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So my mom got some water lettuces from her friend Tabby's pond. They're infested with little pond snails. Is there a way for me to sterilize them? Does bleaching work, or would I have to go get some PP or something else? Salt water, maybe?

I'm sure there are more threads about this, but I thought I'd make one that was tagged for future use.

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I would try one of these two options for sterilising plants:


Give the plants a bath in 1 part bleach to 20 parts water for two minutes (I used this to remove some pesky algae from some of my plants...it worked great). Follow this up with a bath in dechlorinated water for at least 5-10 minutes.


Another option is to give the plants a 20-25 minute bath in Potassium Permanganate solution. You can make the solution yourself (for a 3% solution...mix 1 oz per 1 gallon of water.) This will take care just about everything evil that could be on your plants.

Edited by Phillyn17
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I don't sterilize mine. I just give them a good wash. I've bleached and PP but they died. Others may have had better luck but I didn't. Pond snail will not harm your fish md they will probably end up as a snack.

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I know they won't harm the fish, but I'm worried they will infest my tank. :o

Water lettuce might perish due to bleach.

Hmm... Lori, do you think they'd handle a salt water bath?

Edited by ChelseaM
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Hi Chelsea,

I've treated my water lettuce with bleach and PP in the past. The edges turn yellow with bleach and the PP may cause little holes. However, this is MINOR damage and it grows crazy fast to replace those leaves. (I throw out about 5-10 water lettuces each week so my other plants get light) I recommend using bleach solution for snails, as it melts their bodies on contact and they have no way to defend against it. However, you need to TRIM OFF all but 1 inch of the roots because after any form of disinfection, they will ALL shed off and get stuck to your filter intake. See all those water lettuce roots in my profile pic? Yeah, you don't want all that in your filter tubes.

Edited by soupmonster
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Thank you very much. Yes, that sounds like a very good plan. :) It's a shame they have to lose their extensive root systems, but I think with some TLC they may grow back, judging yours!

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Just gave them a bleach bath. Left them in for an extra minute or two to make sure the snails were all gone. I can remove what's left when I clip the roots after their lovely prime soak in the sunlight. :)

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Just gave them a bleach bath. Left them in for an extra minute or two to make sure the snails were all gone. I can remove what's left when I clip the roots after their lovely prime soak in the sunlight. :)

Did you rinse them in fresh dechlorinated water following the soak in the bleach bath? May be a good idea.... :idea:

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Just gave them a bleach bath. Left them in for an extra minute or two to make sure the snails were all gone. I can remove what's left when I clip the roots after their lovely prime soak in the sunlight. :)

Did you rinse them in fresh dechlorinated water following the soak in the bleach bath? May be a good idea.... :idea:

I soaked in 3x primed water and rinsed them under the (well water) tap after. ;)

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Thanks. :) I just didn't think I could just QT them like last time, because of the snails. Last time I just did 100% wcs every two days for a week or two. I know that several floating pond plants are so delicate compared to submerged plants.

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