Questions about EI Dosing, nitrates, fish health - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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I really appreciate all the information you guys! This making a lot more sense now.

I am not increasing light so CO2 shouldn't need to be increased - I actually don't want to touch my light levels because it's at a balance now where I get very little spot algae on glass and almost no other algae. I wonder if going from PPS-Pro to EI will make a difference.

Better question: What are some of the things I should look for to see if it's actually making a difference (aside from more green)?
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 09:51 PM
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Spot algae in my experience is usually the fist indicator of lack of co2 or excess of light, however you want to call it. Decrease one or two hrs and clean up, in two weeks you will see if its still a problem.

When I was studying my tank I realized that taking full tank shots was the only way to see if there was a change on growth over a month and one picture every week same day.
Change only one thing at the time and observe for at least two weeks otherwise its impossible to determine what is going on. Compare your tank pictures.

The only way to know if something is wrong is by doing it right at some point. By this I mean to learn a technique that will ensure you get maximum growth and plant health, a fool proof way to do it is by providing more than enough of everything except light. What is everything? Plant mass, nutrients, co2, good substrate. Light then would only be an accelerator of growth rate.

Afaik this is why Tom came up with EI. Non limiting factors, Liebig's law. Correct me if I'm wrong Tom.

When you achieve to experience that kind of gardening then you will have something to compare with, otherwise you will never know. From there you can adjust to your needs.

First, master EI with enough co2. How to make sure you don't gas your fish?
Proper surface agitation, no surface scum... In other words Good atmospheric gas exchange.

Temperature plays a huge part in all this, specially because warmer water doesn't hold gasses very well, leading to more fluctuations of O2 and CO2 that are known to cause algae blooms and even fish/invert suffocation.


A heavily planted shrimp tank is possible!
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Spot algae in my experience is usually the fist indicator of lack of co2 or excess of light, however you want to call it. Decrease one or two hrs and clean up, in two weeks you will see if its still a problem.

When I was studying my tank I realized that taking full tank shots was the only way to see if there was a change on growth over a month and one picture every week same day.
Change only one thing at the time and observe for at least two weeks otherwise its impossible to determine what is going on. Compare your tank pictures.

Edit: There's very little spot algae but your point is taken - Would increasing the CO2 change the spot algae?

It's interesting you bring up lighting - I started a thread High Light vs Photoperiod vs distance (PAR) a while back because my Eleocharis Parvula was dying out slowly. Without going into the details - I had my lights to about 33" from the substrate - I had no algae issues so the recommendation was to drop the lights to about 24" to increase the PAR. I started dropping the lights 1-2" and waiting a week. I'm at 26.5" - that when I started noticing a few spots of algae on the glass. I've kept it at that height - the hair grass is growing - I don't mind it growing slower, I just don't want an algae explosion because everything else is growing well.

FWIW - I just dosed CSM+B a earlier today and my Nymphaea maculata has started to bubble O2. Never seen it do that, not sure if the two are linked

Last edited by sundragon; 12-20-2012 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Additional info
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 10:27 PM
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Dont crank the co2. Just slowly increase it. Make adjustments over time. Plants will show u when they are happy.
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 10:42 PM
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Better question: What are some of the things I should look for to see if it's actually making a difference (aside from more green)?
Side shoots are a good indicator IMO. If there is no limiting factor the plant will develop more mass by means of side shoots.
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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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So it's been a week of EI - I've had to do water changes every 3 days because I was treating the tank with meds but I stuck to the EI dosing.

For the first time since I set up the tank the plants pearled O2 - really cool to watch - the only thing is the two times it happened was the day I dosed traces (Plantex CSM +B)

Can anyone tell me what's going on? I'd like to understand the process better.
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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 02:01 PM
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Ur plants are hungry!!! and when they get what thye need they will grow

once u dose ei for abou 2 weeks plants will have absorbed and stored a fair amount of nutrients, they have "fat" cells much like we do

i'll take a stab and say that co2 usage has increased as well u may want to watch for signs of deficiency and algae in the next few weeks.. plants store carbon as well and it sounds like its getting used nicely
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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 08:20 PM
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More water changes often help a lot if the CO2 is poor also. As mentioned, watch for new side runners/shoots etc.

