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Peats substitute

Hello folks,

    Currently I've newly setup an Amazon biotope plant tank.  It's about 55 gallons with DIY C02 and 140 watts of fluorescent light.  The pH is around 6.8 and temperature bout 30 Celcius.  I intend put half a dozen of discus into it.  At the moment, the tank house 20 neon tetras, 10 cardinal tetras, 4 ottos (2 had died within a day of purchase) and about 10 shrimps for scavenging.  I live in Malaysia and the shrimps are meant for live fish food.  I've got no idea what sort of shrimps are they.  Anyone got any idea what shrimps are those?  They are transparent in colour.

    Now here's the main question, I wanted to add peats into my tank but they are quite expensive.  I'm thinking of using dried leaves as a substitute.  The LFSs use the dried leaves of a kind of tree which are found abundant here for tanning the water.  Is it ok to add those leaves into the tank?  Is there any other cheap alternative?  According to some peat products description, peats retard algae growth.  How concentrated should it be in order to retard them without retarding my plants?

Thanks in advance.


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