Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
I have been doing this for a long time, but a slightly different method.
I use the Rubbermaid Brute garbage cans, with wheels. (I have 3 cans, 20, 32 and 44 gallons)
I put a Knee-Hi nylon stocking full of peat moss in the can (1 knee hi per any size can) and fill with water. Add dechlor.
I start with water the right temperature from the tap, a blend of hot and cold.
I turn on a fountain pump and let it run overnight. Pump is set up in the middle on the bottom and aimed straight up. At first I connected a vinyl tube to the fountain pump outlet and aimed it right into the stocking, but I found that I did not have to do that. Just drifting in the water, the stocking of peat moss does its job just fine. Be very careful that the inlet to the pump is protected. The nylon stocking is very stretchy and can get sucked right into the pump's impeller.
If the house is cool I will drop an aquarium heater into the middle of the water to keep it warm. Or, if I want a blend of prepared water + tap, I will mix it at the last minute with hot tap water.
I can get 3-4 uses out of the peat moss, but it takes longer to brew as the peat moss ages.
Peat moss acts like an ion exchange water softener. It donates H+ to the water and removes Ca++, Mg++ and other things. There is a limit to how low a pH this will make the water, but in peat bogs, where the peat and water are in contact for a lot longer the pH can be as low as 3.5. Peat bogs are a giant version of the same principle: Water trickles in slowly, meets thousands of cubic yards of peat moss then trickles out slowly.
This is a permanent change in the water. However, if there is something in your tank that adds minerals to the water (Limestone, coral or other things) then the water can get harder, pH rise. This is not a problem with the peat treated water, it is something in your tank. If this is happening, the GH or KH rising in the tank, then I would test each item separately to see what is doing that to the water.
I keep peat moss in the filters for a little bit of fine tuning, but the small amount of peat moss in the filter is nowhere near enough to handle the amount of water that I would add for a water change, and I do not want that variation going on in the tank. I want the new water to already be right for the livestock.
Last edited by Diana; 09-20-2012 at 02:45 PM.