Thursday, May 5, 2011

Plant Dip: Eradicating Hitchhikers with a Chemical Bath

Taiwan Moss
I recently acquired a good amount of Taiwan Moss for some new tanks I am setting up.  Unfortunately, the moss came with lots of pond and trumpet snails (and possibly other hitchhikers).  Though the snails are harmless, I do not like them in my tanks; my morning routine consists of sitting in front of my tanks for an hour, and removing any snails that I see.  Right now, I have the moss in a 2.5 gallon tank and will lure out any snails with food.  After a few days of doing this, I will use a potassium permanganate solution to dip the moss into.  Depending on the result, I may use a chlorine solution as well; however, the chlorine method is much more harsh on the plant.

To prepare a potassium permanganate dip, fill a clean bucket with water and add potassium permanganate until you get a nice dark pink/purple color.  Add the plants and let them sit for 10-20 minutes.  After the bath, rinse the plants under water and add dechlorinator to the tank, which helps neutralize the potassium permanganate.  Be careful not to splash the solution as potassium permanganate may cause permanent stains; wearing gloves is also a good idea.

Preparation for a chlorine dip is very similar to a potassium permanganate dip; however, do not leave the plants in too long as they may suffer, possibly die, from the chlorine.  For delicate plants and moss, two minutes in the solution should suffice.