EI dosing nitrate question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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EI dosing nitrate question

I want to make the leap into dosing ferts with the EI method. I have a couple questions before doing so though.

Firstly. I currently use root tabs because I have an inert substrate. Should I continue to use those in addition to EI or does EI eliminate the need for that?

2nd. My tap water already comes with about 15-20ppm nitrates and my tank is fully stocked with fauna. Its already a struggle keeping my nitrates under 40ppm despite the tank being heavily planted. Dosing even more nitrates feels like it would really be overkill. Can I just skip the nitrate day with the ei method or do I need to do some further calculations?
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post #2 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 06:29 PM
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Following for interest. Been thinking of switching to dry ferts lately.


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post #3 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 11:57 PM
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Using EI doesn't eliminate the necessity of root tabs; think of the latter more as supplement to EI. You can skip it if you want, but having it is better.

You can leave out the nitrates if your tap water is already that high. Though, this does not eliminate the need for the other macronutrients (potassium and phosphorus), so be sure to add those (they are typically in a mixture with the nitrates, so when you say 'skip nitrate day', make sure that you are still adding these other two elements!)

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post #4 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Using EI doesn't eliminate the necessity of root tabs; think of the latter more as supplement to EI. You can skip it if you want, but having it is better.

You can leave out the nitrates if your tap water is already that high. Though, this does not eliminate the need for the other macronutrients (potassium and phosphorus), so be sure to add those (they are typically in a mixture with the nitrates, so when you say 'skip nitrate day', make sure that you are still adding these other two elements!)


Couldnít he just dose potassium phosphate salts to cover both without adding nitrates?


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post #5 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Using EI doesn't eliminate the necessity of root tabs; think of the latter more as supplement to EI. You can skip it if you want, but having it is better.

You can leave out the nitrates if your tap water is already that high. Though, this does not eliminate the need for the other macronutrients (potassium and phosphorus), so be sure to add those (they are typically in a mixture with the nitrates, so when you say 'skip nitrate day', make sure that you are still adding these other two elements!)
Estimative Index | Aquarium Fertilizer | Green Leaf Aquariums

Isn't the KNo3 just nitrates in this?

http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquari...rtilizers.html

I think the K2So4 and KH2Po4 are the potassium and phosphorus right?
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post #6 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 04:09 AM
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Tell us a little more about your setup:
- High or low light (PAR values would be great)?
- Photoperiod?
- Plant mass (lots of plants, or not)?
- CO2 level?
- Type of substrate?
- Type of filter and how often do you clean it?
- Good circulation (all plants swaying in the breeze)?
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post #7 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Tell us a little more about your setup:
- High or low light (PAR values would be great)?
- Photoperiod?
- Plant mass (lots of plants, or not)?
- CO2 level?
- Type of substrate?
- Type of filter and how often do you clean it?
- Good circulation (all plants swaying in the breeze)?
Medium/high light. Finnex 24/7 in 20gallon long. Probably in the neighborhood of 70 par


Photoperiod. I'm still working on that. Some people in another thread just told me 6 hours was plenty with an extended ramp up and down that happens with the finnex 24/7 but I've been trying to do 10-12 currently.

Lots of plants.


co2. I just try to keep the drop checker green so that's 30ppm I think.


ecocomplete substrate


aquaclear 50. I plan to clean it monthly but its barely over a month old so I've only cleaned it once.


No circlulation. I shoved a sponge into the hob filter to completely stop surface agitation. My betta hates any current and I was also having a huge problem with plants getting kicked up before they could root even with very light current.
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post #8 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 04:58 PM
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You probably need to find a way to establish sufficient circulation. Plants need to access the water column in order to absorb nutrients. It sounds like they have little access if there is no circulation. This means that they may be under-performing and not taking in all of the nitrate, let alone other nutrients, that they might. Lack of circulation also means that they may not be getting all of the CO2 that is available. I have read, here on the forum, that Eco-complete is not the best for planting (unless plants are able to root quickly) because it is so lightweight. Root tabs will help, but only because you lack the circulation needed for the plants to take full advantage of the water column. Normally, plants can be completely satisfied with water column dosing only. Are your fish thriving? Without any surface agitation, I’m wondering if there is enough gas exchange to supply plentiful oxygen.

