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naturelady 02-22-2013 10:53 PM

scale insects?
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Anyone had trouble with scale insects on their plants? I use riparium planters that are just at the surface of my 29 gal aquarium. I know, I could perhaps do better aesthetically, but the riparium planters are there because I love trying to grow new things in them.

Anyhow, 2 of my plants have scale insects on them. I am looking for suggestions on how to get rid of them. They just keep spreading :( I think the plants they are on are a palm and a lily.

Here is a pic that shows off the riparium plants fairly well. Don't mind the HOB, it is just temporary while waiting for my new tank to get set up. The african violets seem to absolutely flourish in my tank. The bacopa just got trimmed, otherwise it would look more lush. And many other things are in the experimental stage- waiting to see if they work out.

Fishmommy 02-22-2013 10:58 PM

scale insects?
Scale is notoriously hard to get rid of. Rubbing alcohol swabs of all visible scale can work over time to manage it. If you don't have livestock to worry about I would suggest a systemic insecticide called Safari, which is what I use on my orchids for scale.

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naturelady 02-22-2013 11:07 PM

Do you have any idea how long the systemic insecticide lasts? The two plants are in the same pot and I would be very willing to remove them from the tank for a month or so if that's what it takes to get rid of the pests.

MSG 02-22-2013 11:07 PM

Nice looking plants.
Have you tried neem oil or peppermint oil?

How are you keeping the African violets above water?

What kind of critters do you have UNDER the water?

creekbottom 02-22-2013 11:08 PM

Patience will win the battle. When I worked at a greenhouse I would get houseplants in from customers that were gross. We even had a 4 foot tall cactus, that thing was covered! Get a spray bottle with a - is it 1 or 10% - that was a long time ago - solution of ivory soap. Alternate that with horticultural oil at the recommended dose. Spray often and spray heavy! You can also pick them off. This will kill them but the bodies will still be there, I spent alot of time cleaning that cactus...

Fishmommy 02-22-2013 11:10 PM

scale insects?
I have no idea how long the insecticide may remain toxic, sorry.

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creekbottom 02-22-2013 11:14 PM

If you can find an MSDS sheet that should give some idea about toxicity.

naturelady 02-22-2013 11:33 PM

MSG- all of the plants are in riparium planters (see the Riparium Supply in the vendors section of the forum). These have suction cups on the back, so they are hanging at the water surface, thus keeping the violets above water.

I have not tried neem oil or peppermint oil. I was not sure what sort of things were non-toxic to aquatic life. In the tank I have a few fish and some shrimp and snails. (little bit of everything, kind of).

naturelady 02-22-2013 11:39 PM

The treatment I have tried twice in the past was a traditional insecticide (deltamethrin maybe??). I removed the plants from the aquarium, wiped the insecticide on with a cotton ball (being very careful to only get it on the leaves), left the plants out of the tank for a week or so for the insecticide to break down, then rinsed them thoroughly with lots of fresh water before putting back in the tank. While it reduced the numbers somewhat, it really did not kill all of them off.

AirstoND 02-23-2013 12:04 AM

90% isopropyl with swabs

How long have you had those african violets in water like that?

naturelady 02-23-2013 12:20 AM

AirstoND- I think the african violets have been in my tank for about 2 years now. I started 4 cuttings. 2 died pretty quickly and the 3rd (now the plant on the left of the pic) looked like it was going to die for most of the first year, then at about 1.5 years, began to grow and recently started blossoming. The 4th one (plant on the right) had a trouble spot the first month or so, then took off and never looked back, started blossoming just under a year. They are my favorite thing in the tank!!! I've never succeeded with anything quite so well as with those. They bloom almost constantly (maybe take a week break every other month or so to set on new buds).

I think I started with excellent stock- the parent plant is also flourishing, despite numerous deliberate attempts by my cats to kill it. At one point, I thought it was succumbing to crown rot, so I watered it only about twice in a 6 month timespan. Then I realized that it was determined NOT to die, so I started watering. Now, beautiful.

Now, look, you got me going on about my african violets :icon_redf I really like them! :)

hydrophyte 02-23-2013 12:28 AM

That's interesting to see those African violets growing so nicely in there. If you might ever have time I would be interested to see the planters for a view of the root systems. Do they have a lot of roots?

Which plants have the scale on them? Do you know what kind of palm that is? If there are scale on the palm I would say you could just dunk the whole plant underwater (right in the tank if there is room) for about 12 hours and that will drown many of the scale. If you repeat that a few times you should be able to kill them off.

I imagine the African violets will be damaged if you put them underwater.

I got scale in a riparium once and I was able to eliminate them by just carefully inspecting every day and squashing every one that I found. It took a while, but eventually I got them all. An advantage of growing like this is that the insects can't hide down in the roots.

naturelady 02-23-2013 12:36 AM

hydrophyte- the scale are on the large palm and the what I presume is a zephyranthes rain lily, both of which I got from you. :) I will try your dunking method in a 5 gal bucket, I guess.

The roots on the African violet on the right are HUGE. Twice now, they grew from out of the bottom of the planter all the way down to the substrate in my tank, so I just cut them off. Would you like a picture? They were trimmed fairly recently, so I can only show the roots in the planter (if they are visible through the algae). It is actually tricky to move that plant around because it is so big, I am always worried about snapping the stem. It has grown accustomed to being supported by the edges of the tank, so when I take the planter out, it flops all around.

hydrophyte 02-23-2013 12:42 AM

Yes I think it would be good to dunk both of those plants in water. It will probably take a few treatments each a few days apart because the scale will hide down in the leaf axils, but this should still be easier than using chemicals. You can also just cut all of the leaves from the Zephyranthes because that is a bulb plant and the leaves will grow back.

If it's tricky to move the African violet around that's OK. It is very interesting to see them growing so well. I did not think they would grow with their roots underwater.

The palm must be a cat palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum).

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