Jump to content

Plant Quarantining Advice

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

(apologies if this is a lengthy post (and my 1st one on here) but TLDR skip to bolded sentence in later paragraphs if you don't need the setup info)

After going over articles and info about proper plant installing, I wanted to confirm that I'm doing this right.  My first attempt at plants last year proved problematic, as I was still a budding aquarist, which resulted in the mass genocide of 100s of snails on my backporch from my starter 10 gallon tank.  As such, I don't want to repeat the mistake of not checking my plants before adding them in again. 

My setup:

20 gallon tank

  • 2 breeds of tetras (about 17 fishies total) with over a hundred red cherry shrimp (at least. I lost count a while ago.) 
  • Fluval Stratum - Volcanic Soil (bought for future plant usage after recommended by LFS)
  • Added crushed coral 3-4 weeks ago to harden water for an apple snail that was growing holes in their shell; that snail has migrated to quarantine to keep the shrimp off him in case they were damaging his shell.
  • 2 Filters & 1 20gal heater: 1 Eheim Canister Filter (i think its the 150 for 40 gallon tanks) & 1 Top fin 20 gallon filter that came with the tank

5-8(?) gallon quarantine tank (found at thrift store for 1 dollar)(has been setup for 4 weeks now with the snail)

  • Has 1 Apple snail; currently in this tank for rehab for the holes in the shell (he's on week 4)
  • Crushed coral and rainbow gravel floor; added to for the minerals to help the snail shell regrow
  • 1 3 week old Wondershell in the corner (again, to add hardness)
  • 10 gal filter and heater
  • added an airstone today after seeing detritus worms crawling up the sides.

Backstory to my situation: I was having issues controlling the amount of waste in the 20 gallon tank, as the volcanic soil made using the gravel vac more difficult then expected due to the soil breaking up intensely and getting stuck in the vacuum.  The stratum seemed to make the waste STICK to it, adding more difficulty.  Vacuuming could never fully get it all, as the water would also become super cloudy in the process of kinking the tube to dislodge the stratum from the vac.  Luckily, the fish and shrimp didn't see to badly affected by anything, but I still wanted to get this under control.  If I could go back in time, I'd have just reused gravel instead until I was ready to use plants, but that time has past.  Due to life circumstances, I haven't had the chance to add the plants in to help take care of the increase in phosphates and debris going into the stratum.  Luckily, my water conditions haven't been bad yet (afaik), though the phosphate levels are currently sitting at 1.0 ppm before i did today's water change. I think the double filter system may have helped offset potential disasters so far.

However, I recently received 3 Java Ferns and 3 Java Mosses from A.Coop and wanted to make sure my quarantine method is suitable to keep them alive and ready for the 20 gallon.  I had noticed some little egg-like looking features on the underside of the plants (often they were little pearls in bunches of 3 but they had a coppery color to some of them) and I wasn't sure if i could differentiate them between eggs or spores. 

Unfortunately, I do not have any extra buckets or containers that are safe enough to put anything living in them, as I see a common method is to use a bleach solution or Hydrogen peroxide to soak and sanitize the plants for foreign elements. As such, I figured I could rinse them off in the sink, and use the 5-8 gallon tank as a plant quarantine tank as well.  This is where I want to make sure I did this right or if i should adjust:

I took the Java Ferns out of the slotted plastic pots they came in, removed the wool, cut off the sewing string that bound the roots really tightly, rinsed them under the faucet whilst wiping off anything that looked egg-like on it that i could find, placing them back into the pot as a bundle, took a small handful of substrate from the 20 gallon and added to each pot to give it some weight, and then placed into the small tank with the 1 snail.  I also rinsed the java moss but left it attached to the wire grate it came with (I want to get them to spread once i get them in the 20 gallon) and they are with the java ferns in the quarantine tank.

My plan is to leave them in the quarantine tank for about 2 to 4 weeks to see if anything births and then go from there.  I saw that plants go into shock for a couple weeks during moves, so I have not added any plant fertilizer to the tank yet (saw a recommendation to wait a couple days because the shock would make it ineffective.) 

Is there anything else I should do?  Am I doing too much?  Is there anything i did not account for in regards to my setup and how it may affect the plants in the quarantine tank?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m about to rock your world.  I didn’t read through everything because I don’t need to know all the details to help you solve this issue before it starts.

There’s this little thing called Reverse Respiration that a genius friend of mine, @dasaltemelosguy and his co-conspirator 😉  @Guppysnailcame up with.  It’s as simple as submerging your plants in straight seltzer water in the dark for 12 hours.  Then putting them back into normal tank water.  It clears off nearly all algae and kills all snails, snail eggs, planaria, etc.  The link is below.  They even have the method summarized right at the beginning so you don’t have to read page after page unless you want to.  It’s some very interesting stuff for science nerds like myself, but it works incredibly well against snails and their eggs.


  • Like 1
  • Love 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...