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Old 12-02-2011, 08:10 PM
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Question Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

Hey guys, I am freaking out because I forgot to post this question on here before, and I just got my orchids from Andy's Orchids. Crap!

Ok, so I got 4 mini orchids (species are irrelevant for this question) and they are attached to pieces of wood, with fishing line and moss. PROBLEM: I need to disinfect them to remove bugs before I put them in the tank, but I don't know if I can do the normal bleach dip. I was considering keeping at least some of the orchids attached to the stick they came on since I don't have a lot of convenient mounting locations directly in the tank. Since there is a lot of moss/roots/wood/bark, I am afraid 1. The bleach might not reach everything and 2. It might soak in and not come out when I rinse it and kill the orchid, and 3. The orchids are tiny and delicate and I am paranoid it might turn their roots or stems to mush (and one has flowers right now too)

I suppose I could remove the orchids from the stick and bleach them, but I didn't want to damage the roots...and then I'd have to disinfect the wood, too, probably by boiling it. Aaaaaaah what do i do?
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

I'd like to hear an answer on this one too. I'll bet Frogparty will be able to help us out.
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:23 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

Never had an issue with the 10%bleach dip. I have sterilized a lot of orchids from andys. You can do multie pure water soaks after the bleach soak if you are worried about it. I would do five minutes in the bleach, rinse rinse rinse, then soak in pure water.



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Old 12-02-2011, 08:25 PM
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Hmmm try a major co2 bomb. It'll kill the buggies but the parasites might be harder. I've also used homemade colloidal silver to make a plant safe dip. Itll kill everything and it's frog safe. Collodial Silver is a super antifungal/bacterial. PM if u need a tutorial.
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

What if they are attached to cork park or a small plank? Should they be removed first so the wood is not soaking up bleach?
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:02 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

If you want, but I wouldnt worry about it honestly. I would NOT CO2 bomb as excessive cold is much worse than bleach on delicate roots and new foliage. I guess I have always removed andys plants before use, I soak the mount in tepid water to soften roots, then carefully remove from mount.



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Old 12-02-2011, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
If you want, but I wouldnt worry about it honestly. I would NOT CO2 bomb as excessive cold is much worse than bleach on delicate roots and new foliage. I guess I have always removed andys plants before use, I soak the mount in tepid water to soften roots, then carefully remove from mount.
Keep in mind that there are many sources of CO2. If they are small, then try using alkaseltzers for the CO2 source.... or even baking soda and vinegar and just place them in a container that is deep enough to let the CO2 displace the air. The reason the dry ice method is often desirable is because you can see the vapor displacing the air.

Have you considered simply quarantining the plants and dealing with the unwanteds in that manner? Unless the source of the plants has anurans in thier greenhouses, then the risk of parasites is already minimal....

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Old 12-02-2011, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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Keep in mind that there are many sources of CO2. If they are small, then try using alkaseltzers for the CO2 source.... or even baking soda and vinegar and just place them in a container that is deep enough to let the CO2 displace the air. The reason the dry ice method is often desirable is because you can see the vapor displacing the air.

Have you considered simply quarantining the plants and dealing with the unwanteds in that manner? Unless the source of the plants has anurans in thier greenhouses, then the risk of parasites is already minimal....

Ed
1. interesting idea about the co2, I never knew that was how bug bombs worked (or at least that you could use it to do that). So co2 is what kills the bugs huh? How long would the orchid and everything have to be in the co2 to make sure the bugs are dead? And does the concentration of co2 matter, does it have to be 100% co2?

2. This is for my paludarium which will in the future be housing a newt. I don't have any quarantine tanks or equipment
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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If you want, but I wouldnt worry about it honestly. I would NOT CO2 bomb as excessive cold is much worse than bleach on delicate roots and new foliage. I guess I have always removed andys plants before use, I soak the mount in tepid water to soften roots, then carefully remove from mount.
1. how long do you soak the mount before you remove the orchid from it?

