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peat for aquarium
so im wanting to breed some fish and have been advised to put some peat in a old footing from some tights.
whats the best peat or compost for this
theres no such a thing as a stupid question!
its just an answer you dont know
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Hello F67

I'll reply to you properly tomorrow - I can't at the moment remember the name on the bag of peat that I'm using! 

Roughly what's the pH, GH (hardness) and, if you know it, the KH of the water you're starting off with?
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The use of peat in general is a contentious issue, environmentally-speaking ; and rightly so. Despite my considerable misgivings I find myself using it because I don't know for sure if the possible alternatives (mainly coir, and leaves such as Catappa and oak) would do exactly the same job. I'm not interested so much in its water-softening capacity, though I did run some tests a while back - documented in Another Place - which looked at that.

The peat that I use is this ; it also comes in ten-litre bags. I bought my 100-litre bag in October 2016 and still have more than a third left.  I chose it because of its mild conscience-salving properties : it's sourced from areas that are not of 'scientific interest', that fact confirmed via a conversation with Sycamore. I still feel a bit guilty, though.

There are other products aimed at the gardening market describing themselves as 'Irish Moss Peat' but some have added ingredients, and it's sometimes hard to figure out which do and which don't.

This peat is composed of very fine fibres which, if not contained, cloud water for a considerable time - though they do settle out eventually.  This might be a problem if plonking it directly into an aquarium, particularly if its water-column is being stirred up by a filter's outflow and/or a powerhead.  I don't think that the foot of a 'tight' would reliably contain it in that circumstance.

I prepare 'peat water' by putting the material into a filter sock and then suspending the sock in a garden water butt.  It took me a while to find the size of mesh that would completely prevent the fibres getting into the water : it turned out to be five microns!   If I weren't to do it that way I would dump it in the water, wait till it sank and then syphon off the water I needed from the top. That method would work in a bucket, too - though given the reluctance of the stuff to sink maybe you'd need several buckets used in rotation (depending on your planned rate of use of the peat water).

If all that puts you off, probably a better idea might be to use the compressed peat pellets that are aimed specifically at us lot. I expect that they might stay obediently in a 'tight' ; and maybe that's what your advisor meant.  It's a relatively expensive way of going about it, but I know that Hagen/Fluval and JBL both market such things ; others, too, I imagine.

As an aside, and in the interests of entertainment and curiosity only, take a look at the following photos :


This is one of two bags of Sphagnum moss (the raw material for peat, of course) that I bought five years ago to play with. I used one bag but left the other unopened - it appears to be sealed such that the contents have no contact with atmosphere.  I put the unused bag aside, among some other stuff piled on a window sill, then maybe a year later decided that I'd better get rid of it because it must have rotted away.  I was astonished to find that it was still viable - thriving in fact ; and it still is, as you can see from those photos which I took a few minutes ago!
[-] The following 1 user Likes Vale!'s post:
  • plankton
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ok thanks vale
theres no such a thing as a stupid question!
its just an answer you dont know
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During discussions in Another Place about the use of leaves such as Catappa (Indian Almond), teak, beech and oak I extolled the virtues of the humic and fulvic acids which they leach out into aquarium water.

Peat also leaches these things. However with the use of peat comes a troubled conscience : it's definitely not evironmentally cool stuff to use. But it is the best if one the aim is to emulate blackwater conditions.

I still use peat but a few years ago came upon a product, a liquid, called Aquahum. I believe it's a by-product of the paper-making industry. It contains humic and fulvic acids. I bought a couple of 500ml bottles and have been using that to reduce my dependence on peat.

My last bottle of Aquahum is nearly done, so I set about looking to replace it.  Neither Ebay nor Amazon seem to recognise it any more.  The UK distributor's website was unresponsive and they didn't answer a phone call.  I e-mailed the producer (Czech Republic) but didn't get a reply. It looks like they've gone out of business.  Paperless offices, I suppose!

So without much hope, I went a-Googlin'.  I didn't have much hope because I'd done this exercise before (yonks ago) only to find that suitable products were marketed to the agricultural and horticultural industries. I didn't want 10 gallons of this ; or 50Kg of that!

So I was delighted today to stumble upon this website. It's probably old hat to some - I'm a bit slow on the uptake sometimes! It makes/sells pretty much what I'm after in appropriate quantities - and more besides, with the aquarist and pondkeeper in mind.  I have my eye on a couple of their lines but have concerns about the potassium content of one of them. The other should be ideal to put in my bath.  I think I'll have a chat with them and see what I can find out. 

I do wonder, though, if their source material is peat : "Humate is ...formed from the decomposition of plant matter over thousands of years" ?!
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What about Lignohumate ?
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Unfortunately, is/was the UK distributor for Aquahum.

There must be other stuff out there economically accessible to the likes of us.  My #1 LFS does its own liquid 'blackwater mix' but it's very expensive.  Buying a load of Catappa from Thailand and boiling it up is much cheaper, but a major faff, and if it's stored for too long is goes manky!
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ah fair enough
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More news coning soon about Viresco's products. It's relatively good news from the environmental point of view at least!

Watch this space - or, rather, the one below it!
[-] The following 3 users Like Vale!'s post:
  • fr499y, Mol_PMB, plankton
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