Shift to EI dosing - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Shift to EI dosing

I've been dosing Seachem Equilibrium along with KNO3 and KH2PO4 for a few years now.
It's worked out pretty well and at my current rate of use it'll last another 15 years for my little 20g.

It looks like the only real difference between what I'm dosing, and EI is that the EI concept calls for adding trace mix. (typically plantex CSM+B)

Is that it? Really? I understand how EI aims to estimate use, and provide more than necessary, then remove the excess with a water change, but that's not my question.

If I want to switch to EI dosing, raise my lighting, and add CO2, (all which I have in the works) do I just need CSM+B?

I just want to double check I've got this figured out.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 02:05 PM
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It's more of a starting point, and then you adjust given your tank.

I dose:

KNO3 front load weekly amount after WC
K2SO4 front load weekly amount after WC
KH2PO4 front load weekly amount after WC

Flourish Iron daily
Flourish Trace daily

I use flourish because my pH is higher than 7. Most of CSM+B Fe will precipitate out and NOT be plant available at ph's higher than 7.

I target 20ppm NO3, 4ppm PO4 and 20ppm K.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 02:54 PM
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Short answer is your question is yes, once you start dosing the micros along with those two macros you are essentially dosing EI.

From there everyone does things slightly differently, some from what they just learned from the beginning and some from experimenting as they went along.

Personally I have never dosed extra FE other than what's in either CSM+B or Flourish Comp and never had a problem. Many other's dose extra as @Quagulator mentioned.

I do dose K2SO4 like Quagulator, although many don't since it's already in the KNO3.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
It's more of a starting point, and then you adjust given your tank.

I dose:

KNO3 front load weekly amount after WC
K2SO4 front load weekly amount after WC
KH2PO4 front load weekly amount after WC

Flourish Iron daily
Flourish Trace daily

I use flourish because my pH is higher than 7. Most of CSM+B Fe will precipitate out and NOT be plant available at ph's higher than 7.

I target 20ppm NO3, 4ppm PO4 and 20ppm K.

Perhaps I should be looking at K2SO4 more than CSM+B, as I've yet to see any obvious signs of deficiency, except occasionally in potassium department. This might help with that. (I try to limit my KNO3 a bit, as my fish already provide a fair amount of NO3, but too much phosphate makes gross foamy water, and too much Equilibrium (which does have K too) can mess with the tank a bit when GH levels climb a bit higher than I'd like (around 12 or 14).


My pH is higher than 7 as well, so perhaps I should consider buying some iron instead of CSM+B? Since the other micros are in such small amounts they may be found in my tap water, fish food, or Equilibrium.

Edit: Actually, I ASSUME my potassium runs low at times, I'm not entirely certain. I don't have any means to test for it, I just notice that every 2 or 3 leaves on my anubias nana will get a pin hole in it. Could be from a snail taking a bite when things are still soft and new though.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
If I want to switch to EI dosing, raise my lighting, and add CO2, (all which I have in the works) do I just need CSM+B?

I just want to double check I've got this figured out.
I take it right now you have low light and no CO2 with low tech plants. If so, micros not needed in large supply.

Now if you raise lighting and add CO2, I assume you want to grow higher tech more colorful stems. If so, you will definitely benefit from adding micros, as you will drive the need for them.

CSM+B may or may not be a good solution for you. Many have had issues with CSM+B over the years. Some depends on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. Many are now making their own custom micro mix. Worth it in my opinion, but depends on your ambitions.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
If I want to switch to EI dosing, raise my lighting, and add CO2, (all which I have in the works) do I just need CSM+B?

I just want to double check I've got this figured out.
I take it right now you have low light and no CO2 with low tech plants. If so, micros not needed in large supply.

Now if you raise lighting and add CO2, I assume you want to grow higher tech more colorful stems. If so, you will definitely benefit from adding micros, as you will drive the need for them.

