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Sphagnum peat bottom

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi,

I was just wondering, is it possible to make a bottom for a tank out of just sphagnum peat?
Pros / Cons ?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
One 'con' I can think of with apistos is that they are geophagines and like to sift sand substrate.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
Is is that simple? You can just set a layer or peat and stick some plants in it?
Could it become anaerobic like fine sand over time?
Unfortunately I don't know, you could try a PM to MickeM?

They use peat as a substrate for some Killis, but I assume that is partially as a spawning substrate, and the tanks aren't set up permanently. I've never really kept any substrate spawning Killis, but other members will have.

cheers Darrel
 

MickeM

Active Member
5 Year Member
Hi all..

Many Killiefish-breeders I know boil their natural "sedimented" peat (brown "dug-up" bog-peat) before using/putting it in a tank..

After boiling.. my friend in the Basement+me then often leave the peat in a tank with good new water(pH 6,5) for some days to let small/dusty particles dissolve from the fibers !!
This is then "repeated";) (with new pH6,5-water every time) after shaking the most particles off ... 2-4 times before using it as spawning-substrate/hidingplace for the fishes. (10-15cm deep)..
We also practice this for Apistos some times , but then always in tanks with few fishes( controlled types /limited ammounts of food) + many plants put to grow in/on the peat !!
Some Planorbarius corneus are also put in these tanks.., but they sometimes die off due to aggressive Apistos or other factors..(the lack of available carbonates for shell-building.??) ..

As you say.. there may be a risk for a "rotting effect" if too much peat in comb. with loads of food-/restproducts.., but if you regularly keep an eye on your tank/fishes, you will detect any problem quite soon !!
When you think of it... there are often some restproducts in nature too..!!

A good fiberous peatbottom is appreciated by some fishes , while others probably may prefer a dusty sediment..(spawning/diving killies)!!
.. but also keep in mind what MikeW mentioned..
I guess some species may like this.., and some not..!!??

Feel fre to try this with Apistos, but also be prepared to act .. and be sure you use peat without added chemicals..!!
(I`ve seen+tried+heard about nice results with this method..!!)

To get an idea of a "similar" natural enviroment , check this out..

http://www.apistogramma.com/forum/threads/borelli-from-natural-biotope-argentine-corrientes.14700/

..and you may get nice peat+ some good tips from a local killi-club..??
http://sks.killi.dk/sv/killishows-4

/Micke
 
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MickeM

Active Member
5 Year Member
..and also....

I would not put any Apistos in a non-filtered "Peat-tank" without acclimatizing them into this kind of water for some weeks first.. in a "normal" tank or in a quarantine-tank!!!

And..as Darrell says... peat is often a spawning substrate for killiefishes in tanks..
But it is also an excellent substrate for fish to swim into and get some rest from territorial disputes.., so this is probably also one good option for Apistos in the same situation!!??
I`ve spoken to a danish friend who visited Africa for search and collecting of some Aphyosemion species..
He told me that when he stood with his net in a creek with 30-50cm deep water, he could often just see one visable/dominant male..
He was then overviewing approx. 2squaremeters at a time .. , but when he netted this area..(full of plants/leaves) from underneath.. he could catch 15+ fishes within one move!!
So, especially for use in small tanks, I would say fiberous peat may be a "perfect" substrate .. to break the "line of sight" for dominant fishes, and at the same time reducing bad effects on females/weaker individuals??...from an action of "natural behaviour" !!??

.. but peat can also be a perfect plant substrate and (depending on what you want) enhance the water quality...!!

/Micke
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Oh bugger...

Seem´s that this is wayyy over my skills as a fish keeper. Too many unknowns for me.
Thanks for the answers though!
 

MickeM

Active Member
5 Year Member
Well.. it doesn`t have to be that difficult....

