Bleach Dip and Snails
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!).