How does peat soften water?
Does adding a peat "layer" to a filtration system lower GH or KH more effectively (or both the same, or neither?) and by what mechanism does this occur?
The reason I ask is because I have a recently set up tank where I just discovered that I used a reactive sand as a substrate (should have known better than to think that sand would be inert with all the limestone in my area--Michigan) and am wondering what to do with my water. I've had a KH test kit that I've been using since day 1, and the levels have been pretty consistently in the 6.5-7 dKH range, with a pH ranging from 6.9-7.1. Have been unable to find a GH kit, so finally broke down and got a bottle of test strips that reflect a GH of over 300 ppm. The tank is a well lit 20g and I am injecting pressurized CO2.
Would it make sense for me to filter through peat to try and get the GH to a reasonable level? Or would the potential for danger or throwing something else out of whack be too great? The animals (Otos, Rummies, pygmy cories, Amano shrimp) and plants all seem to be doing well, and the current conditions will only last as long as it takes to find and set up a new tank to move them to so I can dig out and replace the offending sand, so if I can just wait it out and keep up with water changes for the next week or two, please let me know.
However, if anyone does have information regarding the original question about the mechanism by which peat filtering lowers hardness, it would be great to know for posterity if nothing else.