bleach and Vallisneria

Scott Corbeil used a three minute bleach dip on 100 corkscrew val plants
and got "a mass of residual plant goo". That's pretty normal.

Vals, Sagittaria, Elodea and similar fast growing plants are badly
affected by bleach. I'd limit the dip to two minutes for the first
two but it's very probable that you're going to loose all the existing
leaves. It doesn't matter because they both have a thickened (what
do you call that part?) at the base where the roots come out and
new leaves will quickly sproute from this in a day or two. So don't
despair; remove the goo and plant the root apex as shallowly as
possible. If you get only one to revive, you can rapidly propagate
it (with a little patience). I guess in aquaria when we say things
happen rapidly, we mean in time frames of weeks and months. ;-)

I bleached some Elodea recently in a 2 minute dip and I thought
that the growing tip might survive. It did not. I took the end
of a healthy growing tip and rinsed it as thoroughly as I could
in tap water and introduced it without bleaching. Hopefully, 
no filament algaes were able to attach to the tip of this plant 
in the short time it took to grow in the non-sterile tank.

I also took the top off a piece of Ceratopteris which grows
emersed from one of my fry tanks and tossed it into the sterile
tank. Since this has grown entirely emersed, there should be no
algae on it at all and it should rapidly revert to submersed life
by growing new leaves from the hard emergent part. I like 
Ceratopteris as it grows rapidly and seems to be well suited
to capturing phosphates. Later on, I remove it because it doesn't
fit in well since it grows too fast and the old parts look very
draggly and it can't be pruned to look nice.

I expected trouble with Myriophyllum however this plant was able
to survive a 2 minute dip. The old structures lost their chlorophyl
but the growing tips survived and are growing slowly. Once it's
large enough, I can reroute it.

The unfortunate thing is that when one is setting up a new aquarium
with the bleach method, you'd like to have plenty of fast growing
plants but these are often the ones least able to handle a quick
dousing with bleach. Hygrophila species tolerate bleach very well
as do Ludwigias. Crypts will often melt after a bleaching but the
rhizomes are quite tough and in good conditions, will rapidly send
out new leaves. (a few days)

Interesting developments in my 50 gal which got the new substrate
and full bleach regime:

Cryptocoryne balansae has sent out a daughter plant about 6"
away. Once the rhizome gets large enough, it should be easy for
folks to propagate this large Crypt by dividing the rhizome.

Aponogeton crispus (hybrid) has sent out a flower stalk.

Mexican oak leaf wins the race for the most rapidly growing plant
although Salvinia and Frogbit are working hard to double their
population size every 4-5 days or so from initial small colonies.

Two soft forms of algae have colonized the tank. I have purposefully
only introduced one adult snail into this tank but some small ones
which I had propagated from eggs in a nearly algae free environment
are making tracks in the algae. Had I prepared 3 months in advance,
I could have had large sized snails ready. I believe its time
to bring in the otocinclus crew! I think these algaes came from
either airborne spores or were present in my soil. These are the
easy to fight algaes unlike the nasty brush algae or the dreaded
thread or hair algaes.

Steve P