Peat Moss NPT
I have bought a bag of peat moss to experiment with in my next two 10 gal NPT's. I want to see if I can create a stable low pH environment. If I'm successful, I will be able to keep more species of finnicky wild bettas.
I am not sure how to set up this tank. Should I do a layer of soil, then peat moss, then a sand cap? Skip the soil? Skip the sand cap? How thick should the peat layer be?
If anyone has done something similar, I would love to see pics and hear how you went about it.
If you go soil, you have to cover it or you'll get a huge mess on your hands.
Soil isn't necessary though, most don't use it. It can offer some initial benefits but I personally don't see the need to go down that road, my tanks have all been fine in sand or gravel. Sand is better for some plants though.
Using peat to lower pH wouldn't be something I recommend. Eventually it 'runs out' of tannins and then you're in the situation of having to replace it. Plus if your KH is high, it won't do anything anyways.
Better to mix tap water with RO/DI to get your GH, KH, and pH down to a lower starting value. If your KH is low enough, the pH will drop on its own from the natural biological processes in the tank. For example, my tap water is 7.6 for pH, but the KH is between 1 and 2 dKH so all of my tanks sit at a 6.4 pH without me having to add anything at all.
I concur. Peat is a short-term solution as it wears out, depending upon the source water parameters, amount, intended results, etc. If you can post your tap water parameters, namely GH and KH and pH, we may be able to suggest options.
I like soil... Imo, the primary benefit is the large amount of bacteria and fungi that help break down waste into nutrients. It seems soil tanks do much better when the ph of the substrate is slightly higher than the water column... I would place the peat into the filter- nylon hose can be filled with several tablespoons of peat.
Right now, I have a clean garbage can outside that I use to collect rainwater. I have about 1/3 cup of peat in the rainwater. I use it for water changes, but usually top off with tap.
I have found the peat helps keep kh and gh constant.
After the initial week or two my pH starte rising to above 8.0. Indicating low carbon dioxide. Fish live for years and years including fish "requiring" low ph water. The tanks also have no mechanical filtration or circulation.
For what its worth, all of us are in agreement to not add peat to your substrate, except bob. I think you could mix somein your substrate, but in m experience heavy soils are much less "risky" than fluffy peat-moss and compost based soils.
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