Please, no more EI! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Please, no more EI!

I've been using EI dosing since October, but I'm not enjoying this method.

I want to have more control over what I'm putting into my tanks. Aside from nitrate, I have no idea what the nutrient levels are in my tanks, and that makes me uncomfortable. I want to try dosing only what the plants need, instead of providing everything in excess. I'd like to either do smaller water changes, or change water less often (every 2 weeks, for example)

Questions:

1. Does anybody dose this way?

2. I checked Big Al's for other test kits I'd need, but I don't think they have them. What would I need, and where would I get it?

3. Leaves on my rotala 'araguaia', staurogyne 'porto velho', and rotala 'mini butterfly' are curling. What deficiency is causing this? This is another reason I want to do something other than EI. If nutrients are supposed to be in excess, then why am I seeing a deficiency!?

Please comment!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 09:16 PM
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A couple of links that may interest you:

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...tyle-EI-dosing

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...tic-plant.html

If you're dosing EI at recommended amounts then the most likely deficiency is carbon.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 09:46 PM
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If you're dosing EI at recommended amounts then the most likely deficiency is carbon.[/quote]


I totally agree. I have been using EI with great success.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 09:50 PM
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Check out PPS-Pro. It is an excellent alternative: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...c-pps-pro.html There is also the pfertz line, the seachem, etc.

However, there are claims of it being too deficient in phosphorus, so research well.

Also, ask yourself what are your goals for this tank. For instance, if you want a high-light, high-tech tank, there are a lot of variables that will need to be considered such as injection of co2. Once you determine the plants you want to grow, the speed of the growth and such, this will aid you in the selection of the fertilizer method.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all so far :-)

I was using 2 bottles of DIY CO2 until a few days ago, when I switched over to pressurized. If it's a CO2 problem, this will fix it.

My goals are definitely to have a high light/high tech tank. It's a 47 gallon with a a 3x54 watt T5HO fixture. I've been using 2 bulbs for 6 hours per day so far. What do I want to grow....? Everything. This is my collectoritis tank

Thanks for the links. I'll be reading!
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazonfish View Post
I've been using EI dosing since October, but I'm not enjoying this method.

I want to have more control over what I'm putting into my tanks. Aside from nitrate, I have no idea what the nutrient levels are in my tanks, and that makes me uncomfortable. I want to try dosing only what the plants need, instead of providing everything in excess. I'd like to either do smaller water changes, or change water less often (every 2 weeks, for example)

Questions:

1. Does anybody dose this way?

2. I checked Big Al's for other test kits I'd need, but I don't think they have them. What would I need, and where would I get it?

3. Leaves on my rotala 'araguaia', staurogyne 'porto velho', and rotala 'mini butterfly' are curling. What deficiency is causing this? This is another reason I want to do something other than EI. If nutrients are supposed to be in excess, then why am I seeing a deficiency!?

Please comment!
Sure here's the exact plant in my tank you mentioned using EI:



This tank has EI and has more Stauro than most, bark up another tree.
I've gone away for 2-3 weeks and not done water changes on this tank.

It's not the nutrients, it is poor CO2 usage/light balance. Here's another example using a different sediment and a different species of Staruo:


also left for a few weeks, without water changes.

Not everything is nutrient related.
There is a need to understand that to move forward and improve your horticultural skills. Think holistically, CO2 and light are the main players, nutrients by and large are very easy. Once you learn that, then nutrients will also be much simpler and easier for you.

You will also better able to master more plants, solve more issues and be a better gardener overall. Being able to rule things out as possible causes is one such skill that's lacking for many hobbyist.

The above planted tanks are sitting in my home and have obviously had EI dosing for several months. So not knowing anything else, I can easily say it can NOT be EI dosing that's at fault here. As the above shows clearly there's no health issues, so that is a control reference for you.

If you cannot produce a control, then you cannot even start to say what is wrong with your methods or test much of anything. Only with a control, can you do a treatment and test. Otherwise you have no way to check your results against anything, a reference system etc.

Since I have such an aquarium using this method and specifically, also have this plant in lush abundance, this falsifies such a hypothesis. So you should look elsewhere for the issue.

As suggested by others here, lower light/better CO2, current etc, good O2 and so forth. Not only will these plants do better, the entire management will be much easier.

If you use less light, then plants have less CO2 demand and thereby extension, less nutrient demand, you can dose a little bit less, and do water changes once every 2-4 weeks if you are observant and watch the tank plants good. I've never once stated you must use this amount of grams/teaspoons to do EI, you add more/less to suit what you think the case may be.

I can do this very easily.

Also, if you want to reduce the dosing and water changes, you should use ADA AS or mineralize some soil, worm castings etc. This adds a back up supply of nutrient should you forget to dose(who has never forgotten to dose a few times?), and water column allows you to extend the life of the sediment. So both locations work very well together. They act together synergistically.

You can cut the % of EI dosing down (progressively) till you see a negative plant response. Then add the next higher level of dosing, that is the tank's demand without limiting the system strongly.

That + lower light intensity_+ better CO2 management + sediment sources of nutrients can greatly enhance the method goals you have. Makes everything easier to manage.

There's no plant I cannot grow really really well, and any issues I may have had initially have never once been due to nutrients or EI. 300-400 species of plants and counting.

