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Old 04-30-2013, 10:48 AM   #1
Jafooli
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Is my EI dosing method effective/working?


Amateur question here from someone who likes to keep it simple, as just started out. I am having algae problem on the algea thread, but I have pinholes in one of my stem plants and a crypt.

Can someone look over my dosing for me and see if it should be working/effective or am I wasting my time each morning/doing it wrong.

Tank Size: 20G, 90 Litres.

"These are what I purchased in a starter kit.
2 x 500ml Dosing Bottles
1 x 500g Potassium Nitrate
1 x 250g Potassium Phosphate
1 x 500g Magnesium Sulphate
1 x 250g Chelated Trace Elements

Standard Ei Dosing [This is a guideline only]

Macro Solution
Mix, Shake & Leave to Dissolve Overnight:
4tsp Potassium Nitrate < I avoided this as my Nitrate is always 40ppm does not matter what I do or how many plants I get its always 40ppm :S So wierd.
1tsp Potassium Phosphate
6tsp Magnesium Sulphate
500ml Water

Micro Solution
Mix, Shake & Leave to Dissolve Overnight:
1tsp Chelated Trace Elements
500ml Water

Dosing
Macro 3x a week. (10ml per 50ltr of Aquarium water)
Micro 3x a week. (10ml per 50ltr of Aquarium water)
20-50% weekly water change."

Video "http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5GgS4jAF9Lk"

This is how I dose it what I was recommended:

Sunday - 50% w/c then dose 18ml Macro
Mon - 18ml Micro
Tue - 18ml Macro
Wed - 18ml Micro
Thu - 18ml Macro
Fri - 18ml Micro
Sat - Rest Day

I did have a look around and I see a lot of people recommend calculators I could not find one that had mine listed as its a kit, and did not understand how to do it all separately. Thanks for any help on this, if I do have to change my dosing, can someone recommend or tell me a good pre mixed liquid solution I can make and how to dose etc, or hopefully touch wood the dosing I use now is good enough for my plants.

Thanks
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Old 04-30-2013, 03:33 PM   #2
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You can use this calculator, http://calc.petalphile.com/. The fertilizers are listed as molecular formulas ie. Potassium Nitrate is listed as KNO3 and Potassium Phosphate as KH2PO4. The magnesium you have is most likely MgSO4.7H20. I watched the video and it did not appear to be anhydrous magnesium which looks more like a powder. What he used appeared to be granular like MgSO4.7H2O, btw that's epsom salt.
 
The doses recommended looks pretty good. When you use the calculator select the solution radio button and it will display a container size and dosing size for mixing. As far as magnesium, remember you may have some in your water supply. It may not be necessary to dose at full strength.
 
Not dosing the potassium nitrate may leave you potassium deficient. Typically with EI dosing, the potassium comes from the KNO3 and KH2PO4. When you use the calculator look on the right side. It breaks down each fertilizer dosed into individual nutrients.
 
Having a nitrate of 40ppm regardless of water changes tells me your test kit is not accurate. If you have a nitrate of 40ppm before a water change it should go down after the change. Check out this thread, http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=83545 for calibrating your test kit. This will tell you if it is your test kit or not. Besides it's a good idea to calibrate them anyway.

Once you determine why you have nitrates so high and eliminate it you can start dosing the KNO3 which will supply the necessary potassium.

As far as the micro mix I have no idea what they are using. From the suggestions they made for the others I would presume the dosage for the micros is accurate.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:46 PM   #3
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Hey Zorfox I really appreciate your time to answer that for me.

I had to read it a couple of times, to make sure I understood it all, the "molecular formulas" are what always throw me off, where ever I read about fertilizers on here or Google, everyone says the molecular formulas lol, I guess I will just have to learn them to make life easier. But thanks for giving such a good answer that I could understand, I am still confused about the correct dosages etc, but if you reckon it sounds good I will stick to what they said.

I looked at the calculator and found the solution part, I still don't understand 100% what ppm I am aiming for, I presume the calculator has this set to the correct limit, for example KNO3 its telling me how to dose for 7.5ppm, it also lists the measurements of how much to add to a 500ml solution, I presume I just measure them against what the website recommend.

So in this case I would measure 4tsp of Potassium Nitrate and measure to see if it comes to around 30.572g.

