Originally Posted by 150EH
I know I've read that it would be a very thin layer 1/4" or so. The following is quote from Peter Hiscock's Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants: Peat is often promoted as a partial substrate for aquatic plants. Much like a combination of soil and nutrient-rich substrates, peat is very high in organic matter and provides plants with a wealth of nutrients. However, it tends to release some nutrients quickly, which can encourage algae, so it may not be suitable for long term use.
I think what he's saying is yes it's OK, but the nutrient are going to be gone so fast that your just going to have a layer of inert soil in your tank. That's why fracted clay like Flourite is good for substrates, because it's basically water insoluble and holds the nutrients for much longer, from what I've read about 3 years.
Peter is mistaken about he reasoning as far promoting algae.
Ground peat will not do that, he has no practical experience and is speaking based on non controlled anecdotal advice.
How do I know.....well........I'm not speaking on those terms.
Peat does not quickly release the OM, that's why we use this instead of soil, it is slow to decompose, wereas soil is not. If you soak soil, for about 2-3 weeks or boil it, this removes the NH4 fraction which is what causes the algae, not Organic matter.
He's(or anyone for that matter) welcomed to try and argue with me about this one anytime.
Regarding peat's use: it helps to reduce the O2 levels slighty to promote bacteria and reduction is the substrate during the first 1-3 months. After which, bacteria take over this role.
Also, bacteria neee a source of electron donors, eg Carbon, (not CO2), they are like us, heterotrophes, they need their "carb's" so to speak. Otherwise they have nothing to eat and live on so they take much longer to establish and cycle well without adding this to the substrate.
I'd also suggest some mulm/detritus froma vacuumed "dirty sand" tank. Add fresh stuff to the bottom layer with the peat.
This adds what you need to start a substrate off like it's an old estblished tank from day one.
Eventually organic material will be produced naturally from plant detritus.fish waste and there will be enough carbon to establish a good colony of bacteria, but we can amplify this dramatically by adding peat/mulm.
Flourite last well over a decade and has shown no signs of breakdown or depleation, nor do I expect otherwise, last forever as far as we are concerned. Flora Base turned to mush after about 1 year.
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