How to use EI with <20% WC's? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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How to use EI with <20% WC's?

My current setup (which I'm starting over) is a 55g tank with a 10g underneath that I use for water changes. I can let the water sit in there for a few days to come up to temp, dechlorinate, and aerate then pump it directly into the 55g. This works well, I can do the WC in less than 10 min, but I'm only changing less than 20% at a time.

I would like to start dosing using the EI method. Short of building a new stand to incorporate a 25g tank, any ideas of how I should proceed? I'm gonna have to push my self just to maintain a once a week WC, so I do not want to do multiple WC's in a week. Should I just dose a 1/4 or 1/5 as much and see how it works?

Here's the under-tank setup. I don't think I could fit a larger tank under there.


Also, so you can see where I stand with my setup, here is the tank 1 year ago,

...and here it is today.


I'm still using DIY co2 (which I believe was the cause of my tank crashing), but I will have pressurized before I start the EI dosing.

Any and all advice will be considered and appreciated.

Thanks guys.

Aaron

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 04:51 AM
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Well the point of EI is that you are overdosing and need the large water changes to keep everything in a given range. (as I'm sure you know) So it is reasonable to assume by doing a more tailored dosing method you can keep your levels closer to what they need to be and not have to do the large WC to reset it.

Of course no one is going to be able to tell you what that new dosing needs to be, you'll have to figure that out by testing and experimenting. Its going to depend on your bio load and what types of foods you are feeding, as well as how many of which types of plants you have, since a lot of fast growing plants will use a lot more then slow growing plants.

What I would probably do is start with normal EI dosing and WCs and get the plants established and growing fairly well. Then cut your ferts way back and start your 20% WCs. Use maybe 1/2 to 1/4 of the ferts you were dosing and start watching for deficiencies to start showing up then slowly increase dosing until the deficiency disappears.
Of course you might have to increase a bit more as you go because your plants will be filling in, getting bigger, etc and using more ferts.

Although it would probably take a fairly good knowledge about your specific plants and how they react to each deficiency.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 05:46 AM
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With 50% weekly water changes, worse case is fert levels will rise to 2x your weekly dose (that assumes no consumption by plants, but also assumes nothing being added by feeding fish).

With 20% weekly water changes, worse case is fert levels will rise to 5x your weekly dose.

So, if you dose 40% EI weekly, then your worse case with 20% water changes will be no worse than it would be with full EI and 50% water changes.

I'm not saying dose 40% EI weekly. These are just some facts to use in your decision. If you have high light and CO2, then this will likely not be enough. For low tech, you should be fine.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 06:12 AM
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 06:04 PM
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Why let the water sit in a 10 gal and thus limit yourself to the amount of water changes you can do?

Just use a Pyhton or a hose from the shower head to the tank, feel to measure the temp(hands are accurate to about 2F), add dechlorinator, like Prime etc to the aquarium, dose as you refill, turn water off as the levels gets to the top.

Use same hose to drain the tank etc.
All you do is switch the hose ends.
No lifting, no hard anything.

No limitations to the volume, I sit and type while most of the water change is done/drained and filled

Maybe I need to trim, clean a filter etc, stuff that has nothing to do with a water change, but we simply are not getting of......... so while waiting, I do those as the tank drains/fills.

Easy.

It takes me the same time/motivation to do 20% as it does 50%, well, maybe 3-4 minutes more for a tank your size, not much.

Then you can use that 10 Gal to raise RCS or whatever else you want.
DIY is an issue, but a gas tank system will make a lot of this much easier.

Focus there.
Also, consider a nice soil sediment or ADA AS etc.
This will take a lot of the burder off the water column/redundant source of nutrients.

Moderate to low light will also do wonders.

Then you can get away with less dosing/more neglect(on purpose or just real neglect) and it's not just dependent on dosing/nutrients.
Makes CO2 dosing easier too(less light).

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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(voice in my head: "Holy crap! It's Tom Barr!!)

Thanks Tom!

One issue I have with filling directly from the tap is that my tank-less water heater (Rinai) is terrible about maintaining a constant water temp. Not sure how big of a temp swing the fish or plants will take?

I could get a few more buckets (3g buckets fit nicely in the kitchen sink) and fill them up prior to starting the WC which would give me a chance to adjust temp and add Prime, then pour that water into the 10g as it empties. Now that I do the math, guess I would need 12 buckets. That's alot. May have to get that Python thing working...

I have EcoComplete substrate, but may have to ditch that (see other posts).

Thanks for the advice! I guess while the tank is bare is the best time to practice and perfect the WC's!

Aaron

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 09:51 PM
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I often induce spawning in my tank by using a 5-6 degree drop in temp. Your fish will be fine. If you are really worried, go a little slower...
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn24 View Post
(voice in my head: "Holy crap! It's Tom Barr!!)
The pope takes a dump, my goal in life is complete

Quote:
Thanks Tom!