Also you said "Not dosing the potassium nitrate may leave you potassium deficiency" thanks for telling me that, at least I now know what could be going on with the pinholes in my plants, I use the API nitrate test kit from the master kit, my pond, tap water, tank, is always 40ppm... I also know my tap water has 40ppm nitrate I believe as I looked at my water report, but like you say it should go down, which is why I always am mind boggled, because they never do! So I will be sure to read that link you posted about calibrating the test kit.

I also have no idea why they would give me epsom salt, is there a way I can test to see if it salt, I don't see why they would give me that lol... are you sure I've been ripped off? if I have I better look at getting the magnesium elsewhere.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
Hey Zorfox I really appreciate your time to answer that for me.

I had to read it a couple of times, to make sure I understood it all, the "molecular formulas" are what always throw me off, where ever I read about fertilizers on here or Google, everyone says the molecular formulas lol, I guess I will just have to learn them to make life easier. But thanks for giving such a good answer that I could understand, I am still confused about the correct dosages etc, but if you reckon it sounds good I will stick to what they said.

I looked at the calculator and found the solution part, I still don't understand 100% what ppm I am aiming for, I presume the calculator has this set to the correct limit, for example KNO3 its telling me how to dose for 7.5ppm, it also lists the measurements of how much to add to a 500ml solution, I presume I just measure them against what the website recommend.

So in this case I would measure 4tsp of Potassium Nitrate and measure to see if it comes to around 30.572g.

Also you said "Not dosing the potassium nitrate may leave you potassium deficiency" thanks for telling me that, at least I now know what could be going on with the pinholes in my plants, I use the API nitrate test kit from the master kit, my pond, tap water, tank, is always 40ppm... I also know my tap water has 40ppm nitrate I believe as I looked at my water report, but like you say it should go down, which is why I always am mind boggled, because they never do! So I will be sure to read that link you posted about calibrating the test kit.

I also have no idea why they would give me epsom salt, is there a way I can test to see if it salt, I don't see why they would give me that lol... are you sure I've been ripped off? if I have I better look at getting the magnesium elsewhere.
This is a bit more complicated than it should be.

London's tap water tends to be fairly high in NO3, so many opt that out and add some K2SO4 to replace.

So for a 90 liter tank:

2-3x a week:

1/4 tsp K2SO4
1/16th KH2PO4

I'd add the MgSO4 to the trace mix and make a solution using about 4 tsp of CMS+B and 2 tsp of MgSO4, then dose this at about 5mls 3-4x a week.

That is it.

Feed fish, add algae eaters, do water changes and really focus on good CO2.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
the "molecular formulas" are what always throw me off, where ever I read about fertilizers on here or Google, everyone says the molecular formulas lol, I guess I will just have to learn them to make life easier.
It'll become pretty easy once you see it several times. Google is your friend until then

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
still don't understand 100% what ppm I am aiming for, I presume the calculator has this set to the correct limit, for example KNO3 its telling me how to dose for 7.5ppm, it also lists the measurements of how much to add to a 500ml solution, I presume I just measure them against what the website recommend.
The calculator does report the correct ppm ranges. Be careful to select the daily EI dose from the drop down list for individual dosing. The other is for an entire week. The EI ranges for each are roughly...

NO3 (nitrate) range 5-30ppm
K+ (potassium) range 10-30ppm
PO4 (phosphate) range 1.0-3.0 ppm
Fe (iron) 0.2-0.1ppm
GH (general hardness) range 3 degrees ~ 50ppm or higher

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
So in this case I would measure 4tsp of Potassium Nitrate and measure to see if it comes to around 30.572g.
If you have a precision scale measuring is more accurate by far. If not the average weight of each is below. These are from that calculator. They can vary quite a bit from nutrient to nutrient but is a close approximation.

Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) 1 teaspoon = 5,200mg
Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4) 1 teaspoon = 5,800mg
Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4.7H2O) 1 teaspoon = 5,100mg
The micro mix can vary a gram or more depending on which one they used.


