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Re: avoiding unintended releases of plants

Diane Brown wrote:

>I think everyone can agree that releasing our aquatic pets into local
>waters is a terrible idea (like the idiot who released snakeheads in

Well meaning, but extremely foolish nonetheless.  I feel that a lack of 
environmental education is most to blame for these kind of things.  I also 
feel it is highly irresponsible for fish shops to sell fish to folks 
without making sure they have tanks/ponds that will hold them as 
adults.  And hobbyists should thoroughly research a prospective fish before 
buying/collecting and buy/collect responsibly.  Pardon my preaching, but 
this is something I feel very strongly about.

>   And the same goes for our aquatic plants, which are rarely
>native to our particular home area.  How to avoid releasing fish is easy:
>don?t do it.  Sell or give them away or euthanize them if you must.

Words of wisdom.  Even captive fish collected from native waters should 
NEVER be released back into the wild by a hobbyist.  This goes for bait 
minnows, too.  My undergarments get tightly bunched when I see advice to 
the contrary.

>But how do you keep from releasing plants into local waters?  Obviously, most
>of us wouldn?t take a swordplant and plant it in a local pond, but what
>about the smaller plants like duckweed, or small floating plants that can
>regenerate from a few leaves and a bit of stem?  How do you keep those from
>getting out into the local water supply?
>I try to strain out the larger plant bits, but should I be treating the
>water that comes out of the tank as well as that going  into the tank?

Interesting question, Diane, and something worth pondering over IMO.  My 
habit is to toss trimmings/plants straight into the garbage, but it's not 
inconceivable that small sprig of something that ends up in the wastewater 
from changes might survive and eventually make its way out of the sewer 
system.  I think the easiest way to avoid accidental introduction is to use 
the wastewater from changes to water the shrubs or lawn outside or the 
houseplants inside.  If the water is going down the drain, straining the 
water could help for larger bits as you point out.  Putting bleach in the 
water before dumping it could help for smaller stuff.  I've sterilized 
water to discourage introduction of resistant bacteria into the ecosystem 
after the (fortunately) few times I've had to treat fish with antibiotics 
-- this advice was given to me by a vet friend of mine.  I was pleased to 
see Julian Sprung mention this same precaution in a recent installment of 
his FAMA article (source of method cited to Craig Bingham whom some of you 
may remember from his presence on this list).  Antibiotic use is taken far 
too lightly.  Perhaps the water we pour down the drain is as well.  I don't 
think we can ever be too responsible when it comes to the health of our 
Chuck Huffine
Knoxville, Tennessee