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For peats sake

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by evergreen, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. evergreen

    evergreen Junior Poster

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    I started my first planted tank on a friends suggestion. I was told a good layer of peat under my gravel will really help plant growth. So I added .5 inch over the whole bottom. Ever time I would move a plant in the old tank and stir up a little peat an algae bloom would follow :eek: I then found out that it should be a few handfuls, and have recently replace all my gravel to Fluorite with no peat, just mulm. So my question is peat really necessary with EI dosing and carbon from co2? .And with all the new tank algae problems might it be a good idea to avoid the peat. Has anyone started a tank with peat and one without and seen if initial growth rate is different?

    Keith,
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: For peats sake

    As I understand it, the peat and mulm are only intended to make the tank go thru its cycle of building up a good supply of nitrifying bacteria faster. I know that is the role of the mulm, and I think it is also the role of the peat. But, peat also makes the lower substrate be a bit acid, which, again as I understand it, makes for better root conditions. I suspect that this is like a lot of things we do - it makes success a little more likely, but that doesn't mean you wont be successful without it.
     
  3. evergreen

    evergreen Junior Poster

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    Re: For peats sake

    So, I have heard it said that if you rearrange your tank you might have an algae bloom. I think even Tom has suggested this. What causes this algae bloom?
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: For peats sake

    Rotting organic matter decomposing down there=> NH4 source.
    If you pull it up, then you will get bloom, if you do a water change, say 50-80% thereafter, then you will not get a bloom.

    So if you redo a tank, do a water change right away

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. evergreen

    evergreen Junior Poster

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    Re: For peats sake

    One more beginner question. Does the organic matter feed the plant root, or the bacteria? Both?
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: For peats sake

    OM feeds the bacteria primarily, the plants secondarily through bacterial decomposition.

    The issue with the method you did: you added too much peat, a little is good, too much is bad, the same is true for the soil, lighting et, too much is bad.

    Adding a light dusting on the bottom of a tank will not impose much effect when you uproot etc, nor will it greatly influence the water chemistry, the role is namely to provide a little OM for the bacteria, maitain the redox levels at a low level till the bacterial colonies take over that role in 1-2 month's time.

    If you approach things from a non CO2/Excel method, and do not uproot much, then a thicker layerof peat/soil, etc can work well.
    Or if you are very careful when you uproot and also do a water change after.

    You have options here basically, but there are things you need to do prevent issues.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. evergreen

    evergreen Junior Poster

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    Re: For peats sake

    Yeah, two months battling ever type of algae there is! I did not research enough at the beginning. Had success with reef tanks, so thought I new a thing or two. But what we try to achieve in reek tanks is a lot different then the planted.

    A little knowledge is more dangerous then none!

    Keith,
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: For peats sake

    Well ........if you did reef,m this is quite different, and easier and more stable in the long run depending on teh species in each type of tank you want to keep, some soft corals and such are really easy and easier than any higher light CO2 enriched stem plant tank by most folk's accounts.
    Then a high mainteance SPS tank can be a bugger as well.

    But you are use to wasting lots of money, looking at the tank wrong and having everything die, testing, measuring all sort of things etc, worrying about all sorts of critters as well.

    So in that respect, planmted tanks are much easier and easier to figure out, water changes are much easier, but large 70% water changes on reef tanks does wonders also, I've often argued that that would be better than dealing with all sorts of skimmers and other expensive crap, Kalk reactors and what not.

    That is certainly the case on smaller tanks, maybe not 250 gal reef tank, but no matter how you slice it, the planted tank is cheaper.

    the other thing, it takes less time to see what makes it work and why it works well than the reef tanks.
    It's less a less complicated system basically when it comes to figuring things out and what and why.

    the hobbyists involved are much less cientific and less willing to spend $$ on equipment, on test ktis, on calibration, on logging their measurements etc.
    They have less $$ invested, so there is less reason to a certain degeree, depmding on howe the person rationalizes things.
    Everyopne is different to some degree, but the cost $$$ issue is very real and folks will coddle a an expensive tank and expensive livestock much more.

    Reef folks also tend to be more advanced in chemistry and their understanding of testing and the errors involved with the cheaper test kits.
    They know they are cheap and need calibrated and do not mind spending the $$ for the Lamotte.

    Most reef folks have such test kits, not the cheapys, at least the all the reef folks I've met and know......they have little disagreement with what I tell them also.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. evergreen

    evergreen Junior Poster

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    Re: For peats sake

    Good points about reef tanks. I never really felt good about the hobby. Keeping these fragile creatures in a glass tank. Not being able to breed most of them. Kind of like driving a Hummer around town!

    The marine algae tank look very interesting. Maybe once I become more proficient with the fresh...
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: For peats sake

    Well, most aquatic plants and macro algae are fairly weedy and not endangered or threated except through habitat losses.

    That's the scariest of all the future issues.
    A lot of corals and marine critters will go extinct in our life times. :(

    But they have learned a lot about reefs and culture, restoration from the hobby as well. There's a trade off there and there are arguments on both sides that are valid IMO.

    Growing weeds?
    Generally not the same issues there ethically, just kill them and do it so it does not harm other things.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     

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