Please check my EI dosing. Do I need to boost GH? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Please check my EI dosing. Do I need to boost GH?

I'm still really new to planted tanks and am looking for a little help with dosing. Some plants are doing great, some not so good. I am suspecting some sort of deficiency, possibly calcium? A number of my plants have leaves that curl down and sometimes start browning from the leaf tip or edges. This is happening mostly on my hygros and water wisteria.

Tank (about 2 months old):
29 gallon
78 degrees
Eco Complete substrate
Medium planted
Medium? lighting
7 hour photoperiod
Eheim 2215 (no carbon pad)
35% weekly water changes (with Seachem Prime)
21 female bettas, 2 small bristlenose, 3 nerites, a few MTS

Dosing:
1/2 EI dosing (was 1/3 until earlier this week)
2X Excel daily
1.5ml Seachem Iron once or twice a week
About 4 Osmocote root tabs
No CO2

Local water report:
pH 9.2
Hardness 150 mg/l (8.8 grains per gallon)
Calcium 53 mg/l

If my calculations are correct, Magnesium would be around 6 mg/l. I believe my KH is around 10 and my pH stabilizes to around 8.2 once in the tank. Would adding some Seachem Equilibrium to my tank possibly be beneficial? I can't really think of what else I could be doing wrong. The only plants in my tank that seem to be doing really well are my bulb plants (aponogeton and lily).
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 05:37 AM Thread Starter
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Added a full tank shot. The floating plants were just added yesterday. The lighting is a little brighter than it looks in the photo. I had all the lights off in the room when the photos were taken, which made things look really dark.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 06:37 PM
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Hi brandy3392,

Welcome to TPT!

Do you by any chance have a water softener in your home? Based upon the hooking downward of the leaf tips of your newer leaves and the pronounced hooking on your older leaves I would diagnose a calcium deficiency, however if your water is actually 58ppm Ca as indicated by your water district it just doesn't seem possible unless the Ca is in a form unavailable to the plants.

I would try an experiment. First if you don't have a KH/GH test kit I would suggest getting one - along with my PH test kit the dKH and dGH along with nitrates are the tests I do most often. Check the dKH and dGH of your tank. Add sufficient Seachem Equilibrium to the tank to increase the dGH buy 2 degrees. Assuming a normal amount of substrate you have about 23 gallons of water in your tank and to raise the dGH by two degrees with require about seven (7) level teaspoons (or 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) to raise 23 gallons by 2.0 dGH. BTW, Equilibrium will increase the ppm or magnesium (Mg) as well as potassium (K).

Then monitor new leaves as they emerge and see if the 'hooking' diminishes or goes away completely; older leaves will likely not improve because calcium is an immobile nutrient which means in the case of calcium if it is not available to the plant (leaf) when it is being formed adding it afterward will have minimal if any effect.

Common combination GH/KH test kit

Roy_________
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply!

I don't have a water softener. The water report is technically not for my town, but for a larger city 10 miles away which is supposed to be where my town gets its water supply from. So I'm not sure if that could cause some margin of error.

I will pick up a liquid test kit for GH/KH. I tried using some old test strips that I had laying around. Not sure how accurate they still are, but they confirmed GH at 150. KH reading was 180.

If I dose Seachem Equilibrium, do I need to decrease the potassium in my EI solution? I am currently using this recipe at 1/2 dose.

1ml/Gallon
KNO3 23.1 gm
KH2PO4 3.5 gm
K2SO4 9.4 gm
Plantex CSM+B 14.5 gm
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandy3392 View Post
Thanks for the reply!

I don't have a water softener. The water report is technically not for my town, but for a larger city 10 miles away which is supposed to be where my town gets its water supply from. So I'm not sure if that could cause some margin of error.

I will pick up a liquid test kit for GH/KH. I tried using some old test strips that I had laying around. Not sure how accurate they still are, but they confirmed GH at 150. KH reading was 180.

