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Hello,

As the title reads, I am a newbie, which will become more apparent once I describe my current situation to you. I've only began to plant my 3 gallon coldwater tank a few weeks ago. Back then, I didn't know enough to sterilize my plants before planting them, and ended up with snails. In my tank, I have: 3 vallisneria (I think) leafy bulbs that have proven to be good growers, 2 java ferns (where the snails came from, I'm sure of it), and 1 banana plant. I decided to sterilize all the plants using the bleaching method I've found described on many sites (I had a hard time finding potassium permagenate, and bleach was all I had on hand). I let the plants soak in a half-full 11 qt. bucket with just a splash of bleach for 2 mins., then let them soak in clean water with dechlorinator for 30 mins. I then repeated the bleach soak, this time for 1 min., then followed up with a final soak in water and dechlorinator for an hour. I then rinsed them well, re-planted, and treated the water (I did a water change, as well) with dechlorinator. The result: the java ferns seem okay, but I figured they would be. However, the leaves on the vals and the banana plant have become somewhat transparent. The vallisneria, in particular, are worrying me. Not only is there some transperancy to the leaves, but they also seem to have darkened in color, a bit. No sign of a die-off, yet. Are there any plant experts on the board who can give me some tips as to what may be going on, and how to treat it? Thanks for any feedback.
 

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I also had a bad bleaching experience and have switched to a hydrogen peroxide soak. Use the regular 3% H2O2 from the drug store at 1 ml/liter of water. Can soak the plant for a couple of hours with no ill effect, then rinse with plain water. Also kills snails. I know it's too late for this batch, but there's always next time.
 

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Plant "sterilization" can also be done with a 5% solution of bleach, like Clorox. Tough plants, like anubias, can easily take 3 minutes of this; 2 minutes is more than enough for vals.

I wouldn't worry very much about snails. They are interesting in their own right, and few of the smaller species bother plants. Their number can be controlled by limiting the amount of food and/or adding predators.

Good luck!

Bill
 

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I sterilize the plants with flourish excel. Regardless of what the manufacturer says this one strong algaecide . I recently washed off and old 10 gallon tank with that green spot algae one so strong I could not scrub it off. One spray with excel and it wiped right off, the smell is strong and can make you whimsy. The surprising fact is that it dose not harm the plants, they actually flourish afterwords. I have a small spray bottle with it and every time I drain the tank any plants with bba get a small spray. After seeing how excel worked I will never go back to bleach.
 
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