Regards,
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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-30-2012, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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...i'll take a stab and say that co2 usage has increased as well u may want to watch for signs of deficiency and algae in the next few weeks.. plants store carbon as well and it sounds like its getting used nicely
Will do! I upped the CO2 bps a bit when I started EI - it's getting ~ 25% more CO2.

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More water changes often help a lot if the CO2 is poor also. As mentioned, watch for new side runners/shoots etc.
Thanks Tom, I'm keeping the 50% weekly water change regimen, should i be doing it mor frequently if algae appears?

This is fun!

Cue side shoots appearing in the last week:
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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-30-2012, 02:29 AM
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I would like to jump in here, and not hijack the thread or anything, but this seems like a good place to ask this:

If my NO3 levels are at ~30 ppm daily without dosing, is it ok to assume that these organic sources are bioavailable to the plants? I have lots of fish and I tend to feed heavily, and when dosing EI according to Wet's calculator and others, I end up with way more NO3 than I would like at the week end WC. If I can trust API test kits, it's deep maroon.

Also, what's the thoughts on the best test kit for nitrates these days? Someone mentioned the Salifert kits. Are they still considered useable?
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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-30-2012, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by m00se View Post
I would like to jump in here, and not hijack the thread or anything, but this seems like a good place to ask this:

If my NO3 levels are at ~30 ppm daily without dosing, is it ok to assume that these organic sources are bioavailable to the plants? I have lots of fish and I tend to feed heavily, and when dosing EI according to Wet's calculator and others, I end up with way more NO3 than I would like at the week end WC. If I can trust API test kits, it's deep maroon.

Also, what's the thoughts on the best test kit for nitrates these days? Someone mentioned the Salifert kits. Are they still considered useable?
yes the organic sources are bioavailable to the plant. bacteria do perform that job function. they will eventually make ferricphosphate bioavailable over time even..
given enough time they generally make any form of nutrient available to plants

api test kits are fine if u calibrate them with known amounts.
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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-30-2012, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by sundragon View Post
Will do! I upped the CO2 bps a bit when I started EI - it's getting ~ 25% more CO2.



Thanks Tom, I'm keeping the 50% weekly water change regimen, should i be doing it mor frequently if algae appears?

This is fun!

Cue side shoots appearing in the last week:
You cannot over do water changes, but you need to dose after.
If there is an issue, I'll do 2-3x a week 70% etc.

But unless the CO2 is addressed correctly and carefully, you will keep suffering.

This has nothing to do with the fert dosing.
And we see nasty algae in every single type of fert dosing.
We also see good nice planted tanks as well. So this suggest that light/CO2 are the main issues, not ferts.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
yes the organic sources are bioavailable to the plant. bacteria do perform that job function. they will eventually make ferricphosphate bioavailable over time even..
given enough time they generally make any form of nutrient available to plants

api test kits are fine if u calibrate them with known amounts.
Does that mean that if you have a 20+ reading of NO3 that you should dose potassium sulfate instead of potassium nitrate? Do you get the same benefits without the added NO3?
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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 06:08 PM
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Before you do anything about the NO3 levels, make sure you check to make sure the test kit/method is correct to ebgin with.

Make a reference standard, then and only then..............do you decide whether to add/dose less KNO3 etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 07:59 PM
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Before you do anything about the NO3 levels, make sure you check to make sure the test kit/method is correct to ebgin with.

Make a reference standard, then and only then..............do you decide whether to add/dose less KNO3 etc.

I did the calibration already and my kit is very close. I estimate my nitrates to be in the 40-50ppm range after a 50% water change and EI dose of KNO3 on Sunday. I know that 50 is really not a "dangerous" level but I thought maybe the K2SO4 (which I have never dosed before) was to use if your nitrates were at the level that mine are.
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