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Re: "H" and the Peat solution
As far as I know, peat is not known to release chemicals which inhibit
algae... so it is different than decaying straw. Peat can lower pH which
can change the the conditions favoring certain microscopic flora and will
encourage many vascular plants to grow which in turn can make life
difficult for algae. Peat can also stain the water, at least temporarily.
I read an article on this which appeared to be quite professionally written
and of course I can't seem to find it right now. I believe their thinking
was that the action of sunlight alters humic acids released to form
compounds that inhibit the growth of algae. So, I don't see why barley straw
is not the same as peat in this regard except that the lighting in an
aquarium is not usually as strong as sunlight.