Most of the aquatic plants are grown with a similar solution as EI, some are grown at 5X the amount.

Testing is a trade off and few test kits offer more control than EI does, unless you calibrate and are fairly careful. Many simply suggest they can wing it and not calibrate, well, then you are guessing and no better off and in some cases worse.

I'd not think of it as adding excess/waste, rather, providing non limiting nutrients, basically getting everything you need nutrient wise for the plants.

This does not imply that you have adequate well balanced lighting, or CO2 however, there's more to it than just dosing. If you bother to do a water change, even if 10%, it's not much difference for that vs 50% as far as motivation. On smaller tanks, say 20 Gal, I spend 5 minutes a week doing a 50% water change at most.

On larger tanks, I simply use a U shaped PCV drain hook I made to attach to a garden hose, out the water goes onto the landscaping plants, and attached to the shower head for nice warm water for refilling, no work at all. Also, many can automate their water changes, trying automating testing for N, P, and KH etc. You will not find it that easy to do.

Still, you want less, you can use less light, since you are adding Excess light right now that's causing high CO2 demand and the plants are CO2 deficient.

I'd stick with 2 bulbs for your tank.

I'd also suggest using a non limiting dosing method if you want to rule out issues with CO2/light, starting at a very lean level, your plants are already hurting. When you adjust ppm's and other parameters, you get dependence if they are really low.

That leads to false assumptions and conclusions in the result since the test are NOT independent. It's only when you provide non limiting factors, can you start to test the other parameters light light, or CO2, or PO4 alone etc.

Keep a good eye on CO2, that's where most of the learning you have should go towards. Some act like it's some easy to do thing, for some, that get lucky, that may be the case...........but most are not so lucky.

Read up more on that. 2 bulbs, not 3.
I can grow any species very well with that set up.
Consider ADA As etc.



Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Wow. Thanks for taking the time to write all that! I really appreciate it. I will stick to 2 bulbs. I definitely don't want to cause any other issues. I'll see how things go in the next few weeks, since I finally got my pressurized CO2 going.

Thanks again,

Lara
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 03:25 AM
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Wow is right. That pretty well sums it up. Something I've learned here is it's important to not only get the correct amount of CO2 to meet demand but to also distribute it everywhere in the tank. In my case that meant adding 3 power heads to my 55-it's way more circulation that I would have ever considered before. It's made a big difference but still may not be enough.


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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazonfish View Post
Wow. Thanks for taking the time to write all that! I really appreciate it. I will stick to 2 bulbs. I definitely don't want to cause any other issues. I'll see how things go in the next few weeks, since I finally got my pressurized CO2 going.

Thanks again,

Lara
I know it's tough as a newbie, heck, I felt the same way.
What are the best management methods to get to your goal?
What trade offs are good for you personally??(not for me or Bubba etc)

These will be different for everyone.

Some humble, some grand.
The "people factor" is huge.

I was highly resistant of dosing KNO3, and K2SO4 etc and most things DIY.
"More light" seemed better.

"High tech" seemed more advanced etc.
CO2 seemed unneeded.........

All the same stuff most folks go through.
101 different pieces of advice, none that worked well for me

And so it goes.........hopefully things get better over time, I think they have.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 03:58 PM
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We must first find what is NOT wrong to find the real root of the problem in our tanks.


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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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I'll start off by saying... "oops".

I came to a realization a couple of days ago, and I'm really really embarrassed to admit it. I have a feeling that it may also have added to my issues.

I've been dosing mono potassium phosphate, potassium sulfate, and potassium nitrate in the recommended dose range. But...I had medium hard water so I assumed I didn't need the GH booster. I checked my GH (in the tank, but not the tap) a couple of days ago and found out that it was between 1 and 2. Soo....should I purchase some GH booster? If so, would I stop dosing potassium sulfate?
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 09:02 PM
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GH booster is made up of potassium sulfate, calcium sulfate and magnesium sulfate. If anything, you can easily just add the other two and continue dosing as if it were the GH booster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tug View Post
Barr's GH Booster does not contain Iron, just 3 parts K2SO4, 3 parts CaSO4 and 1 part MgSO4.

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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True, but that would be more expensive than just buying a bag of GH booster (never bought a bag, since I didn't think I needed it with my water) ;-)
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazonfish View Post
I'll start off by saying... "oops".

I came to a realization a couple of days ago, and I'm really really embarrassed to admit it. I have a feeling that it may also have added to my issues.

I've been dosing mono potassium phosphate, potassium sulfate, and potassium nitrate in the recommended dose range. But...I had medium hard water so I assumed I didn't need the GH booster. I checked my GH (in the tank, but not the tap) a couple of days ago and found out that it was between 1 and 2. Soo....should I purchase some GH booster? If so, would I stop dosing potassium sulfate?
If the KH is high and the Gh is low, you might have a water softener...........check to see.

This adds lots of KH, and drops the GH.

It's it's unaltered tap with high hardness, it will generally have high GH and KH.

Sometimes low KH+ moderate GH.........

Check

Regards,
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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I checked the KH and GH of my tank water.

GH = 2 (2 drops to reach endpoint)x 20 = 40 ppm
KH = 2 (2 drops to reach endpoint)x 10 = 20 ppm

I'll go really quick and test the tap. Results in next post.

Edit: results posted. see page 2.
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