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[APD] RE: Candy's tank: Peat and how to measure the CO2.

>I have read that the correct way to do this is to mix the laterite in the
bottom 1/3 layer of gravel and cap it with more gravel. I have also read
that it is a good thing to >add some peat in the same layer as the laterite
but am not sure exactly how much. I assume 2 good dry handfuls for a 55
gallon tank would be about right? (I would >pre-wet it before using)

Yes, 2-3 would do and pre wettting it a week or so would help.
Vacuum old gravel, save the "dirt" that settles, add this as soon as you
set up the tank(not a week before like the peat) and mix this along with
the peat/laterite real good in the bottom inch or so, then cap with the

>I can not get profile clay soil conditioner here in redneckville, but they
do have the aquatic plant soil (in the 10 pound bags only) Should I add
some of this to the first >layer also? If so how much?

You could if you want, I'd not add the laterite then.
3 bags would do well. You can mix some sand to give it weight. then cap
with 2 inches or so of sand.  

>I am aware that it does contain ca and mg that can harden the water some.
I already have to use about 1/3 RO water to dilute my tap to something less
than liquid 
>rock (330-350ppm out of tap), would the peat sort of even out the excess
hardness added by the profile? Since I have to haul in RO water for water
changes I don't >want to have to use any more of it than I have to (not to
mention the price @35cents a gallon x about 30 gallons a week for all of my
tanks) which leads to another 

What do you think peat will do to the extra Ca/Mg?
It'll exchange it a little bit in the start and wear off after awhile. 
FWIW, FYI, I kept Cardinals/Rummy noses etc at 440ppm of hardness(GH), KH
of 10 so they will do okay if you give them a good home.
But they would like less, but it has and can be done, they don't die if you
look at them wrong after all.
RO cost too much in your case, I'd buy an RO but for YOU, not the fish:)

>I have read that you can use peat to soften water for changes to get out
of having to use RO water.
> But I have also read that it will mess up the ph/kh/co2 chart 
>because of the humic acid.

No, this is not quite true, you can make an adjustment to accounbt for the
drop in pH and use this adjust to slide down the CO2 scale to the
appropriate CO2 level.

A glass of tap water sitting for 24 hrs on the table has the same CO2
content as the peat treated glass of water. 
Both are in equilibrium with the air.
Measure the pH. Substract the difference. This is your adjustment
factor(say 0.4pH units)

This is simple and it WORKS, at least well enough to guess close enough to
the desired level of CO2.

So say you have a pH/KH combo 6.6pH and KH 4. After adding peat, the pH is
now adjust DOWN to 6.2 for that 0.4pH unit drop.

There's also another way for the hobbyist, but I will not get into that. 

>Is there a rule of thumb as to how much humic acid it takes to void the
ph/kh/co2 chart? 

>Would having peat in the substrate affect it? Is there any other way to
soften >hard water besides peat I have read the household water softening
pillows etc replace >the ca/mg with sodium ions and I am pretty sure my
tank does not need extra >sodium since out of tap its around 112ppm.

Not the amount I suggest to folks to add to their substrates.
RO would be better and simply buying one then you can drink it.

>If peat is used to soften the water is there any other way to guesstimate
co2 in a tank?

Yes, see above.

>I would love to run out and buy eco-complete locally if they had it, and
ordering it online the shipping is unreal so I am trying to make the best
of what I can get
> within my budget. I would rather try to find a workable way to do the
substrate and save the money to get a real co2 setup eventually to replace
the diy yeast I am 
>using now.

Try onyx sand, it works super and is cheaper. SeaChem is super company and
I wholely support them because they support us and have the best service of
any plant supply company I know of. That means something and when products
are similar, I know where my $ goes. 
You might want to email Greg/SeaChem and ask, often they will ship to
particular store close by you, if you have a special request.
They have done that for folks out in the sticks before. If you don't ask,
you don't get. You may want to do that later and use profile for now.  

>I would also like to be able to save that $11 a week I now spend on RO
water towards a co2 setup if I can figure out a way to soften the rock we
call water. Any 

Easy, don't use soft water fish, use hardy fish, go catch local fish, many
many fish are great for planted tanks and will do well in hard water.
When in Rome, eat pizza. Plants grow better in harder water anyway. 
Then water changes are easy.

Tom Barr

>NE Texas where rock comes in two forms solid and liquid.

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