Peat... How thick?
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Substrate


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-03-2004, 01:59 PM   #1
Tres
Algae Grower
 
Tres's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 93
Default

Peat... How thick?


I've done a lot of poking around, and I've seen where some people recommend using a thin layer of Peat under eco-complete to help keep the PH down.
This fits right into the scheme of things in my blackwater tank with various valisnera, cardinals, and rams.

I am changeing the substrate soon (next week) from Shults Aquatic Soil to eco-complete. I consider it an "upgrade"... albiet an expensive one.

Back to topic.. every post I have ever seen reguarding this subject exclaims "Use only a thin layer!!!"

My question is... how thin? 1/4 inch? 1 inch? 1/8 inch?

My setup will be:

46 gallon bowfront

4 - 6 inches of eco-complete cover "thin" layer of peat. (exactly how thin???) (eco-complete 4 inches up front sloping to 6 inches in back)

90 watts pro life sunlight spectrum bulbs (Had 120 watts, but the plants were growing so fast they were using up all the nutrients and CO2 and I was getting PH increases... much better balance with 90 watts and PH is back to normal ranges, along with nutrients... plants growing pretty fast but not 12 inches a week...)

Airstone timed to come one when the lights go out, and go off when the lights (also timed) come on.

Fluval 304 with sponges and peat bags... nothing else...

10 watt UV sterilizer inline with exit hose of fluval 304.

@12 Jungle Val at back of tank and sides.. pruning 6 inches / week
@15 smaller, spiral Vals .. no pruning , removing 1 new runner from each plant every 2 weeks..
Some sort of low lying unidentified carpet plant for the open center area... pruning slightly, weekly.
@30 cardinal tetras
4 german blue high fin long fin rams
2 clown pleco's
2 clown loaches .. to be removed soon now that only trumpet snails remain.
2 ottocinclus .. all that survived
Tres is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-05-2004, 10:11 PM   #2
Fosty
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Fosty's Avatar
 
PTrader: (30/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Lancaster, PA USA
Posts: 774
Default

I am just starting to use peat myself ( literally bought a bag of peat 8 minutes ago and was about to start setting up a new tank). I don't have any first hand experience, but I have heard that you should sprinkle just enough peat on the bottom of the tank so you don't see the bottom glass much. It should be very thin. Good Luck!
__________________
Filstar Pimp #26
38 Gallon
20 Gallon Long

"keep on keepin' on!"
Fosty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2004, 07:46 AM   #3
edo
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Alhambra, CA
Posts: 75
Send a message via AIM to edo
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tres

Airstone timed to come one when the lights go out, and go off when the lights (also timed) come on.
why would u need the airstone? is it for the dark process that plants go through at night when they use oxygen? and is it that important?

also, how does peat help?
edo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2004, 01:20 PM   #4
Tres
Algae Grower
 
Tres's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 93
Default

I use the airstone because I have a fairly heavy load of fish. The heavy load of plants does reduce the need for additional oxygen for the fish, but if the airstone is turned off for a couple of days they are left gasping.

I leave the airstone on at night because I dont want it removing the CO2 during the day, when the plants are using it.

From my limited knowledge of how peat works, it decomposes , creating "blackwater" conditions if placed in a filter, and lowering the PH.
I can only gues that the reason to put it under your substrate is to both help keep rising PH levels in check (Eco-Complete supposedly will raise your PH) and to jumpstart the process of "maturing" your substrate.
It is of course organic in nature and so therefore beneficial for its nutrient value to plants as well.

I am an Ameture at this, so if any pros feel inclined to correct me or elaborate, please do so
Tres is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 08:04 PM   #5
Clone
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Clone's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Lockport, NY
Posts: 655
Default

In my opinion peat is more trouble than its worth. It suppresses the pH which makes impossible to determine your CO2 concentration. It may have been a coincidence but I had all kinds of algae problems after I introduced it to my tank.

