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Peat Questions

I am interested in using peat both as a means of acidifying / softening water and potentially as a substrate addtion.  My problem is that I am not sure which form of peat available in Australia matches that which is used elsewhere.  I have found various descriptions which lead me to different conclusions.

I am able to buy Peat in four forms.
1) An expensive granulated form from an aquarium / LFS.
2) In a mini-bale from a gardening supply store.  This is black and crumbly and resembles dirt with some decayed organic matter in it.
3) As sphagnum moss from a gardening supply store.  This consists of pale brown or green branched, fibrous strands of moss.
4) As compressed bricks or pellets from a gardening supply store.  These are dry, hard and pale brown and supposedly swell to many times their original size when placed in water.

It is my understanding that peat bogs are formed from sphagnum moss.  But I am not sure whether it is the surface or the decayed matter that is useful in an aquarium situation.

I have used the granulated form as a water conditioner but it is quite expensive. 

I would greatly appreciate any comments on the suitability of the latter three forms, especially for water conditioning, as I have been confused about this for some time.  I think the moss form would be the easiest to manage, followed by the bricks or pellets, but I suspect it is the dirt like form that is useful.

Stuart Williamson

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