I clean my filter weekly and am amazed at how much gunk accumulates in it. That gunk all converts to NH4/NH3, then nitrate. Try weekly cleaning to see if it helps with your nitrates. Additionally, Purigen will help to significantly reduce the nitrogenous organics that produce nitrate. It won’t remove nitrate that is already there, but it reduces the fish/food/decaying plant source of nitrates.

Having said all of this, 40 ppm NO3 shouldn’t hurt anything, but I do understand your desire to get it down. As others have said, you certainly don’t need to dose NO3 if you already have 15-20 ppm.

Answering some of your other questions:

KNO3 is what is usually used as the nitrate fertilizer, but the “K” indicates that it also has potassium in it. It is Potassium Nitrate. This is what you don’t want to add with your nitrates so high already.

Yes: K2So4 and KH2Po4 are the potassium and phosphorus and should continue to be added, along with traces.

Check your GH as well (API test kit ~$10). Your tap is probably fine, but it’s good to know.
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post #9 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ashesarise View Post
Medium/high light. Finnex 24/7 in 20gallon long. Probably in the neighborhood of 70 par


Photoperiod. I'm still working on that. Some people in another thread just told me 6 hours was plenty with an extended ramp up and down that happens with the finnex 24/7 but I've been trying to do 10-12 currently.

Lots of plants.


co2. I just try to keep the drop checker green so that's 30ppm I think.


ecocomplete substrate


aquaclear 50. I plan to clean it monthly but its barely over a month old so I've only cleaned it once.


No circlulation. I shoved a sponge into the hob filter to completely stop surface agitation. My betta hates any current and I was also having a huge problem with plants getting kicked up before they could root even with very light current.
So I also have a 20g long and a finnex planted plus 24/7 CC. I also have decently high nitrate straight from the tap, 20 to 30 is what my test reads.

I run my light on max from 12noon to 5pm however I run my co2 from 6am to 6pm. I know that's different from the norm, but i get a good amount of sunlight in the room (nothing directly shining on the tank, but enough that I need co2 running all morning)

I couldn't imagine running a 10hr lighting period, personally.

I run an eheim canister for filtration, and an additional power head for co2 dispersal - my tank is not betta friendly concerning flow, but I am an underwater gardener first and a keeper of fish second at heart.

Based on my plant volume I dose 1/8 tsp kno3 on water change day only. On macro days I dose 1/32tsp phosphate and a heaping 1/32tsp potassium. 1/32tsp csm+B and flourish iron on micro days.

I get the tiniest amounts of a thread algae if I try extending my lighting on max, and so in the evenings I run the light at 10% brightness for my viewing pleasure. I *should* blanket my tank from 6am to noon so the ambient light doesn't throw off my tank, but instead I just turn on the co2 when I get up instead. Seems to keep everything in check.

I do not yet consider the tank to be heavily planted.

Added 2 pics - one of how bright the tank is with max light and the other at the light level I usually view the tank at. I'm not home except on weekends to really see the tank on Max.




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post #10 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Using EI doesn't eliminate the necessity of root tabs; think of the latter more as supplement to EI. You can skip it if you want, but having it is better.,,,
I'm sorry, but that is simply not true. If your dosing the water column via EI you would be dosing the full array of macro and micro. Using the root tabs in either case would not be necessary. The plants will take what they need from the water. Even Seachem that sells root tabs will tell you that you don't need both.

Root tabs would be beneficial only if your going away and wouldn't be around to dose the tank.
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post #11 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 08:22 PM
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Based on your questions I'm going to suggest you go back to whatever dosing calculator you are using and run the numbers again based on the target numbers for EI.

After choosing the ferts you want to use run each of them through the calculator and add up the total amount for the week. Based on the calculations, what is the total for week and does it match the recommendations for EI dosing. How many of the ferts are supplying potassium? When you sum the totals, do you meet/exceed EI recommendations?