2. have you had any problems from removing the orchid? i guess it wouldn't stunt it's growth much right? A few broken roots shouldn't be bad?

3. if i did decide to leave the orchid on the mount with moss around the roots and all that, do you think the bleach dip will get into the crannies in the moss, bark, roots, etc?...I doubt it would kill all the baddies. I guess you couldn't be sure since you've always removed the plants...also I could never know unless I saw bugs in the tank later

4. After you remove the orchid, how do you mount it in your viv? do you use fishing line, thread, something else?

I am considering removing the orchid from the mount, maybe boiling the wood, bleach dipping the plant, and reattaching it to the mount afterwards. I will look in my paludarium and see if there are any good spots to directly mount the orchids first
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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1. how long do you soak the mount before you remove the orchid from it?

2. have you had any problems from removing the orchid? i guess it wouldn't stunt it's growth much right? A few broken roots shouldn't be bad?

3. if i did decide to leave the orchid on the mount with moss around the roots and all that, do you think the bleach dip will get into the crannies in the moss, bark, roots, etc?...I doubt it would kill all the baddies. I guess you couldn't be sure since you've always removed the plants...also I could never know unless I saw bugs in the tank later

4. After you remove the orchid, how do you mount it in your viv? do you use fishing line, thread, something else?

I am considering removing the orchid from the mount, maybe boiling the wood, bleach dipping the plant, and reattaching it to the mount afterwards. I will look in my paludarium and see if there are any good spots to directly mount the orchids first
If you go to the trouble of removing it from it's mount, why reattach it there? Go straight into your viv on a piece of corkbark background, or on a piece of ghostwood.
Common attachment methods are fishing line, plastic coated wire clips, or plastic zip ties.
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:41 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

I got my beautiful miniatures from Andy's too and tossed them all into a bleach and water bath with no problems.
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:10 AM
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Bleach won't kill the crawlies. Just the pathogens. Some insect eggs are resistant to bleaches. What r u more afraid of? Bugs or Pathogens?
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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Bleach won't kill the crawlies. Just the pathogens. Some insect eggs are resistant to bleaches. What r u more afraid of? Bugs or Pathogens?
well mostly bugs were my concern. apparently i though the bleach dip killed all that. wow.

the bugs thing is literally because i just don't want a bunch of bugs in my paludarium because A. It is open top, and B. I don't have anything in there to eat the bugs
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:53 AM
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The bleach won't always permeate the eggs.
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

There's also alcohol and soap to weaken the outer, umm, whatevers, prior to bleach.

First I wash with soap, then I rinse with vinegar and water and then put into bleach bath, then back to rinsing.
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Old 12-03-2011, 03:03 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

I think I've ordered three dozen orchids from andys and have NEVER seen an insect of any type on any of them. I bleach to ensure that no tree frogs in his greenhouses transfer anything to my frogs



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Old 12-03-2011, 05:48 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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I think I've ordered three dozen orchids from andys and have NEVER seen an insect of any type on any of them. I bleach to ensure that no tree frogs in his greenhouses transfer anything to my frogs
Andy's is definitely quality, as I can tell from my first order. The plants look great.

When I took them out of the package I peeled some bark away from one of the sticks and there was some kind of mite or something. That is certainly nothing bad, as all plants will have some kind of bug on them unless it's grown in a sterile laboratory IMO.

Anyway I just did the bleach soak, so maybe if I am lucky there are no bug eggs that you guys have been talking about that will withstand the bleach. Ha, in my dreams.
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:50 AM
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Just mKe sure u rinse rinse rinse.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:31 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

Being an orchid grower who happens to have a few frogs, the idea of bleaching a plant is completely foreign to me. I guess that if your main concern is frog to frog transfer of pathogens then it makes sense, but I can't think of any other situation in which subjecting your plants to a bleach bath is advisable, there are simply better ways to handle pest and disease problems. Aside from that your plant is going to have bugs, and that's just the way life is. 99 percent of those bugs do absolutely nothing harmful to you, your frogs, or your plants (if anything they're beneficial), and if they WERE harmful bugs then Andy's wouldn't be selling those plants. Andy's is a top notch nursery. This isn't to say that one shouldn't be diligent in checking new plants for the few bugs that will damage plants, but the odds of getting them is low when purchasing from a reputable nursery. There's no reason to believe that your house is free of bugs anyway; there are literally thousands in your walls that you don't see and if your plants don't come with bugs they'll soon have some. My advice is to spare your plants and learn to live with the idea that nothing is sterile.

