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Disinfecting Plants With Alum


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Moving some plants from a pond-snail infested tank to a new one. This will be a shrimp tank so I really don’t want to use Assassin snails if I don’t have to.  I’d also like a few Nerites - but have read that Assassins will go for them, sooner or later.

I’ve seen videos that say a 1-2 day plant soak in an Alum solution will kill snails and eggs without harming plants.


Anyone here with experience with this?

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@Lds760; I keep a bucket with 3 G of water in it with 9 tablespoons of Alum mixed in. I keep a lid on the bucket to prevent evaporation so that any time I buy a new plant from my LFS, I'll remove the lid, stir the water, drop the plant in and let it, or them sit for 3 hours. The Alum kills living snails just as soon as they hit the solution, but it takes 3 hours for the Alum to penetrate the egg masses to kill the eggs. I've done this for about 15 years now without a single snail being introduced except for one time when I didn't dunk the plant. Luckily the Yoyo loaches took care of everything for me before the snails got out of hand, I'll never make that mistake again.

@B1gJ4k3; You only think you're fighting a losing battle to the snails. If you have another tank that you can move your fish to, do it. Then give your plants another Alum bath and place them in the same tank providing the second tank doesn't also have snails. Then, and I really hate to say this, allow everything in the infected tank, including any filter media and gravel, to dry out for a couple of months to not only kill the snails and the eggs. When you're sure that all of the snails and eggs have dried out completely, you can start to put everything back together again, the drawback is that you have to cycle your tank all over again.

Another method that works very well is to buy 6 Clown or Yoyo loaches. These fish love snails as a snack and will rid your tank of snails rather quickly. You'll hear a mysterious tick, tick, tick sound as they're eating snails, this comes from spikes in their jaws they use to crack open the snail shells, but they'll also eat any shrimp you may have. Clown loaches grow to about 8 inches while Yoyo loaches only grow to about 4 inches, so that's something to consider. Both species are fun to watch, but they also sometimes play dead, but aren't. 

Good luck to both of you.



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