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[APD] Re: Aquatic-Plants Digest, Vol 1, Issue 77

* From: "William E. Davies" <WEDavies at nni_com>
Please describe the plant bleaching process in detail. I missed its
discussion in this forum.
Thank you.

Before bleaching any plants you have to have a tank of some kind set up to receive the treated plants. The idea is to have a nice happy home for them to recover from the bleach treatment. This happy home should, of course, be free of hair algae. Light, CO2, and nutrients should be optimum for the quickest recovery.

Treat the plants with 5% liquid bleach with gentle agitation. This is 1 part liquid bleach plus 19 parts water, to make a 1/20 dilution. That means one part bleach in 20 parts total. Treat according to how thick their stems are. Most thin-stemmed, delicate plants can take two minutes. Crown plants like swords and crypts can take 4 minutes. Some plants are much more resistant than others. Anubias and Marcelia are hardly fazed at all by four minutes. Crypts may lose their leaves, but their rhizomes are unharmed. Perhaps the most sensitive plant is Eusteralis stellata. It looks thick stemmed, but two minutes will cause all the leaves to die, and the white stems, with no chlorophyll, die in a few days. Eusteralis is the only plant that I have not been able to free of hair algae using the bleach treatment. I am in the process of getting it free by growing it emersed. That is another way of getting hair algae-free plants that works with all stem plants that can be grown emersed. Just cut off the new growth that has grown in air, and you have a hair-algae free plant.

Most hair algae species are killed by two minutes of treatment. Cladophora requires four minutes. Fortunately, Cladophora is slow to attach to plants, and is usually attached to crown plants that can take four minutes of the treatment easily. For delicate stem plants, the newest growth is not likely to have any Cladophora attached.

Treated plants should be well rinsed and immediately floated in a well-lit hair algae-free tank. When some new growth is seen---some new leaves and roots---they can be planted.

Once you have a hair algae free tank, the routes of entry for hair algae are (1) new plants that have not been bleached. (2) water that has fragments of hair algae that comes in the bag with a new fish, and (3) New snails or other critters that bring in hair algae. You do not have to worry about "hellish spores" floating in the air.

Gravel from a hair algae infested tank can be treated with a strong bleach mixture (at least 25% bleach) or boiled. The tank, itself, should be filled to the brim and then 1 cup of bleach added for every 10 gallons. Cover with a tight glass lid and let it sit for several days.
Paul Krombholz in cool, fall-like central Mississippi
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