The Importance of Putting Aquatic Plants in Quarantine
Why should you quarantine plants?
The quarantine of new aquarium arrivals is a fundamental part of proper aquatic life husbandry. While most hobbyists are aware of the importance of quarantining new fish and corals, many hobbyists either forget or do not quarantine live aquatic plants. LiveAquaria® highly recommends the quarantine of all new aquatic life, including live plants, to help ensure a healthy transition and to prevent any potential losses that can undermine your efforts spent on creating and maintaining a beautiful and healthy aquatic environment.
How do you quarantine aquatic plants?
Setting up a quarantine system for your new aquatic plants does not need to be any more complicated or elaborate than setting up an independent, supplementary aquarium or container to temporarily house your plants. Be sure to provide appropriate lighting, heating, or filtration necessary to maintain ideal conditions for your plants. A minimum quarantine period of at least two weeks is recommended.
Why should I quarantine live plants?
With any new aquatic life addition, though uncommon, there is always the possibility of introducing unwanted hitchhikers or disease-causing organisms into your aquarium or water garden. Employing routine quarantine protocols with every new aquatic life purchase helps mitigate the potential introduction of these organisms. Utilize the quarantine period to devote some extra TLC to your new plants. Carefully examine your plants for snails, snail eggs, and other invertebrates. Be sure to remove any broken leaves and stems damaged during transit as they may become a site for potential rot or decay. These cautionary steps help ensure optimum health of your new plants.
How do I identify and remove hitchhikers from aquatic plants?
The first thing hobbyists should do upon receiving their new aquatic plant is to thoroughly rinse each plant in water. Oftentimes, this initial rinsing dislodges most common hitchhikers. Following this preliminary rinse, carefully inspect the plant for hitchhikers paying special attention to the underside of leaves and within the root structure (especially in floating plants). Some of the most common aquatic plant hitchhikers include snails, snail eggs, parasitic or predatory invertebrates, and algae.
Should I use general disinfection on my aquatic plants?
Because general disinfection requires the use of chemicals that are often considered harsh, it is often reserved for experienced hobbyists. The three most common chemicals used to disinfect or sterilize live aquatic plants include bleach, potassium permanganate, and hydrogen peroxide. As such, general disinfection should only be considered in extreme cases as inexperienced or improper execution may ultimately damage rather than disinfect your plant. If you choose to disinfect your live plants using a plant dip preparation of bleach, potassium permanganate, or hydrogen peroxide be sure to take all the appropriate safety precautions including the use of gloves and safety glasses and having a neutralizing rinse solution prepared with Seachem Prime or any other concentrated dechlorinator.
How to use Potassium Permanganate Plant Drip on aquatic plants
Potassium permanganate is a strong oxidizing agent often used in the aquarium industry as a disinfectant. It is available in both liquid and crystal forms in varying concentrations. Be sure to use gloves as the potassium permanganate will stain your skin. Also, NEVER combine potassium permanganate with solutions or medications such as Formalin, which contains formaldehyde, as it will result in dangerous chemical reactions including combustion and the formation of noxious gasses. It is effective against snails, parasites, algae, fungus, and bacteria.
How to use Hydrogen Peroxide Plant Dip on aquatic plants
Hydrogen peroxide is another strong oxidizing agent commonly used as a bleaching or antiseptic agent often used to disinfect superficial wounds. When preparing a hydrogen peroxide plant dip, be sure to use 3% hydrogen peroxide. It is effective against algae, parasites, fungus, and bacteria.
How to use Bleach (Chlorine) Plant Dip on aquatic plants
Bleach or sodium hypochlorite is a strong oxidizing agent that most hobbyists are familiar with as it is a common household cleaner. It is a caustic substance so be sure to take the appropriate safety precautions when handling bleach. When preparing your bleach plant dip, use unscented household bleach. It is effective against algae, parasites, fungus, and bacteria.