Oh, and beyond that, miniature orchids aren't any more delicate than large orchids. Their small size may make them harder to work with, but they will tolerate the same level of abuse, assuming that they are fully mature plants.
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

I think most of us are more concerned with pathogens than bugs, but, some bugs we prefer to not have in our tanks; scale, ants, snails, slugs, nemerteans, etc. I became involved with frogs through the orchid boards I was hanging out on. Ironically, it was on the orchid boards that I learned about washing orchids in bleach.
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

Personally I think it's impossible to get rid of absolutely everything unwanted when doing a tank.

I boiled, bleached, CO2 bombed, microwaved, and/or baked everything that went into my most recent tank. After all the precautions I still ended up with mites, tiny worm things, and gnats flying around. Im not concerned or even mad about it at all though. Circle of life is hard to get rid of for a reason

I suggest just getting some vinegar and baking soda then give the orchids a long CO2 session.

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Old 12-03-2011, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

All it takes is one treefrog in the greenhouse with chitrid and you'll wish you had bleached.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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Personally I think it's impossible to get rid of absolutely everything unwanted when doing a tank.

I boiled, bleached, CO2 bombed, microwaved, and/or baked everything that went into my most recent tank. After all the precautions I still ended up with mites, tiny worm things, and gnats flying around. Im not concerned or even mad about it at all though. Circle of life is hard to get rid of for a reason

I suggest just getting some vinegar and baking soda then give the orchids a long CO2 session.
Yea but you got cute little mites, nematodes and gnat flies. You might not be so mellow about it if it was snails, millipedes and nemerteans

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All it takes is one treefrog in the greenhouse with chitrid and you'll wish you had bleached.
Exactly!
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:13 PM
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All it takes is one treefrog in the greenhouse with chitrid and you'll wish you had bleached.
What is chitrid?

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Old 12-03-2011, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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What is chitrid?

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It's a deadly fungus that can wipe out frog collections pretty quickly. Here's a thread with some info.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/gen...s-azureus.html
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:02 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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What is chitrid?

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Chitrid is a frogkeepers worst nightmare. It can wipe out your entire collection. You have heard about frogs disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate? That is Chitrid.
Good point about Nererteans, too. They will eventually hunt down and kill every bit of microfauna you try to introduce in your viv.
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

"cough" chytrid "cough"


Actually chytrid can easily be dealt with by either housing the orchids for a period of time at certain temperatures for example if all of the plant and substrate can be housed at 98 F (See http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...ev3_015234.pdf ) for a minimum of 4 hours (this means all parts at that temperature) then that will kill all of the chytrid. This won't affect other pathogens.

Instead of worrying about it, I suggest asking if he treats the greenhouses for pests as these treatments would typically wipe out any anurans in the greenhouse.

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Old 12-03-2011, 10:45 PM
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"cough" chytrid "cough"

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Umm...I knew that Ed, that was my way of getting your input. Yeah, really, that's it!
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:23 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

After reading all these recent posts, the following are my thoughts/responses:

Since I don't keep frogs, I didn't know about chytrid. I do however have a newt, and after a very quick google search I learned that chytrid can affect any amphibian, not just frogs. So it's good that I have been bleaching my plants and disinfecting the paludarium decor, to be on the safe side regarding chytrid.

