming out of your hose and compare that to the water in the pond. Remember that you do not want more than a 2 or 3-degree change in water temperature. I set the hose up so that it sprays on top of the water rather than s ticking the hose in the water. Keep in mind, that water coming out of a hose has no oxygen. By letting it spray on top of the water, you will be adding oxygen at the same time.

Do your homework on any product you use in your pond. Use caution “READ”.

from Monica Morley

Cheesy Corn

2 sticks butter (margarine)
2 cans cream style corn
2 cans whole kernel corn (don’t drain)
2 cups elbow small macaroni
1 jar 15 oz cheese whiz

Cook on high 3-3 1/2 hrs in crock pot

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.

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

April 10th - Gil & Monica Morley/Elena Murillo
Chuck Porto/Iowa City Landscaping & Garden Center

April 26th - Bob & Stephanie Geers
Laura Krouse/Environmental Water

May 8th - Dave & Karen Frieden
Becki Lynch/Ornamental Grasses

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

EIPS Newsletter Archives