EI Dosing and Tweaking - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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EI Dosing and Tweaking

Hi. Here's what I'm working with. This tank has been set up for years, but broken down and rescaped about a month ago with new substrate.

36 Bowfront
Eheim 2215 w/ a 2217 impeller
Pressurized CO2
2 x 24w T5HO on 7hrs per day
Eco complete with Osmocote+
EI dosing. DIY liquid fertilizer according to the rotala butterfly nutrient calculator.

PH- 7.4 +/- without CO2. 6.4 +/- with.
GH- 6 drops or so.
KH- 6 drops or so.
TDS- 150-200 ppm.

50% water change weekly.

Bacopa Colorata
Bacopa Caroliniana
AR Mini
S Repens
Crypt Metallic Red
Cyperus Helferi
Helanthium Quadricostatus

Ammonia is 0. Nitrite is 0. However, nitrate was off the charts high. Like, 160-200 ppm. After three or so 50% water changes with no fertilization, nitrates are in the 20 ppm range and I intend to do another 50% water change tomorrow and resume dosing. I also ordered some faster growing stems like Ludwigia and Rotala along with some other plants to continue filling in with nitrate eaters.

My question is this- Obviously I was giving the plants way more nutrients than they needed. How do you know when to restrict dosing volume and frequency due to plant nutrient uptake? Is a nitrate test the best option? is this how people start to tweak their nutrient mixes and dosing?

i plan on cutting my dosing volume in half for macros (2 pumps instead of 4) and continuing micros unless nitrates climb again.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 01:14 AM
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I'm going to guess (but I'm not an expert on active substrates) that your Eco Complete is adding some N and the Osmocote is certainly adding some. How much? You'll have to look into that. You don't need root tabs (Osmocote). All nutrients can be supplied in plentiful quantity via the water column.

The 50% weekly water change is designed to keep EI dosing in check, but does not account for non-dosed nutrients (Osmocote and, maybe, Eco Complete). Plus, fish are going to add to NO3 as well. No one knows for sure what plant uptake rates are, but they are estimated to be between 3 and 10 ppm daily for NO3, depending upon many variables. The best thing to do is to test, like you are, for NO3 and PO4. If you follow those numbers obver time, you will get a feel for how much is needed weekly. Based upon your statements, you can probably stop dosing NO3 and see how the readings go. NO3 levels are considered acceptable between 10-60 ppm for high-tech setups. I prefer to see levels in the 20-30 ppm area. Check your PO4 levels before deciding whether or not to cut back on it. Keep it in the 3-5 ppm area. You can't measure K, but it is good to keep that in the 20-30 ppm to match the nitrates.

BTW: By "drops" I assume you mean a drop of the reagent for the test kit. So, 6 "drops" = 6 degrees. Let's talk in that nomenclature. for KH, 6 dKH (degrees KH) is higher than I like, but acceptable and, since it matches the 6 dGH (moderately hard water), it's ok. The Eco Complete is doing most of that. When your CO2 drives the pH below 7, as the acidity increqases it dissolves the carbonates in the Eco Complete and they raise your KH and GH.
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