[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Peat Questions

>From: "Robert H" <robertpaulh at earthlink_net>
> However, even spahgnum peat
>should be used very sparingly in the substrate. The last thing you want is
>any concentration of decaying organic matter in the substrate. Things can go
>foul pretty quickly, particularly if the substrate becomes compact. I used
>peat "plates" for the aquarium and within six months they turned jet black,
>smelled like rotten eggs, and created or contributed to large dead zones in
>my substrate.
>When I later used sphagnum, I only sprinkled a couple of handfulls across
>the bottom of the tank. The main benifit it holds is providing some CEC and
>enough organic acid to bring some minerals into solution. If you use enough
>to alter the pH of the water, you have far too much in the substrate.

I have a 70 gallon tank in operation now for ~7 years with a sphagnum peat
moss substrate. I used a HUGE quantity of peat -- the bottom 1.5 inch layer
is 50% peat/50% coarse sand. This is covered by another inch of plain
coarse sand. I used so much peat that I did not bother first soaking it....
it came straight from the large bag. This tank has been EXTREMELY
successful. The first 5 years of operation, it did not require any
supplemental CO2!! When the tank went into decline at that time, I finally
figured out that there no longer was enough organic decomposition to
provide CO2. The substrate did not seem to get compacted.  I only lightly
gravel washed it 3 or so times in its history. If the bottom layer is
anerobic, healthy plants with thick roots certainly don't care. I was first
disappointed that the initial planting of crypts and chain swords quickly
converted into a primarily chain sword tank (I picked peat to pease the
crypts); the several varieties of crypts went "underground" and then
re-emerged in year 2 or 3 to my delight. They still come and go. I love
those types of surprises. BTW, this is the tank featured in the premiere
issue of PAM.