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Kate89

Don't use potassium permanganate

28 posts in this topic

I have just had a disaster 'sterilising' my new plants with potassium permanganate.

I bought £35 worth of various vallis, crypts, and elodea. As I've had some bad experiences in the past with pest snails, I read the 'Plants for Goldfish' page and found Koko's advice on using potassium permanganate to rid plants of unwanted pests.

I followed the instructions correctly - I measured the water out exactly, I weighed the pp out using electronic scales, I even left the plants soaking for less time than recommended. However when I got them out of the bucket nearly all of my plants were black and dying. The only few plants I could salvage from the catastrophe were a few crypts.

I'm absolutely gutted :(

Please don't anyone use this method if you don't want to be as disappointed as I am, and £30 worse off.

Koko maybe it would be a good idea to put a warning on the 'Plants for Goldfish' page about this method?

I'm sorry that my first post is so negative, I just don't want anyone else to kill all of their plants before they even get them in their tank!

Kate

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I'm sorry that this was your experience. Are the plants simply stained purple/black, or are they actually melted?

I have had great success with PP on even the most delicate of plants, though I have noticed a temporary staining, which will go away with a few days of Prime and some TLC.

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.

Edited by schoolie

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I'm sorry that you had a terrible experience, and we are happy to help you troubleshoot.

As for the use of PP, this is a matter of textbook usage, and has been in use for decades. Many members of this forum has used it successfully, including myself.

At this point, until we figure out exactly what went wrong, it's hard to put a warning.

I hope you don't think I am unsympathetic, but that is where we stand. It's like with me and bleach. I've killed plants with bleach before, but I can't hardly put out a warning saying don't use bleach. I don't know what went wrong, but it happened only once.

Again, I'm sorry.

Hopefully the plants are not dead, and we can help troubleshoot. :hug

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I agree with the above. I've been using PP to disinfect my plants for over a year. Sometimes they come out looking a little brown and some parts even look dead but the brown goes away after a bit. I've got a bunch of brown roots in my tank right now as I just PPed a bunch of plants yesterday.

Can you post pics of your plants please so we can take a look? :idont

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Thanks for all of your replies.

The elodea was black and mushy and had bits coming off it. The vallis was brown/black. It may have not been completely dead but to be honest I just didn't feel comfortable putting them in my tank. They're now in the bin, I've just written it off as a bad job.

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As I said I did manage to salvage a few crypts so its not a complete loss. They're now recovering in my betta's tank.

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I think I'll just risk the snails in future!

Thank you for all your advice.

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The other way to disinfect, which is what I use these days, is with bleach. You should try it. :)

I'm sorry you had such a traumatizing experience. :(

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I would still try to soak them in dechlorinator, and see if they don't green up a bit.

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I would still try to soak them in dechlorinator, and see if they don't green up a bit.

Yes, for sure! What do you have to loose :idont

:hug

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I followed the instructions correctly - I measured the water out exactly, I weighed the pp out using electronic scales, I even left the plants soaking for less time than recommended.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I really want to see where you might have gone wrong. So let's go step by step.

  1. You measured your PP, and added the appropriate amount of water to make your "STOCK SOLUTION"
  2. You took a large container of water (not dechlorinated), and put some of your "stock solution" in, until the bucket was a nice purple color

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  3. You then soaked your plants for 3-4 hours

I'm wondering if you might have just taken the stock solution as is, and dipped your plants in that, rather than diluting it further?

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I would still try to soak them in dechlorinator, and see if they don't green up a bit.

Absolutely, don't throw them out yet.

Put them in water a few days and see if they recover. :)

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They look more stained than dead to me. Even so, if the leaves are dead you can just remove them. Provided the stem still looks healthy the plant is very much salvageable—just plant and watch things regrow.

To be honest, I think this is the first time I've seen anyone (on this site, the Planted Tank, the Barr Report, etc) slam a potassium permanganate dip. Take from this what you will, but PP, from what I've seen, is rather universally liked.

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Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I really want to see where you might have gone wrong.

I followed the instructions from Koko's 'Goldfish plants' page:

''When you first get your plants please make sure to sterilize them before adding them to your aquarium...

Potassium permangante (PP) can be often be found in the water softener section of your hardware store or can be bought online. It is considered somewhat more gentle on plants than bleach and may be a good choice for more delicate plants. A concentration of 4 ppm (4 mg per liter of water) has been found effective for disinfection of plants. If you do not have a way to measure the PP, you can just add enough for the water to turn purple. Allow plants to sit in the solution for 10-20 minutes, then add a dechlorinator to the water to neutralize it and rinse plants with tap water. (note: always wear protective gloves when handling bleach or PP) ''

I've just realised that I used 4g per litre rather than 4mg per litre, then soaked for 15 minutes. I'm absolutely gutted, I'm an idiot. Who has the facilities to weigh out something in mg though??

