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Re: Peat plus flourite

> Dear all,
> I'm planning on redoing my 65 g into a nice planted aquarium for apistos. I
> wanted to place peatmoss with mulm from old tanks on the bottom, then
> fluorite, then sandblast gravel, for my substrate. But I've read that the
> peatmoss with clay substrates is a bad combination because it will lead to
> aluminum poisoning. Is there still a certain amount of peat moss I can place
> in the aquarium? or should I just scrap that idea in the first place? Anyway,
> any comments or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
> David

I've used peat for a long time. I've used flourite for a long time. This has
no practical bearing IME whatsoever. The rate of which the Al will leach out
would be too slow to cause much grief, especially with fast growers like
Aquatic plants. I have not tested for Al3+ but I have never had any reason
too(Poor plant growth or poor fish health). Neither have other folks with
Apisto's/semi soft water. If you do water changes you have little/less build
up of anything unless it's in the source tap water.
I have never seen any evidence for this happening to any degree in any
aquariums to date. Have you? Plant have wide ranges of tolerances.
There a good book on the "Biochemistry of Humic Waters". Yep, some poor sole
has dedicated an entire book to the topic. I don't recall any Al toxicity
issues but that would be a good place to look.

For a climax forest acid rain can apparently cause this to happen. Fog
droplets in southern CA can reach a pH of 1.7 from SO2 and NOx. Fast growing
species(like our plants) plus the buffering of the tank's water should not
cause any issues. Acidification is fine as long as not too much. Capping the
top with sand would decrease the exchange(and increase the anaerobic
condition and acid production/build up). I'd pass on that.  Adding peat to
the filter instead would be yet another solution.
Leaf sap of fast growing water plants may have a better internal buffering
against Al+3 and other acids than the studies may indicate from other plants
such as trees(my personal bet).

If you decide to keep apisto's and plants don't try to make the water KH of
0-2 and a pH of 6.0. Try to do it around KH 3-4 and pH of 6.4-6.8 instead.
That will make both groups happy. You will find much less issue then with
all sorts of things. Healthy plants will equal healthy fish. Poorly growing
plants but supposed nice conditions for fish is a BAD idea. Discus folks try
this monkey business all the time.
If they (the plants) are "just for looks" get plastic. If they are live...
try to keep them that way.

Unless they growing, aquatic plants are not helping your tank unless the
plants are for fish food. They rot and die.

 Rotting plants, adding CO2 to poorly buffered water(plus the associated CO2
removal/uptake by the plants-independent of what your adding in a poorly
buffered system) causing pH swings, having to deal with algae issues and
other associated hassles are not worth it. Your fish and plants will be
better off and your pocket book. Many folks will do more harm playing the
razor's edge with the buffering system and peat. This is just a scene
waiting for fish death at sometime in the future or at the very least some
fish stress.

So don't worry about Al3+ and worry about keeping the plants healthy and
fulfilling their needs. They fish will be fine. Feed them good varied diets,
acclimate slowly and well and they should live for many years in a planted
tank. Personally I do add a handful of ground peat to every tank set up I do
these days. Haven't been Aluminum foiled yet:) Need more theory check out
the book and the search engines. The practical side is that it is not an
Tom Barr