Re: peat; good success??

>The point of using earthworm castings is to provide a high quality,
>fully composted humus. It would be useful for Aponogetons, Ludwigia
>and other species which tolerate a rich substrate. If used in moderation
>it would also do well for a general purpose substrate and would be very
>similar to plain dirt or topsoil. It has the (possible) advantage over
>potting soil in that it does not contain uncomposted organics such as
>peat. Of course, Neil Frank is using a peat and vermiculite substrate with
>good success. 

When I said I used peat and vermiculite substrate, I said it was better than
vermiculite and top soil (and I think the particular top soil was too rich
with trace elements, so this was not a definitive comparison).

>Neil, is that substrate designed for a specific type of
>plants or kind of general purpose? What was the composition again?

I mixed the verm/peat/and coarse sand in a mix of 1/1/2. I decided to try
peat because I have read that cryts like an acid substrate. and received
advice to do so from some experts. I have since decided that submersed
crypts do as well or better using a loamy soil including decomposed tree
leaves which I find in my back yard. I also have 2 other tanks with peat
(one set up for almost 3 years) with bottom half of peat + coarse sand
(1:1). The tank is doing well, but is not growing the crypts to my
satisfaction. On the other hand, the chain swords thrive in it.

I am not really very knowledgable about organic matter. What is the
difference between composted organic matter and peat (partially decomposed
sphagnum moss), especially after several years under water?