Why only a thin layer of peat? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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Why only a thin layer of peat?

I'm planning on using some peat moss underneath my Flourite Sand, and I've always read to use just enough to cover the bottoms (ie: a very thin layer). But why not use more?

The reason I ask is because the one person (Tom Barr) who's actually explained from a more scientific point of view why we use peat in the first place, mentions to use a good 1" layer. You can find his post about this here: http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...=2548#post2548
But for some reason everywhere else I read to use very little. So I'm wondering which method would be best to follow ... or maybe somewhere in between?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 03:57 AM
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Peat can dump tons of tannic acid into the tank. Depending on how buffered your tank is (kH) this could cause a pretty dramatic pH shift, not to mention turn the water brown. Blackwater tanks are great for many fish species, though the tannins also block light so can be hard on plants.

A friend of mine used lots of peat in the substrate when he was breeding Apistos. The pH of the tank ran around 5.0. Killie breeders also often use peat as substrate, and the Killies lay their eggs there.

Most people who add peat to their substrate in planted tanks are doing it as a little bit of a nutrient boost for the plants and don't want it to affect their water parameters or color up their water (using peat in the filter is easier if the goal is to create a blackwater environment, since it's easier to access and replace the peat as needed).

So you can use more in the substrate if you'd like- as long as you have a goal in mind and understand how it is likely to affect your water parameters.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 12:12 PM
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On a similar vein, will peat buried under the substrate still really affect the PH that much over time as long as it isnt disturbed? How much will leach through a couple inches of eco-complete? Is peat only a temporary nutrient boost? I am putting water in my tank tomorrow and was planning on a thicker layer I might need to go get another bag of eco-complete if peat is really that rough and bad.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 07:19 PM
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peat is an organic fertilizer, it will rot if you put in too thick a layer and go anaerobic. you dont want this.

if it is under the substrate it doesnt really have such an impact on your water parameters.

i think you misread the sentence...

Originally Posted by Tom Barr
Diamond black is the stuff.
Add roughly 1" or peat or add 3/4" of DB leonardite.
You can add a dusting of peat into the leonardite + mulm.
Then cap that with flourite/onyx sand etc.
i think he meant add 1" of diamond black, further down he still mentions a dusting of peat...

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 01:59 AM
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I have used Peat moss by itself in a tank, and it was not fun. It sinks as long as there is no water movement, or only a small filter, but every tine I cleaned the tank (not gravel vac (peat moss vac?), just a water change and a quick swipe at any algae on the front glass) the peat drifted back up into the water. Then there was a rim of peat moss at the water line, while most of it sank back down over about 24 hours.

I have peat moss in several filters. Not a problem.

I have a paludarium with peat moss and carnivorous plants. Works just fine.

It simply does not work too great as an only substrate in a tank. Fine for Killie breeders, and others who want it for specific fish, it can be worked with, it is not THAT bad. Just not for me.

As for using some under other substrates, I have heard of using it just as enough organic matter until the tank starts generating its own. This happens pretty fast, so a light dusting is all it needs.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 02:16 AM
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I wouldn't use Peat as a first layer. IMO peat should be filtered. I think it breaksdown rather quick and the trace elements contained in it will be exausted. Then you will have a first layer of nothing. I would still use a Laterite of somesort as a first layer.
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