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Re: Peat usage

"Hacksent Naltler" <niloticus at hotmail_com> wrote:
> i need to know how to use peat, what kind to buy, what to expect of it, 
> and how well and/or fast it works to soften water.  i have tried the 
> packing it into a fluval 203 but it had no affect on a 20 gallon after 
> two days of flow.

If you are using peat to "soften" or treat your aquarium water or as an
addition to the substrate, I recommend that you use the ordinary
Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss (CSPM) which is sold cheaply in large bags
at gardening stores. There are other types of peat which are more
fibrous, higher in cellulose content (woodier), which are useful for
killiefish breeding but I use only CSPM for my killies. It breaks down
sooner than the expensive peat but I only need it to last 6 months for
the egg layers and then I can replace it. Buried in the substrate under
low oxygen conditions, it won't break down very much at all.

If you are using it to treat water for fish, you should be more
concerned about the pH (which is affected by carbonate concentration)
than mineral content. Peat affects both pH and mineral content but
doesn't change the carbonate content. Do you care? no. The pH effect is
the important one and it occurs within a few hours if you have enough
peat. You can also boil peat (smelly) to extract the humic acid. If your
tap water has a lot of carbonate, then it may take quite a bit of peat
extract to bring the pH down. Some people use a large barrel of water
with peat to precondition the water change water to the desired pH
level. I've never done this but I think someone said it takes several
days to happen.

Peat also tends to grab calcium and magnesium from your water thus
reducing the mineral hardness. I guess that the mineral hardness of the
water also affects the water/electrolyte balance in the fish however
this is something which the fish become acclimated to over time. Perhaps
someone more expert on fish physiology could make a comment or
correction. The important factor is probably to provide a consistent
supply of water of constant conditions. Avoid rapid changes in the water
parameters!! If your LFS is using tap water, then you probably should

Steve Pushak                              Vancouver, BC, CANADA 

Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page"      http://home.infinet.net/teban/
 for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!