Going dirted, best way to water log peat? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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Going dirted, best way to water log peat?

I'm going to use peat mixed with dirt underneath a cap of sand. I understand that sphagnum peat moss takes a while to water log, so what should I do? I have 40 pounds of pure topsoil (no ferts) and however much peat I want to mix in. The tank is 75 gallons.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 01:42 AM
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Instant: Strong jet of water, or hot water will get that hydrophobic peat moss wet.
If you try the strong jet make sure it is contained, it will fly all over the place. For example, put the peat moss in a bucket and put a garbage bag over the bucket, enveloping your hand with the hose. Pull the bag tight, then turn on the hose.

Overnight: Put the peat in a bag (nylon stockings are good) and put it in a bucket of hot water with enough rocks to hold it down.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 01:53 AM
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sphagnum peat moss can be purchased in several forms. Longer stringy or ground almost into a powder. I add the ground/ powder type to my MTS mix AFTER the MTS is finished as I'm placing the dirt into the tank.

You do not need a lot of it, If you get carried away you'll have tannin colored water for months.

I put down 1" of MTS then 1/4" of Peat, them cover with 1" of MTS and 1" sand cap.

If you plan on adding potash, dolomite or organics like Worm casing, I suggest that go in 1st on the bottom.

Good luck with your tank!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 01:25 PM
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I would second the fact that you don't need very much peat at all, and not only will it color the water, but as it decomposes it can make the substrate anaerobic. One could say the same thing about soil though...

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 03:38 PM
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Will the peat help lower the ph of the water? I am curious as my tapwater is very hard.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-10-2012, 03:49 AM
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If you want to try peat moss for this here is how:

Get a gallon of Reverse Osmosis or distilled water.
Mix it with tap water in several ratios:
25% RO + 75% tap
50/50
75% RO + 25% tap.

Test those mixes (GH, KH, pH, TDS), and compare to the tap water after it has sat out overnight or longer.
(If you put these in 5 gallon buckets the next test is easier)

Which one comes closest to what you want for your tank?

Now add peat moss to the tests, and include a bucket of pure tap water. Perhaps as much as 1 cup of peat moss per 5 gallon bucket. Stir as often as you can. If you have any sort of small pump or air bubbler that can do the stirring for you.
About every 24 hours test the same as above, and record the results. Run this out 2-3 days. Longer is fine.

How to interpret the results:
Peat moss varies in its action. Sometimes all it seems to do is release organic acids that turn the water yellow to brown. This may not even affect the pH if the KH is too high.
Other times peat moss can act like an ion exchange water softener, removing many of the minerals that raise the GH and KH. Then the pH can drop really low. This may take a couple of days. This sort of result will be maximized if you have already removed a lot of the minerals, which is why you are testing tap water mixed with RO.

How to use the results:
Once you have found a recipe that works you will need to prepare the water to fill the tank and for water changes ahead of time. 24 -48 hours is usually enough.
Fill a garbage can if you have a large tank or several tanks, with a mix of RO and tap water. Add peat moss in a bag (I use a knee-high nylon stocking, on knee-hi of peat for 20 to 40 gallons of water). Circulate the water. You can add dechlor. If you want to add plant fertilizers, do this right before the water change. You can hang an aquarium heater in the garbage can to keep the water the same temperature as the tank.

If your fish are currently acclimated to hard water than make the change very gradual, no more than about a 10% water change for 3-4 water changes spread out over a couple of weeks. Then perhaps 25% water change for 3-4 water changes, again spread out over a couple of weeks. It may take a couple of months to get the tank water as soft as you want it, but the fish acclimate slowly, and this is safest.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 10:14 PM
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Another possible thing to consider is Peat moss and Sphagnum peat are not the same thing. For years people have said sphagnum peat moss is better in the aquarium than just standard peat moss. Sphagnum is denser and takes longer to decompose, and is less likely to color the water. Regular peat moss is fluffier, lighter, decomposes more quickly.

It will make your substrate more acidic, how much of an affect it has on the water pH depends on how much it leeches into the water. If that is your goal, you can fill a filter bag with it and put it inside your filter.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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I purchased the ground sphagnum peat moss. It is going to be part of my substrate to provide some pH lowering and a good medium for the plant roots to grow in. I may also put in in the filter later.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2012, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
If you want to try peat moss for this here is how:

Get a gallon of Reverse Osmosis or distilled water.
Mix it with tap water in several ratios:
25% RO + 75% tap
50/50
75% RO + 25% tap.

Test those mixes (GH, KH, pH, TDS), and compare to the tap water after it has sat out overnight or longer.
(If you put these in 5 gallon buckets the next test is easier)

Which one comes closest to what you want for your tank?

Now add peat moss to the tests, and include a bucket of pure tap water. Perhaps as much as 1 cup of peat moss per 5 gallon bucket. Stir as often as you can. If you have any sort of small pump or air bubbler that can do the stirring for you.
About every 24 hours test the same as above, and record the results. Run this out 2-3 days. Longer is fine.

How to interpret the results:
Peat moss varies in its action. Sometimes all it seems to do is release organic acids that turn the water yellow to brown. This may not even affect the pH if the KH is too high.
Other times peat moss can act like an ion exchange water softener, removing many of the minerals that raise the GH and KH. Then the pH can drop really low. This may take a couple of days. This sort of result will be maximized if you have already removed a lot of the minerals, which is why you are testing tap water mixed with RO.

How to use the results:
Once you have found a recipe that works you will need to prepare the water to fill the tank and for water changes ahead of time. 24 -48 hours is usually enough.
Fill a garbage can if you have a large tank or several tanks, with a mix of RO and tap water. Add peat moss in a bag (I use a knee-high nylon stocking, on knee-hi of peat for 20 to 40 gallons of water). Circulate the water. You can add dechlor. If you want to add plant fertilizers, do this right before the water change. You can hang an aquarium heater in the garbage can to keep the water the same temperature as the tank.

If your fish are currently acclimated to hard water than make the change very gradual, no more than about a 10% water change for 3-4 water changes spread out over a couple of weeks. Then perhaps 25% water change for 3-4 water changes, again spread out over a couple of weeks. It may take a couple of months to get the tank water as soft as you want it, but the fish acclimate slowly, and this is safest.

Here is how I do my peat water for my shrimp tanks.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...at-filter.html

20g platy, , 2 x 10g shrimp, 3 x 20g shrimp, 7.5g shrimp and 1 great dane/mastiff puppy.

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