Proper Plant Dipping Technique?


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  • Oct 29, 2022
    Miami, FL
    I realize this may be controversial to some. Dipping plants prior to putting them in your aquarium is done by many so a thread on how to do it properly (i.e., not killing your plants) should be here on ScapeCrunch.

    Let’s assume you received a plant you really want to put into your aquarium. Unfortunately, it’s covered in algae. Throwing it away is not an answer for you.

    Anyone have a tried and true formula to “safely” but effectively dip plants? Perhaps we may need to divide the dips between sensitive plants and those that are hardier?
    From my experience, tolerances to different algicides are different for different plants. The current state of the plant matters also, for example, a very weakened Bucep can melt in a dip whereas a more healthy sample can come out unscathed in the same dipping solution.

    DIY solutions that I tried in the past that works include H2O2 and bleach. I didn't take precise notes unfortunately as it was years ago, but I think it was roughly from what I remember - 0.6% H2O2 solution (20% of a typical 3% con H2O2 solution + 80% water or equivalent) for 10 seconds, or a 5% household bleach solution for 5 seconds. (household bleach is 3%? so that makes 0.15% bleach solution)

    Commercially, we sell APT FixLite that burns off algae with minimal impact on plants - you can use it to spot dose algae on sensitive stuff such as mosses/liverworts etc without affecting the plants. A FixLite solution that I tested that works quite well is 10% FixLite 90% water for 10 seconds. Works for common stuff like BBA/Hair/spot algae etc.
    I’ve been using these little 1oz spray bottles from Dollar Tree filled with a 50/50 mix of Hydrogen Peroxide and untreated tap water to lightly mist them. Then dip them in a cup of dechlorinated tap water to rinse after about 30 seconds. I occasionally will field collect plants to try out and always do this to kill any pests or algae.

    It’s also really useful to spray on the tank walls, equipment, and Lily pipes when they are exposed during a water change.