My peat "experiment" consisted of using 2 peat pillows (the kind gardeners use to start seeds early) in a terrace I built in the corner of my tank. The pillows worked themselves to the surface. Every time I would try to rebury them I would create a bigger mess with peat billowing out all over the rest of my tank. I eventually used a python to suck all the peat out of the tank. My tank parameters are back to normal and the algae has largely receded.
Clone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 08:11 PM   #6
Tres
Algae Grower
 
Tres's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 93
Default

In my case, most of my fish prefer to have the ph "suppressed".
The plants grow so fast that I'm certain they get more than enough CO2, Light, and nutrients.
My tap water tends to increase the ph, and from what I have heard so does Eco-Complete... so anything that keeps the PH below 7.0, preferably right around 6.4, is a good thing.
But thats just my tank... keeping african cichlids in a tank with peat would of course yeild undesirable results.... I'm sure many setups do well without peat, or are harmed by it.
When trying to duplicate blackwater conditions, however, its almost a must have.
Tres is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2004, 12:15 AM   #7
SCMurphy
PT Biologist
 
SCMurphy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 3,213
Default

The thing about 'blackwater', there aren't any submerged vascular plants in blackwater areas. If you have to use peat in the substrate, something I honestly don't recommend, just use a handful per 10 gallons. It isn't supposed to be for the water conditions, it's for the plant roots. It is supposed to supply the needed nutrients and some CO2 to the plants as the establish themselves in the new tanks.

Peat messes with the water hardness, absorbing some of the general hardness and supplying acids which tend to reduce the temporary hardness. Are you going to be using CO2 on this tank? This is the prefered way to reduce the pH of a planted tank.
__________________
Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
SCMurphy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2004, 09:36 PM   #8
fedge
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
fedge's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Iowa, USA
Posts: 460
Default

Yah ... I used peat on my 20 gallon and got a lot of algae the next day... coincedence, ???? Maybe. I would stay away from it... just use a good plant substrate (there are other cheaper varieties to try out I am sure)..

If you want.. dose a tiny bit of blackwater extract to the water every so often ( you can make this by pouring or filtering boiling water through a conatiner of peat.. takes a lot of time to do this I did that and took me about an hour to get a gallon of the brown juice that was properly filtered{no floaties}), once your plants are WELL established. This may add some micro/macro nutrients to the water column.. or not.. or just save it and make an in home herb garden and water the herbs with used tank water...
__________________
Help control the pet population...spay or neuter people won't spay or neuter their dogs or cats!
fedge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2004, 05:11 PM   #9
Fosty
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Fosty's Avatar
 
PTrader: (30/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Lancaster, PA USA
Posts: 774
Default

I found that when I put a 1/2 inch layer of playsand overtop of the peat, and then put the gravel on top, none of the peat came to the surface and it was never stirred up. The roots of the plants in this tank grew great in this tank once they reached this layer, and as long as it was not stirred up, it didn't have any problems, and there wasn't any algae. On the other hand, the other tank I put it in didn't have sand over it, just the Shults Aquatic Soil, and a lot of the peat floated up. Once it floated up, I had all kinds of algae problems. If you are planning on having 4-6 inches of eco complete, I don't think peat would really help, its probally more effective if its used with regular gravel or sand, things that don't have any nutrients in them to start with. Also, it would be very hard to add to a pre-existing tank that already has water in it.
__________________
Filstar Pimp #26
38 Gallon
20 Gallon Long

"keep on keepin' on!"
Fosty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2004, 05:18 PM   #10
secretagent
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
secretagent's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: DAYTONA BEACH FL
Posts: 406
Default

I agree with Fosty! I have peat one of my tanks and am VERY satisfied! I had Peat, sand, and a sand Liter mix, then sand! It worked WONDERS! Well even though people said to use a THIN layer I did more than I should have with no side affects! Well Best of luck to ya!
__________________
_______________________________________

La la la la
I live in my own little world, but thats ok, they know me here...
______________________________________

Man! Good to be back! I have been soo consumed with my saltwater tank and school it's just so sad to let my empty fishtanks go to waste!

----SO LETS GET IT ON!----
Back to the Good side We shall travel!
secretagent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 05:15 AM   #11
Tres
Algae Grower
 
Tres's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 93
Default

Its been a while since I changed the substrate, so I'm back for a progress report...

Firstly, the main reason I changed from shultz aquatic soil to eco-complete is that after many months of hand wringing and hair pulling, I decided that the aquatic soil was leaking phosphates into the water.

