Filtering through Peat
While we are still looking into reverse osmosis units, we are filtering through peat. It did take a while to get the Canadian peat that was recommended. The stuff I was finding at Lowe’s was a fluffy peat mix that was not like the compressed and finely shredded stuff I was looking for. A local garden center where my mother lives was able to provide me a bale of what I needed. I got 1 cubic foot and it was about $10. A bit more expensive than the 2.5 cubic bale of stuff from Lowe’s that cost me $6.
To make sure I was on the right track, I rigged up a milk jug with a in the bottom. Over that I put some coffee filters then filled the jug up with peat. I then hung it over the trash can I use for water storage with an ‘S’ hook and put my kitchen sprayer into it and started the water. The peat started to swell and over flow the container. So, I ended up removing about half the contents of peat as it continued to swell. Eventually I got an amount of peat that was staying in the container and I filled up about 1/3 of the trash can.. about 10 gallons. It took much longer than just running water into the container as the hole was not big enough to handle the full volume of water. But a test of the water showed much lower GH and KE readings.. as well as lowered ph. So, we were on the right track.
A trip to the grocery store and I picked up a bucket. I drilled several holes in the bottom and once again put some coffee filters over the holes. On top of that I put some filter pads I inherited from my brother and then a 3-4” layer of wet peat. I needed a way to hold the container over the trash can so used an old chair and lined up the holes with the spaces in the back of the chair. Everything worked but once again, the volume of water coming out of the container was too slow. I am thinking the coffee filters really slow down the water that filters through. My next plan will be to remove the filters and just use a good layer of filter floss above the holes. I want water to run through fairly quick but not have the particles of peat in the water. Again, a test of the water showed lower levels of ph, gh and kh.
Over time I plan on using proportionately more of the peat filtered water in my water changes. I am hoping to lower the ph over the course of a few weeks to a much lower level. My fry tanks are already using the softer water.. and I will continue to keep them topped off with it. It really sucks to have to jack with water this much to enjoy your fish. But to get good spawns and the perfect fins needed to show.. it is a necessity. My goal is to use 1/3 tap water, 1/3 peat filtered and 1/3 reverse osmosis when I get it. I don’t like the idea of wasting all the water the r/o units do.. for every 25 gallons you get you put 75 gallons down the drain. And, pure r/o needs to have SOME minerals added back in for the health of the fish. My water diluted down I am hoping will be fine. Using some of the peat filtered will give me lower ph, gh, and kh without the waste. Will keep you updated as I get it worked out.
Edited to add: My original values were Ph 8.1; GH 358 ppm; KH 286 ppm. Running the same water through the peat gave me readings of Ph 7.2; GH 232 and KH 179. Not bad for a quick fix.
I removed the coffee filters and the water did flow through a lot faster and I did not lose any time filling the trash can through peat over just running the water into the trash can. Still looking at reverse osmosis units…