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Re: peat

> Tom, last month you wrote an APD entry describing how to set up a Flourite
> substrate.  You recommended putting a thin layer of ground peat on top of a
> layer of detritus/mulm.  My question is this: will this small amount of peat
> make my water more acidic or brown-colored, or does this only happen with
> substrates that are mainly peat?  What function does this thin layer of peat
> perform?
> Thanks,
> Jennifer in Austin

Not really on top, just mixed in the bottom inch or so.
The amount of peat relative to the tank size is small. The amount of water
changes are large. 
There is some effect, such as if you used onyx + peat, it essentially
cancels the other out.

My KH /GH have stayed exactly the same with the peat + onyx sand ratio and
water change routine. I thought I'd miss some but I seem to have added the
right amounts of each.

Doing 50% weekly water changes removes most of the effects of the peat
within a month or two. So it helps jump start the tank a little.

But the main reasons is for some small amount of organic matter/humics which
is lacking in a new substrate.
A little is fine and will not hurt, folks seem to get carried away thinking
more is better. If you replant a lot and have a fast growing tank, this is
bad and messy. A little bit on the very bottom will not cause too much fuss.

Some of the best aquascapes around use this same type of recipe.
Something with bacteria, decomposers, humics, a little organic material, not
too much, good nutrient exchange capacity/porous surface area and iron rich

It has pretty much everything a nice mature planted tank substrate has.

I don't like brown, tannic waters for planted tanks. I find it very
unaesthetic. Something about it screams water change.

Tom Barr