Potassium Nitrate in the calc will tell you how much potassium and how much nitrate you will be adding. Same for mono-potassium phosphate. Add up what each is providing for the tank and compare to EI targets. Read up on what excess phosphate can/might do to your water quality.

Some folks use potassium sulfate instead of potassium nitrate due to nitrate in the water supply/heavy bio load/heavy waste etc. If you are struggling to maintain a lower nitrate level already, perhaps you should consider this as well.

If you want to use the root tabs, account for it in the totals for the week (this might be difficult/impossible to quantify) but know that EI dosing is talking about water column dosing.
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post #12 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cmors View Post
Based on your questions I'm going to suggest you go back to whatever dosing calculator you are using and run the numbers again based on the target numbers for EI.

After choosing the ferts you want to use run each of them through the calculator and add up the total amount for the week. Based on the calculations, what is the total for week and does it match the recommendations for EI dosing. How many of the ferts are supplying potassium? When you sum the totals, do you meet/exceed EI recommendations?

Potassium Nitrate in the calc will tell you how much potassium and how much nitrate you will be adding. Same for mono-potassium phosphate. Add up what each is providing for the tank and compare to EI targets. Read up on what excess phosphate can/might do to your water quality.

Some folks use potassium sulfate instead of potassium nitrate due to nitrate in the water supply/heavy bio load/heavy waste etc. If you are struggling to maintain a lower nitrate level already, perhaps you should consider this as well.

If you want to use the root tabs, account for it in the totals for the week (this might be difficult/impossible to quantify) but know that EI dosing is talking about water column dosing.


Yikes! That went well over my head. I thought EI was just a brand of dry fertilizer Estimative Index | Aquarium Fertilizer | Green Leaf Aquariums

I didn't know calculators were a thing. I just looked into one and I have no clue what I'm looking at. I was just going to buy that stuff I linked and follow the directions on the site. I'm currently just using thrive for the water column and flourish for the substrate. The only reason I thought to switch to EI was to cut out the nitrates.... This is really really complicated isn't it? What the hell did I get myself into. I've already spent a good 200 hours and $800 on this so the sunk costs are keeping me going, but god damn. Thanks for dispelling my ignorance. I've been talking on forums and reddit about EI for over a week now trying to figure stuff out and people just kept linking that package on that site so that is what I thought it was.

Is there a book I can buy or online classes I can take or something? I've read hundreds of guides online now and this is the first I'm hearing of something like this. No idea how to process this information.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaldurak View Post
So I also have a 20g long and a finnex planted plus 24/7 CC. I also have decently high nitrate straight from the tap, 20 to 30 is what my test reads.

I run my light on max from 12noon to 5pm however I run my co2 from 6am to 6pm. I know that's different from the norm, but i get a good amount of sunlight in the room (nothing directly shining on the tank, but enough that I need co2 running all morning)

I couldn't imagine running a 10hr lighting period, personally.

I run an eheim canister for filtration, and an additional power head for co2 dispersal - my tank is not betta friendly concerning flow, but I am an underwater gardener first and a keeper of fish second at heart.

Based on my plant volume I dose 1/8 tsp kno3 on water change day only. On macro days I dose 1/32tsp phosphate and a heaping 1/32tsp potassium. 1/32tsp csm+B and flourish iron on micro days.

I get the tiniest amounts of a thread algae if I try extending my lighting on max, and so in the evenings I run the light at 10% brightness for my viewing pleasure. I *should* blanket my tank from 6am to noon so the ambient light doesn't throw off my tank, but instead I just turn on the co2 when I get up instead. Seems to keep everything in check.

I do not yet consider the tank to be heavily planted.

Added 2 pics - one of how bright the tank is with max light and the other at the light level I usually view the tank at. I'm not home except on weekends to really see the tank on Max.




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Thanks! That is actually pretty helpful. I just may borrow your dosing schedule to check it out. Your tank looks to have almost exactly the same amount of plant mass mine does if not slightly less. This thread is the very first time I'm hearing anything regarding flow being beneficial to plants. Hopefully I'll be able to do without that.

