Citric Acid Dip For Snail Prevention?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by Dori.anne, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. Dori.anne

    Dori.anne Valued Member Member

    I just picked up two small banana plants at a local pet store. I'm a little paranoid about snail hitchhikers. I didn't see snails in the tank I got the plants out of, but saw them in other plant tanks in the store.

    A guy at a different pet store suggested dipping in a citric acid solution. Just looking for a second opinion. I'm trying to decide whether to try to citric acid or go with a quick bleach dip.

  2. Bizarro252

    Bizarro252 Well Known Member Member

    Interesting, I would think if that worked then a vinegar dip would too. I just did the bleach dip and then let it soak in a prime dip to make sure no chlorine got into the tank. Saw it on youtube (dustins fish tanks) and its been a bit over a week since and the plant is still good :)
  3. t

    tjander Well Known Member Member

    Wouldn't a salt bath be just as effective and safer then bleach?

    I alway rinse mine in fresh water and look them over really good stem by stem.

    Don't know about citric acid, what would you use lemons?

  4. OP

    Dori.anne Valued Member Member

    Well I was in the pet store to buy more aquarium salt to do a salt bath, when the fish guy said citric acid works better. But who knows if pet store fish guy really knows what he's talking about.

    You can buy citric acid, powder form, at the grocery store. It's with the canning supplies. I ended up trying a citric acid bath, and then I went ahead and did a 1 minute bleach dip after (followed by a good rinse and a bath in Prime treated water). Totally overkilI. decided I would rather sacrifice the $7 I spent on the plants than deal with a pest snail issue.
    I won't be surprised if the leaves melt away.

    I'm just now realizing since I did two little banana plants I probably should have dipped one in citric acid and the other in bleach to see which survived better. That would have been much more scientific.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
  5. t

    tjander Well Known Member Member

    One minute in bleach seems pretty long IMO, but I don't know...
    I did 30 seconds in peroxide and killed every leave...
    keep us posted on how your plant does.
  6. Bizarro252

    Bizarro252 Well Known Member Member

    1 min is WAY to long, 5 seconds tops, bleach even at that low concentration will do its job pretty fast. I am very curious to see if that plant survives, I would bet no but am interested to see if I am wrong :p
    IMO (I did it just to be sure) I would follow it up with a dip in water treated with prime immediately after the bleach dip.
  7. OP

    Dori.anne Valued Member Member

    ...and I thought I was being conservative with 1 minute. I read somewhere 2-3 minutes in the bleach solution.
    I did immediately go from the bleach, rinse in tap, then into a Prime solution.

    They aren't dead yet! Although a couple of the previously nice looking leaves are getting crinkly.
    I'll try to remember to come back and update later on the state of the plants.
    We are talking banana plants here, so I'm hoping that even if I killed all the leaves, the banana part will survive and eventually regrow leaves.
    We'll see!
    Thanks for all your input!

    I just ordered some riccia off of eBay. Perhaps when that arrives I will try the citric acid only and see what happens (I should make my husband hide the bleach).
  8. Dolfan

    Dolfan Fishlore VIP Member

    Here is a link to an article with many safe snail dips. My personal preference is the Alum dip method. Bleach is very harsh on many plants and will kill the entire plant sometimes. Alum is less harsh on plant but still pretty effective on snails.

    Dipping Plants to Eliminate Snails
  9. TwoHedWlf

    TwoHedWlf Well Known Member Member

    Would depend on the strength of the bleach, I'm guessing it wasn't straight bleach? I think straight bleach even a one second dunk might be a bit much for something delicate.
  10. Bizarro252

    Bizarro252 Well Known Member Member

    Should be using a dilution, ~1TBS per gallon is more than enough :)
  11. OP

    Dori.anne Valued Member Member

    I saw that article, thanks. I think that's where I saw 2-3 minutes in the bleach. My concern about the alum is the article states it's less effective on eggs. I'm worried I wouldn't see the eggs. With a broad leaf plant you could basically go over every leaf, but with something like the riccia I'm getting, or plants that are more moss like, you can't really do that.

    I may give up on the citric acid idea, as I've researched and seen nothing about it being effective against snails, aside from pet store fish guy.

    I did a 1:19 bleach solution. Thanks!
  12. bgclarke

    bgclarke Well Known Member Member

    I used that article to find out about the salt dip.
    Did it using kosher salt.
    Took care of the snails on the new plants.
    Still ended up with snails in the tank.
  13. OP

    Dori.anne Valued Member Member

    Just to update on the 2 small banana plants I tortured with citric acid followed by bleach dip...
    So far they are still alive (well at least one is). Pretty much all the leaves melted away. The one that looked healthier to begin with popped out a new leaf a couple days after the dip, and it has grown a little. That leaf is very light green and a little curly, but alive. There is now another little leave wanting to emerge. The roots are also growing on this one.
    The other plant, that didn't look very good to begin with, lost its two scraggly leaves, and hasn't grown anything else yet. Both plants still have green tubers, so I'm keeping even the one with no leaves hoping it will grown new leaves eventually.

    I got some riccia in, but only rinsed it with prime treated water as the seller promised snail free and I decided to believe him. It made such a mess though, that I took most of it out of the tank.

    Today I bought some anacharis from a local pet store and decided just to give it a salt bath, followed by bath in dechlorinated water. I tried to check it over carefully and didn't see any snails, so I'm crossing my fingers. I would have tried the citric acid instead, except I was at work (where tank is) and citric acid was at home, and I was feeling impatient.
  14. Bizarro252

    Bizarro252 Well Known Member Member

    Good luck! glad to hear at least the core of the plant survived :) ~1TBS per gallon next time, and like 10-15 sec :D Bleach is pretty powerful, I soaked some deco in a dilute solution and the hair algae on it I was trying to get off turned white in about 30 sec! :p
  15. Monrankim

    Monrankim New Member Member

    I think a saltwater dip would be way easier on your plants. Do you not like snails at all or just worried about pest snails? The reason I ask is because I had a pond snail problem (a serious problem) at one point and I introduced Assassin Snails. I don't have a snail problem anymore and the Assassins don't breed out of control with the added benefit of eating excess fish food. Food for thought
  16. OP

    Dori.anne Valued Member Member

    Thanks Monrankim! I actually like snails. I love my nerite snails, but I just don't want to deal with pest snails. I can't have assassin snails with my nerites anyway. It's a small tank (10 gal), so I'm really protective about what goes in it. It's at my work, and I work part-time, so the fact that I am not always there to attend to the tank every day makes me even more concerned to keep tight control. I don't know if this makes sense. I just have this fear that some pest snails will sneak in, and my coworkers who feed when I'm not there will overfeeding the tank, and the snails will quickly get out of control.
    And if it's not obvious, I also have a tendency towards anxiety. Anxious, impulsive, obsessive! Makes me do things like buy plants from questionable tanks and then torture them with chemicals.
    But yes, I will probably stick to saltwater dips from now on.

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