FYI, I dose 1/2 EI. I started with PPS pro and kept adding until I didn't notice a difference in plant growth. It turns out it was basically 1/2 EI dose, so that is what I do now. I have a high fish load, injected CO2 and T5 HO lights.
1) I think with EI the goal is to get around 30ppm Nitrate by the end of the week. If you are hitting that number with PPS doses I wouldn't dose more. As far as NO3 from poop vs. chemicals, I don't know if there is a difference on fish health. For sure, many species of tropical fish can tolerate 30ppm +
2) For me, reds in plants is related to intensity of light. Mind you, the only 'red' plants I have experience with are Limnophila Aromatica and Luwigia.
3) When I go on vacation I don't do the weekly water change, I turn down my lights/decrease photoperiod and turn down CO2 slightly. I have heard of some people dosing their weekly dose in one go but I have not done that. If you have been dosing for a while and you can get away with not fertilizing for a while if you slow the tank down - reduce light intensity and photoperiod.
I have been using PPS - Pro on my tank and overall things are working beautifully - I would like to try EI. There are few contradictions that I understand about using EI - Nitrate reduction vs adding nitrate for the health of fish. I would like to learn more because I think I may not understand how this fully works.
- Adding Nitrates - I know, ideally, fish poop fertilizes the plants but we add nitrates to our water to suppliment the fish poop. When a fish gets sick, I've been told to reduce nitrates because it's a stressor on the fish that can cause illness in the first place. My nitrates after a 50% water change are between 30 after I add a dose via PPS. What I've read on EI, the nitrates are higher than 30 by week's end. I know we do a 50% water change but we bring it up again the next week. Anyone give me some insite on how this is okay? Is it because one is caused by waste and the other by direct addition, type of nitrate?
- EI making plants red - I've read that plants that display red do it in high light, lots of iron, and 0 nitrates - I have the light and I dose iron every day with little red - How do you guys get your reds to pop?
- EI and your Vacation plants - When you go on vacation, what do you do? I can't expect the person who feeds my fish to get the dosing right - partially for fear of messing it up and killing the fish, lol