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RE: Peat filtration

G. Kadar is wondering about peat filtration...

I believe that there are a number of things that peat can do to your water,
softening and acidifying being the ones most usually mentioned. Peat also
contains, and will leach, tannins which will color the water. You may or may
not want this - the tannin can be removed by Carbon filtration, but is
probably best done outside of your tank (before you add the water to your
aquarium, as Carbon can also affect micronutrients). If you want further
information on the effects of tannins - go to Dupla's website and into the
information areas. I had asked a question about the effect of tannins last
year and the folks at Dupla had it answered by an expert, Dr. Gerd
Kassebeer, from Germany. His translated response is archived on the Dupla

You were asking about commercial liquid "peat extracts". There are any
number of these on the market (Tetra's Black Water Conditioner probably
being one of the most common). These appear to be basically "teas" or
"tinctures" and should acidify and color the water but I doubt that they
would be able to affect the Hardness of the water. Peat's ability to remove
the minerals responsible for hardness is a contact sport - the water
probably has to be in direct physical contact with the peat fibers for this
reaction to occur.

As to whether your proposed use of a twin column device with flow-through
would work, I'd venture to guess that this would depend upon two factors -
the rate of flow, and thus the actual contact time of the peat fibers and
your water, and the quality of the peat. Like the term "clay", peat can mean
different things to different people. When I speak of "peat", I
refer to Sphagnum Moss, the kind sold in garden centers usually labelled
"Canadian Peat Moss" or "Canadian Sphagnum Moss". It is a 100% natural
product which is dug out of the bogs that occur all over this huge frozen
country. No additives, no fertilizers, very little processing other than
drying and perhaps grinding into finer grades. It would only take a little
time and a few test kits for you to determine the effectiveness of your
setup - measure the GH and pH of your input water and then measure the GH
and pH of the effluent. If not enough of a change is noticed, decrease the
rate of flow-through until you are getting the results that you want.
Remember that you will have to monitor the quality of the effluent
regularly, peat has only so much capacity in this sort of situation (again,
probably depending upon the quality and quantity of the peat used.

But "peat" occurs all over the world - I do not know if it all comes from
the same plant and I don't know if all peats have the same properties. Go to
AltaVista or any other search engine and enter in peat or sphagnum as search
terms - there sould be plenty of information available.

James Purchase