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The usage, purpose and know-how about using peat in a fish tank

Brief Description

This is a guide on using peat in aquarium; with purpose, advantages and disadvantages, place for sharing ideas and asking questions. If you came here searching for online suppliers of aquarium peat, then simply click this link. We'd love to hear your experiences with peat, so before leaving this page submit your story at the bottom of this page!

The purpose

Peat has an ability to reduce pH and water hardness values. It also changes the colour of water from clear to brown. Besides the aforementioned changes, it releases hormones, CO2 and probably some nitrates into the tank too. Some toxic metals are rendered harmless. What causes these changes? Acids are materials with fantastic attributes. Are these attributes fantastic or aren't they? Let's analyze the advantages and disadvantages...

Advantages:

  • Brings down pH and hardness.
  • Doesn't change the conductivity.
  • Releases lots of useful materials that are welcome by fish.

Disadvantages:

  • The water must be tested frequently.
  • It is not suitable for fish that need hard water with a high level of pH.
  • If you have a Dutch (planted) aquarium, some plants don't like water with very low pH levels.
  • It's difficult to select the right amount of peat to use in your aquarium.

If you've decided to use the peat read the rest of this article, please.

What peat to use and where to buy it?

Attention! Attention! Don't EVER use peat for gardens. Such materials may include some chemicals that aren't suitable for fish tanks. It is strongly recommended you only use peat without any chemicals. In my experience the best solution is to use granulated peat produced by SERA, JBL and other firms specializing in this area. Naturally, you have assurance that these companies produce peat for aquarium use.

How to do it?

Generally, there are two methods of usage.

  • The first is more complex but very accurate. Firstly, put the peat into a container with some water. Leave it for a few days while acidic materials are being extracted to the water. Next, measure the pH level of the water. It should vary from 4 to 5. Now, you can tip some of this water into your aquarium. Do it slowly, always tip in parts and measure the changes in the aquarium. This way of doing things is much more precise and safer than the second one, since you can control the water quality.
  • The second way is much more easier than the first one, however it is much more dangerous too. Put the peat into some stockings. If you have a small aquarium, immerse the stockings directly into the water. During the initial phase, the peat will float to the top. If you have a large aquarium, you can put the stockings with peat into a filter as a filtration media. Bear in mind that it might cause a serious damage to your tank if you don't control the process frequently!

How much and how often?

There is no exact answer. The main factor is the water that you want to adjust. As it has been mentioned above, from JBL and Sera are recommended and in such a case it can be an amount of 250 grams (8.81 ounces) per 250 litres (~ 66 US gallons, 55 Imperial gallons) of water and a replacement of peat should be done once a month usually when cleaning filtration media and eventually pipes if using external filters. If being used for short periods of time, the peat doesn’t change the colour of water but it lowers the pH by 0.5 if used the way explained already. Leaving the peat in water for long periods doesn't result in any effect; the pH starts go up slowly.

Now you can start to experiment with peat. I wish you good luck and remember, be patient and careful.

This article was originally written by Patrik Ruzic alias Wampa (with his blog at www.aqua-wampa.blogspot.com); patrik.ruzic at gmail dot com and adjusted later by staff of Aqua-Fish.Net.

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