EI Dosing Struggle
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:08 PM   #1
eaunaturale
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EI Dosing Struggle


Having bought the EI starter kit from Aquarium Plant Food UK, I followed their instructions for making the solutions for micro and macro nutrients. They are as follows:

Macro
4 tsp Potassium Nitrate
1 tsp Potassium Phosphate
6 tsp Magnesium Suphate

Micro
1 tsp Chelated Trace

These are dissolved into 500ml of water, and dosed at 10ml per 50l of aquarium water.

Having had problems with yellowing and curling leaves on my H. Corymbosa Compact, and pale looking H. Tripartita, I doubled the dose of Potassium Phosphate. I am still having problems however, and am now getting algae growth or various kinds.

The tank is a 5g (25 litres) long.
Substrate is fine gravel with a clay base.
Lighting is 2x18w T8 fluorescent hung about 6" from the water's surface.
Carbon supplied by Hagen Plant Gro CO2 (Elite Mini diffuser) and a liquid carbon supplement at full recommended dose.

Any insight would be appreciated. Apologies if I've missed any information.
Thanks

Last edited by eaunaturale; 03-20-2013 at 04:10 PM.. Reason: added info
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:31 PM   #2
DarkCobra
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Nitrates, phosphates, and traces look good.

But in my opinion, that's an insane amount of magnesium. Don't know why they've suggested such a thing.

Calcium and magnesium are usually added once weekly, in the form of GH Booster, if needed. If these two nutrients get way too far out of proportion, even if there is no actual deficiency, it can cause problems.

Some do roll a little extra magnesium into their daily dosing, including myself. But usually at 10-20% of what your recipe lists.

Also, for the micro/trace solution, you'll need to use water that is at least neutral pH, but preferably acidic. Tapwater is typically high enough pH that it will break the most common chelator used in trace mixes (EDTA) within days, rendering iron in particular useless to plants. Distilled water is pH neutral. Use that, along with a teaspoon of white vinegar to make it slightly acidic, and you'll have a shelf-stable micro solution.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
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Most of the issues are related to the CO2, not the ferts, but as mentioned, you likely do not need so much Mg.
I'd add 1 tsp, not 6 of MgSO4 (epsom salt)

you need to work on CO2 and clean up the algae you now have. Focus on nice health NEW growth.

Adjust CO2 slow and watch carefully.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:03 PM   #4
eaunaturale
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Thanks for the responses.

I was suspicious of the recommended dosage from the beginning, but decided to trust them nonetheless (they know what they're doing, right?). I'm surprised to hear it is so far off the mark! I think I'll bin the current solutions and start again. To overcome any issues with chelation/precipitation, I would prefer to dry-dose. I can then be certain of how much the tank is receiving.
My maths is pretty poor, so could somebody point me in the direction of a straightforward method of calculating how much dry salt to dose (I measure in teaspoons, down to 1/32th).

With regards to CO2, I had hoped that the liquid carbon supplement would take up any slack the DIY method drops along the way. Would I be better off dosing the supplement exclusively as a more consistent supply?
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:15 AM   #5
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Converting directly from your recipe to dry dosing:

500ml of water, dosed at 10ml per 50l of aquarium water, is 100X 5ml doses into a 25l tank.

So divide all dry components by 100X. Comes close to 1/32 tsp. for nitrate, but all others (with Plantbrain's modified Mg suggestion) are closer to 1/128 tsp. If my maths are correct, that is.

Standard EI dry dosing recommendations for a 10G, high light and heavily planted tank with 50% weekly water changes are larger, and within the realm of common measurements. But notice that there's quite a few assumptions in that statement, that I'm not sure apply to your intended setup or goals.

Using the distilled water and vinegar trick for the micros, there's no worries at all about chelation/precipitation. And that trick isn't necessary for the macros. I prefer liquids myself, because with one bottle and one good ml vial, I can go around and dose up every tank in quick succession; regardless of large or small.

The amount of carbon provided by liquid carbon supplements is a small fraction of that provided by real CO2 at typical levels (30ppm). So while they are additive, most people just go with one or the other, depending on the actual carbon needs of their setup and desired growth rate.

Also, if you're inclined, I'd contact Aquarium Plant Food UK, and see what their rationale in such a large Mg dose is. I'd be interested to know. And if it was a math error or typo on their part, I'm certain they'd want it brought to their attention.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:12 AM   #6
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As I'm the one that came up with the general name and article, various folks have modified it for whatever reasons.

the article itself is here:

Light:
http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...ss-techy-folks

the actual article:
http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...-for-Test-Kits

I have not really updated it, but there's a number of modifications since so many folks think it's written in stone. They are also listed in articles on the same subforum.

EI is a very simple concept.
But.........many folks have a tendency over complicate things.

Do not be that person.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:32 PM   #7
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Tom, I've read your article on EI a number of times. I understand the concept of providing ample nutrients, but to what point is it actually achieving this? I have a tank full of Hygrophila species which, as you know are particularly hungry for nitrates and potassium. I read a post on here that said almost obscene levels of these nutrients were needed in order to maintain healthy growth under high light. Perhaps that is my problem then; the light is causing the plants to strip the column of these nutrients, and my CO2 is simply not at high enough concentrations to allow the plants to utilise any higher dosage.

The only reason I went for such high light was to get good growth from the H. Tripartita; I think I may have got a little carried away. Either way, I'll turn the flow up and the light down, I shall also remix my macros to reduce the level of magnesium sulphate to 1 tsp per 500ml.

Mr Cobra, I'm very much inclined to contact Aquarium Plant Food UK. They are an enthusiast run company, I'm sure they'll be helpful.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eaunaturale View Post
Tom, I've read your article on EI a number of times. I understand the concept of providing ample nutrients, but to what point is it actually achieving this? I have a tank full of Hygrophila species which, as you know are particularly hungry for nitrates and potassium. I read a post on here that said almost obscene levels of these nutrients were needed in order to maintain healthy growth under high light. Perhaps that is my problem then; the light is causing the plants to strip the column of these nutrients, and my CO2 is simply not at high enough concentrations to allow the plants to utilise any higher dosage.

The only reason I went for such high light was to get good growth from the H. Tripartita; I think I may have got a little carried away. Either way, I'll turn the flow up and the light down, I shall also remix my macros to reduce the level of magnesium sulphate to 1 tsp per 500ml.

Mr Cobra, I'm very much inclined to contact Aquarium Plant Food UK. They are an enthusiast run company, I'm sure they'll be helpful.
I do not think 10-30 ppm of NO3 is obscene.
Same for K+.

Sounds like this is a CO2 or light issue, not a nutrient issue.
I grow this plant easily, any from the genus. It's a weed.
Less light= less CO2 demand.
CO2 causes the most trouble for people, not nutrients.
Nutrients are very easy to rule out as an issue.

No one kills fish with ferts, they kill fish with CO2 almost every week on this board.

So that's the risk and the problem.
You really do not need high light, you can get nice easier to manage growth with low/moderate lighting, much easier to deal with the growth rates and the CO2 demand.

I'd go this route and then tweak the CO2 very slow and progressively and observe the tank. Since nutrients are independent, you will have complete control over CO2 relative to a stable light intensity.
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:20 AM   #9
eaunaturale
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Thanks for the input Tom. I have addressed the CO2 levels and increased flow around the tank. I'm starting to get a real grasp on growing plants in a high tech environment; it's only taken 5 years
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