Jump to content

plant decontamination process?


Sal
 Share

Recommended Posts

Do you decontaminate new plants before adding to your tank?  Would you do this same process when setting up a new tank (no fish yet)?

Do you have a tried and true method that you've found effective?

I've been watching a lot of videos on different soaks and washes, but the information seems inconsistent (some say roots in, some say roots out, etc...) and I would really like to hear some real life experiences...

Thanks in advance!  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't decontaminate new plants because they are unlikely carriers of fish diseases.

But they are highly likely carriers of the things like snails, etc.

Many people don't want snails or any new invertebrates coming in with new plants, although several posts recently have documented either fish eggs or actual baby fish coming in with new plants.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't do much other than look the plants over to be sure there's nothing overly obnoxious (leeches for example) clinging to the plants. I like snails so they're not an issue for me. If it's a plant that's prone to shedding (cabomba, etc.) I may swirl it a bit in a bowl in some tank water to try and shake loose any of the already loose bits before it goes into the tank, but that's about the limit of my effort. If the plant is a cutting (and nearly all bunch plants are) I'll take a look at the cut end and see its condition. If it's already soft or rotting I may cut that part off and get some nice fresh, rot-free stem to tuck into the soil as rotted stuff won't produce roots. (If I leave a bit of good growth on the part I cut off I'll leave that floating to see if it grows. If it does, great. If not a quick scoop while I'm feeding the fish later will remove it.) If the plants are in pots, I pop them out of the pot, tease off the rock wool as much as possible and examine the roots for any obvious hitchhikers like a leech. I'll examine the plant also. Plants like crypts often come with multiple plants in a pot that can be teased apart and planted separately. You may buy one plant and find you have three or four in the pot. 

I've got fifteen (or so) stems of red ludwigia coming and i'ts grown outdoors in a Florida pond so I'll give it a bit of a closer look than some other plants, but I've bought plants from that vendor before with no issues. Plants that have been grown in greenhouses like the Denerle or Tropica ones, or the ones grown from tissue-cultured plants, seldom have any issues at all. Stuff harvested from the wild is a bit iffier, but generally pretty safe. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Sal said:

I guess I am generally OK with snails - I have been planning to introduce snails intentionally, as I know they are great to have in planted tanks.   Is all of the dipping and washing only to get rid of snails?  What about some of the other things, like various types of worms etc?

Yeah, most of the dipping and whatnot is to get rid of snails and snail eggs. Anything you find in the way of a worm on a plant is likely a detritus worm or the like and fish will consider it food if they stumble across it. I don't run especially sterile tanks, so I welcome pretty much any kind of life that wants to settle into my tanks. If there's something obvious like a leech or fluke on a plant I'll squish it and get rid of it, but by and large I just let nature take its course in my tanks. It works for me. If you're trying to win an aquascaping contest and create a showpiece tank, you'll use a different set of standards. I tend to be more fish-centric though and as long as my fish are happy and healthy, I'm happy.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Irene did a video series on various dips/soaks for plants. None of them work on all plants or all pests (Irene mentioned snails with a "trap door"- can't remember the name - can shut themselves in and survive alum treatment). Alum is the most effective while being safest for plants,  but it depends on what you have - vals, crypts, and some floating plants seem to take a heavy hit - it completely disintegrated my crypt and dwarf lettuce. It also turned my marimo moss balls brownish, but not right away. This turned out to be a very worthwhile experiment, as my purchase was right at the time a few zebra mussels were first found on them (but not yet widely known), and I did a thorough inspection before and after just for documentation/alum testing purposes (nothing to do with zebra mussels). Even my "tougher" plants (Anubias golden and A. barteri) were weakened, I believe, by the treatment. I had to cut off a rotten piece of the A. golden. Whether or not it's worth it to do this after spending so much money on plants is debatable. I now just quarantine and observe. Heres her most recent video.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So technically the plants are the first live thing to be going into the new tank, and because of that will be kind of quarantined?  It sounds like I should be ok with a rinse and check for anything super obvious.  Definitely not trying to win any aquascape contests.  I'd be nervous to end up with unexpected fish though - so maybe I should go check out some of those other threads @Daniel mentioned?

I definitely struggle in this hobby when there are not a clearly defined set of rules and instructions, which is basically ALL categories of things related to this hobby.   😂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"And because this hobby is applied biology, there either are no rules, or the rules have so many exceptions that there might as well be no rules."

Yeah, do what works for you. Every tank is different. There are a gazillion variables and you can't control most of them. Just be adaptable, be prepared to pivot and change direction, and by and large things should work out for you. Even the rock solid rules like "Ammonia is toxic to fish" has an exception in that in low pH tanks it's significantly less toxic and maybe not even toxic at all if the water temp is cool enough. According to an article titled "More on Ammonia, pH & Water Temperature" written by Chuck Dinkel, Maryland TIC and by D. Dent – Ecological Labs Inc. At 4 degrees Celsius (pretty darn cold) and a pH of 6.0 (moderately acidic) fish can survive 200 ppm of ammonia. Keep the pH the same and bump the temp up to a more comfy 20 degrees Celsius and they can only tolerate 50 ppm. Keep the temp at 20 Celsius and raise the pH to 8.4 (moderately alkaline) and the fish can only tolerate 0.21 ppm of ammonia. Crazy, huh? A hobbyist who keeps his fish at a pH of 6.0 might insist there's no issue with his ammonia at 10 ppm while someone with a tank with a pH of 8.4 might find it impossible to keep fish alive with ammonia at less than one ppm. 

Our fish tanks are complicated, confusing, and often contradictory in how they work. Just do whatever works for you and don't be afraid to break a rule or two, or twenty for that matter. If your fish are happy, your plants are happy, and things are going well, you're doing the right things regardless of what the "experts" say. 

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Sal said:

Do you decontaminate new plants before adding to your tank?  Would you do this same process when setting up a new tank (no fish yet)?

Do you have a tried and true method that you've found effective?

I've been watching a lot of videos on different soaks and washes, but the information seems inconsistent (some say roots in, some say roots out, etc...) and I would really like to hear some real life experiences...

Thanks in advance!  

 

I have been keeping fish for many years and I have never decontaminated a plant.  I usually do a short quarantine more because of timing than concern.  When a plant comes in I usually rinse it under cool water in the sink, then set it in a small bucket I keep with fish supplies so it is completely underwater (bucket is 1-2 gallons that ice cream comes in). My true purpose is just to hold it until I have time to plant it, but it does serve as a quarantine for observation.   In all of my hobby, I have had only a few snails, a few snail eggs I saw/found and 2 hitchhiker fish eggs (2 Daisy rice fish I wish I could have bred) and the fish were from a ziplok baggie of plant i purchased at a local plant swap.  I think the risk to the plants of an actual chemical decontamination procedure is much higher than the risk of any likely hitch hiker to my fish, but like everything else in this hobby, how you want to handle it is what makes you feel the best about your hobby.  Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/17/2021 at 10:39 AM, Daniel said:

Despite giving you 4 posts below to worry about, don't worry about it. It is really uncommon for fish to be the hitchhikers.

and

and

and

And because this hobby is applied biology, there either are no rules, or the rules have so many exceptions that there might as well be no rules.

my plants came from a goldfish tank where goldfish were actively breeding, i wouldnt expect plants to come with fish as hitchhikers to be a common thing. the only time i do plant dips is when i know the plants are coming from outdoor ponds/groweries and thats only so i dont bring in various larvae that are common in those set ups. 

  • Like 1
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...