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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
I also have no idea why they would give me epsom salt, is there a way I can test to see if it salt, I don't see why they would give me that lol... are you sure I've been ripped off? if I have I better look at getting the magnesium elsewhere.
You were not ripped off at all. That is a common use for epsom salt. In fact in the calculator the selection is MgSO4.7H2O. Google MgSO4.7H2O and it will show you that's epsom salt. I'm not aware of any easy way to tell if it's epsom salt or not...taste it maybe lol. Don't confuse the term salt with common table salt. Salt is a chemistry term for ionic compounds. The potassium nitrate is salt peter. Many of the nutrients we use have common names and applications. It is surprising to most the techy sounding nutrients when expressed scientifically are common things.

You may want to read this article on EI dosing. It will explain a lot in non technical terms for the most part.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:30 PM   #6
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Thanks Zorfox.

I will have to get memorizing the molecular formulas shouldn't take to long, but yet again there all kind of similar lol.

Thanks for listing the ppm ranges, I presume them ranges are what I need to keep between during the week.

I will spend some time tomorrow morning and get more familiar with the calculator, from what your saying though, it sounds like my EI kit, is pretty close to those measurements, so hopefully what I am dosing is actually working, I was just paranoid I was dosing for no reason, aka the whole regime was inaccurate.

With the Epsom salt, are you saying that can be used as magnesium then? so I don't need to go out and buy anything else, and can keep what they provided even though its not "Magnesium Sulphate" ?

I also think the main concern/worry we found here is my nitrate test kits, and having to calibrate them... if I can get a accurate reading, hopefully a low one, then I can add Potassium Nitrate into my dosing, and hopefully see my pinholes fade away and get healthier leafs
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:45 PM   #7
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You can certainly use the Mag sulfate you have. Epsom salt is another form and may be what you have. As far as your nitrates did you see what plantbrain said? I can count on one hand the people I would blindly follow advise from. He's on that list! He devised the EI system. He happens to be one of the most knowledgeable people on earth when it comes to planted tanks. Did you understand what he meant by using K2SO4 (potassium sulfate)?
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:29 AM   #8
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Hey Zorfox really appreciate your help on this and the informative links you sent.

When you say plantbrain lol do you mean Tom Barr?

Also are you referring to " If the tap has consistently high NO3, say 30ppm, then you do not add KNO3, instead, use K2SO4 etc."

So in my case if I do have high nitrates, I can just buy some K2SO4 work out how much I need to add to my 500ml solution, then carry on my EI and hopefully the plants will be getting there potassium.

If this is the case do I have to worry about any fish/shrimp coming to harm with K2SO4? I will do some research on it as-well.

I also forgot to ask you yesterday, I looked at the calibrating thread you linked, and for example my tank always shows 40-80ppm Nitrate its so red I cant tell which ppm it is but 80ppm sounds way to high for tap water, but if I calibrated it and tested a cup with 25ppm and the test kit shows red, its still going to be hard to determine my reading, as in theory if I tested a cup with 10ppm nitrate I could possible still get a red reading, I will certainly give it a try though and see what happens.

I don't know if you can recommend me any good test kits ? that are more accurate? I did some research on how accurate API nitrate kits are and a lot of people seemed happy to say they was accurate, and other's not so pleased.. are some api nitrates kits bad while another one would give me a better reading aka pot luck?

I still believe my Nitrate readings are not correct, so if I get a accurate reading then I can just dose the KNO3 for potassium, if not I'l have to find a place that sell's K2SO4.

MY water report says: Nitrate 50 mg NO3/I

"http://www.southeastwater.co.uk/media/116347/Water_Quality_Explained_SEW.pdf"
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:19 PM   #9
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When you say plantbrain lol do you mean Tom Barr?
Yes. I try not to use full names online with all the security issues now. Although, his signature does have his name so...

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
Also are you referring to " If the tap has consistently high NO3, say 30ppm, then you do not add KNO3, instead, use K2SO4 etc."
Exactly. KNO3 is used for nitrates (nitrogen) and part of the K+ (potassium). If nitrates in your water are already in range no need to dose it.

