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Re: Columbian Red-Tailed Tetras and peat use questions

>>exactly how does one boil peat?<<

It's easy.  Get a big pot, preferably an old one that you don't need for cooking [I know my wife will never use my pots ;-) ].  

First, open the window if possible.  Then put the pot on the stove with water and add the peat.  It takes a while for the boiling water to drive out all of the air.  After 15-30 minutes it should be ready.  That's not scientific, just going from memory.

Let the mixture cool.  I then skim the stuff off the top that wouldn't sink and throw it out (in the garden).  Then I reach in and start grabbing handfulls of the soaked peat.  

I know several folks who store the boiled peat in 5 gallon buckets.  The run an airstone down to the botton to keep it "sweet." They then reach in an grab a handfull or two whenever they need it.  They also can syphon some of the extract water as the peat leaches into it.  

Also, a simple way to soften the water for breeding set up is to place some peat in an old stocking hose and either hang it in the breeding tank or into a water reservoir for aging.  The direct method my require monitoring of the pH.

I've never tried it myself. I have boild peat, but only as a spawning medium for killifish, not for water conditioning.  So maybe more experienced folks can chime in with more tips and tricks.  But it's really not that hard.  

BTW, you mentioned Chicago water.  Are you in the Chicago metro area?  Also, are you a member of the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association.  If not, you should be.  It's a great source for fish and, more importantly, advice.  Check out their web site at www.gcca.net for more info.  If you are member, then maybe I'll see you at Sunday's holiday party!

Bill Vannerson
McHenry, IL

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