If you have some brown bog-peat you may just boil it for 2-3 minutes.., shake off the dusty "soil"-particles and put a small ittle piece of it in your tank.. to see what the reaction will be.. and then add some more weekly if you like it...
After all, it is just a product of nature taken from the nature .., just let your fishes adapt to it in a reasonable way..!?
Boiling is for killing bugs+worms and also to make it sinkable..

..but if you will use this "white"/"blond"/dead(?) sphagnum-peat (looking like it is bleached), you may put it in the tank without preparation???
although I would (for safety ) do this divided in several steps too..
Boiling it may be an option for the same reason as for the bog-peat..??

http://plantanica.se/sphagnum-mossa-vitmossa-100-grams-block-1

.. also look for nice posts by Darrel in this topic.. I know I have read great info about chemical peat function shared by him !!

/Micke
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi,

So all hope is not lost after all!
This is my peat, so definitely needs some boiling?

And here´s the tank that it would go into.

I just can´t get over it how awesome it would look with peat bottom, floaters and oak leaves.
 

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MickeM

Active Member
5 Year Member
If the peat is not of minimum-size(sometimes sold in gardenshops) I would:

- Boil it and put it in a "wide" net( regular green fish net from any zoomarket, not the white one with narrow stitches)..
- Shake it in a bucket of some water so the smallest particles can flush/drip out.
- Move some sand in your tank, and then put the "net-peat" in that corner/pit..(Avoid a side/place with water currents..)
- Keep an eye on the following process.. (If the fishes/water react negative the following days, just use a hose/net and get it out!!)

Good luck!! + Feel free to put up some more pics if you proceed with this project!!!:)

/Micke
 
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ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi,

Thanks for the tips, Micke! I´ll buy you a beer if you ever wander into middle of Finland.
I only have air powered sponge filters in that tank so I´m not that worried about currents.

How much should i boil at one sitting? 1 or 2 "fistfuls"?

I´ll update this thread with pics in near future. Fish me luck!
 

boofeng

Member
I did start a peat bottom apisto tank a few months back, and have a pair of A. eremnopyge in it. They've since spawned, and the fry are doing well.

The "problem" with that tank is I worry about the day I have to remove the fish. The energetic male throws up a spray of loose peat every time he dashes for food, chases the female, etc. Oh, and I'm not eager to do much about trimming plants or cleaning the glass there - because it makes such a mess. I have some cabomba furcata, syngonanthus sp. "Belem" and some crypts growing in it, and frogbit on top. The plants aren't the healthiest, but they're growing. It's also pretty hostile to algae - they don't grow well in this tank. The tank beside this with a peat + sand cap substrate is smothered with beard algae near the sunward pane.

The peat I use is Klassmann Deilmann Lithuanian Peat. Hope this helps!
 

boofeng

Member
Hi

I don't have a current picture, and photography is not one of my strong suits. This is a photo of the tank when I started it:

DSC_1722.JPG


The peat tank is on the left. Now the crypts' leaves are in worse condition. There's frogbit floating on top. The Syngonanthus on the bottom left grew about an inch. The cabomba right at the back has grown throughout the water column, including to the front. The Hygrophila difformis at the back has 80% melted but persists (I bought it after misidentifying it as Ceratopteris).

I think the plants don't grow well because the water is too nutrient-poor. The water measures the lowest on the pH drop test kit, so it's 4.5 or less. The highest TDS measured before water changes is 120. dGH is 2-3, dKH is 0. There's plenty of light, the sun comes in from the back of the tank in the afternoon.

Here's a (terrible quality) video of it in a more recent state. It's quite embarrassing, but I'm too lazy to work on the tank when it's only 15 cm off the ground. Lesson learned - I'm setting all tanks at least 40 cm above ground in future!
 

Phile

Member
Hi all..

Many Killiefish-breeders I know boil their natural "sedimented" peat (brown "dug-up" bog-peat) before using/putting it in a tank..

