Granulated peat follow-up

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: ganders1 at sage_nrri.umn.edu (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Subject: Granulated Peat
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
Date: Fri, 6 Sep 1996 12:15:11 -0500 (CDT)

Wow!  Thanks to all of you who have responded.  I will be replying to all
of you personally, but I figured I should send this out first.

I will be sending the granulated peat to all of you who have responded. 
But one thing I need to stress is that NO ONE HAS EVER TRIED WHAT YOU ARE
GOING TO BE DOING BEFORE.  Not even us.  I think some of you will find a
use for it in ways I would have never thought of.  But what concerns me is
that there are some of you with just a few tanks or you are setting up a
new tank and want to try it.  I'd feel pretty bad if the stuff I sent you
killed off a tankful of your prized plants.  I just want to make sure
everyone understands that the granulated peat has NEVER been used in this
application before, and I'm making no claims about how it will work.  

I will be contacting everyone who responded shortly, but there were some
fairly common questions that I would like to answer just once here.

1.  Phosphates/dissolved phosphorus:  The peat granules have a tendency to
remove these from the water, which I understand is good because it
inhibits algae growth.  In some one of our stormwater runoff tests we
achieved 70 percent removal of phosphorus.  In our experimental septic
systems we get about 55 percent removal.  The addition of calcium
carbonate to the peat improves phosphorus removal, but I have no idea what
that would do to your aquariums.  I think it might have a pH buffering
effect, but I am probably wrong.

2.  Color leaching/"tannin" leaching:  We make granules out of several
types of peat.  The more decomposed a peat is, the more color leaching you
will get.  The Sphagnum peat granules do not leach very much, whereas reed
sedge peat granules have an initial dark color leach.  The amount of color
leached varies by the pH of the water, and decreases with pH.  It does not
leach color at pH 3, but leaches badly above 8.  In any case the color
leaching decreases over time.  What I suggested to the fish people was to
hit the granules with boiling water and let them soak for a day or two,
then rinse them.  This takes care of much of the color that will leach.  

3.  Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC):  The barium CEC for the granulated
peat ranges from 150 for smaller granules to 100 for larger ones.  

4.  Iron (Fe+2????):  From what I gather, the important form of Fe for
your plants is the +2 form.  We have added concentrated taconite to the
peat granules before because the iron in the taconite helps to chelate
anions (and because we have lots of iron ore here in northern MN).  My
background is chemical engineering, and not biology, so could someone help
me with what form of iron or what iron compound we could incorporate into
the granules would be most beneficial for you?  

I think those were the big questions.

Thank you for your help.