Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Tha Bizness 11-21-2011 09:19 AM

Quarantine for plants
I have been reading alot about unwanted guests hitchhiking on plants. Worms, Hydra, snails, protozoans, etc. Pretty much up to this point I have been using the 'snail and pest free' plants from the local big box pet store that come prepackaged. That tend to be an expensive way to do it. I would like to venture out and get some plants that they have in fish or all plant tanks, or start adding plants from other sources but I am worried on what I may introduce to the system.

Is there a quarantine method or bath/rinse you can give plants that may be harboring hitchhikers? What are your methods for adding new plants?

paybackranch 11-21-2011 12:02 PM

There are several methods of cleaning plants -- some including using a bleach mix. Do an internet search, as there are several methods that work. and different plants species are treated differently. Some can take a longer dip in the bleach mixture than others. There are some other methods, as I mentioned. I don't mind snails as they usually eat only damaged or dying leaves and are excellent gardeners. They won't get out of hand if you don't feed your fish too much food. More food, more snails. I am speaking here of the freshwater pond snails. Malaysian trumpet snails live primarily in the substrate and are good snails. They keep gas pockets from forming in your substrate and clean plants / glass. If you do get an influx of snails, you can get some assassin snails, which will 'assassinate' your problem snails in short order. Usually fish consider any worms that are introduced as a snack as well as baby snails. Cichlids will get rid of snails as will most loaches.



Byron 11-21-2011 01:26 PM

If the plants are from a tank with fish, there is the same risk as with new fish that they may introduce parasites and disease. As with fish, the best procedure for this is a quarantine period of 3 weeks in a non-fish tank. Make sure there is adequate light, temperature, etc. I use a comprehensive liquid fertilizer to ensure all essential nutrients are available.

I do not recommend any treatments beyond the above QT. Any such treatment that is strong enough to kill algae, snails, parasites, etc. will probably be detrimental to the plants, and perhaps kill them outright. As for snails, they are in my view a useful helper in fish tanks.


paybackranch 11-21-2011 01:37 PM

I agree about the treatrments possibly causing problems, but mentioned them because the poster asked. I have never had any issues that were worth mentioning after quarantining the plants.



Tha Bizness 11-21-2011 02:46 PM

In this case - could a QT be a plastic tub with a heater and light on a timer? I would assume a filter would not be needed and I could float the plants or leave in pots (no substrate)

My QT is currently holding fry.

Byron 11-21-2011 04:05 PM


Originally Posted by Tha Bizness (Post 899264)
In this case - could a QT be a plastic tub with a heater and light on a timer? I would assume a filter would not be needed and I could float the plants or leave in pots (no substrate)

My QT is currently holding fry.

Yes, that should work. Light is the main thing obviously. Leaving them in pots (those that come in pots) is a good idea to avoid unnecessary root disturbance. A filter is not necessary. Nutrients will likely be minimal without fish and such, so a shorter light period daily than in a normal fish tank might be good too; light with insufficient nutrients for the plants to photosynthesize will quickly cause algae, which is why I would use a liquid fert like Flourish Comprehensive.

paybackranch 11-21-2011 04:26 PM

My spare plants tanks are bare with timed lighting. Fertilizers since there are no fish.


Nubster 11-21-2011 07:33 PM

Snails are great and helpful until you have about 500 of them all over the glass and plants. I don't overfeed either...only enough that gets eaten by the fish in a short amount of 30 seconds. I have so many snails that it's an eyesore. I am looking for some assassin snails now to add to help with my problem.

Tha Bizness 11-22-2011 10:34 AM

That's what I want to ultimately avoid. I added MTS to 2 out of the 4 tanks I have going now. Hope they don't get out of hand.

Byron 11-22-2011 12:47 PM

Regardless of the number, consider the snails beneficial. My point here is that there must be available food for them, or they would not multiply. And that means without them, you would have a problem if you are seeing so many. It is not just fish food, but all organic waste.

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