Disposing of plant material - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Disposing of plant material

So, as I was cleaning my tank today, I got to thinking about all the little plant bits that get sucked up in the gravel vac or that just end up in the sink after trimming. It seems fairly likely that some of that plant matter could end up in a local body of water sooner or later. So, should I be worried about introducing an invasive species via my aquarium waste. To be honest, I don't know if any of my plants are invasive species, but it makes one wonder how to responsibly dispose of plant material.



Has anyone else considered this issue?



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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 03:43 AM
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That is indeed a valid point.
Many of the aquarium plants are indeed invasive in the right environment, such as the milder weather in the southern tier of states, and along the coasts.
Most of the plants come from tropical or subtropical climates, and cannot tolerate freezing, but there are a few plants native to temperate zones, and these can certainly survive a trip through the waste water plant and lodge into local rivers and lakes.

Each state has its list of invasive plants that they do not want to have sold, owned, dumped or entering the state for any reason. Many of these restrictions are based on:
Environment. If one plant crowds out several native species then the animals that depended on those natives for food or shelter cannot survive unless they can use the invasive plant for that purpose. Often they cannot.
Transportation. Many invasives grow so rampantly without the original herbivores/pests/diseases that kept it under control in its native land that the shear mass of plants is blocking shipping lanes, and costing millions of dollars to keep it under enough control that ships can pass.
Water pumping. Water inlets to pumps for drinking, agriculture and industry are usually build with local conditions in mind, so that they take in the lowest amount of local plants and animals. But invasive plants can grow in ways that may block these inlets, and can cause changes in wildlife habits that might encourage them to live closer to a water intake.

Usually the small volume of plants that are shared among aquarium people is not a big concern to the authorities, except for a few plants on the 'most noxious' list.
People who sell plants for ponds are more restricted because ponds are outdoors, and the plants are expected to survive through the winter. Well, if they can do that in a pond, they can do that in the wild, so stores are more carefully monitored about which pond plants they sell.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 02:47 PM
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I agree it is something to consider. In my case, any small bits that get siphoned out during water changes end up in my home sewage treatment plant (septic). Larger pieces or unwanted plants end up in my compost pile.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 02:52 PM
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 03:58 PM
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(what deeda said)

if you pour the aquarium water in your toilet instead of the sink, it will be processed as nightwaste, which is separate process than sink waste water.

Believe you me, anything in your toilet is treated very harshly, so no plant can survive!
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 04:21 PM
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Chloe, different areas of the country treat 'waste' water differently so there is no way to know if toilet (black water) is treated separately from sink (grey water). Many cities still have combined waste (sanitary) and gutters, roads, etc (storm water) that feed to the waste water treatment plant.

It is often suggested that unwanted plants be placed in Ziploc bags, placed in the freezer for 24 - 48 hours and then disposed of with household trash.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 05:57 PM
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Most municipal waste water systems don't differentiate between gray water and black water. Even though it's gray water it still needs to be treated. Plus it is expensive to run 3 different systems.

Down south they use the treated effluent to water grass etc but not veggies.


They do separate storm water and in many places it is illegal to run storm water in a sewer system. Generally the storm water gets minimal treatment and is stored or dumped.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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I am pretty sure that I can control my excess plant waste using the compost heap or my trash can. I was actually a bit more concerned about the small floating plants -- like riccia and duckweed -- that get sucked into my gravel vac, or onto nets and whatnot. It's hard to get all the little bits and I would guess those types of plants are a lot more invasive than something that has to root.



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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 09:45 PM
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Unless there is a real problem getting water most stormwater that I have ever heard of just goes to a stream without treatment. Sanitary sewers go to the water treatment plant to be treated before going into the ocean or rivers. If you are running a siphon out to the yard, in theory bits of plants could get into the local stream if they washed down before totally dry. But if you siphon into a sanitary sewer drain like your house, both the sink and the stool run to the same line. That water will be filtered and treated before release into nature.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chloespeaks View Post
(what deeda said)

if you pour the aquarium water in your toilet instead of the sink, it will be processed as nightwaste, which is separate process than sink waste water.

Believe you me, anything in your toilet is treated very harshly, so no plant can survive!
Lol. I don't know where this information is coming from but unless your running a commercial building with a fish tank to tend to, there is only one plumbing waste system. All residential homes will run to a sanitary sewer system unless you have a specialized plumbing system in which only particular waste fixtures will run to.

To the O.P. I doubt if your endangering anything. Plant bits will more than likely break down in the waste system. If its bits like your stating, they are already breaking down and aren't capable of regaining life. When I use my python to siphon my substrate, I don't think twice about whats going into my waste. Most of my larger plant debris, I pick out during water changes and throw them away directly since they are easier to retrieve from the water.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 03:49 PM
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I recently had to have my kitchen sink snaked - and guess what was in the pipes? Java fern! When the snake came out there were bits of rooted java fern clinging to it. Apparently jave fern is not just a "low light" plant, it's a "no light" plant. So it's not just an issue of it getting into the waste system it's also an issue of it growing in your household pipes.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 10:42 PM
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I just toss my clippings and floaters in a small bowl and let it dry out, and then I dump it in the trash.

Every building I've ever seen, all the drainpipes are connected. I know some people make special systems to use greywater for irrigation and stuff, but those are specially built, and the legal issues with them can be kinda tricky depending on the area. Also, kitchen sinks are considered blackwater, on account of all the food that ends up in them.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 11:04 PM
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I have a fine mesh strainer in the sink I use for tank water dumping/plant cleaning. Catches everything and I just dump it out in a sealing trash can, bag gets changed ever 2-3 weeks so plenty of time for the plant to die before it goes out to the curb in a trash bin.
You can get a cheap strainer for $3-4 at Home depot .. Im sure Lows and your grocery store has them too.
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http://www.homedepot.com/p/DANCO-2-1...8820/100164331

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