After boiling.. my friend in the Basement+me then often leave the peat in a tank with good new water(pH 6,5) for some days to let small/dusty particles dissolve from the fibers !!
This is then "repeated";) (with new pH6,5-water every time) after shaking the most particles off ... 2-4 times before using it as spawning-substrate/hidingplace for the fishes. (10-15cm deep)..
We also practice this for Apistos some times , but then always in tanks with few fishes( controlled types /limited ammounts of food) + many plants put to grow in/on the peat !!
Some Planorbarius corneus are also put in these tanks.., but they sometimes die off due to aggressive Apistos or other factors..(the lack of available carbonates for shell-building.??) ..

As you say.. there may be a risk for a "rotting effect" if too much peat in comb. with loads of food-/restproducts.., but if you regularly keep an eye on your tank/fishes, you will detect any problem quite soon !!
When you think of it... there are often some restproducts in nature too..!!

A good fiberous peatbottom is appreciated by some fishes , while others probably may prefer a dusty sediment..(spawning/diving killies)!!
.. but also keep in mind what MikeW mentioned..
I guess some species may like this.., and some not..!!??

Feel fre to try this with Apistos, but also be prepared to act .. and be sure you use peat without added chemicals..!!
(I`ve seen+tried+heard about nice results with this method..!!)

To get an idea of a "similar" natural enviroment , check this out..

http://www.apistogramma.com/forum/threads/borelli-from-natural-biotope-argentine-corrientes.14700/

..and you may get nice peat+ some good tips from a local killi-club..??
http://sks.killi.dk/sv/killishows-4

/Micke
When I used to breed killies, I boiled the peat, but that was more to eliminate harmful bacteria, microbes, or other life forms that could damage the eggs. I used to have it in margarine tub size breeding containers. I didn't keep old peat in the tank. The peat will accumulate a lot of fish and food waste, which is probably OK if you have a lot of plants to deal with. I use Seachems Fluorish and Excel to give my plants a growth boost. Seems to work.
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
The peat will accumulate a lot of fish and food waste, which is probably OK if you have a lot of plants to deal with.
This is one of my concerns. How do you siphon peat bottom if you don´t see the waste? Is peat too light to siphon?
 

Phile

Member
This is one of my concerns. How do you siphon peat bottom if you don´t see the waste? Is peat too light to siphon?
I've never actually tried to siphon peat. It is very lightweight and would go up the hose. Some of the coarser stuff like the kind that we use for spawning killis might clog the siphon.
 

MickeM

Active Member
5 Year Member
Some thoughts about peat-tanks maitanance..

I always try to keep some Planorbarius corneus in my tanks..they are excellent "cleaners".., and probably makes a big difference if you are feeding excessively ?? (Eating all various restproducts+ dead leaves/plants+ some algae....and they always leave what seems to be quite "harmless" restproducts themselves..???)

My peat is normally selected fiber-peat for Apistos.. , the "powder-peat" is only used when keeping/breeding some Simpsonichtys/Fundulusoma/Nothobranchius/Austrolebias killie-species with diving behaviours.. when spawning/ hiding/ storing their eggs.. for the next rain-season/period..

I almost never keep a peat-tank with any filters/power-heads in it.. enough O2 will enter by the watersurface anyway I guess!!??
Don`t know for sure what CO2-levels I have, but most plants thrive.. often without need of frequent waterchanges.. (but some plants prefers it.... Echinodorus, Microsorium..)
..my experience is as often...
A tank with OK fishes from the start+OK/great plantgrowth rarely show a negative result !!
(As long as Biological load/ feeding is under control...!)

Some plants that thrive this way/in my tanks ... Heteranthera zosterifolia, Micranthemum umbrosum, !!

By the way.. type of sand/gravel is be a key-factor for bacterial decomposition and sometimes for Cryptocoryne growth..

I add some old pics to show what fiber-peat I use.. (Fishes- Barbus jae, Diapteron(Aphyosemion) cyanostictum, Dario dario...)
 

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