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
So in my case if I do have high nitrates, I can just buy some K2SO4 work out how much I need to add to my 500ml solution, then carry on my EI and hopefully the plants will be getting there potassium.
That's correct

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
If this is the case do I have to worry about any fish/shrimp coming to harm with K2SO4?
Not at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
I also forgot to ask you yesterday, I looked at the calibrating thread you linked, and for example my tank always shows 40-80ppm Nitrate its so red I cant tell which ppm it is but 80ppm sounds way to high for tap water, but if I calibrated it and tested a cup with 25ppm and the test kit shows red, its still going to be hard to determine my reading, as in theory if I tested a cup with 10ppm nitrate I could possible still get a red reading, I will certainly give it a try though and see what happens.
With API kit below 20ppm should be a brown color. If you know the water is set to 10ppm and your'e seeing red, replace the nitrate reagent. I suspect your problem is the high nitrates in your water. When the nitrates get up to 40ppm I can't tell the difference anymore. It all just seems red to me. You can "cut" the sample with 50% distilled water and double the result if it's too high to read.

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I don't know if you can recommend me any good test kits ?
I use API master kit and a few other single ones. For an accurate KH I use Salifert which has a very narrow range. Other than that I just use the inexpensive API tests. Sure you can get a bad reagent at times. That can happen with any brand.

Once you get things dialed in you really shouldn't need to test much anymore. So I wouldn't bother spending any money on expensive test kits.


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MY water report says: Nitrate 50 mg NO3/I
That's the reason all your results are red lol. As plantbrain said. Keep it simple and use K2SO4 (potassium sulfate) in lieu of the KNO3 (potassium nitrate).
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:45 PM   #10
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Thanks for clearing that all up, and I got confused because Tom Barr seems to be registered here and everywhere lol, shame I do not have his knowledge & yours

Cheers for the tip about 50% distilled water and double the result if it's too high to read, will give that a whirl.

One last question to make sure problem solved, when I purchase the K2SO4, I was planning on making a new Macro batch 500ml "below"

Macro Solution
Mix, Shake & Leave to Dissolve Overnight:
4tsp Potassium Nitrate - Replacing with K2SO4 below
41.784g K2SO4 I believe
1tsp Potassium Phosphate
6tsp Magnesium Sulphate
500ml Water

Can the K2SO4 be mixed with the above? I read some fertilizers cancel each other out? So what's the best route? get another 500ml bottle and dose it separate or will it be ok mixed with them.

Also my EI is not 100% daily, as I do Macro one day then Micro Next, so when working out how much K2SO4 to add to 500ml, do I need be calculating for The Estimative Index rather than daily?

This is what the calc says: for 90 lites.

"To reach your target of 7.5 ppm K you will need to add 41.784 g K2SO4 to your 500.0 mL dosing container. Add 18.0 mL of that mix to your 90.0 L aquarium to yield"

Element ppm/degree
K 7.50
S 3.08

Dose these levels 2-4 times a week for EI

I would be dosing it 3 times a week so that method would be correct?

I am so sorry lol, if I sound dumb, I am getting it much more though than I did 24 hours ago.

Just if I choose the option EI daily it tells me to use 17.828 g over 500ml but then I would need to dose that daily. Either way which ever option I go for, when I dose this with the Macro/Micro mix, they wont cancel each other out?

Thanks again to you and plantbrain for your help, hopefully I didn't take to much of your time up lol, just this last piece of info then I can get ordering
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:50 PM   #11
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Can the K2SO4 be mixed with the above?
Yes it can. Just don't mix the micro nutrients with macros.

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
Also my EI is not 100% daily, as I do Macro one day then Micro Next, so when working out how much K2SO4 to add to 500ml, do I need be calculating for The Estimative Index rather than daily?
Honestly, as long as your'e staying within the ranges I listed your'e good. So you could do either. That's one of the beauties of the EI method. There is a lot of wiggle room. Often I see people trying to calculate this to death. Just get in the range and your'e all set.


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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
"To reach your target of 7.5 ppm K you will need to add 41.784 g K2SO4 to your 500.0 mL dosing container. Add 18.0 mL of that mix to your 90.0 L aquarium to yield"

Element ppm/degree
K 7.50
S 3.08

I would be dosing it 3 times a week so that method would be correct?
Yes it's fine 3 x 7.5 = 22.5ppm in a week. The range is 10-30ppm. See the wiggle room? lol

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Either way which ever option I go for, when I dose this with the Macro/Micro mix, they wont cancel each other out?
Just mix the macro and micro seperate. Dose on alternating days. Technically mixing the two can cause precipitation. I've never seen that happen and I dose both on the same day. I just make sure each is mixed into the water well before I dose the next.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:45 PM   #12
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Thats great news, I think this thread is pretty much done now then, this is now my online free guide lol, and I can read it over and over to make sure I suck in all the information then venture out and learn more about EI, and maybe when I learn more I can give plantbrain's recommendation a try, or even experiment my self and gain more experience.

