Aquatic plants are a gorgeous addition to any aquarium. They really bring life to the look of your aquariums and even the fish enjoy them.
They give them a place to hide, play, and help convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, improving the overall water quality inside the aquarium.
However, adding plants to a fish tank can also prove dangerous to the health of your fish if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
That said, a lot of aquarium enthusiasts like to throw in new and unique stuff in their tanks with zero planning and then wonder why their fish get sick.
Do you wonder what it is that you’re missing? Well, then there’s good news for you because that’s what we’ll be discussing in this article.
Quarantining New Aquarium Plants
Time and time again, we come across aquarists posting on various forums worrying about parasites, algae, pest snails, worms and other critters floating around in their aquariums, stressing their fish.
But when they’re asked if they quarantined the plants before putting them in the aquarium, the answer is often no.
Should You Quarantine New Aquarium Plants?
So you just bought some new aquarium plants and now you have all these stunning new plants that you think are ready to go into your fish tank. You put them inside and within just a few days they wreak havoc in your fish tank.
Your fish get sick, you notice new snails popping out of nowhere, and you feel clueless as to what’s causing all of this.
The reason is that you didn’t quarantine your new aquarium plants.
Some people believe that quarantining your new aquarium plants is a necessary step to maintaining a healthy fish tank while others think that a simple wash and trim is all that is needed to ensure the health and safety of your aquarium.
However, the truth is that properly following a quarantining routine for your new aquarium plants is an absolutely important precautionary measure if you don’t want to see your fish dying every time you introduce new plants to the tank.
Issues that Can Happen if You Don’t Quarantine New Plants
Many plants carry bacteria, fungus, and other disease-causing pathogens, as well as algae, snails and more.
Let’s take a quick look at the details of this.
Disease-Causing Microorganisms (Especially Fungi)
Aquarium plants carry a large number of microorganisms with them, many of which can be disease-causing.
Plants infected with bacteria and fungi will pass them on to the inhabitants of the aquarium as well. Even if you’re getting them from a reliable source, disinfection is necessary to get rid of anything that could be dangerous for your fish before you add them to your tank.
To disinfect an aquatic plant without harming or killing it, you can dip it in a potassium permanganate solution.
Some new aquatic plants can also cause the snail problem. Now we know that a snail or two can look cute but a sudden explosion in the snail population inside your tank is definitely a problem.
These snails make their way into your aquariums by laying eggs on plants. And if you put these egg-laden plants into your tank without removing the eggs, you will end up with a tank full of snails in no time.
These eggs can be removed by putting your plants in an alum bath.
Even though algae will make it to your aquarium one way or the other, adding plants that have algae on them can pose a big threat to your tank.
Therefore it’s necessary to free your aquatic plants of any algae before they go inside your tank. You can do this by soaking them in the bleach solution.
Also Read: How to Clean Algae Off Live Aquarium Plants?
Water Conditions can get changed
Even if your new aquatic plants are perfectly healthy and don’t carry any disease, bacteria, fungus, algae or snails, they can still disturb the environment inside your aquarium.
Plants generally disrupt the chemistry of the water in a good way as they absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.
However, a sudden change can be stressful for all life inside your aquarium. Therefore, it’s best to add a few plants at a time and allow the water to adjust for a few days and then add more if you have to. This way, there will be no overwhelming change in your aquatic ecosystem that fish are unable to withstand.
It’s therefore clear that whether you get new aquarium plants from an online store, a river or a pond, it’s necessary to quarantine them if you care about the health and wellbeing of your fish. We will now look at the different methods of quarantining aquarium plants.
How to Quarantine Aquarium Plants – The Right Way
The best way to start the quarantining process is to first treat the new plants. For this, you can use the following treatments.
Add water into a bowl or bucket and mix non-iodized salt (also called Molla salt) in the ratio of 1 tablespoon in a gallon of water. Stir it properly.
Take out your plants and dip them in the solution for about 10 minutes and then rinse them thoroughly with fresh water. This method kills any snails or snail eggs on the plants.
Hydrogen Peroxide Solution
For this method, you will need a hydrogen peroxide solution that is readily available in any drug store. In a bucket of water, add hydrogen peroxide in the ratio of 2ml per gallon.
Dip your plants in the mixture for about 10 minutes and then rinse them thoroughly with fresh water.
You might want to use a lower concentration (1ml/gallon) for very sensitive plants. Do remember that hydrogen peroxide overdose can kill your plants.
You can also find potassium permanganate very easily from any drug store. Just add some of it to a bucket of water, continuously mixing the water until it turns deep pink.
Then, dip your plants in the mixture for 10 minutes and then remove them. Give the plants a thorough rinse afterward. This will kill most algae.
For this method, you just need to mix a little bit of alum in a bucket of water and soaking your plants in the solution for 2-3 days.
After that, take out the plants and rinse them thoroughly with fresh water.
Quarantining Aquarium Plants
Quarantining aquarium plants is a very simple process. You just have to get a non-fish quarantine tank and place the plants in it for a period of at least 3 weeks.
Just make sure there is sufficient light in the tank and the temperature is controlled. You will also have to add a little bit of liquid aquarium fertilizer to ensure that the plants receive all the necessary nutrients.
Last Few Words
Most aquarium lovers enjoy collecting new plants to be added to their fish tanks and make them look even more attractive.
While it’s true that aquatic plants look beautiful, you need to take necessary precautions before adding them into your fish tanks otherwise the health of your fish will suffer.
This is why quarantining your new aquarium plant is an essential step that you should never miss out on!
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