I lined my bathroom sink with a plastic bag, then held each plant under warm running water, removing the obvious dead/dying material. (I used the bathroom b/c I've installed very bright lights for slathering on all that goop designed to make me young again!) I've seen no bugs, so far. I'm letting the plants sit in tap water for a few days, then I'm going to go over them & remove any dead leaves I didn't notice.
The way one could use silicone on the plants would be to glue the cotton string on the bottom of a rounded aquarium rock. Once the silicone is cured, tie the plant to the rock & push it into the substrate.
MSG, I just looked at your baby betta tank! How wonderful! Cute babies!!!
2 questions: you have oak leaves in the tank. I've heard of this, but what do they do for the tank? Also, you have no substrate; are the plants OK with that? Or do you not keep the bb tank set up for very long?
I didn't like the selection of plants @ the stores so I searched for more local natural sources.
If you recall the photos, most are low light plants, but the amount I've brought back & introduced to the tanks would have easily cost over a grand by now. (My fish like to rest on/swim through/eat/tear leaves off them.)
To pre-treat the plants for unwanted pathogenic guests, I bring them all to the bathtub area and with a detachable showerhead rinse & soak in COLD tap. This is step 1.
Have you ever cleaned a Belgian endive, Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard or leeks? Rinsing does little or nothing to remove all the grit. You have to allow it to soak for at least 3-5 minutes before you swish the leaves around to free up any other debris/grit. If plants are really dirty/gritty, then leave them overnight & clean off the next day.
The things that concern me the most are the predatory insect EGGS, or the leaf miners & leaf cutters. Those things are near impossible to spot & if you don't remove them off the plants, they can hatch in your tank & wreak havoc on everything.
Some of these insects will lay the eggs INSIDE the stems of the plants itself.
Potassium P hypothetically should eliminate most of these pathogens.
I've used silicone before & it's hard to dispense neatly without a lot of practice. Also the vinegar like fumes that it emits during curing, bleh... Even though that is one of the methods someone has recommended for anchoring, the other options seem easier.
Oak leaves were added to create food & microbes for the 2 dozen snails in the tank. Snails doubled as a clean up crew for any weak fry & decaying leaves. The oak leaves stain the water/lower the PH as well, similar to ketapang aka IALs.
Plants from the LBB's archive are from local sources. A lot of them came from privately owned ponds/lakes 15-30 minutes from where I live. After I brought the plants back I left them into a 20G ZooMed Critter Cage (Looks like a 20G long, but not designed to HOLD water.) in my garden. They would get some sunlight & the school of rosy barbs would clean up the plants for a couple weeks before they're rinsed again & placed into the indoor tanks.
Don't worry about culling the first time, there's a good chance most won't survive. 90% of fry die from common very simple mistakes.
You have to try it yourself before you can understand all the pitfalls. Too many to name.
Everything I attempted in this FIRST spawn I need to replicate before I will suggest it to someone else.
The dragonfly larvae, was responsible for 100% of the culling from this initial spawn. I had less than 12 fry left after I spotted him & I had to IMMEDIATELY rearrange my evening schedule to round up the fry, remove the 5lb piece of driftwood, 100 plants & siphon out the tank in hopes of catching him before I lost any more. The ones that remain are all very healthy.
One last thing.... While I was at the petstore this weekend, I bumped into this one customer that wanted to breed her 1.2 year old veiltail, but couldn't find a appropriate sized female.
There was NO employee present for at least 30 minutes, so she talked to me instead while I was debating over this pretty fella....
Claimed she did research, but clearly not enough. Most of the basic things I mentioned were NEWS to her.
The amount of fry from 1 spawn - easily 300.
The risk of death to either fish - most likely her veiltail male if I lent her one of my self sufficient snail hunting females.
Also I think she wanted to spawn them in the veiltail's current setup. 2.5G fish bowl.
If successful, I would want a couple fry of my choice in exchange. Fair deal I think.
A lady at Petsmart suggested to me, soaking them in aquarium salt for 10-15 minutes then rinsing really well. I just buy the prepackaged snail, pest, and disease free plants. They come in a little strip for $8.99 at Petsmart.
MSG, your tank is beautiful, but it certainly sounds like a cautionary tale about putting plants from outdoors into an indoor tank- you are taking a risk of creating a huge disaster unless you are incredibly dedicated and knowledgeable (which you are!)
Any treatment that would kill pests completely will kill the plant, too, bottom line.
Some of the places you buy from will HOUSE the plants outside in giant vats & are dipped in a disinfectant solution before they ship them out to you.
The other non-betta fish I own all like to tear up/nibble on plants, so made no sense to spend $100/ every single month on aquatics, when my friends have them growing in their outdoor ponds.
Insects, micro-worms & parasites are found in every body of water & that's what fish naturally feed on in the wild. Also if you get to know any fish monger/chef that specializes in seafood.... they'll tell you how many parasites are removed out of the fish they filet.
Based on that, research & what I've seen first hand.... it's vital to QT any new critter/plant you introduce into a ESTABLISHED tank. Pathogens can lay dormant inside a plant/wood/etc... & when the conditions are right, they will appear and wreak havoc.
Even the IAL every's all fanatical about can harbor pathogens/insect eggs/mold/fungus.
Anything you introduce into your tank can carry something harmful to your fish, that's why you QT & disinfect plants whenever possible. Our aquarium fish are not immune to the local pathogens, so it's your job to protect them.
I have all the info & chemicals I need to make sure the plants I bring home this Spring are properly disinfected before tank introduction.
It's a risk, but worth it to me to see my fishies dance around in their underwater jungle gyms of LIVE plants.
You can QT them in non-conditioned tap water for a week or two and that should kill off anything bad that could be lurking on them.
The plants will survive just fine in tap so no worries there, I do this anytime that I have had a fish die and it works out great.
You dont have to acclimate them or anything like that though luckily, just toss them into the new water and they are ready to go! Be prepared for some to melt if you have any crypts or val's, they tend to do that whenever they get into new parameters.
Thanks for your advise with my moss post, it seems to be fine =D
Of course all plants originate outdoors, but now I'm curious-some business must cultivate & somehow clean up TONS of plants shipped to every pet store in the world! I wonder how they kill pests?? Especially those plants in those plastic tubes w/ gel! That would be gross if a bug got in there- I wonder if they are raised in the sterile gel? We think about pesticides in our food, but what about our fishes' plants? HHmmm