This is a follow up to my recent thread about bleaching artificial plants. After wanting to clean algae that had developed over three years on my artificial plants I started to research the best way to do it. There are all kinds of "do's and don'ts" online as you can imagine, but the one thing that I kept seeing was to make sure that there was no bleach smell and that they are rinsed off very well when done. I have added a recipe below for anyone else that may want to try doing this, but is very hesitant due to the bleach potentially killing the fish. I am in no way saying this is the right way, I am just expressing what has worked perfectly for me.
Here is my recipe:
-5 gallon pail
-1 cup of Clorox bleach
-10 cups of hot water from your tap
-let the plants soak in this solution for as long as necessary (in my case 1hr)
-stir them around occasionally
-after they are clean to your satisfaction, remove them from bleach solution
-rinse them under your tap for about 5 minutes
-put the "bleached" plants in a second 5 gallon pail (rinsing bucket) with 2 capfuls of Seachem Prime and fill the bucket with fresh
-after 2 hours remove the plants and dry them off with a hairdryer
-empty the rinsing bucket and fill again with hot water adding 2 capfuls of Seachem Prime
-place the plants back in the rinsing bucket and let them soak overnight
-remove them in the morning and dry them again with a hairdryer.
-once satisfied that there is no scent, reinsert them back into the tank
-complete a 50% water change 1hr later
After I completed this procedure, my plants had absolutely NO hint of bleach scent left on them. Through my research, the common denominator was that before putting the plants back in the aquarium there should be no scent of bleach at all. I will say that, after the bleaching procedure above, one of the plants took on a white haziness when dry. However, once in the water, it looks perfect.
Again, I must stress that this is what I DID and what I USED in order to clean my plants. It worked extremely well and my tank plants have been reinserted into the tank and there have been no repercussions as of yet. I am sure that some will think that this is not enough to ensure the bleach is gone from the plants and I am sure some will say this recipe is overkill. Whatever the case may be, this worked for me and it will be exactly what I do next time I need to clean my plants.
I am new to the aquarium hobby 3 years ago and wanted to share this with anyone who like me, is looking for a way to clean their plants. As I had said, I had never cleaned my plants before. Hopefully it helps someone and provides some sort of direction for them or, at least leads them on a path of how to get the algae off of their plants. There are many other ways to do this but this is about as easy as it gets. It required no scrubbing etc.