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Re: Peats substitute

Joo Tan wrote:
>     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?

Not all tree leaves are good to use in aquariums especially if they were
green when they fell from the tree. Try to find leaves which turned
brown still on the tree and then dropped off. There are some articles in
the back issues of TAG on the use of tree leaves especially beech leaves
for Crypts. The problems with leaves are toxins and excess nutrients.
When the leaf turns brown on the tree, the plant has removed most of the
nutrients from the leaf. You can also crush the leaves and soak them in
water to help leach out excess nutrients and dissolved organics. It
could take about a month for bacterial growth to maximize decomposition
and assist in the break down of labile organic material so its important
to use leaves that do not contain much nutrients. You may not need to
use very much; a cup of crushed, dried leaves mixed into the substrate
may be quite sufficient. Or you can put it into a bag so it can be
removed if you decide its too strong.

Maybe you can find a mail order source for sphagnum peat that won't be
as expensive as the peat plates sold in aquarium retail outlets. Or
maybe you can get somebody to mail some to you if you cover the cost of
postage. I get peat in large bales for use around the yard and garden. I
also use it as a medium for worm culture.

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!!!