Sphagnum peat question, for those who utilize it

RelaxingBettas

Member
I don't know how 'advanced' I feel (my first time in this subforum, lol), but regarding those who use peat for this and that (filter bags, substrate layers, tetra breeding etc), what are the opinions of the softwater gurus about using the longer, spendier 'orchid potting' types, instead of the deeper, crumblier, and more ancient layers below (a pure d mess to work with in garden OR aquarium- at least in the yard I can throw some dish soap on the bale as a surfactant, lol)? It's still Canadian, still the same species of moss, still 'unenriched' by Miracle Grow fishkilling ferts- the only difference i can *see* (without prolonged experience and testing) is it is not nearly as tannic *looking* (for those seeking soft water without black water, perhaps useful?), and a heck of a lot less sloppy. What say you? (And forgive me if it's a stupid inquiry and there's a good reason no one does it, and thank you for letting me know, if that's the case ). Thanks!
 

MacZ

Member
There is some difficulty with the terminology.
The lower, dark layers are the actual peat. Everything above that is the moss in different stages of anaerobic decomposition.

And the moss itself is not helping with acidifiying the water and releasing humic acids until it starts to rot. So for example putting it in the filter would do nothing (except a mess). What can be done with it: It can be used as a substrate to start botanical mulm and more proto-peat developing, as is essential in a botanical style blackwater tank. But as with other botanicals, only over time with decomposition it becomes useful. I know people that use the moss as a base for emersed plants on driftwood sticking out of the water.

The peat itself is what leaches tannic/humic/fulvic acids. It's what you can put into the filter, a bag in the back of the tank or also as a substrate.

So is the moss itself useful? Yes!
Is it useful for the same things as peat? Not really, or rather: Only indirectly.
 
  • Thread Starter

RelaxingBettas

Member
Gotcha, much to reread and gestalt the nuances, but I got the jist (I have both, use both for gardening, but master gardener class didn't delve into the specifics- or I don't remember lol)- a closed system like pot or tank has a lot less margin for error than my nursery beds (as do my nano tanks compared to a biggun'). Thank you for all that information, I'm sure I'll refer to it in the future- and probably keep my long spaghnum strands for the orchids (I figured it would be less effective, as much it was less tannic, but might have *some* properties of use- I may still try some at the bottom of a tetra spawning tank and see if they like it for a mop. I doubt it could hurt!)
 

MacZ

Member
RelaxingBettas said:
Thank you for all that information, I'm sure I'll refer to it in the future- and probably keep my long spaghnum strands for the orchids (I figured it would be less effective, as much it was less tannic, but might have *some* properties of use-
You're welcome. It's really linked to the decomposition stage.

RelaxingBettas said:
I may still try some at the bottom of a tetra spawning tank and see if they like it for a mop. I doubt it could hurt!)
Tipp: For that purpose layer clay (bottom), sand, peat and moss (top). I know several people that are successful with that for a whole array of blackwater fish, not only tetras.
 
  • Thread Starter

RelaxingBettas

Member
MacZ said:
You're welcome. It's really linked to the decomposition stage.



Tipp: For that purpose layer clay (bottom), sand, peat and moss (top). I know several people that are successful with that for a whole array of blackwater fish, not only tetras.
Oh fantastic, I have all those things, and a plethora of new Amazonian species I'm growing out, I haven't had an angel (for example) for decades, and I'd like to do right by them (and have inadvertently found myself collecting small tetras, I can't believe how my 13 embers are growing out- they act like fiery little piranhas when I let them stare me down into giving them some vinegar eels, they *seethe*, very pretty in the morning light- they didn't look like much at the LFS, but once they colored up I went back and got every one they had).
 

chromedome52

Member
I always kept a plastic bin with sphagnum moss to acidify R/O water, but it also served to soak the moss for spawning substrate. The bin was heavily aerated. A quick rinse and the fronds of the moss make excellent egglaying substrate. I also used the water, diluted for pH with clean R/O. The water in the bin was always at 4.0. Usually tried to bring it to 5.5 for most soft water egg scatterers.
 
  • Thread Starter

RelaxingBettas

Member
chromedome52 said:
I always kept a plastic bin with sphagnum moss to acidify R/O water, but it also served to soak the moss for spawning substrate. The bin was heavily aerated. A quick rinse and the fronds of the moss make excellent egglaying substrate. I also used the water, diluted for pH with clean R/O. The water in the bin was always at 4.0. Usually tried to bring it to 5.5 for most soft water egg scatterers.
Looking at those soaking fronds I keep thinking *I'd* scatter my eggs in it, if I was a tetra . Maybe I will end up getting an RO thingy, but this minute I'm sure looking forward to surprising my Amazon-ish tank (probably more Orinoco but who's counting) with a nice cool rainwater change.
 

Frank the Fish guy

Member
Those potting soil type bags always have little white chunks that float and and find their way into the water and mess everything up. Useful aquarium peat should eventual sink on its own I think. If it never sinks, it probably doesn't belong in your tank. Plus nobody claimed commercial potting soil or orchid mix is 'aquarium safe' so they could put all sorts of stuff in there that you don't want in your tank.

Some of those soils will make your water dark brown like coffee and never settle out, and there is no way to get it out of your tank!
 

Latest threads

Top Bottom