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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last night I boiled my precious moss balls to death for several minutes. It was so sad and smelled like burnt broccoli. I broke them open and examined pretty hard and didn’t see any mussels, but the larvae are invisible I guess and mine were at the very least in contaminated waters with other moss balls. I bought them on February 25th. SIP.

So I have read the info provided here which have been the most detailed instructions that I’ve seen so far, but I still have some questions.

First, do I bleach everything together (ie take out animals, leave everything else where it is and put bleach into tank as is) or do I take everything out and bleach separately?

These instructions don’t seem to mention other plants besides the moss; I won’t have to boil my other live plants to death will I? I can just do a typical diluted bleach bath with those?

Do you guys think it would be ok to do the bleach solution with fluval stratum or should I just get a new bag? I guess I don’t know why it wouldn’t be ok, it just seems like it would retain bleach? Lmk if that’s not something to worry about.

Also I have a coconut shell covered in moss. Do you think that will retain bleach and leech it into the water? I’ve been reading not to bleach porous stuff like wood because it might bleed bleach, but idk if coconut shells count.

For aquarium decor/plants, is rinsing the bleach solution enough, or should I let everything soak in treated water for an amount of time (hours, days?), then rinse that, then put it in my tank?

On the same note, I have a betta and some shrimp in a 10 gallon and I’ll have to put them in a little 3.5 gallon I have. How long do you think they’ll have to live in there while I “air out” the bleach from the tank and decor? Or can I just put everyone back in same day once I’ve rinsed and put in treated water?

I know bleach-cleaning is safe in appropriate amounts, but it’s my first tank and I’m just worried about not doing it right :(

This whole thing is a shame to me because I was so excited to have cycled my water and I bought all of these plants and then introduced my cute little pets and my plants have grown a lot, it was all going really well and now I’m tearing down all of that work and it’s just disheartening for a beginner. I just HAD to have moss balls. Lol. I’m going out later today to buy some beneficial bacteria and I think my main concerns are just establishing my cycle again (this time with fish...) and making sure remnants of bleach don’t kill everybody. Thank you for any help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Do you guys think it would be ok to do the bleach solution with fluval stratum or should I just get a new bag? I guess I don’t know why it wouldn’t be ok, it just seems like it would retain bleach? Lmk if that’s not something to worry about.
Ok, I contacted Fluval just in case and they said they could not recommend using the substrate after decontamination and that I will have to get a brand new bag. In hindsight, obvious, but I feel better about spending the money on a new bag knowing that there really is no saving it xD
 

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So you have zebra mussels or are just taking precautions? The beta and the shrimp would be ok in a bucket or tub for weeks probably with an air stone and heater. You could take any plants you want to quarantine and just observe them for 3 weeks, That's supposed to be the amount of time they are in larval stage. With no critters or plants in the tank, you could safely bleach it and clean it out.

Just my 2 cents... has anyone else had to deal with these yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the advice!

As far as I can see with my eyeballs, I don’t have zebra mussels. Buuut I just started my tank and thus I had bought marimo moss balls from Petco and PetSmart within the last two weeks, so I’m taking precautions. Theoretically if the moss balls introduced larvae two weeks ago, I’ll have to wait a week or two more to see them. It’s mostly for ease of mind. I have some Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride and seachem stability and I may just take the time to start cycling some clean water in the other tank while I quarantine the plants in my current one. We shall see!
 

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If you follow the instructions precisely for sterilizing your aquarium, your plants will be toast. A third cup bleach per gallon is strong and 15 minutes will kill most plants. It’s a bummer but maybe for the greater good?
 
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