Originally Posted by Herky
This sounds like a better option than a bunch of additives to me. I'm shooting for as natural as possible with as little chemical/additive stuff as I can. Where would I find peat suitable for aquarium use and how would I implement it? The filter I'm looking at getting has an extra area for customizable filtration media...would I just place it in that?
Yes on the filter question. That's one of many advantages to canister filters, they have separate compartments/baskets and one can be for peat if necessary. Peat can be put in a nylon mesh-type bag (otherwise it would disperse throughout the water I expect) and placed in the filter chamber.
You can buy it through aquarium stores, but it may be expensive over time. As the peat leeches tannins and softens/acidifies the water, it wears out (much like carbon does over limited time) and needs to be replaced. The quanitity would depend upon how much acidifying is needed, if your water is high in akalinity and hardness it would take a fair bit. I'm hoping those who have used this method might chime in with some advice on this aspect.
I believe you can also buy it at florists, and perhaps plant nurseries. And another member mentioned in another thread about collecting it from a bog, if you happen to live near one, being careful that nothing else is in the peat (chemicals, bugs, parasites).
I don't personally think there is a problem with the blackwater extracts, if they are all natural ingredients (as some I have seen claim to be), but it is quite expensive if you have a larger tank.