Bleach Dip and Snails

Hi all:

As promised, I tore down my 20 gal. long tank this weekend and did
a thorough cleaning with a 1:19 bleach solution.  It hasn't looked this
clean in years.  I chickened out as far as the new substrate goes,
and am going with straight gravel/ laterite/Dupla tablet (no soil, peat, or
organics).  I did however plant what was left of my Echinodorus
(amazonicus?) in a 4 inch pot containing a bit of crumpled up peat
plate and gravel.  This plant was also dipped in the bleach solution
and is now sitting in the tank with the DIY CO2 going, and I do
believe I see a difference already.  Of course, cutting away the
algae-covered leaves helped a lot.  My Java fern was dipped also,
and is currently in quarantine in a cut-down gallon water jug.  I also
have cut my own foam filter refills for my Supreme Aquamaster
power filter from a large pond filter foam sleeve.  I did this because
the refill cartridges that Supreme sells for this model are
impregnated with activated carbon.

Since the subject of dipping plants has been a recent thread, and
because my new plants have not arrived yet (and probably won't
until the algae has taken hold anew)  I thought I might take
advantage and ask a few questions about bleach tolerance.  Steve
Pushak stated in V2#285 that Hygrophila and Ludwigias should hold
up to a bleach dip.  I have also ordered Pygmy Chain Sword (E.
tenellus), Banana (N. aquatica), Bacopa (caroliniana), and
Corkscrew Val, just to name a few.  Aside from the Vals, does
anyone have any experience with dipping these plants?  You might
as well add Cabomba and Foxtail to the list, as I intend to order
them when the vendor receives a new supply.  I would like to dip my
plants, not only to kill algae spores, but also because I just
overcame a terrible infestation of pond snails (another reason why I
tore the tank down) which I do not want to repeat.

Alternatively, would KMnO4 work (permanganate solution) for
bleach-sensitive plants?  If so, what should the concentration be?  I
have Jungle's Clear Water product, which is, I believe  0.53% (I will
check the bottle again this evening) KMnO4.

And finally, on the subject of snails, a few questions.....although I
hate to wage chemical warfare on the critters, I am determined not
to let pond snails establish themselves in my tank again.  Would
copper sulfate solution, such as that available commercially (Had-A-
Snail) be detrimental to my plants, were I to add it to the aquarium
according to the manufacturer's instructions (1 drop per gallon)?
Would Malaysian trumpet snails take over a tank the way the pond
snails do?  Would Malaysian trumpet snails or Ramshorns, which
seem to be beneficial, out compete pond snails should an infestation
reappear?  I have read the songs of praise sung to Malaysian
trumpet snails, but because of my recent experience I am reluctant
to introduce _any_ species of snail into my freshly rejuvenated tank.


Jonathan Kirschner in Rockville, Maryland where we are up to our
knees in next year's compost (leaves!).