Edit: aaaaand I just realized you weren't talking about http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquari...rtilizers.html and I have no idea how to interpret any of that XD. I'll work on figuring it out.

Last edited by ashesarise; 09-14-2018 at 09:38 PM. Reason: misunderstood something
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post #13 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
You probably need to find a way to establish sufficient circulation. Plants need to access the water column in order to absorb nutrients. It sounds like they have little access if there is no circulation. This means that they may be under-performing and not taking in all of the nitrate, let alone other nutrients, that they might. Lack of circulation also means that they may not be getting all of the CO2 that is available. I have read, here on the forum, that Eco-complete is not the best for planting (unless plants are able to root quickly) because it is so lightweight. Root tabs will help, but only because you lack the circulation needed for the plants to take full advantage of the water column. Normally, plants can be completely satisfied with water column dosing only. Are your fish thriving? Without any surface agitation, Iím wondering if there is enough gas exchange to supply plentiful oxygen.

I clean my filter weekly and am amazed at how much gunk accumulates in it. That gunk all converts to NH4/NH3, then nitrate. Try weekly cleaning to see if it helps with your nitrates. Additionally, Purigen will help to significantly reduce the nitrogenous organics that produce nitrate. It wonít remove nitrate that is already there, but it reduces the fish/food/decaying plant source of nitrates.

Having said all of this, 40 ppm NO3 shouldnít hurt anything, but I do understand your desire to get it down. As others have said, you certainly donít need to dose NO3 if you already have 15-20 ppm.

Answering some of your other questions:

KNO3 is what is usually used as the nitrate fertilizer, but the ďKĒ indicates that it also has potassium in it. It is Potassium Nitrate. This is what you donít want to add with your nitrates so high already.

Yes: K2So4 and KH2Po4 are the potassium and phosphorus and should continue to be added, along with traces.

Check your GH as well (API test kit ~$10). Your tap is probably fine, but itís good to know.
My fish seem to be fine. All active, colorful, and no odd behavior aside from the betta building a bubble nest or the other fish attempting to spawn.

What would I do with my GH results? I just assumed it would be pointless for me because I'm already very well aware that my water would be classified well into the extremely hard category so I'd assume my GH would be off the charts.
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post #14 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 09:34 PM
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EI document

https://barrreport.com/articles/the-...-test-kits.38/


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Originally Posted by ashesarise View Post
Yikes! That went well over my head. I thought EI was just a brand of dry fertilizer Estimative Index | Aquarium Fertilizer | Green Leaf Aquariums

I didn't know calculators were a thing. I just looked into one and I have no clue what I'm looking at. I was just going to buy that stuff I linked and follow the directions on the site. I'm currently just using thrive for the water column and flourish for the substrate. The only reason I thought to switch to EI was to cut out the nitrates.... This is really really complicated isn't it? What the hell did I get myself into. I've already spent a good 200 hours and $800 on this so the sunk costs are keeping me going, but god damn. Thanks for dispelling my ignorance. I've been talking on forums and reddit about EI for over a week now trying to figure stuff out and people just kept linking that package on that site so that is what I thought it was.

Is there a book I can buy or online classes I can take or something? I've read hundreds of guides online now and this is the first I'm hearing of something like this. No idea how to process this information.

Bump:


Thanks! That is actually pretty helpful. I just may borrow your dosing schedule to check it out. Your tank looks to have almost exactly the same amount of plant mass mine does if not slightly less. This thread is the very first time I'm hearing anything regarding flow being beneficial to plants. Hopefully I'll be able to do without that.
Flow is very important. You want to see plant leaves just moving a little bit in all places in the tank. Think trees on a mild day just lazily swaying a bit.

That water flow is what's going to move nutrients and co2 to all applicable areas of the tank. Easy to see in mine when the co2 and the power head is running - looks like carbonated water circulating around my tank.

I turn off the power head at night and turn on an air pump connected to an bubble stone to oxygenated the water nightly.

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