As far as bugs go, the reason I was wanting to eliminate or at least reduce them, is because of the condition of my newt's current paludarium. It is absolutely infested with a plethora of crawlies. Things are hopping, crawling, flying, digging, all over the place. This is not to say that all small fauna are bad, but I think it's beyond the normal limit. I made that paludarium many years ago, when I was younger and ignorant, and I pretty much threw anything and everything in it without disinfecting a darn thing. Obviously that was a bad idea but I didn't know that.

Aaaannnyway, the point is that I am trying to be more careful this time around, and not introduce a significant number of bugs or toxins. (I say all of this from the point of view of course of a noob and somebody that doesn't have the experience or knowledge of most of you)

So I think I'll keep bleaching to avoid chytrid in the paludarium, as it seems to me the easiest method for somebody that doesn't have any kind of quarantine setup or other things that the pros have.

Thanks for everybody's help on this
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:36 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

are there any studies on how long chytrid can last without a host?
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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are there any studies on how long chytrid can last without a host?
There are studies in the lab and some field studies. Keep in mind that chytrid doesn't tend to kill it's host when the conditions tend to be 75 F or higher so it can persist in an enviroment for quite awhile under those conditions. There is some speculation that chytrid can remain in an enviroment for weeks to months see for example Survival of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Water: Quarantine and Disease Control Implications. It is sensitive to a number of disinfectants as well as temperatures above a certain threshold (see the above post).

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Old 12-29-2011, 04:12 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

If you want to go the temperature route >98F you have got to be careful that the orchid you chose can handle those temps for an extended time.
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:58 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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If you want to go the temperature route >98F you have got to be careful that the orchid you chose can handle those temps for an extended time.
The time frame isn't that extreme.. at best 3-5 days should be sufficient as long as they remain hydrated..
But as I stated above, I doubt that there is much risk other than snails or slugs..

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Old 12-29-2011, 11:25 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

has anyone tried looking into physan 20 it is an orchid spray that kills just about all fungus and micro bugs and like a soap can be rinsed off?
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

Scales and mealybugs!!! Stupid [email protected]#%[email protected]#%4ing white fuzzy @#%ers!!

I feel better now... (straightens collar...)

Does the bleach dip work on them?
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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Originally Posted by glass frog View Post
has anyone tried looking into physan 20 it is an orchid spray that kills just about all fungus and micro bugs and like a soap can be rinsed off?
Physan 20 isn't advisable for use on orchids even though that's how it's marketed. I recently sat in on a talk given by one of the best orchid growers in the nation (Gold Country Orchids) who explained that while physan does kill fungal diseases it also strips the cuticle from the leaf. Using hydrogen peroxide is just as effective as physan 20 for treating fungus issues, is beneficial for orchids, and has the major benefit of breaking down into the completely non-toxic bi-products, water and oxygen. Word of warning, hydrogen peroxide will spontaneously degrade as soon as you open the bottle, so buy small bottles and use all of it once it's open cause it's useless otherwise.

Unless you can autoclave your orchid and it's mount the bleach simply won't be able to get into every nook and cranny. That's true of growing mediums as well. The only way to truly sterilize is to autoclave, and anything less is only making you feel better (this is obviously not true for all pathogens as is noted earlier in the thread).

Again, my suggestion is to be diligent in checking for bugs and fungal issues when you get the plant, treat as necessary with hydrogen peroxide and an appropriate insecticide (rubbing alcohol works well for small problems), and then enjoy your plants. Most other measures are overkill (when it comes to the plants themselves. Frog pathogens may be different, but that's not what was originally asked).

jacobi: A bleach dip will probably work on adult bugs, but once scale has formed their waxy shell (under which the eggs sit) they're basically indestructible. Your only choice at that point is to mechanically remove it from the plant and treat them later in their life cycle.
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Last edited by dope.fatboy; 12-29-2011 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:26 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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Originally Posted by dope.fatboy View Post
Physan 20 isn't advisable for use on orchids even though that's how it's marketed. I recently sat in on a talk given by one of the best orchid growers in the nation (Gold Country Orchids) who explained that while physan does kill fungal diseases it also strips the cuticle from the leaf. Using hydrogen peroxide is just as effective as physan 20 for treating fungus issues, is beneficial for orchids, and has the major benefit of breaking down into the completely non-toxic bi-products, water and oxygen. Word of warning, hydrogen peroxide will spontaneously degrade as soon as you open the bottle, so buy small bottles and use all of it once it's open cause it's useless otherwise.

