Re: bleach

>From: Controller <mike at odg_com>
>Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 10:37:11 -0500
>Subject: bleaching plants

>In December I redid my experimental tank - everything came out and was 
>bleached before I set up the tank again. So far, I have no hair/beard/brush 
>algae problems. I had some green water,  though.
>Here is a list of my plants and the damage:
>Valisneria 	all leaves melted, regrowth is good. - If you want to introduce 
>this plant, cut off the leaves before bleaching.
>Alteranthera, Egeria,  	all leaves melted, stems were not affected.
>Lilliaopsis, Glostostigma some melting, little damaga over all, there is 
>some stunted growth subsequently
>Hygrophilia	little to no damage, but slow to start growing again
>Microsorum 	no damage (tough little ferns ...)
>Anubias barteri var. lanceolata	no damage
>Rotala macandra	total destruction of leaves (they turned green within 1 
>day, then black) stems are ok, slow in coming back

I would generally concur with the experience described above. Most of the
thinner leaf, softer plants do not survive the bleaching as well. for
example, I have bleached water sprite and its leaves are quite damaged, but
it comes back.

After Mike Bateman questioned the survivability of specific plants following
bleach treatment, I tested some java moss and Rotala macrandra yesterday (2
of the 3 plants he questioned). Java moss is one of the hardest to kill
aquarium plants. It wasn't phased at all. So far, the macrandra still looks
the same (after 14 hours). In my case, the macrandra was taken out of my
tank and then put back into the same aquarium. This plant does not ship
well, (it sometimes arrives as mush), so if you start with one that is not
already acclimated, the results may vary. 

>Another suggestion: although it may be hard to implement, don't set up a 
>brand new tank with bleached plants! They are not vigoruos enough to keep 
>ahead of green algae, and perhaps other airborne algae. Let the plants 
>recouperate in jars, and only when they have recovered put them into the 

This is a good suggestion. In fact, I just had an offline conversation with
someone on this same point. Here is the text from that conversation:

The only problem I see with this approach is that bleached plants may not be
the best ones to use to start a new tank. If they are stressed or damaged,
they will not be capable of immediately sucking up nutrients.  

Sometimes, a new tank "may" or "may not" be optimum for new plants.
Sometimes a little fine tuning is needed before the conditions are all set
correctly (e.g. proper amount of fertilizer... enough but not too much). 

So, you might want to first set up a "transitional tank"... perhaps one
without gravel, but with all the needed water column nutrients including
CO2. This will give your bleached plants a chance to recover before you put
them into their permanent home.  I would include sufficient fast growers in
this first bleached batch. Some fast growers do not take bleach very well
(like water sprite).

Neil Frank      TAG editor         Raleigh, NC