CSM+B may or may not be a good solution for you. Many have had issues with CSM+B over the years. Some depends on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. Many are now making their own custom micro mix. Worth it in my opinion, but depends on your ambitions.
I've seen some of the custom micro mix discussions you have had in the forums. If I'm honest, I'm pretty happy looking at the rabbit hole people have gone down, and taking the advice they yell from the depths, rather than climbing in after them.

I'd rather not dose something if my plants don't visibly require it, and I'm not planning on growing many demanding plants at this point, just faster growing, healthier versions of what I have. My hairgrass can't grow thicker or fast enough to really carpet, but everything else in my tank is easy stuff. So I may skip micros for now, then in a few months learn about custom micros from everyone that's leading the charge presently.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 12:12 PM
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So I may skip micros for now, then in a few months learn about custom micros from everyone that's leading the charge presently.
I would do a simple dose of Flourish Comprehensive, it can't hurt anything and should at least keep some micro's available for the plants you've got.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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I would do a simple dose of Flourish Comprehensive, it can't hurt anything and should at least keep some micro's available for the plants you've got.
You recommend that over csm+b?

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 01:26 PM
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You recommend that over csm+b?
With your pH yes.

Here is the dose per 10 gallons of actual tank water DAILY. As per EI daily instructions.

I use Flourish Trace and Flourish Iron now, just to try it out instead of Flourish Comprehensive.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 02:59 PM
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With your pH yes.



Here is the dose per 10 gallons of actual tank water DAILY. As per EI daily instructions.



I use Flourish Trace and Flourish Iron now, just to try it out instead of Flourish Comprehensive.





Do all micros in CSM+B precipitate at a higher pH or is it just the iron? I've been thinking of making the switch to flourish but I'm already adding Fe DTPA.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 07:26 PM
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Do all micros in CSM+B precipitate at a higher pH or is it just the iron? I've been thinking of making the switch to flourish but I'm already adding Fe DTPA.
Just the Fe I believe. If you've got DTPA I would continue using it. Maybe try it for a bit, then switch to Flourish and compare??? Not much to lose....
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2018, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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@Quagulator that sounds like about 2ml a day, that seems like a lot. I've got plastic pipettes that would make dosing that pretty simple. However, that means a 500ml bottle wouldn't last very long. Wouldn't getting a 1lb bag of CSM+B and a 1/2lb bag of iron chelate? Flourish would last (500ml/2ml per day = 250 days) about 2/3rds of a year. But the two dry salts would come out to twice as much money (~$20 instead of 10) but last years and years.

Bump: You may note that my original post asked what was needed for EI dosing, not specifically that I was going full EI. I'm just ensuring I know what my tank needs, and then I will likely do low-tech EI dosing or something similar, as I won't be running high powered lighting and high amounts of CO2 at this point.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2018, 02:38 PM
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@Blacktetra

It's no secret that dry ferts will last longer than liquid (ie Flourish Comp.) Your paying for weight which of course includes the water. I think @Quagulator was just making things simple and trying to insure that your tank receives at least some of all the necessary micros.

There is a wider band of micros in Flourish than there is in CSM+B
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2018, 02:49 PM
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@Quagulator that sounds like about 2ml a day, that seems like a lot. I've got plastic pipettes that would make dosing that pretty simple. However, that means a 500ml bottle wouldn't last very long. Wouldn't getting a 1lb bag of CSM+B and a 1/2lb bag of iron chelate? Flourish would last (500ml/2ml per day = 250 days) about 2/3rds of a year. But the two dry salts would come out to twice as much money (~$20 instead of 10) but last years and years.

Bump: You may note that my original post asked what was needed for EI dosing, not specifically that I was going full EI. I'm just ensuring I know what my tank needs, and then I will likely do low-tech EI dosing or something similar, as I won't be running high powered lighting and high amounts of CO2 at this point.
That amount is needed because the Fe in Flourish is Ferrous Gluconate and while it is more available at your pH, it breaks down rather quickly in the water column, so dosing once a day is needed to make sure there is always some available.

That, plus a weekly 50+ % water change to remove excess nutrients.

250 days for like $20 is fairly cheap in my books.

Alternatively you could run CSM+B and Flourish Iron, but it would cost the same if not more....
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