Peat moss


Prolific Poster
Jan 21, 2007
The low tec tank i am setting up is going to have a bottom substrate of laterite as a clay 2 inches thick, followed by a layer of peat moss then 2 inches of aquarium gravel 2-3mm in size.

The peat i bought states that it has "NITROSOL" in it. Does anyone know what the chemical composition is? Is there ammonium/urea in NITROSOL?

If there is NH4+ is this conducive to promoting algal growth? I thought plants' primary intake of N is as ammonium as this requires the least energy expenditure. Is this not a good thing?

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Many grasses such as Wheat prefer NO3.
Genmeralizing is rather tough to do, then the issue of how to get enough N to the plant without burning the plants and killing the fish, the shrimp and the fry.

Toxicology studies will show most of the test organism are not that interested in high levels of NH4+, whereas NO3 can be 100X higher without issue.

And a stead stable supply of NO3 allows the plant to grow much better at a higher growth rate than does pulses here and there of very low level NH4.

How does one maintain a steady NH4 level that's safe and easy to measure to see if the plants have enough? I do not know of a decent way and it does not matter in terms of the growth of most plants.

Tom Barr