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What your thoughts on Fluval Peat for very hard water?


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Hi all


My water is on GH 18. I have a Fluval 207 canister and besides the initial media I added Fluval polishing pads. I come across this product but have ready a few coments of people that this did marvelous things and some other that not only didn't changed the hardness of the water but left the tank cloudy. I have Guppies and Cori, but I would like to add some less tolerent fish as well.

Should I use this product, is there other solutions for it, or am I just dommed?

Thank you in advance. This is my second post and your guys are great.

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So I don't have experience with the Fluval peat specifically, but I do have some experience with peat in general. There are a few things to consider and not all of them are concerns that you expressed, but I'll try to focus on what you brought up.

  • Peat is advertised for two main functions: softening the water (reducing GH) or acidifying your water (reducing pH). Depending on what people buy the peat for, their results may be satisfactory.
  • Peat reduces the GH by binding the magnesium ions. It may bind other ions but I can't say it with certainty.
  • I have not personally had success reducing my KH with peat.  The bicarbonates in my water (limestone aquifer as municipal water source) were not neutralized by peat and the only thing that ultimately worked for me was adding RO to my tanks.*
  • Peat can directly lower pH, but if you have a heavily buffered tank this is far less likely to occur. If you find success lowering your KH with peat, you may see more dramatic results than expected.

*I was attempting to reduce hardness less for my fish (as I have never had an issue with hard water tolerance, even though I primarily keep soft water fish) and more for avoiding the hard water stains that come from evaporation.

A few points that you didn't necessarily ask about but I wanted to provide my two cents on.

  • I really don't advise attempting to lower hardness when keeping livebearers. Most fish can tolerate harder/softer water than their "ideal" parameters but livebearers have the unfortunate case where they're regularly producing fry. This can have negative impacts on their bone density and is a contributor to some of the issues that you commonly see (the ACO article on livebearer's disease goes into this a bit).
  • Peat is a nonrenewable resource so it may help to find an alternative for reducing the parameters that you desire. Catappa and many botanicals are renewable alternatives. I personally use live oak leaves (the species, not as in leaves that are still living) in addition to catappa leaves and alder cones. In my blackwater setups I tend to include mulch that has a very similar effect to peat.
  • An option to purchasing Fluval's filter media is to use media bags and fill them with what you want. If you do choose to go with peat, it is likely far more economical to buy a bag of peat at a garden center and use a media bag in your canister as opposed to purchasing from Fluval. This is what I did prior to making the switch to the alternatives in the above point.
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