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How to Disinfect Aquarium Plants and Keep Them Healthy!

How to Disinfect Aquarium Plants and Keep Them Healthy!

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Aquarium plants are vital parts of your fish’s life. There are many different types of aquarium plant species, but they are generally identified as either tissue culture or lead bunch.

Tissue culture aquarium plants are easy to care for since they don’t have any algae growth and don’t attract snails. 

On the other hand, lead bunch aquarium plants require you to disinfect them to get rid of algae that can attract pests.


How to Disinfect Aquarium Plants

Aquarium plants need to be disinfected as they can attract a lot of pests if algae grow on them. You can disinfect your aquarium plants by using unscented bleach, Potassium Permanganate, alum, and Hydrogen peroxide.


Basic Disinfecting Method for Aquarium Plants

The most basic way to disinfect your aquarium plants is by using bleach. 

You’ll find this easily in the market as it’s readily available and is known to work well.


General Preparation

In the first step of disinfecting your aquarium plants, you will have to prep your newly bought plants. Check for any snails or pests in them and remove them.

Once you notice that leaves are melting or they have algae, prune them off. Remove any lead strips or plastic pots that have rock wool holding the plant in place.

The same things must also be done for aquarium plants that you already have at home and want to disinfect.


Rinse the Aquarium Plants

You will have to fill with water the container for you to immerse the plants in. Then shake the container to help rinse the plant and get rid of dead leaves that may not have been pruned.

Sensitive aquarium plants can be rinsed under cool running water. 

You can repeat the rinsing process several times; once you’re done, pour the water out of the container and set the plants aside.


Draw a Bath

In this step, you will have to wear gloves as you will be using bleach. You must add 1 part bleach for 20 parts of water.

Before adding the bleach into the water bucket, make sure it is unscented and does not have extra chemicals added. Then add the bleach into the water and mix them.



In this step, you should first get a second container. Pour water into it and add a dose of dechlorinate. 

Then add your plant into the bleach mix and submerge it into the mixture completely.

The soaking time of each aquarium plant will vary from 90 to 150 seconds.


Rinse and Dechlorinate

Once the time is up, remove your aquarium plants from the mix immediately and rinse out the bleach in the sink. 

You can rinse the plants for a minute to remove all the bleach.

Then add your aquarium plants into the water and dechlorinate mix. Let your aquarium plants soak in it for about three minutes.



The bleaching process is now complete. But if you are concerned that there may be snail eggs present in your plants, then keep them away from your aquarium.

Let them stay outside the aquarium for two to three weeks to ensure no snail eggs were left behind.


Things You Can Use to Disinfect Aquarium Plants


Potassium Permanganate

A strong oxidizing agent, potassium permanganate is known to have disinfectant properties. It was used as a water softener and disinfectant.

Hobbyists use it for the disinfection of plants and ornaments before they are put into the aquarium. Potassium permanganate can help remove the buildup of organic materials within the water tank.

It is also capable of killing fungi, parasites, bacteria, and algae. If you want your potassium permanganate to work perfectly, make sure you keep it away from direct light as it loses its potency.

You can disinfect your aquarium plants by adding four milligrams of potassium permanganate into a liter of water that is at room temperature. 

The water and potassium permanganate will mix and create a dark pink solution.

Four milligrams of potassium permanganate must only be added in its crystal form. If you have it in a liquid form, add two to three drops into a liter of water.

Then dip your aquarium plants into the solution and submerge them in it for ten to fifteen minutes. Once the time is up, remove your aquarium plants from the solution and rinse them underwater.

Treat the aquarium plants with dechlorinated water for three minutes, and rinse them under tap water several times. 

Then add your aquarium plants back into the tank.


Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is often used by aquarium plant owners who have become experts at disinfecting their plants. It is not recommended for beginners as it is a strong oxidizer that can kill plants if they are dipped in it for too long.

To disinfect your aquarium plants with hydrogen peroxide, you need to clean your plants under tap water. Then add two to three milliliters of three percent hydrogen peroxide into one gallon of water.

Submerge your aquarium plants in the solution for five minutes. Take the plants out as soon as the time ends.

Rinse your aquarium plants under tap water. Then treat your plants with a water conditioner and rinse them again.

Once done, you can put your aquarium plants back into the tank.



Alum or Aluminum Sulfate is mostly used to get rid of snails and isn’t great against bacteria or parasites. But it’s still used by most people to disinfect their aquarium plants.

You can disinfect your aquarium plants by adding one to three tablespoons of alum into a gallon of water at room temperature.

Submerge the aquarium plants in the solution for two to three hours. Then rinse your plants with dechlorinated water before placing them again in the aquarium.


Frequently Asked Questions about How to Disinfect Aquarium Plants


How often should I disinfect my aquarium plants?

You should disinfect your aquarium plants at least two to three times a week to prevent the spread of algae. Once your aquarium plants become mature, you can reduce the number of times you change the water and disinfect them.


How often should mature aquarium plants be disinfected?

Mature aquarium plants need to be disinfected once a week. Depending on how many plants you have, disinfection days can change.