Best Alum Plant Dip Against Pest Snails

If you are looking for the best way to get rid of snails and snail eggs then alum is one of the safest way and effective ways to achieve the goal. But which recipe is the best one, so here is the result of one month longer experiment done by Girl Talks Fish in her freshwater aquarium.

Not a lot of people in the aquarium hobby like snails, they can breed super fast and grow exponentially fast. You can have a beautiful plant and sometime later you can little dot all over your glass blocking your view. Girl Talks Fish have tried various things including bleed, alum, copper, potassium per magnet, hydrogen peroxide, and salt. Amongst all of them, alum proved to be the best at getting rid of snails, snail eggs, and planaria without harming the plants.

What is Alum?

Alum or Alum Pottasium Sulphate is something you can very easily find in your local grocery store, however, it is also used in wastewater and lakewater management; where apparently it's a great water purifier. It will bind with phosphorus and would take out some of those extra nutrients from the water so the algae growth can be decreased. Therefore in the right concentration, it is not toxic to humans in aquatic life.

Old Recipe

  • Add 1 tbsp alum per 1-gallon of water in a separate container.
  • Soak your plants for three days.
  • Rinse it out and plant it

While this recipe is great for killing snails and snail eggs, the more sensitive plants will not always survive the treatment, they would melt and would just not be able to revive. So, the new goal was to find the minimum recipe, one that is strong enough to kill the snails, but not the plants. One can get by two routes, the minimum amount of alum one has to use or the minimum amount of soaking time.

Rules of the experiment

Use the same concentration of one tbsp of alum for one gallon, room temperature water, clean separate container. Put the snail in and wait to see that how long takes to pass away, and wait further to see if any of the eggs would hatch afterward.


Round 1: Ramshorn Snails

The ramshorn snails in this experiment are put in the dip for 14-hours, 24-hours, and 48-hours of alum and they all died in the cases and neither did their eggs hatched in the time, they remain yellow.

Finally, it was dropped all the way to a 1-hour alum soak but the snails managed to survive that however for four hours these snails didn't either do the planaria. So, for the four hours of alum soak, the snail still looked like they are still alive but they were put in the freshly chlorinated water for 48-hours and they never survived.

At the same time, there was a controlled group of Ramshorn snail that never touched the alum and noted the time it took for their eggs to hatch, and further waited for 1-2 weeks more for the 4-hour alum dip eggs to hatch but they didn't.

So, the viable eggs turned to tiny brown dots right before the baby eggs hatched v/s the non-viable alum eggs always stayed clear-yellow.

Round 2: Malaysian Trumpet & Bladder Snails

The Bladder snails acted very similarly to the Ramshorn snail, they all died within 4-hours. Once against the controlled group was checked to see when their eggs hatch and then checked the alum eggs which never actually hatched.

The Malaysian Trumpet snails on the other hand were a completely different matter. First of all, they don't have eggs, they are actually livebearers with live baby snails. The adult Malaysian Trumpet snails were soaked for 4-hours to 4-days. As soon as they were put in freshly chlorinated water, they always revived.

The tight covering of these snails is very water-tight and can prevent anything from getting in. And remember, the sensitive plants will die after a 3-day soak of alum. So, there was actually no high point where the alum will kill theses snails, but not the more sensitive plants. 

One can still try a stronger method like bleach, but at that point, there is a very high likelihood that the plant would not survive.

Round 3: Sensitive Plants

So, all the plants dipped by Girl Talks Fish in the alum solution for 4-hours survived. Cryptocoryne plants will melt but will revive back as normal. Dwarf Sagittaria is also one of the experiment plants which survived the dip.

But still, the more sensitive plans have a fair chance of melting in the 4-hour dip experiment.

New Recipe

  • Mix 1 tbsp alum per 1-gallon of water in a separate container (Or 1/4 tsp alum per 1/3 cup water)
  • Soak your plant in it for 4-hours.
  • Rinse thoroughly in water, and let the plant rest in clean water for anywhere between 8-12 hours
  • Do not use it to treat your main tank

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