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Sphagnum peat moss is known to lower the redox potential of the substrate quite significantly. This will cause low ph and potential to produce toxic solfides etc'.
Can I avoids those risks? Is it safe to use peat in substrate or should I avoid it?
 

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For flourite type substrates the latest is to sprinkle a little bit at the bottom of the tank before installing the gravel. Maybe a cup or two for a 40 gallon tank? I think it is more to provide a slow release of some nutrients than anything else.

Steve Pituch
 

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No, it will not cause toxic H2S, this is the only reduce sulfur containing compound with any adverse effect.

Why would it cause H2S? It takes organic matter that can be decomposed at a faster rate for this to occur. If you added soil and a fair amount of it, then this would occur.

Peat does not decompose fast. Good reason to add this instead of other things. Leonardite is also similar to peat.

You can also simply add a little soil or a little peat which is what folks generally suggest. No need to add lots unless you are going non CO2.

Non CO2 tanks do not have the same amount of substrate disturbances as a CO2 enriched tank with higher(generally) light and faster growth rates.

Also add some fresh "mulm" to the bottom. This will add all the bacteria you need for your new substrate.

The peat will provide enough reduction till the bacterial layers are fully formed and take over this role. After a couple of months, the peat's effect wears off and starts to very slowly decompose.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Peat is organic matter. Sphagnum peat isn't made up of the kind of material you find in the 'peat' part of hydric soils. Sphagnum peat is made up of the leaves and stems of a moss. Natural peat found with submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is the roots of aquatic plants, the upper parts are either washed away when the seasons change or fully mineralized in the fluff layer before becoming part of the sediments. If the peat is made up of more leaves and stems the conditions are almost always too acidic for SAV's. That's when you get a swamp with everything either floating or emergent, essencially just plants that can access the atmosphere.

Mineralized soils have little organic matter, almost everything is completely decomposed. If you want to use soil in your tank avoid potting soils and anything that has humus added. Mineralized soils have more nutrients in them than peat soils, basically because the nutrients in peat are 'concentrated’ after being decomposed and removed from the connective and structural tissues of the plants. Mineralized topsoils are great for long term aquaria.

Humic soils have peat and peat precursors which will decompose rapidly when submerged. All it takes to let bacteria finish the decomposition of peat is oxygen. Something that is in abundance the first day of a submerged peat substrate and increasing again as the plants put out roots and begin pumping oxygen to these roots. These are the soils that produce the 'royal messes' in tanks, avoid them.

Can you use peat? Yes, in small amounts it works fine, best under a 'cap' layer that prevents contact with the main water body of the tank. If your peat contains sulpher, something peat does contain just like soft coal, there is a potential for H2S formation. However, if you limit the amount of peat, the amount of H2S formed won't be toxic and probably will be cycled again as the tank ages.
 

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jerime said:
Sphagnum peat moss is known to lower the redox potential of the substrate quite significantly. This will cause low ph and potential to produce toxic solfides etc'.
Can I avoids those risks? Is it safe to use peat in substrate or should I avoid it?
Sure, do not add so much, if you add lots, the redox will go down. but in about 2-6 weeks, it'll come up again. If you keep adding peat(say like in a swamp) and no O2, then it'll reduce further.

Generally this will not cause any toxic things such as Al3+, H2S etc using peat, using soil/manures might.

I suggest adding a handful of ground peat per sq ft or so for most tanks, non CO2, I add about 1" of pre wetted peat.
You can use soil/manures, if you boil it or roast or soak in a shallow tray for 2-3 weeks. Also mulm works well(dried and saved old mulm).

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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I think I'd avoid manure even faster than I avoid peat. Why anyone would talk about manure and soil like they were the same thing is beyond me. It would be better to talk about manure and peat as both being the precursors of soils.
 

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(manure) Seems to work for many. I've used it, some very good growers have. Many have failed also.......

But why they failed is a good question to ask.

I see zero% wrong with using some peat, Amano uses it, I use it, many folks have used it in the long term. Soil and manure are quite different but cause problems due to NH4(hence why they were tied together), not as a source of carbon, if I implied that, sorry.

I can get into all the difference, but I do not have time and will cover it later in the BarrReport in all it's gory details.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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