Alternate plant cleaning methods?

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So I ended up getting snails and slugs in a viv a second time, but this time it was in my biggest tank (120 G). I don't like snails and slugs - they ate some of my favorite plants including three game on. Getting rid of them required a tear down, so that got me thinking about better plant cleaning strategies. I'm experimenting with a regiment I used in my planted tank days, though I am not sure how well this will work for terrestrial plants. Here's my new plan:

(1) bare root plants, rinse thoroughly
(2) soak plants in tap water for a few hours to hydrate
(3) 15 minute soak in 10% bleach
(4) tap water rinse
(5) 24 to 48 hour bath:
  • Alum powder (pickling snails / slugs)
  • formalin and malachite green (protozoan / parasite aquatic ick treatment)
(6) tap water rinse
(7) RO rinse

The 24 to 48 hour soak always worked on aquatic snails for me. Alum is a powder you can get in the spice section of the grocery store. It's used for pickling foods, and in this case, snails. I figured this was the nuclear option in my war against snails so we'll see how it works out. I'll post more as I have the opportunity to evaluate the impact of this approach on the test plants. In the meantime, what is everyone else doing to treat their plants beyond the bleach soak?
Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata
Have you looked into a two-phase approach using peroxide and vinegar? I've been reading getting ready for receiving my plants and it looks promising for disinfecting. But said I've never done it and I'm still researching it but I thought I would put it out there for consideration. In any case I wish you good luck in your extermination.
Do you have any links or descriptions on the method? The links I have found seem to reference targeting bacteria and fungal issues, and mentioned it won't work on snails. Here's an interesting link on salt, bleach, alum, and KMnO4: ... OwKLEIvxBU
Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata
The one I looked at was talking about bacterial and fungal sanitizing. Nothing was mentioned about snails in the article I read. In all honesty I had not considered them as potential hitchhikers and was just looking at terrestrial plant disinfection when I was researching. Now that have read and ask about this I may consider the method you described. I just hesitate because I don't like to use harsh chemicals around my reptiles and I assume that the frogs would be sensitive to it as well.
Bleach would be better then potessium permanganate though as it will evaporate over time.
How long would you recommend waiting before adding a new plant that has been disinfected in this way to an established environment; or similarly a dart frog to a newly planted viv that has been disinfected in this matter?

I hesitate to post links as it was another frog forum.
I usually do a series of fresh water flushes to get rid of the alum bath. I'll probably add a fresh water soak as well. I have to had problems with this approach in planted tanks and I used it with Synodontis lucipinnis dwarf african catfish which were known to be extremely sensitive to water conditions. Good point though - I'll give some thought about rinses.

So far the hitchhikers I have encountered are snails, slugs, earthworms, cockroaches, millipedes, centipedes, spiders and nematodes. The nematodes seem controlled by the bleach soak. The roaches, centipedes and millipedes were found bare rooting. I got most hitchhikers in my first Viv before I figured out bare rooting. Now it's just the snails and slugs in this big tank which I hope will be gone for good.

I'm removing all these plants from the soak today. I'll take some shots of the aftermath Smile.
Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata
I've always enjoyed visiting my aunt/uncle/cousins in Austin, Texas, but I always hated the bugs--scorpions, cockroaches, and fire ants, in my obviously humble experience. After reading your list of 8 hideous bugs, Jim, I will be content to visit, infrequently, and be happy I've had NO hitchhikers in my vivs!!!!!
P. Terribilis orange, R. Imitator Cainarachi Valley, D. Leucomelas, D. Auratus, D. Azureus, P. vittatus, D. cobalts, D.Oyapok, Bombina Orientalis
Lol. Yeah at least the tarantulas, scorpions and wolf spiders have not made it into the viv yet. My first texas tarantula encounter was driving home at dusk and noticing something small and black scurrying across the road. At first I though it was a mouse but as I got closer I realized it was a spider. Crap! Spiders you can spot going 30 mph. I guess the good thing about them being that large is they are not getting in the house unless you open the front door and let them walk in.

Fortunately I caught the roaches during the bare rooting process (which I now do outdoors) but man o man was that creepy. But those particular roaches were not native Texans. I did nail that centipede in the big viv which was the biggest gross out find for me.

So the cleaning process did a nice job on the broms and crypts but the pilea and silver skies were toast which I sort of expected. hopefully I won't have to worry about this again as I have not been buying plants, just moving cuttings.
Jim from Austin |
fantastica nominant | summersi | reticulata
Good Lord, Jim, you find comfort in the fact that the roaches aren't true Texans?! I guess my family can visit me now in Illinois, no need for me going to Texas anymore! The centipede would have done me in!!!!
Sorry your plants were toast, especially that silver skies, I really liked that! But you can keep moving cuttings, and hopefully not having the big bug issues.......
P. Terribilis orange, R. Imitator Cainarachi Valley, D. Leucomelas, D. Auratus, D. Azureus, P. vittatus, D. cobalts, D.Oyapok, Bombina Orientalis

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