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Old 10-09-2019, 03:23 PM
adamm adamm is offline
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Default Salvaging plants and moss from snail-infested vivarium?

I hope this is an okay board to post this on - I wasn't sure if it should just go in general discussion or somewhere else. I've got a vivarium going where the only intentional animal inhabitants so far are isopods and springtails, but over the past few months, snails have appeared. I think they came in with some java moss I got. For several reasons, I've decided to tear down the vivarium and re-build, moving from an aquarium to Exo Terra. I'm hoping for some advice on what I can (or should even try to) salvage.

Currently, the tank has a hydroton false bottom, ABG mix and sphagnum substrate layers, leaf litter, java moss, 3 Neoregelia, 2 Pilea, one Vittonia, and some type of purple passion vine (not exactly sure what it is, but it is a prolific grower). I'd like to salvage the hydroton, moss, and as many of the plants as possible. The hydroton should be easy, so that's not much of a worry - I'm thinking a bleach rinse plus boiling in water for a while.

For the plants, I was planning on doing a soak in dilute bleach. Most already went through that once (although I was careless with a few, so if the java moss isn't to blame for the snails, then it's one of those plants), so I'm not too worried about them surviving. I was then thinking of moving them to an Exo Terra that I have waiting, but not formally planting - just putting them in appropriate containers over a hydroton false bottom and maintaining them for a few months to make sure no snails reappear. Through this process, I also plan to make some cuttings of some of the plants which have started to grow out of control, so that I can plant them in a few different tanks in the future.

For the moss, I'm at a bit of a loss, as I'm doubtful that it would survive bleaching. I've read a bit about desiccation as a strategy - is that a worthwhile venture? I was also thinking about basically trying to rinse it repeatedly in water with some agitation, and then move relatively small amounts into a variety of mason jars "sealed" with cheese cloth and with a small amount of water present, which could then also go for several months, growing up and waiting for confirmation that no snails appear.

Any initial thoughts or pointers would be much appreciated! Including thoughts that say "just trash the moss and buy new", etc. Also, if they type of snail matters, I can grab some photos of them later. I'm not sure on the ID, so I don't know much about their life cycle/generation time.
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