Re: Source for Peat

>From: Charley Bay <charleyb at hpgrla_gr.hp.com>
>Date: Thu, 7 Sep 95 9:52:02 MDT
>Subject: Source for Peat, where to put it.
> Is any peat moss from the garden shop ok?  I 
>understand that something high in phosphorous or undecayed
>organic matter can be a problem...
>I'm looking here at "Peat Plates" (3 for $4.89) in the Pet
>Warehouse catalog.  They are essentially being advertised
>as a growing medium for plant roots.  Is this the way to
>go?  Sounds kind of expensive.

I mostly use peat from the garden store - sphagnum peat moss which comes
from northern michigan or Canada, and is sold in those large bags (1 or 3
liters, I think).  Make sure that herbicides or fungicides are not added. If
it doesn't say, then they are not there. I was skeptical about this at
first, but many killie breeders assured me this was perfectly safe. If I
have time, I throw a bunch in a 5 gallon bucket of water and let it soak for
a week or so, until it sinks. I separate the small bits of twig and other
litter that still float, and then mix the submerged material with coarse
sand. If I am in a hurry, I boil some for 20-30 minutes which accelerates
the process. Peat decomposes very slowly, probably because of the acidic
environment. So, the amount of nutrients it releases is more controlled than
other organic materials.

I have also used the Hagen plates. I started using them 15 or more years ago
when I was looking for a "safe" variety of peat to use. I thought that you
had to buy your aquarium products at a aquarium shop or else it would not be
good for your tank. <g> Nevertheless, I still sometimes use these compressed
peat plates to this day, and sometimes in combination with the other peat; I
think their advantage over the peat moss is in providing an anaerobic zone
within the substrate where the roots can derive some of the reduced iron
(Fe+2) and other nutrients they may need. 

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