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Re: peat

Neil Frank wrote:
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<<

See James, you spoke too soon! I cant argue with success, I can only go by
my experience and the warnings of other people. I think it was Steve Pushak
who warned me about using too much Peat...and I ignored his advice,
regretting it later.  I also seem to remember Peat being the old school
substrate for growing plants..back in the 60s. I remember reading in
outdated TFH books about this. I have cryps growing in small tanks with all
kinds of muck in the substrate, and they dont seem to mind it. When I
experimented with peat in these tanks I did have some dead spots with plants
that had black roots, but the thing I hated the most was the mess the peat
made everytime I would re-arrange the plants. I had about an inch and a half
of sphagnum peat with 2" of 2mm gravel on top.

Robert Paul H