Some promising results with peat granules

Discussion in 'Advanced Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by YoungClayB, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. YoungClayBValued MemberMember

    The water out of my tap is med hard and has a pH of around 7. I am thinking of getting some SA cichlids and from what I understand they need soft acidic water. Yesterday morning, the pH in my tank was between 7 and 7.2. Around noon yesterday I filled a 3x8 mesh bag with fluval peat granules and stuck it in the filter box of my marineland penguin 200 on my 37 gallon tank. I
    Checked the pH a few min ago and it's around 6.5. Very surprising results. Hopefully the tank inhabitants will appreciate the more acidic water. I think it's altering the pH slow enough to avoid any shock to the fishes, but I am not sure. 5 platy fry, 5 cories, and 1 RL pleco all seem to be doing fine. Anyone else out there using peat granules with success? Oh, also it's not staining my water so far. Still nice and clear.
  2. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    Although ive never used the peat granules, I would just leave the tank as it is. Fish will adapt to a steady ph and if you alter it too much, water changes are going to be a hassle for you when adding new water. SA cichlids are ok with a 7ph
  3. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    I know Ken, aka Aquarist48 has used w/ success. I'm considering running peat moss in my beta and shrimp tanks. CO2 lowers Ph in the main tank.

  4. OP

    YoungClayBValued MemberMember

    Yeah. I was wondering about the water changes. I think that as long as I stick to about 25% per week, the pH fluctuation should be pretty minimal (6.4+6.4+6.4+7)/4=6.55

    It's not so much the pH that I am trying to achieve as much as it is lowering the general hardness of my water.
  5. OP

    YoungClayBValued MemberMember

    I checked the pH this morning and it was 6.4-6.5. Checked the ammonia and it had spiked to 1ppm!!! One dead Cory. Currently floating all the others in my 10 gallon where I had some rasboras in QT. This stinks.

    3 possible culprits here:
    1. Peat destroyed by bio filter?
    2. The sudden drop in pH destroyed my bio filter?
    3. In order to fit the bag of peat into my filter box, I had to remove part of an old cut up filter that I placed in the tank to cycle it about a month ago.

    My money is on number 3, but maybe I am wrong :-/
  6. toosie

    toosieWell Known MemberMember

    Peat decomposes too so it will further add to your bioload. Your new filter should have had time to colonize, but you certainly would have lost some of the beneficial bacteria when you removed the old portion. The combination of these 2 things I suspect are what has lead to the ammonia spike.

    You will need to do several small water changes spaced out a half hour or so to bring your ammonia level down. Water changes will bring the pH level back up so you don't want to do a large one right off the hop. Doing several small ones throughout the day will slowly increase the pH and allow the fish time to adjust to the increasing pH level.

    Remove the peat pellets. Before you attempt to alter hardness, purchase a GH/KH test kit so that you can see what the hardness of your water actually is, and are able to monitor the softening effect. Judging water hardness by pH measurements is not a safe way to alter hardness. While pH, KH/GH tend to work hand in hand, there are several things that affect pH so it is far from a good indicator of water hardness.

    Edit: Also I agree with Catsma. Using your water as is would be best. You are focusing the water hardness on the SA cichlid, but you also have platy in the tank. Fish will adapt to your water, even the cichlids so changing the water chemistry isn't just dangerous, (using the current effects you have experienced as just an example of the types of things that CAN happen) ... but it is also unnecessary.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  7. OP

    YoungClayBValued MemberMember

    Thanks tootsie. I am getting ready to leave town for the weekend so I decided to move the fish to a cycled 10 gallon for safe keeping until I return.

    I did a 25% water change with prime and left the peat in the filter. Hopefully the decomposing peat will produce enough ammonia to clear out the cycle by the time I get home so that I can move the fish back to the main tank

    The water parameters after the water change are:
    Ammonia: .25
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 5

    Also, the ammonia only spiked to .5ppm - not 1ppm as previously stated.
  8. Ryan1824

    Ryan1824Valued MemberMember

    In order to maintain a steady PH in your tank, the safest approach would be to remove the peat from your tank and instead prefilter your water for water changes in a separate container. That way you can match the PH and temperature to your tank ahead of time.
  9. OP

    YoungClayBValued MemberMember

    I ended up not going out of town after all. I just checked the parameters in the tank and they are back to normal. 0 Ammonia; 0 nitrite. So I am moving the cories and Platys back to the main tank.

    Good call on the Platys. I'll leave those babies in the 10 gallon for now with the rasboras.

    I may have over reacted by moving all the fish out of the tank but seeing a dead Cory this morning just kind of got me. Hopefully everything will work out. I'll keep this thread updated with how the peat granules play out. It's been kind of a pain so far.
  10. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I have added Peat Pellets by Fluval and some by Sera to my water for the 33g long heavily planted aquarium. The pH of my well water is so high it's off the charts. The Peat Pellets help to reduce it just a tad bit but not much. However, my fish are doing fine and I haven't had any issues with cycling by adding the peat. Removing the filter media as mentioned above more than likely caused your mini cycle. I'm glad that you have it back on track now.

    Too, I have to believe that the addition of the Peat has done wonders for my live plants.

    The water I use for water changes is prefiltered, heated and treated for 5 days in a 29g aquarium. This helps me to get the true pH value of my water before adding it directly into the tank.

    As mentioned by others, the pH you have to offer right from the tap should be fine for your fish as long as it falls withing in the range of 6.5 to 8.5 (my safe ranges). It is more important to maintain a pH value than it is to pinpoint a certain level. Too, it will be much easier on you and the fish.

    I've been in the hobby so long, I only test for pH and ammonia and then only because I like to and not because I have to. I'm on a set schedule for tank maintenance that I very rarely stray from so nothing really changes. I know what I need to do and when I need to do it. So will you the longer you are in the hobby. :)

  11. OP

    YoungClayBValued MemberMember

    Thanks Ken. Yes, things seem to have settled down now. I moved the 4 Cories and the Rubber Lip Pleco (Timmy, but sometimes we call him "Rubbernuts") back to the 37 gallon main tank late last night and all parameters are good and everyone is still alive. pH has held steady at 6.4-6.5 - even after a 25% water change when my ammonia spiked... so I really don't think that fluctuating pH is something that I am going to have to deal with. I may start taking a water sample before and after water changes and compare the pH to make sure.

    I know that most folks here think I am futzing with something that doesn't need to be futzed with, but I feel like I am learning a lot at the moment. like I said before, I'll keep this thread updated with my findings. Thanks again to everyone who has taken the time to read and especially to those who have taken the time to respond to my thread - I really appreciate it.
  12. OP

    YoungClayBValued MemberMember

    After 10 days of running the peat granules in my filter, I must say that I am very happy with the results.

    The pH of the tank has stabilized at 6.5 and all of my fish seem happier than ever before. as a reminder, the pH of my tap water is 7.2.

    I've been taking water samples before and after water changes and have settled in with 20% water changes once or twice a week as I find the time.

    Here is a picture of the before/after pH test results from this morning's 20% water change.


    As you can see, the pH goes from around 6.5 before the water change to around 6.6 afterwards. Over the course of the next 12-24 hours, the pH settles back to 6.5. I've seen no stress on the fish at all as a result of this mild pH fluctuation.

    I've also taken a few pics of my 37 gallon tank to give you an idea of what the peat filtration is doing to the water clarity. Its definitely clouding the water a little but to me it looks quite natural.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018

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