If I dose Seachem Equilibrium, do I need to decrease the potassium in my EI solution? I am currently using this recipe at 1/2 dose.

1ml/Gallon
KNO3 23.1 gm
KH2PO4 3.5 gm
K2SO4 9.4 gm
Plantex CSM+B 14.5 gm
Hi Brandy3392,

Again, you may have the amount of calcium in the water that the water company says (although it is usually an annual average) but that does not mean it is biologically available to the plants. I grew up in the Midwest and the calcium in the water is usually in the form or calcium carbonate (CaCO3). For the calcium in CaCO3 to become biologically available to plants then CO2 (or an acidic environment) must be available to break down the CaCO3 into Ca and HCO3. You have an alkaline environment with [email protected] so it is likely that the Ca in the calcium carbonate is not readily available to the plants. Equilibrium uses calcium sulfate (CaSO4) as the source of Ca and an acidic environment is not necessary to free up the Ca molecules for the plants to use.

I dose my EI using the 'dry method' and no longer t mix solutions (just too much work) so I cannot comment on your dosing levels or recipe.

I prefer to change just one item at a time, in this case the Equilibrium, and see what the effect is rather than changing several items and if things improve or get worse not knowing what might be the cause. Therefore I would not change your potassium dosing at this time.

Hope this helps!

Roy_________
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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I already have epsom salt. Can I just get some gypsum and create my own mix? What amounts would I need to use? Any disadvantages to using this over Seachem Equilibrium?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 11:09 PM
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You have alot of fast growing plants there. I think 1/2 EI would provide better growing levels for them.

For a 29g tank:
Dosing 6g epsom salt MgSO4*7H20 would result in 5.4ppm Mg (1 GH)
Dosing 10g gypsum (CaSO4*2H20) would result in 21ppm Ca ( 3GH)

In total this would increase your GH by 4. This concentration should be enough for most plants even if your tap has 0. Do not add all this dose at once but over 2-3days. It would be better if you knew the GH first so as not to increase above what the bettas are comfortable with.

S. equilibrium also adds K and some Fe and Mn if I remember correctly. These are not measured by the GH test.

PS Unless you see granules/dust of CaCO3 coming from your tap, Ca, even from CaCO3 is available for plants. If it is dissolved it is available.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 03:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandy3392 View Post
I already have epsom salt. Can I just get some gypsum and create my own mix? What amounts would I need to use? Any disadvantages to using this over Seachem Equilibrium?
Hi brandy3392,

As dukydaf stated Equlibrium has some iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) in it along with the potassium (K) however using Epson Salt (MgSO4) and gypsum (CaSO4) should provide the answer if we are dealing with a Ca deficiency.

For your 29 gallon (23 gal volume) I would suggest:

1.25 teaspoon CaSO4 = 10.4ppm of Ca and adds 1.45 dGH
0.5 teaspoon MgSO4 = 2.9ppm of Mg and adds .67dGH

Dose the above 2X per week and don't forget to do your 50% water change weekly. Let us know how the new growth looks in a couple of weeks!

Roy_________
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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Got my test kit today. Looks like my tap water GH is 8 and KH is 6. Added some gypsum and epsom salt and will try testing again tomorrow. Do I need to dissolve in water before I put it into the tank? Or can I just dose it dry? That stuff is extremely hard to dissolve.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 04:13 AM
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Hi brandy3392,

There is no need to dissolve them prior to dosing although I usually break up the large pieces of Calcium Sulfate (CaSO4) before putting them in the tank. Typically we try to maintain a
CA:Mg ration of somewhere between 3:1 or 4:1 so when dosing your tank I would suggest dosing 3/4 teaspoon of calcium sulfate (CaSO4) and 1/2 teaspoon magnesium sulfate (epsom salt/ MgSO4). Using these quantities will provide about 10ppm of Ca and 3ppm of Mg and will increase the dGH by about 1.8 dGH.

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