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Old 03-07-2006, 08:39 PM
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Default sterilization of wood/LECA/gravel

I will need to sterilize my tank's furniture for usage in another tank. While I can clean gravel easily by soaking in a mild bleach solution and rinsing thoroughly, it isn't a good idea for the wood and LECA as both are porous.

I do not have an autoclave (but is it necessary in this case?)

I think if I put my LECA and cork in the oven set at 200-300 degrees F for an hour, that should be plenty of time to kill off anything in it.

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:11 PM
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You can sterilize LECA with bleach. Just rinse it well afterwards. If the bleach can get in, the bleach can get out...

Cork is harder... Depending on the size and just how sterile you want it, you could try an autoclave (or pressure cooker). Dry heat is not a very effective sterilant. It will kill a lot of nasties, but not everything, at least not at 300F. But, dry heat is better than nothing! Aim for 375-400 (much higher and the cork will burn), and keep your fire extinguisher handy.
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Old 03-09-2006, 03:16 AM
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You sure about the LECA Rob? I'm pretty sure its clay, which is porous. Not sure if it would absorb bleach and then leach it later.

What about if I put a piece of cork bark in a big pan of boiling water on my stove?
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Old 03-09-2006, 01:46 PM
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Pretty sure about the LECA. Bleach sterilization is a pretty typical thing when re-using it for orchids. I really can't see how a solution could get in that then could not be displaced. It shouldn't react chemically with the LECA, so sufficient volumes of clean water will wash it well. 5 or 10% bleach followed by a few changes of clean water should be more than sufficient.

But, if you are worried about bleach, put the LECA in a cast iron pan (dutch oven?), and put it in the oven. Most ovens have a cleaning cycle, which gets scary hot. Run a self cleaning cycle with the LECA in the oven. That will kill anything, literally by burning it up. Won't work with bark or cork, of course.

I don't know about boiling cork. I guess the worst that happens is that it falls apart and you buy new cork.
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:18 PM
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nasty, i can't imagine all the dried bleach leftover... we use this stuff(LECA) over and over and depending on how much you have, either use a large pot on the stove or a steel drum in a field and a torch, and boil it for about 45 minutes to an hour. the only reason we do it though is because of the salt build up from chemical hydroponic fertilizers. but i'd suggest peroxide regardless instead of bleach, it is very porous stuff.
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:15 PM
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i never use bleach on anything...just boiling water. why chance it? odds are you could do nothing and be fine so why add to the problem.
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:20 PM
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I use bleach all the time when I clean frog tanks/buckets/ cups/etc.

However, I rinse things multiple times, and from Ed Kowalski's suggestion, use chlorine remover near the end because it will help neutralize things as bleach is sodium hypochlorite. Carbon doesn't hurt either.

I used to use boiling water, but not for tanks anymore because I would think water that hot would crack the glass or damage the silicone.

For plants, I think I'm going to try Kordon's 3% potassium permanganate to sterilize plant roots.
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Old 03-20-2006, 03:01 PM
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Rob, is that because dry heat takes an incredibly long time to reach a substance...similar to why a roast takes forever to cook (but so tasty) in the oven. Water is an excellent media for temperature exchange.

However, what about dried leaves? Chytrid is killed easily by thoroughly drying, but killing other stuff, I would think due to the amount of surface area that leaves have, (and you don't compact them) they should get hot enough to kill nasties. Boiling leaves I think would ruin their look in a vivarium.
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