When I changed the soil, I kept ALL of the water and filter medium, so there wasnt a noticable "cycling period".. and the best part is the posphates fell from "off the chart" (more than 5 mg/L), to "0.25 mg/L" within a few days.
So, in that sense, it was a complete success!
(Note to self, never use shultz aquatic soil again)

I decided to use 1/2 inch of spaghnum peat underneath the eco-complete, and I continued to use about 2 handfulls of it in a nylon stocking in the fluval 304.
I havent had any problems with algae that my few vegetarian fish couldnt handle quickly.

I havent noticed any difference in the ph levels... steady at 6.4 like my Rams like it.
I am drawn to one of 2 conclusions:
1) Eco-Complete does raise ph, and the peat is countering that effect..
2) Eco-complete does not raise ph, and the peat isnt having any effect on the ph either....

The more I think about it, the more I am leaning towards scenario 1, because past experience tells me peat will quickly lower ph values.
But then, I am an ameture, not a chemist.. for all I know, peat lowers ph to 6.4 and stops having any effect after that, making all of my ideas on the subject false, lol
Tres is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 12:41 PM   #12
Rex Grigg
Planted Tank Guru
 
Rex Grigg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (65/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland Orygun
Posts: 9,600
Send a message via ICQ to Rex Grigg Send a message via AIM to Rex Grigg
Default

I have never seen the Eco-Complete mess with water chemistry. Since peat is a natural product it's very possible that you have some weak peat.

BTW, you are not the first person to have phosphate problems with the Schultz/Profile.
Rex Grigg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 05:57 PM   #13
Ibn
Planted Tank VIP
 
Ibn's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 3,212
Default

I don't know how messy it will be in the long term, especially with plants that have deep root systems (about to find out, since I'm gonna move some crypts).

As for how deep, I didn't really stuck with convention. My current substrate depth is around 5" deep all around. The peat sits on the very bottom and is 1" deep. On top of that is 3" of fluorite, which is topped off with 1" of playsand.

BTW, if you're trying to duplicate blackwater conditions, the peat isn't as effective as other means (using RO to lower pH/hardness and then adding BW extract if you want the color). The selection of fish that you currently have do not require such conditions (other than the cardinals if they're wild caught, and only if you're considering breeding them in their own tank), especially those German rams...
__________________
Eric

Ibn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2004, 04:58 AM   #14
Tres
Algae Grower
 
Tres's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 93
Default

All the fish are happy... to the point where the rams are laying eggs every few weeks. I think the MTS are getting the eggs, or perhaps the water is a bit too hard for them.
The fish are all brilliantly colored... In the case of the rams I have never ever seen rams with so many blue streaks, bright red fins and such... the cardinals are huge... more than an inch long, with nice fat white bellies.

I would love to use R/O water, or even distilled water, but at $1.00 - $1.50 a gallon, I'll stick to conditioning my tap water, especialy since the fish and plants are doing so well.
Tres is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2004, 05:31 AM   #15
Rolo
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 1,717
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tres
I decided that the aquatic soil was leaking phosphates into the water.

When I changed the soil...the best part is the posphates fell from "off the chart" (more than 5 mg/L), to "0.25 mg/L" within a few days.
So, in that sense, it was a complete success!
(Note to self, never use shultz aquatic soil again)
Ha! I'm right there with you! If you need invincible phosphate problems, go out and buy Schultz Profile. Out of the tap I had 0.2ppm. In the tank with profile, 2.4ppm that never went down.
__________________
Rolo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
having trouble with peat moss etc... phillip Substrate 10 06-17-2005 03:45 PM
Safe/reliable way to lower pH? (w/o CO2) Peat? ^iMp^ Fertilizers and Water Parameters 6 02-07-2004 03:40 PM
Peat and KH Verminaard Fertilizers and Water Parameters 8 12-23-2003 09:26 PM
Peat in the Filter jojomichael General Planted Tank Discussion 4 11-20-2003 08:36 PM
peat in my filter? how much? tony-da-tiger General Planted Tank Discussion 10 08-16-2003 05:29 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012