One issue I have with filling directly from the tap is that my tank-less water heater (Rinai) is terrible about maintaining a constant water temp. Not sure how big of a temp swing the fish or plants will take?
10 F or so, depends on the species, plants do not care, you can easily hit within 2-5F.
Hot/cold water, run it first, match it with the tank, then pull the shower plug and the right temp water goes to the tank.

Easy.

Quote:
I could get a few more buckets (3g buckets fit nicely in the kitchen sink) and fill them up prior to starting the WC which would give me a chance to adjust temp and add Prime, then pour that water into the 10g as it empties. Now that I do the math, guess I would need 12 buckets. That's alot. May have to get that Python thing working...
Big time, you'll thank yourself 10x over once you do.
I use a nice high grade garden hose, Flexogen 3/4", I have 5 tanks, so they get done using this same hose.

I made a PVC U shape hanging hook for the tanks that the hose attaches to.
It goes down about 70% of the depth of the tank, I added two small PVC filter screens they use on bulk heads so no fish or shrimp are sucked out.

I just throw the hook on the tank, siphon out 50-70% etc, the water goes to the landscaping plants, then once the draining is done, swap the drain end to the shower head, get temp right, start refilling.

I add prime to the tank and the ferts at this time, no need to prep the water prior. Having bred dozens of species Discus etc, other wimpy senstive fish as shrimp, CRS/RCS etc.......never had an issue, been doing this for 30+ years.

You are causing yourself lots more work and issues than need be.

Quote:
I have EcoComplete substrate, but may have to ditch that (see other posts).
Thanks for the advice! I guess while the tank is bare is the best time to practice and perfect the WC's!

Aaron
Well, whenever is convenient for the sediment, it's a big job, complete tank drain and reset.

You can set up the garden hose thing easily in a few minutes and a trip to Home Depot.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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First off, Tom, thank you! I'm sure you've heard this a hundred times, but the amount of time you contribute to us noobs answering the same questions everyday is greatly appreciated. You, and the other 'pros' on here are a tremendous asset to the hobby.

I have a siphon tube plumbed into the system already, but I'll need to lengthen it as I can only evacuate approximately 18g at a time. Also, the strainer is an excellent idea as I just axed a minnow.... oops.

Thanks again for the advice. If it works for you guys, it will work for me.

Aaron

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 03:39 AM
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The first thing I did when I got my 75G was to get a python. Dragging around 35G of water is not fun. And to make things even easier, I bore a hole in the floor to string the hose into the basement sink.

I use hot water in the mix too so the temperature isn't much of an issue. And fish can handle a little straight tap chlorinated water (20-30%) but not chloramine.


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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And to make things even easier, I bore a hole in the floor to string the hose into the basement sink.
.
I was thinking about doing that as well! My basement is still unfinished, so I could run it to a drain fairly easily. Gotta do it when the wife isn't around, tho, I don't think she trusts me.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 04:50 AM
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I was thinking about doing that as well! My basement is still unfinished, so I could run it to a drain fairly easily. Gotta do it when the wife isn't around, tho, I don't think she trusts me.

Aaron
Make sure you're not going through a pipe or electrical wires


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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 09:09 AM
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I use a garbage can on wheels to move water around. I can fine tune the water with minerals for the hard water tanks, peat moss for the soft water tanks, get the temperature right...
Then pump it up into the tank with a fountain pump.

Drain is to a plastic storage box just long enough to clean the filter in the used tank water, then out to the garden. That fountain pump, again.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 03:06 PM
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i have this problem too, i have a 30g holding tank for a 120. i can't use tap water b/c its connected to a softener and i know use the water before it comes into the softener but since its winter right now that water is probably 40-50 degrees F. i'm always watching the plants for growth and algae b/c i dose leaner and don't have the lights on for that long too. i might just get another storage bin to hold more water.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn24 View Post
I was thinking about doing that as well! My basement is still unfinished, so I could run it to a drain fairly easily. Gotta do it when the wife isn't around, tho, I don't think she trusts me.

Aaron
They do not trust any man.
Since they know you know this, you'd better do a good job plumbing. If it turns out good, then you are off the hook, if there's a flood
But.........a nice drain and a nice hard plumbed refill would be a wise solution.

Adda hot/cold line where you can blend and mix the two with a valve and have this go right into the sump or tank.

So all you do is turn a valve to drain the tank, turn another to refill.
Easy as it gets.

Then water changes are a non issue.

Not always an option however, so the hose and hook method works well for many.

Diana's suggestion for a large Rubber maid 50 gal bin with a roller wheel under it......I use these for Marine tanks since you have to pre mix the water with salt mix prior, unlike most Fresh tank...........are good to have around.

A little giant pump, drains to 1/8" and fits to the garden hose, about 60-70$ off ebay. I put all my equipment in the bin after I am done and hoses etc, does not take long to drag it out, and get things done.

Regards,
tom Barr




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