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Removing insects and other "pests" from collected hornwort.

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#1 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 07:31 AM

I am planning on setting up a tank to breed red cherry shrimp again. It will contain only shrimp. Dealing with washing a small amount of horn wort has been doable in the past. This will literally be 4 or 5 five gallon buckets packed full. I need a way to kill all of the potentially predatory insects without leaving a residue that may hurt the shrimp. The tank is 240 gallons. The plants can be washed or soaked in another large tank then rinsed before putting them in the shrimp tank. This tank should produce thousand of shrimp per month to feed my pond and sell cultures.

#2 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 07:37 AM

A salt dip would clean your plants. Dip plants in salt for 5 minutes. Pests will let go, leaving the plants free to transfer to your tank. From personal experience, half an hour in saturated brine is too long and the plants don't recover.

Jeremy, one of the people in my local fish club, swears by H2O2 dips. He was talking about it in the context of de-algaefying anubias when he said, "go to the store & get a quart of H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) for $0.88 or less, take the anubias out of the tank, scrub them with a dish scrub pad (non scratch pad) to remove as much of the BBA tufts as you can, then soak them in a bowl with the H2O2 for 5min or so (they will fizz up); put it back in the tank and wait; after a couple days the BBA will turn grey (sometimes turns pinkish red and sometimes w/in a few hours); that means the BBA is dying and fish will start pecking at it too; problem solved"

#3 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 05:54 PM

Any other Ideas. I am willing to give the salt bath a try, but am afraid of the peroxide, as hornwort was one of the plants that "nativeplanter" said was killed very easily by peroxide when she used it as an algaecide. I can see the salt working well for most things, but what about things like water beetles? seems like they would be too tough for it.

#4 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 06:16 PM

I can see the salt working well for most things, but what about things like water beetles? seems like they would be too tough for it.

The point isn't to kill them, the point is to make them let go of the plant. They're going to try to abandon ship and evacuate, leaving the pest in the salt water dip bucket and the plant free and ready to go into your tank .

#5 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 07:28 PM

I will try this soon, to be sure that it works. Maybe even do multiple dips over a few weeks in case there are eggs attached.

#6 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:10 PM

There still must be something that aquatic plant wholesalers use on plants to kill pests reliably.

#7 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:42 PM

I mean, there's bleach or potassium permanganate, but I have no personal experience with either. What exactly is on these plants that you're trying to get off?

#8 Guest_Kanus_*

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 07:21 AM

If you want to try the potassium permanganate, see if you can find "Net Soak" or something similar to disinfect aquarium nets. If my memory serves me, they are a permanganate solution (they are deep purple when mixed according to directions. Does that sound right Erica?)

#9 Guest_gerald_*

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 09:30 AM

For dragonflies, damselflies, water beetles, backswimmers try laying the hornwort single-layered on some bird-netting or large-mesh seine or cast-net suspended above the ground for 5-10 min (preferably on a cloudy humid day so that drying doesnt damage it). Most crawling insects will drop through the netting trying to find water. Even if a few stay on the plants and get into your tank, I doubt they will make any noticeable dent in a fast-growing cherry shrimp population. The dragons and damsels will mature and fly out (or drown if they cant), and the beetles and backswimmers you can just net out whenever you see them. However if the tank is outdoors you WILL get more insects laying eggs. I suspect dragonflies finished off my outdoor cherry shrimp culture, which lasted about 3 years in a 15-gal tub.

#10 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 02:43 PM

That seems like a great idea as well Gerald. Might do that in combination with a salt dip like Erica suggested. The salt should kill off things like hydra, and the slight dry out will get rid of the insects. I will probably also soak over night in chlorinated tap water. Can't hurt.

#11 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 02:59 PM

The salt should kill off things like hydra

Nope, my hydra went from full ocean seawater to full 0 DH tapwater and survived just fine.

Here they are in my freshwater, alive and eating after the transition to full fresh. I literally just drained the tank completely of saltwater, left it dry for a little while, and filled with freshwater and filled and drained a few times to remove residual salt.


And again you're missing the point: Salt dips don't kill anything. They make them let go. That's why the overnight plan has built into itself its own failing: when the pest eqilibrates it will grab on again. A salt dip shocks them, causes them to release and float away. You remove the plant and the pest is left in the bucket. If you leave the plant in the bucket it will likely grab on again, unless you truly do achieve the death of the pest. But like I mentioned with my half hour brine dip killing most of the plants that endured it: plants need to survive the treatment, too. A short dip or drying to make the pest let go is the safest way to not kill the plant. The pest won't be dead, either, but once it's separate from the plant you've achieved your goal of pest free plants.

For hydra I recommend fenbendazole. It's easily purchased online or at pet stores under the brand name Panacur. With those beasties your goal for eradication is indeed to kill the whole population. They can come in on and survive on glass, sand, rocks, etc and aren't merely a plant problem, so you'll need to treat the whole tank for days to make sure they're dead once you know they're what you have.
That's why all this this dip or dry advice is really only worth, no pun, a grain of salt. Which treatment depends on which pest. I hear potassium permanganate and bleach are what the people who routinely bring plants in the from the field use, but I've never tried them myself. I don't know if Net Soak is safe for plants or not.

