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Bleach Bath

5161 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Sue
I have had a stubborn red(?) algae growing on the edges of my narrow leaf Java fern and the driftwood that it is attached to for a few months now. I am currently redoing a good chunk of my tank. Removing that piece of driftwood, getting a new co2 system, and slowly introducing more specific trace fertilizers. I have separated this plant into a few dozen 1" pieces of rhizome and I am going to reattach some of it to another piece of driftwood. I did a test last week using a 1/19 solution of bleach and water on some infected leaves. A 5 minute bath seems to have removed the algae and showed only small amounts of yellowing. After a week it showed no signs of the algae returning.
Does anyone have any experience with using a bleach bath? I am only using about 1/4 of the Java fern. I was thinking about trading, selling, or giving away the remaining rhizomes. Is it now damaged goods? It is such a nice plant and it's leaves are very long and narrow. I hate the thought of trashing it but I don't want to infect any one's tank with this tough algae.
Any advise?
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I have acquired some plants from a friend that were bleached. No java ferns though. Most of the plants either lost all their leaves and I had to wait for them to recover, or they showed no ill effects at all. Either way they all came back and none died. I wouldn't consider them damaged, I would consider them sterilized :)
Paul Krombholz who is the moderator of the Cryptnuts forum, developed the bleach method for hair algae. However, I use it for other forms of algae. Of course everything in the tank has to be bleached for it to work. A search on the Aquatic Plants Digest will turn up his classic email on this subject.
They are definitely are worth more if they survive the bleach and you don't contaminate them again.

Steve Pituch
I've dipped a few different plants and had no problems with the bleach sterilization method.

I had it on my java fern and decided to do it because it was so bad I'd probably loose the plant anyway. I used a capful in a bowl that held about a gallon. Swished it around for a minute and rinsed. Algae all died and even the baby ferns were fine.
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