Unless you can autoclave your orchid and it's mount the bleach simply won't be able to get into every nook and cranny. That's true of growing mediums as well. The only way to truly sterilize is to autoclave, and anything less is only making you feel better (this is obviously not true for all pathogens as is noted earlier in the thread).

Again, my suggestion is to be diligent in checking for bugs and fungal issues when you get the plant, treat as necessary with hydrogen peroxide and an appropriate insecticide (rubbing alcohol works well for small problems), and then enjoy your plants. Most other measures are overkill (when it comes to the plants themselves. Frog pathogens may be different, but that's not what was originally asked).

jacobi: A bleach dip will probably work on adult bugs, but once scale has formed their waxy shell (under which the eggs sit) they're basically indestructible. Your only choice at that point is to mechanically remove it from the plant and treat them later in their life cycle.
good to know
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

i didnt read all the posts so i dont know if this was answered, but I know that if you soak wood in bleach but then soak it it pure water for a while (i usually do about 45 minutes) then it is completely fine for animals.

This is how I have always treated my wood and rocks for snake mites. I know most snakes are not as sensitive as an entire terrestrial ecosystem, but I don't think so many people would use the technique if it left any harmful traces. Keep in mind when soaking wood it is usually soaked for 30-60 minutes, while the soaking you are talking about would only be for 5-10 minutes. Im sure you can still do a pure water soak for 45 minutes right? Maybe even change it out once or twice.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:46 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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i didnt read all the posts so i dont know if this was answered, but I know that if you soak wood in bleach but then soak it it pure water for a while (i usually do about 45 minutes) then it is completely fine for animals.

This is how I have always treated my wood and rocks for snake mites. I know most snakes are not as sensitive as an entire terrestrial ecosystem, but I don't think so many people would use the technique if it left any harmful traces. Keep in mind when soaking wood it is usually soaked for 30-60 minutes, while the soaking you are talking about would only be for 5-10 minutes. Im sure you can still do a pure water soak for 45 minutes right? Maybe even change it out once or twice.
Do you ever smell the wood or the rocks before reusing them? If they smell like bleach then they still have bleach present on them (I've done that and some materials even soaked for more than 24 hours will still smell of bleach).

The problem with bleaching organics like wood is that the bleach reacts with the wood and reduces in concentration which impacts the ability to disinfect.
With stones, the bleach can also react with organics in/on the rock that also reduce it's effectiveness. In addition, soaking something like wood or stones in a bleach solution doesn't guarantee that the bleach has penetrated the cracks and crevices of the items. The best you can typically do is give them a scrub in hot tap water with a good stiff brush and then allow to throughly dry.

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Old 12-30-2011, 04:37 AM
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Default Re: Disinfecting tiny delicate orchids attached to wood

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The problem with bleaching organics like wood is that the bleach reacts with the wood and reduces in concentration which impacts the ability to disinfect.
With stones, the bleach can also react with organics in/on the rock that also reduce it's effectiveness. In addition, soaking something like wood or stones in a bleach solution doesn't guarantee that the bleach has penetrated the cracks and crevices of the items. The best you can typically do is give them a scrub in hot tap water with a good stiff brush and then allow to throughly dry.

Well to be honest I have never really smelled it after soaking it. I didn't really have many choices though as my tank was infested with mites and the pieces were too big for the oven. I always scrub first anyway to try to get any dirt off. You could even go so far as to add dechlorinator to the pure water soak...that should take care of anything that is left over. Not that I would really recommend bleaching if you have other options, but if you have to bleach the plant, I think doing the wood would be ok if it is attached. No personal experience though, so I'm not doubting you. It would make sense if the bleach doesn't even do anything because of the organic material.
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