Author Topic: How Wet is your Peat?  (Read 5543 times)


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How Wet is your Peat?
« on: August 27, 2012, 09:42:35 PM »
Below are two ways to describe the wetness of peat.  The first, created by Roger Langton, is the best known.  The second, by Roger Brousseau, an expert in breeding South American annual killies, is also helpful.

1. The Langton Scale is a number system to indicate peat moss wetness during storage and incubation.

#5:  This refers to peat moss that is completely saturated with water. If more water were added, it would flow out of the peat. This can be appropriately used for Fp. filementosum and Fp. arnoldi, for example
#4:  Peat moss given this number has been squeezed before being placed into a scaled plastic bag or other suitable container.. It would be possible to squeeze out more water but the peat is no longer saturated as is the case with #5. This is recommended for Austrolebias nigripinnis, for example

#3:  With this designation the peat is squeezed (it the point where further squeezing would not produce water. This peat is damp but no longer "slushy." Most annuals will incubate successfully using #3.

#2:  Peat moss in this category has been squeezed completely "dry." as in the case of #3. but, in addition, it is allowed to sit on newspaper for several hours before bagging. The outer edges of the peat have started to turn brown.

#1:  Peat in this state is almost dry. It contains some moisture but very little. Few. if any species should have their eggs incubated in this environment.

The above can be found at where it was posted by Scott Davis.  In turn, Scott found it posted Barrie from Auckland, NZ at

2. The Brousseau Scale:
The incubation period of South American annual killifish eggs is unfortunately not an exact science. There are many factors that can alter or change the amount of time needed to hatch out the fry. The two main factors are, peat moss wetness and egg incubation temperature.

The idea of how wet the peat moss should be stored at is probably the most difficult question of all to explain. "How wet is wet?" "Is my peat moss too dry or too wet?" For those of you who did not know it, there is a type of numbering system that numbers the wetness of the peat moss from 1 to 5, with 1 being completely dry and 5 being soaking wet. Of the values of peat moss wetness, most people agree on the end two numbers, 1 and 5, but cannot seem to agree on the middle three which are the most critical. All annual killifish fall somewhere between 1 and 5 with most being about a 3. So, what is 3? The answer is halfway between 1 and 5! That is the easy way out, but not a good answer to the question. Here is a "basic" idea of how the peat wetness numbering system goes like:

#1:  Dry (peat squeezed in a net and placed on an absorbent substance for 24 hours or more).
#2:  Semi-dry (peat squeezed in a net two or more times and then placed on an absorbent substance for one or two hours);
#3:  Semi-wet (peat squeezed in a net two or more times with no other drying);
#4:  Saturated (water allowed to drain off the peat for one hour in a net with no squeezing);
#5:  Wet (water incubation);

The only definite answer that can be given on peat wetness is that you should experiment with the different levels of wetness until you understand them. Remember that not all species like the same wetness factor, so keep one weeks collection at 3 and another at 2 or 4 and then keep records of your experiences and then try other different species at all wetness factors, if possible!

So now if you hear somebody refer to peat as being "Langton #3" or "Brousseau #4" you'll know what they mean and should have some idea how to get your peat relatively the same moisture.

The Brousseau information was posted at where it has been reprinted from: South American Annual Killifish Version 2.0.1 Dr. Roger D. Brousseau
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 09:44:21 PM by azkillie »