Plant Dips/Baths to treat snails and algae.
Some different methods for dipping your plants to treat snails or algae.
We actually suggest eliminating snails with 2 or 3 loaches like clown, dojo, zebra, or puffer fish. (No aquarium plant distributor/nursery/wholesaler/retailer, can or will guarantee their plants to be 100% snail free)
Below, we describe three dips, please pay attention to the words of caution also.
Potassium Permanganate Dip
The first dip is milder and safer for the plants. It is a Potassium Permanganate dip. Potassium Permanganate is available at Sear's and Ace Hardware in the area where they sell water softener's and supplies. You can also purchase Potassium Permanganate from chemical supply companies, both local and online.
To prepare a disinfectant dip, use a bucket filled about 1/2 full of water. Add enough Potassium Permanganate to color the water a dark pink. This solution can be saved if covered, and it's a great way to store your nets and tools, soaking the this solution. Back to the dipping. To disinfect and kill most algae a 10-20 minute dip (more like bath) in Potassium Permanganate is very effective. Rinse the plants under tap water thoroughly and add dechlor to your tank...it neutralizes Potassium Permanganate too.
Potassium Permanganate is a strong powerful oxidizer. Treatment should be made outside the tank...it will kill your bio-filter. Like all chemicals you should wear protective eye wear and gloves. Potassium Permanganate will stain clothing, carpeting, skin, etc. Never combine Potassium Permanganate and Formalin, this will result in explosive results and dangerous gases.
Bleach (Chlorine) Dip
This is a more effective and sure-fire way to kill algae. It is also very easy to kill the plant in the process. Regular household bleach (i.e. Clorox) is diluted to a 5% (19 parts water to 1 part bleach) solution in a bucket. It's good to have a second bucket filled with rinse water containing 3X the normal dechlor. Dip large leaf plants for 3 minutes, immediately move to the dechlor rinse water, then rinse under running tap water for a few seconds, if you still smell chlorine, repeat the rinse process again. For small delicate leaf plants and mosses dip for only 2 minutes in the bleach. To be safe, add dechlor to the tank after adding the plants back. Also, if your dipping a lot of plants you may need to add more dechlor to your rinse water.
Remember, the bleach dip is a last resort solution. It can and may kill your plants! Use the same caution handling bleach as recommended for Potassium Permanganate.
The Alum dip is more for killing microscopic bugs. Use at 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. Soak the plant for at least an hour, longer soaks of 2 to 3 days are needed to kill snails and snail eggs. For snails and snails eggs a 2-3 hour soak in a stronger solution of 3 tablespoons per gallon of water is a better choice. Alum isn't nearly as effective as the prior two for killing algae. Alum is aluminum sulfate and Alum USP can be obtained from a compounding pharmacy or grocery stores. (It's usually with the spices, herbs and pickling supplies).