EI Fertilizing method, great! 50% water change? Not so much - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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EI Fertilizing method, great! 50% water change? Not so much

I am a rookie so I am just learning how freshwater planted aquariums work. Seems whenever I bring up using Flourish I will quickly get someone posting about dry ferts. I did some homework tonight and now I totally understand why. The cost is obviously much cheaper than liquids. Okay, so I am down with that. Now, tonight I was reading this article on how to use the EI method and it sounded great right up till I got to the 50% water change part. Really? I only have a 45g. I can't imagine someone doing this weekly with a 150g. That seems insane to me.

So a couple of questions. First, to use the EI method, is the 50% required? Next, maybe there is an easier way for me to do water changes than a 5g bucket? My tank is in the living room which is about 30 feet from the kitchen sink. Not all that far but carrying buckets back and forth is not fun. Help me find an easier way and perhaps I can be sold on 50% water changes. Wow, than I get to thinking about those who do this with RO. No frigging way. I'm trying to figure out how to use Prime in bulk. I do have some large brute cans.

Thanks people!

Edit: Also, is the EI method okay to use with tap water? I know I read that EI alone works against algae but does using tap water still keep everything stable enough to prevent algae? I guess while I'm at it, I'll ask one more. I plan to use pressurized Co2. Do people use EI and C02? I just wondered if Co2 alone could control algae.

Last edited by JohnsTank; 08-08-2016 at 06:49 AM. Reason: edit
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 07:09 AM
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The important part of ei is the use of co2. There are lower dose regimens for people who don't use co2. The 50% water change is necessary to avoid build up of nutrients that could be used by algae and also to prevent toxicity. I still rock the 5 gallon buckets but there are other ways to do it.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 12:44 PM
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Lookup for 50ft python water change or DIY one which is way more cheap and customisable.

Also check PPS-Pro fertilization method which address your bucket challenge.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 01:39 PM
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I change 50 to 80% of my 125 discus tank twice a week lol

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 01:58 PM
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I actually dose more than the recommended EI; and do a 40% water change every two weeks. I also have a heavily planted 45 gallon. So you could push it for two weeks. I also have pressurized CO2. I use tap water. No RO. I am also very lazy lol
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 02:13 PM
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I do EI without C02. Using tapwater and Prime. I dose 1/3 the recommended amount only once a week, and am gradually doing a little adjustment to the dose to narrow down what's causing minimal alage I still have. And yeah, I haul 5 gallon buckets- from kitchen into living room. My tank is a little smaller than yours, but it's still three and a half buckets to refill. I don't mind the work, it's only 2 hours on a friday morning. Gets me a bit of exercise. If I had a bigger tank I'd probably get one of those python hoses.

Before I used dry ferts my plants were dying, frankly. I know it's not the only method (if I'd done more reading before I started I'd probably have tried a dirted tank) but it's the first thing that's worked for me to get healthy plants, so I'm sticking with it.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 02:19 PM
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If you guys have low tech tanks, low lights, no CO2. There is no need to do full EI. You can do half, or third of what is recommended and do less water changes.

EI has no direct relation to algae.
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Last edited by mistergreen; 08-08-2016 at 07:18 PM. Reason: +
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 03:06 PM
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I have to agree with the Python or similar tool suggestion. I had a 55 gal and did the 5 gallon bucket routine forever. Bought a Python and never looked back. Have a 125 gal now and it doesn't take long at all to do my water changes and far less mess.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 03:31 PM
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Love the python. I cut off the siphon end and attached a cheap pump so I don't have to waste water sucking it out of my tank. I'll never go back to the buckets!


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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 08:44 PM
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The Python is bad news here! We're in a serious drought in California and the Python puts the water down the sink. I have a 92 gallon tank. I used buckets, for a while.......I got a couple of food grade 55 gal drums. (others use plastic trash cans). I place them on cheap furniture moving dollies from Harbor Freight. Siphon water into one while prepping the new water in another. Once of got the amount out I want to change, I roll the waste water out of the way, bring in the new water and pump it into the tank with a submersible pump and hose. Use the waste water for your garden. It's full of nutrients and fish waste.

Fiala06 posted while I was typing. Obviously if there is a way to rig the python without running water down the sink that's a different story. I'm not really seeing how that mod is done, or why it's different than a pump and a piece of hose.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 10:58 PM
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@JohnsTank Yes EI is ok with tap water. If your water is soft, low GH, you might want to use something called GH Booster which adds some Mg, Ca and K.

If you do 50% weekly wc the max. conc. in the solution without any plant uptake would be 2x(dose added in one week), just math. In reality this 2x concentration rarely happens...have yet to see 8ppm PO4 in my tank . A better use of 50% weekly water change is that it reduces the organics in the water and cleans up water after the trim/uprooting.

To answer in detail the question you can read the thread here, written by Dr. Barr himself. Hate water changes? EI can get you there with a small modification - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report

I would also recommend:
Confusion about EI and other myths - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report
and
The Estimative Index of Dosing, or No Need for Test Kits - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report

some things might be hard to understand but it is a good place to start asking questions from.

Hope this helps
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:30 PM
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Nothing about EI is written in stone and those who will tell that any part of it from dosing x amount of y fertilizer to having to do a 50% water change weekly has missed the point. Different tanks have different demands and the idea behind EI is to meet the demands of your tank. To do that will require a bit of work on your part. It's not a dump and go technique as some want to make it out.

I've used the basic EI concept for the whole time I've had a planted tank, but not what I would think is the idea that is considered by many to be EI which is to dump a larger amount of ferts into your tank. You find the sweet spot for your particular set up over time by adjusting your dosing. Most times that adjustment decreases what you're dosing until you finally see a negative response as in deformed growth, poor coloration, increase in algae. Then you bump it back up a bit.

As Dukydaf mentioned above, one of the best reasons to go with a 50% weekly water change is to keep a clean tank. It helps remove all of the waste that plants and fish generate from what we don't see to detritus that gathers on the plants and substrate.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:45 PM
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I kind of got on a bit of a tangent, but others recommendations of a Python or better yet, a DIY Python, makes water changes a lot easier. It's night and day between buckets and a Python.

DIY Python


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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
I kind of got on a bit of a tangent, but others recommendations of a Python or better yet, a DIY Python, makes water changes a lot easier. It's night and day between buckets and a Python.

DIY Python


Im in the planning stages for something like this. How do you start the siphon?


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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 04:54 AM
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There's a garden hose attached so I just give a suck on the hose.
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