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Peat or not?
#1
Hello.
I have recently bought Sera Super Peat to add to my aquarium filter, hoping to give my Blue Rams softer, more acidic water. However now I'm not sure if I should use it. My worry is that water changes will change the pH for a while every time, until the filter get the fresh water back down. Would it be better to let my Rams continue living in the normal tap water, instead of giving them these fluctuations? I live in an apartment, with no outdoor space, so having a separate tank of water with peat in it for water changes isn't an option. My aquarium is 325 liters, so it's quite a bit of water needed for a water change. 
My tap water values are:
pH: 7.4
Total hardness: 15 °dH
(The values are from my water supplier, not measured by myself. They don't supply the KH in their list of measurements.) 
I know using RO water would be optimal when it comes to hardness, but again I run into the issue of having nowhere to put a tank for prepared water. Right now my biggest concern is fluctuating pH at water changes.
I hope you guys have some input. Thanks.  Smile
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#2
Hello LD

I don't know anything about Sera peat specifically ; but I know a little bit about peat in general!

Your peat is likely to remove a bit of General Hardness (GH) but I can't say how much.

Your water supplier will give a figure somewhere that serves as an indication of KH. Look for a value that's labelled (something like) 'hardness as mg/l CaCO3'. Then divide that figure by 17.9 and you'll arrive at a reasonably reliable  approximation of KH.

It's likely to be quite high - possibly around 10 or more, so your tank isn't likely to notice at all the acidifying effect of peat.

What might be more of a concern is the ammonia that could be in the peat if it's in its 'raw' state. It might have been processed to remove that ; or it might be peat that doesn't contain ammonia in the first place! You can test for it, of course, if you've got some zero-ammonia water (tank water should do), an ammonia test kit and a pint glass.

It's not likely to be an issue - this is just a note of caution in case there's a lot of ammonia and/or it's positioned in the aquarium at the exit from the filter, rather than before.

Let us know of any developments?
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Thanks given by: LadyDay
#3
Thank you for the reply!
I can always ask the water supplier directly for KH if I cant find the answer myself  Smile  
I think I'll buy a pH test kit to see if the peat makes a difference. If it doesn't, do you know of other options to lower pH (I'll ask Google too  Big Grin )? If I can lower it by other means, do you believe the fluctuations at water change would be a problem (I usually change about 30%)?
The peat is processed, but I will still do your clever trick of testing it in a glass before adding it in to control for ammonia. One can never be too careful with ammonia after all. 
I will let you know what happens.
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#4
You water supplier may not be immediately familiar wth the term 'KH' - but you never know!

Yes there other ways to reduce pH. One is to add acid from a bottle - such things are often called something like 'pH Down'. However this is really not a good approach and something you'd be well advised not to consider unless you're prepared for an awful lot of faffing!

Another way is to use a much less aggressive approach. Leaves, such as Catappa (Indian Almond) or teak or oak have acidifying properties (for a couple or three weeks, then they have to be replaced with new ones to continue the acidifying) .

But, again, the KH of your tank is likely to be so high that they wouldn't have much, or any, effect on pH (unless you put a whole tree's-worth in there!). They do, however have other properties that are very beneficial. Water-changes shouldn't be at all problematic under those circumstances.

Oak leaves can be gathered free, after they've fallen, from trees in the countryside or from a park if there's not much traffic or other pollution around. Catappa leaves are expensive if bought from fish shops ; I can tell you how to get them much cheaper if you choose to go down that route.
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Thanks given by: LadyDay
#5
I'll definitely consider trying the leaves if the peat fails when it comes to pH. You never know. Worst case scenario my little guys might have to continue living with the pH that comes out of the taps, but I'd rather make them as comfy as possible.
I'd like to know how to get them cheaper than the aquarium shops if the peat doesn't do the trick! There is the slight complication that I'm not in the UK, I'm in Denmark.
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#6
Being in Denmark isn't a difficulty! The source I use is in Thailand and ships internationally.
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#7
Ooh! Whilst I'm here, is there any chance you could provide a link to your water supplier's website?
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#8
(16-08-2019, 10:57 AM)Vale! Wrote: Being in Denmark isn't a difficulty! The source I use is in Thailand and ships internationally.

Do they have a website?

(16-08-2019, 10:59 AM)Vale! Wrote: Ooh! Whilst I'm here, is there any chance you could provide a link to your water supplier's website?

Sure, it's https://www.aarhusvand.dk/
Their list of the water chemistry, as it came out of the taps in 2018, is here:
https://www.aarhusvand.dk/globalassets/f...phaner.pdf
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#9
It's www.bettawan.com (low-grade leaves are perfectly adeqate unless you have a 'show tank'.)

Thanks for your links. I haven't looked at the first one yet - I went straight for the numerical masochism.

Your water supplier is very well-behaved in giving the hardness as dGH. It gives test results for calcium ; with a bit of effort we could convert that to an estimate of KH. But in many respects it's very similar to my tapwater, so I would expect its KH to be very similar. Your water is all sourced as groundwater (yes - I've been reading!) so I wouldn't expect that it's diluted by a lot of fresh rain.

Your water's also very good for cake-making : it contains flour!  Wink
[-] The following 1 user Likes Vale!'s post:
  • LadyDay
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#10
(16-08-2019, 12:23 PM)Vale! Wrote: It's www.bettawan.com (low-grade leaves are perfectly adeqate unless you have a 'show tank'.)

Thanks for your links. I haven't looked at the first one yet - I went straight for the numerical masochism.

Your water supplier is very well-behaved in giving the hardness as dGH. It gives test results for calcium ; with a bit of effort we could convert that to an estimate of KH. But in many respects it's very similar to my tapwater, so I would expect its KH to be very similar. Your water is all sourced as groundwater (yes - I've been reading!) so I wouldn't expect that it's diluted by a lot of fresh rain.

Your water's also very good for cake-making : it contains flour!  Wink

I might hide the leaves a bit anyway, so they don't need to look super impressive. Cheers. 

Do you read Danish? 
What does your KH happen to be? If you're up for the challenge of estimating KH from Calcium content I'll be pleased and impressed  Big Grin I'll also have a look myself to see if I can find out how. I aim at not being lazy (occasionally failing of course, but I try).

Haha. I do make a mean apple pie!
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