#12 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 04:17 PM

Those were saltwater hydra going to fresh. Freshwater hydra going to salt may be different? No, I get the point. I just could see a month worth of soaking in tubs for a day or so, pulling the hornwort out, then moving it to a new tub. Hopefully less critters with each soak, assuming the disturbance would leave more and more with each soak. I have the room, and tubs to do something like this. There is also bladder wort in the same body of water, so I need to be sure that I cull that out as well. Don't need a darn plant eating my baby shrimp. I have done some calculations from when I kept RCS in a 30 gallon tank. I believe I could harvest 2000-3000 shrimp per month at least. Possibly more. I am not a fan of aquarium heaters, so I am going to use a 5 gallon household water heater with an external thermostat to control the temperature, and a small pump to recirculate the water. Probably tie in a homemade trickle filter to the flowing water. Also will probably put several sponge filters in the tank. It will be bare bottom, and it has a couple 8 foot shop lights above it.

#13 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 04:26 PM

I just could see a month worth of soaking in tubs for a day or so, pulling the hornwort out, then moving it to a new tub. Hopefully less critters with each soak... I have the room, and tubs to do something like this.

A day? Have you read anything I've written? A five minute dip with shocking solution (high salinity, H2O2, 1/20 dilution bleach, potassium permanganate) will make insects let go. Ditto a five minute dry on nets so they fall through the mesh. You remove the plants after five minutes to save the plants' lives. Then whatever beasties get through the dip you target in a species specific manner and kill, like fenbendazole for the hydras. None of this day long soak stuff. My plants didn't even survive half an hour in brine. I don't want to see your hornwort after a single one day dip, let alone a months' worth of a series of day long dips. I think I'm done commenting on this post, since you're clearly ignoring me.

#14 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 04:56 PM

No, I am not ignoring you. I think we are not seeing the same picture. I would do what you and Gerald suggest. Then I would put the plants in tubs of fresh water for a day or two. Pull the plants out, and put them in a new tub of freshwater. Do this for a while, a month is arbitrary. With hopes than with each consecutive soak, that more and more critters come off the plants and are left in the water. So after the initial salt dip, net thing, then it would just be movements through tubs of freshwater to leave as many bugs behind as possible until I was no longer seeing any. Also the time would allow any eggs on the plants to hatch, and hopefully I would leave the larvae behind.

#15 Guest_gzeiger_*

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 08:49 PM

What are you feeding the shrimp to?

I bet 2-3 hours in the tank with the predatory fish would solve your problem and also get your fish some good food.

#16 Guest_centrarchid_*

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:37 AM

Why not place the hornwort in with a lot of adult shrimp so they can graze down the inverts. Then give it a quick rinse. Some pest will remain but numbers may be low enough not to impact your efforts.

#17 Guest_Auban_*

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 07:51 PM

float them in a bucket and pour in some club soda or regular carbonated water. it shocks the crap out of the inverts, but usually doesnt bother plants.

Edited by Auban, 10 June 2014 - 07:51 PM.

#18 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 08:02 PM

Nice. I will give that a try as well. Thanks.

#19 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 05:47 AM

I hang new wild plants in a fish net over a bucket for an hour or more. I use a bucket beneath to catch what drops out. Lots of scuds, dragonfly, damselfly larvae etc. Boatmen and backswimmers flyaway, the large pinchy bugs picked out by hand.

My hornwort grows fast and bushy. You could clean a smaller amount then light the heck out of it and grow your own pest free.

Most of you know how I feel about using chemicals and salt, especially where it can be avoided. I have collected most of my plants from the wild for decades. While I have never kept shrimp, I've bred lots of fish with tiny fry amidst my wild collected plants. Aside from picking out the occasional bug that got missed, I have never had a problem.

I did once corrupt a tank of blackbanded sunfish fry with hydra adding wild daphnia from a questionable swamp. While the hydra didn't prey on the fry, I could see they were irritating them by stinging them when they touched. I suppose various chemicals or salt may have helped, I merely siphoned out the fry into a new, clean tank.
Obviously you don't want to do that in your big tank, but if you don't get your plants in questionable swamps, and hang them over a bucket, you should be good without any thing else.

PS Another thing I just thought of; before adding the shrimp, put in a few pumpkinseeds or similar. They'll eat the bugs and the snails. Then net them out and add shrimp.

#20 Guest_gerald_*

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 08:28 AM

Mike/Auban - Do you think Hydra will drop off the plants? My guess is they would just contract into a ball to conserve water and hang on tight, until they actually die of dehydration (and they can lose a LOT of water before dying). Hydra is the main "bug" I'm worried about getting when bringing in new plants. They can be a pain in breeding tanks, and repeated stings can weaken and kill fish that are too big to eat. I wonder if the carbonated water trick would get them off?

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