Plantbrain said:

"So for a 90 liter tank:

2-3x a week:

1/4 tsp K2SO4
1/16th KH2PO4

I'd add the MgSO4 to the trace mix and make a solution using about 4 tsp of CMS+B and 2 tsp of MgSO4, then dose this at about 5mls 3-4x a week."

I presume the K2SO4 and KH2PO4 he is giving me are dry dosing instructions, and then I think my Chelated Trace is not identical to CMS+B which I found on aquariumfertilizer.com, so maybe when I look into ordering my K2SO4 I can order the CMS+B and then give his suggestion a try and use my "Potassium Phosphate" which is the same as KH2PO4 "Monopotassium phosphate" I presume.

I'm not the best at equations and measurements but I presume to find 1/4 I just divide a teaspoon into 4 and with the 1/16 I divide the fertilizer in to 16 parts and just throw 1 part into the tank etc giving me the 1/16th.

Also I could not find where you found the teaspoon weights, I looked all on the calculator but had no luck.

Thanks again and cheers for your help Zorfox
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:57 PM   #13
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Metric to Teaspoon conversion:

5mls ~ 1 US Teaspoon

3.55mls ~ 1 UK teaspoon
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:22 PM   #14
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Thanks plantbrain for that info,

I was actually wondering where Zorfox got this information and how I can find it:

Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) 1 teaspoon = 5,200mg
Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4) 1 teaspoon = 5,800mg
Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4.7H2O) 1 teaspoon = 5,100mg

So then I can match it against my starter kit, and see if my dosing is with in the recommended ppm levels, I also want to order some K2SO4 I am not sure if aquariumfertilizer.com dispatches to the UK, I will have to ask, but do you know any UK sites that may have this? as I need it to replace my KNO3.

Also when you recommended my tank its dosages of:

1/4 tsp K2SO4
1/16th KH2PO4

How do I find 1/16, are there measuring spoons for this? and I would rather dose liquid if possible, so can I just follow http://calc.petalphile.com/ and make my own macro?... I will be mixing all these three together into a 500ml solution.

Potassium Phosphate
Magnesium Sulphate
Potassium sulfate

That shouldn't cause no complications?

I will stick with my chelated trace for now I think, and maybe if aquariumfertilizer ship to uk I will purchase some CSM + B and then add the Magnesium to the trace mix if in your opinion that would work better?

I also am a bit disheartened as my tank has hair algae and diatoms, pics in the algae thread, and from what other members have told me, its most likely my CO2, I am only using DIY for now, and I'm thinking maybe I should just stop the CO2 but then the plants won't use the ferts? and its so annoying, I been trying to remove this algae since I got my first ever tank a year ago and it didn't even have plants, co2, back then it was just a ornament tank.

This algae is staying strong in my tank and new growth gets covered in around 2-3 days.. I am focusing on growing healthy and strong plants, but I cant beat it =\ , and if anything I am heavily planted. I believe it to be hair algae and diatoms.

I hope someone can answer or just confirm for me I am on the right track with the Macro Mix, as long as http://calc.petalphile.com/ is accurate then I should have no problems making my own EI, just worried what can't be mixed together.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:57 PM   #15
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How do I find 1/16, are there measuring spoons for this? and I would rather dose liquid if possible, so can I just follow http://calc.petalphile.com/ and make my own macro?... I will be mixing all these three together into a 500ml solution.
Yes, there are small measuring spoons. They are sometimes called "dash, pinch and smidgen" measuring spoons.

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
Potassium Phosphate
Magnesium Sulphate
Potassium sulfate

That shouldn't cause no (sic) complications?
This will be fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
I will stick with my chelated trace for now I think, and maybe if aquariumfertilizer ship to uk I will purchase some CSM + B and then add the Magnesium to the trace mix if in your opinion that would work better?
I would just keep the magnesium (sulfate) separate from the trace mix altogether. Just keep it with your macronutrients.

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and I'm thinking maybe I should just stop the CO2 but then the plants won't use the ferts?
This could worsen your problems: fluctuating CO2 levels can often lead to additional algal problems.
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