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Thread: What is the purpose of rinsing peat?

  1. #1
    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    Hello everyone. I know most folks alreay know I'm new to CPs and read that peat needs to be rinsed, but I haven't been doing it just letting the watering do it. I just want to know what is the purpose besides getting the coffee water out of it. LOL I haven't figured out a clean and easy way of doing it yet and I plan of putting in a pond with a bog attached and want to connect the pond water with the pog to help keep the water fresh and all that good stuff. I don't want the coffee water from unrinsed peat to make the pond water brown so how do I go about rinsing the peat to keep the pond water clean? Thanks everyone.
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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    A lot of people use buckets. I use a spaghetti collander. You need to rinse peat, sand, LFS... of any imourites that they may contain - like pesticides and fertilizers, things that can directly kill them or contain nutrients that will produce mosses and / or algae.

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    I've never rinsed any peat or moss [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_l_32.gif[/img]
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    Whoa...

    First off, most people rinse sand religiously but other than Jim, I've not heard of anyone rinsing peat. A bucket works for the sand. Dump it in, add water, swish it around, and repeat until the water is running clear.

    You have a pond? Please tell me more about your set up and how it is that the sphagnum is creating coffee stained water. You might have the pond and the bog too close and runoff is getting into the pond or you connected them. True sphagnum peat bogs and ponds do not mix in my opinion. When they are connected, it is virtually impossible stabilizing your water and clarity will be an ongoing issue unless you do repeated 50% water changes. Even with repeated water changes, you will have some of the wildest KH and pH fluctuations you have ever seen which is not good for fish or herps. If that pond is in sun, you will most probably have problems with string algae capable of out competing any Utrics and/or other aquatic or marginal vegetation you may have growing in the pond.

    There are people out there who tried these types of setups and ended up removing all of their medium and replacing it with pea gravel to create their interpretation of a pond veggie filter. There are problems with this type of a set up also so most folk ultimately end up removing the pea gravel and increasing the size of their pond or removing all of the pea gravel twice a year and cleaning it before putting it all back. Please tell me what you have living/growing in that pond as well as what type of mechanical and bio filtration you are using? If the truth be known, I don't know of any filtration that exists out there capable of encouraging a suitable habitat for nitrifying bacteria that is vital to pond health for a set up where a sphagnum peat bog and pond are connected.

    I have 6 ponds here on my property. Two naturally occuring and 4 that were created by me as well as a few small water features. I also have one small kiddie pool in ground bog, 5 even smaller in ground accent type bogs, and I am in the process of creating a large 2500 gallon plus in ground bog if I can ever get the excavators back over here to finish up such a small job. I'm not exactly high on their priority list at this time of year with construction full swing and the weather this past spring did not cooperate to the extent that heavy equipment could have been driven over the lawn. I have tried the bog/pond set up before. I tried it after somebody told me it wasn't a good idea. I can be very stubborn at times and figured there had to exist filtration capable of enabling me to have a combo. Arrogantly and with credit card in hand I tried to find that filtration. I now own every type of filtration known to mankind. Nothing worked save repeated water changes and constant fiddling with chemicals to adjust the KH and pH which killed off my fish and cost me all of my odonata eggs and larva as well as my herp tads. After all was said and done, I was beside myself with grief over having lost every living creature in the pond and finally contacted a friend who is a PhD in chemistry to bail me out. We separated the bog from the pond.

  5. #5

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    Ahhh the perennial peat rinsing question rears its head again.

    In synopsis: peat varies in quality depending on where it is harvested. Different layers of the bog have different organisms present that can fix nitrogen and carbonates: lower layers have salts present as a result of the actions of these microorganisms. Area runoff from surrounding forest can also add nutrients.

    Taking pure peat and checking the runoff when it is rinsed with R.O. water with a TDS meter can give readings in excess of 1000 PPM - 10 times the recommended tolerance for CP cultivation. These facts were confirmed by 3 growers independently. If in doubt, obtain a TDS meter and check it for yourself.

    These nutrients favor the growth of algae and opportunistic mosses the incidence of which are greatly reduced by removing the nutrients in peat and sand via rinsing. What you want to avoid is a mini ecosystem in your pots: cyanobacteria can fix nitrogen into the substrate allowing algae to colonize. Algae produce agar which is food for fungi, fungi encourage fungus gnats. When it comes to CP, the cleaner the medium, the better the results.

    The issue has been debated, but at the same time Pinguiculaman and I have both received numerous compliments as to the quality of our plants, and we both use the rinsing protocol. I also note that I rarely have had to deal with rampant algae, moss and fungi and the associate animal life that other growers experience, and I attribute this to the protocol I use. I also note a definite decline over time in pots where algae and moss grow unchecked. The scum shows up and the plants go downhill unless top watering is used to leach out the nutrients, so I just cut to the chase and do the deed all at once.

    I also make up my pots well in advance of their anticipated use and allow the rains of the season to reach them and additionally rinse out what the initial process may have missed. I use the oldest pots first.

    The process is:

    Fill a 5 gal bucket with peat from the bale. Fill the remainder with water and let stand 2 weeks. Then after the peat is hydrated, scoop our handfulls of wet peat, squeese it out, put it into another bucket and repeat the process (except you dont need to wait another 2 weeks). Mix with rinsed sand and make up your pots and allow them to weather outside. Use as needed taking the oldest pots first.

    The process works well to discourage moss and algae. Note that sterilizing the pots does not remove these salts which must be dissolved out.

    I also change the tray water every 2 weeks to be rid of any salts that came out as a result of top watering since they will remain in solution and eventually be taken back up via capillary action and concentrated by evaopration.

    Some genera are more sensitive to salts than others. Pinguicula and Nepenthes less so than Drosera and Utricularia in my experience.
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  6. #6
    Loves VFT's! Trapper7's Avatar
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    I've never heard of rinsing peat either.I only rince my silica sand.~Niki~
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    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    I avoid rinsing peat, I believe you are removing most of the acid when you do so. I do however, wet my peat and squeeze it handful by handful when I'm adding it to my mixing container to "leech" it a little bit. I don't go to the drastic measures William takes! But then again I don't like to wait, when the plants arrive, they get potted up.

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Think of rinsing media as you would washing fruits and vegetable before eating.

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