Re:Peat, tinting

>From: George Booth <booth at hpmtlgb1_lvld.hp.com>
>Date: Wed, 06 Sep 1995 09:01:34 -0600
>Subject: Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #292 
>> From: krandall at world_std.com (Karen A Randall)
>> Peat in the substrate _does_ do the same thing.  I have been
>> experimenting with it in my Paludarium.  There is enough leaching from
>> the substrate to color the water quite significantly ... Don't know
>> how long the effect will last, but it's been in there 3 months now,
>> with 50% water changes weekly, and it's still cookin'.
>I'm amazed.  I would have thought peat would just lay there and
>moulder.  Is this common with folks who have peat in the substrate?

I have several peat tanks and I still think they provide a GREAT low tech
setup. They slightly color the water, but it is hardly noticeable in all of
my tanks except one in which I don't do any water changes and didn't cover
the peat with enough sand. 

   Limit the peat in the bottom half (50 /50, or less peat to sand ratio) 
   use clean sand in the upper half
   don't gravel wash the bottom
   don't use any any digging fish or creatures (malasian snails are OK)
   Boil or soak the peat to get it to stay submerged (boil if you are
impatient, not to sterilize; 
                                                      soaking in bucket will
take about a week) 

In my 3+ year old tank, the water is crystal clear. The fish love the acidic
 the catfish and dwarf cichlids are usually breeding. (Jason will soon add
some pictures of this tank to the AGA photo gallery) Peat also provides CO2
due to decompostion of organic matter and conversion from carbonates in
acidic environment. In the 8 mo. old tank, it still has a slight tint, but
it doesn't bother me. Ironically, my SAE grow the fastest in this tank
compared to all of my others. It must be the organic acids. Both of these
tanks get at least biweekly water changes. In the one without water changes,
the water is more tinted. But due to some small aquatic burrowing worms,
there is a 2 inch layer of peat on top of the sand.  However, the plants
don't mind one bit.


         Neil Frank, editor of The Aquatic Gardener
Visit the AGA home page at <http://blake.oit.unc.edu/~fish/aga/>