Preparing Peat as a Spawning Media
Peat Moss is probably the most common spawning media for most annuals. There are certain requirements in preparing the peat to make it safe for both the breeding pair as well as for long-term storage of the eggs. Probably the most important step is that of making certain the peat moss you use is sterile and free of any fertilizers. One way to do this is purchase Jiffy Peat Pellets #703.
If you prefer to use a much less expensive process, then a good bulk choice is Canadian Sphagnum Moss available at any large farm business or many large box stores (Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes etc.).
No matter where you get your peat, it is very important to make certain you remove any contaminants by boiling the peat moss for a period of time. I use five minutes at full boil. Yes I have a pot specific for this process. If you use the sphagnum moss, you will need to use a blender to make the sphagnum into a usable size. Simply add water to a handful of the moss and put the blender on a low setting, then increase the speed until it easily spins and grinds the moss to a usable density.
Pour the blender-ized peat into a fine net, one which will hold the peat moss, but allows the very fine particles to pass through. Wash the peat with fast water until it runs clear. Allow it to settle in a large container for a few days. The peat on the bottom of the container is now ready to be used with your fish. I remove a small, slightly porous net full of peat and wash it once again before placing it into a spawning container.
I discovered the bowls like the one to the right in Walmart. They are made of glass and have no sharp edges and come with a slip on top, easily removed. I cut a hole in the the top to allow me to add the container to the breeding tank, settle the container on the bottom of the tank and then remove the top completely. Some peat will escape, but most of it remains in the bowl and is ready for breeders to begin to leave the eggs in the peat.
Other hobbyists us plastic ‘fishbowls’ as a breeding containers. They are held down by using marbles of smooth rocks, but I found this to be a pain over the years. Admittedly, there are certain South American annuals where the larger fish bowls are very useful. These are species we consider divers like Terrantos dolicopterus vs ploughers such as Nothobranchius species.