For fish tank owners without a green thumb, plastic aquarium plants are readily available, inexpensive, and attractive. Plastic aquarium plants can also cut down on fish tank mess if you have herbivorous fish. However, these plastic plants do attract algae growth which can make them less than beautiful. This article will describe the steps necessary to remove algae and debris build up on your plastic aquarium plants.
Plastic Aquarium Plants – Removing them From the Tank
Removing plastic aquarium plants from an established fish tank can be difficult. Chances are, the base of the plants are buried in the gravel or substrate and may be hiding waste material. If you are concerned about stirring up a large amount of waste, it might be a good idea to have an aquarium vacuum going near the base of the plant as you pull it.
Using an aquarium grabber or your well-washed arm, reach in a grab the plastic aquarium plant at the base. Pulling on the stems may result in them popping off.
Plastic Aquarium Plants – First Steps of Algae Removal
The first step to remove the algae from the plastic aquarium plants is to rub them down with clean water. Often, this will remove the bulk of the algae. Put the plants in a large bowl or water or into the sink. Use your hands to rub the plants to get the surface algae off.
Using hot water, or even boiling water, can be a good idea if you have an invasive algae problem. Be careful putting the plastic plants in the boiling water, as they may melt. A quick dip in cool water afterward will help.
Plastic Aquarium Plants – Chemicals and Soaps
Using plain water to remove the algae buildup on the plastic aquarium plants is the best idea. If you feel the need to use a soap or chemical cleaner, be sure to choose an all-natural, biodegradable one. If your goal is to eradicate all algae spores, using bleach may be necessary.
Whatever chemical or soap you decide to use, make sure to rinse the plastic plants extremely well before putting them back in the fish tank. It is a good idea to use an anti-chlorinator in the rinse water if you use bleach. Rinse the plants several times with cool water.
Plastic Aquarium Plants – Putting Them Back in the Tank
Putting the plastic aquarium plants back in the tank can be done by hand or with a forked planting tool. Move them slightly back and forth to fill the anchoring cup on the bottom with gravel or tank substrate. Removing the algae build up is a great excuse to rearrange your tank and try new designs.