It sounds like your method is different anyway and you don't have to weigh anything in mg? Maybe you should put your method on the 'Goldfish plants' page.

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Kate,

It is advisable to make a stock solution, after which you dilute further.

Unfortunately, in this case, you used 1000 times the amount recommended, due to a calculation error, so that at least explains what happened.

I'm sorry this happened, and one of us will submit to admin perhaps a more detailed method, so as to hopefully avoid these calculation errors.

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Oh, Kate! I'm so sorry! If you decide to try again, here is how I make my stock solution:

  • Measure out 2 Grams of Potassium Permanganate
  • Measure out 25 Grams of water. Do NOT use dechlorinator, as this will deactivate PP upon contact! :o
  • Add the two together, and then stir until dissolved.

    **It should be noted that you should be supremely careful where you mix and handle your stock solution, as this will stain whatever it touches. I try to keep mine in my kitchen sink, to avoid any catastrophic staining related issues.

This is your stock solution, and will last you a VERY long time. From this, we will further dilute our solution for the sterilization of our plants.

When I make my plant sterilization mixture, I don't really use a set measure. Really, it's just more of a slow adding of tiny bits of our stock solution until it turns the water a clear kind of purple. Remember that a very little goes a LONG way! It only took three *drops* of my solution to make the mixture that you see above, in my bowl. After I have my purple water (remember, no dechlor), I soak my plants for 3-4 hours. All that's left to do after this is to rinse off your plants in temp matched water, and then soak in dechlor. They're now ready for your fish tank.

If you want to see the effect that dechlor has on PP, just add Prime to your sterilization container, when you've finished using it for your plants. You'll notice right away that the water will turn brown, and then it will slowly turn clear again. It's very cool.

I hope that you found this helpful, and I want you to feel free to ask any questions that you may have. This is a great place to learn and grow, and you should know that we've ALL made mistakes. Unfortunately, in this hobby, even the simplest mistake can be very costly.

Edited by yafashelli

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Thank you, I'm sure a more detailed method would be beneficial. Newbies like me assume that those 'pages' are the first go to place for advice and tips. Unfortunately in this case it would have been better for me to research elsewhere and find out about this stock solution I was apparently supposed to have known about.

Thanks again for your advice, Kate.

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Sorry I didn't see the previous post - thanks for the more detailed method. I may try it when I'm feeling a bit braver!

Thanks again, Kate

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Thank you, I'm sure a more detailed method would be beneficial. Newbies like me assume that those 'pages' are the first go to place for advice and tips. Unfortunately in this case it would have been better for me to research elsewhere and find out about this stock solution I was apparently supposed to have known about.

Thanks again for your advice, Kate.

No problem! We're here to help you in whatever you may need. After I killed a HUGE plant order of delicate plants, using the bleach dip method, PP is my new favorite thing. It's really the best way for more delicate plants. Did you soak the sad batch in dechlor, to see what survived? I really do think that most of it might come back. Plants are very good at surviving, even after I put them in my tank, and try my very hardest to kill them. :P Like I also mentioned earlier, it's very common for the PP to temporarily stain plants, even when done properly. It stains EVERYTHING. :lol2

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After I killed a HUGE plant order of delicate plants, using the bleach dip method, PP is my new favorite thing.

Phew it's good to know I'm not the only one killing off plants before even getting them in the tank!

I managed to save the crypts, but all the vallis and elodea was a bit of a lost cause to be honest. I went on a hunt for more plants the next day as I really wanted to get my tank planted up before I get my first goldie next weekend.

I managed to get more vallis as well as a few other plants. The tank is all planted up now and I'm really pleased with it. However I'm fully expecting that some of them won't survive once I get a few nibbling goldies in there! I guess its a bit of trial and error really. Here's a few pics, sorry for the rubbish iphone photo quality, I really need to dig out my camera.

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Ah gosh! That is so pretty! That's one lucky goldfish next weekend. :o

I wish I could do a similar set-up, but my bubbleeye goldfish will poke his eyes out on the wood and rocks xD

Edited by orangeboar

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Very beautiful!!! :clapping:

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That's gorgeous!

I have found anubias and java fern to be rather GF resistant. :rofl3

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I love your set up :) that would is groovy! :thumb:

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Thanks guys :)

I'm really pleased with the bogwood, it was a great find.

I'll be sure to take lots of pics of my little pearlscale when we pick him up at the weekend. So excited!!

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An absolutely beautiful tank! Glad to see your final outcome was a success. :clapping:

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