EI doesn't work and is killing my plants - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
I'll have to check out journals that use this substrate. I thought amazonia was the too tier substrate that everyone wanted to use.
I have never used Amazonia, but from what I understand there is a specific dosing methodology for this substrate, meaning that following a classic EI method probably is not best. Like @Greggz mentioned, I would look for journals on tanks that use Amazonia, and do some more specific research on that substrate and how it alters the water chemistry.

I know it can be frustrating when things seem like they are not going right- stick with it, read as much as you can, and challenge the decisions you are making.



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post #17 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
I suppose I could try this as I have nothing else to lose. It doesn't necessarily help me understand what has been going wrong though. My best guess right now is that EI is causing all of the issues because my tank isn't planted heavily.

Also, I've been performing your suggested cleaning and husbandry for months now. What you see is what I get after 5 days after cleaning with the current setup and plant mass.
Show us a picture after its all clean again .

If you really want to solve your problems you need to plant much more heavily, you are trying to run a tank on hard mode. High Water Column Ferts, Hard Water, Lots of Hardscape, Low Plant Mass, Active Substrate, this is a tough tank to balance.

But if you are impatient you should start again, tear it down, use an inert substrate, plant heavy, get at least 1 point CO2 drop, use lean water column ferts and start with much shorter light period.

If you read my past journal https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...green-17g.html you will see I had a lot of problems when dosing high ferts and 'EI'. I had tropica CEC substrate and I could not get rid of the excess. I wanted to rescape anyway so I did and those same algae ridden stunted plants (Rotala Rotundifolia, Pogostemon Erectus, Staurogyne Repens) did much better under lean ferts and inert substrate.

I am really not a big fan of EI as it is preached here. If 'EI' is only using excess ferts and resetting them weekly with 50% water changes than I see nothing wrong with it. But for your plant mass, excess ferts is probably NO3/PO4/K 10/1/7ppm(total weekly!) and 0.1ppm Fe(weekly). Your tank is nothing like the dutch tanks you see displayed here so you can just about throw away any numbers close to their tanks.

My current tank https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post11215369 is running on 2.124N, 0.159P, 1.6K, 0.109 Fe (Kh=5, Gh=8) (Tropica Specialized), Inert substrate no root tabs.

You have a Ca complication from your Seiryu stone but lets ignore that for now and assume you are doing weekly 1-2X 50% changes so it shouldn't build up too much.

I question your PAR values and you might want to bump up CO2 a bit to a full point, but the challenge now will be to remain patient enough to stick with lean ferts, lower light, and a lower growth equillibrium. If you can't live with it start over. I couldn't get rid of algae or get good growth from my old scape(carpet and few plants were happy) even with lean ferts for a month those 3 species were never happy, in contrast this new one has been really easy with over 12 species being happy.
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Last edited by cl3537; 06-11-2019 at 07:36 PM. Reason: ...
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post #18 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:23 PM
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It'a no secret that the easiest tanks to startup clean are low stock, high plant mass with co2. You have good uptake with little organic waste, but it's certainly not a requirement if the husbandry is there. People have been using EI type dosing for iwagumi and other minimalist type setups for decades. They don't always add stems and them remove them once the tank matures. They manage the startup with short light cycle/ or short intense cycle, regular large water changes and a just good over maintenance by removing any dead plants/leaves etc on a daily basis.

If you look at most iwagumi type setups (or an ADA journal) where the plant mass is lean your notice above average water changes for that particular tank to make up for the lack of uptake by plants.

As I mentioned I'm dosing regular EI dosing in my newly setup 3-Ft and the plant mass is extremely lean. How is this possible that I don't have any nuisance algae from the excessive ferts?
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post #19 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone. What I'm thinking now is that my EI dosing is just too strong for my tank in its current state. I didn't clearly state this but the tank was at least 33% covered in plants before.

I think I will try reducing the ferts and light while keeping the co2 going. I need to replant though because my amanos tore up all of my rotala (two cups!!).

What I'm most afraid of is getting it in balance and the holes and old leaves dying again, but I'll have to deal with that when I get there.

As for inert substrate - what are people using?
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post #20 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:58 PM
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As for inert substrate - what are people using?
Good, cheap options are Black Diamond Blasting Sand (from Tractor Supply Company) or pool filter sand (not play sand, but true pool filter sand).

IMO those are the best bang for the buck vs. aquarium specific inert substrate.



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post #21 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
It'a no secret that the easiest tanks to startup clean are low stock, high plant mass with co2. You have good uptake with little organic waste, but it's certainly not a requirement if the husbandry is there. People have been using EI type dosing for iwagumi and other minimalist type setups for decades. They don't always add stems and them remove them once the tank matures. They manage the startup with short light cycle/ or short intense cycle, regular large water changes and a just good over maintenance by removing any dead plants/leaves etc on a daily basis.

If you look at most iwagumi type setups (or an ADA journal) where the plant mass is lean your notice above average water changes for that particular tank to make up for the lack of uptake by plants.

As I mentioned I'm dosing regular EI dosing in my newly setup 3-Ft and the plant mass is extremely lean. How is this possible that I don't have any nuisance algae from the excessive ferts?
This is very good advice.

When I was dialing in my system trying to rid my tank of algae that seemed endless, I tried everything you name a method of getting rid of algae and I tried it over a 2 month period.

Lowering fert levels just made my issues worse.

What finally worked to kill the algae was keeping my EI dosage high, Co2 high, but messing with my photoperiod.
I have my lights on for about 8 hours total, 4 hours of low light fading into 30 minutes of really high light burst fading into 3 hours of medium-high light fading into 30 minutes of low light.

After dialing in my photoperiod I only get negligible amounts of algae, and my plants are growing very well.
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post #22 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
...

As for inert substrate - what are people using?
Are like PFS. Use it often, never used BDBS, but why would you get rid of perfectly good Aquasoil?


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post #23 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 08:50 PM
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If you look at most iwagumi type setups (or an ADA journal) where the plant mass is lean your notice above average water changes for that particular tank to make up for the lack of uptake by plants.
ADA uses Aquasoil and very lean water column ferts, If anything they reinforce that high water column ferts is not the optimal way to grow out an Iwagumi.

The exact opposite of your argument:

https://www.adana.co.jp/en/aquajourn..._the_glass_05/

Light 10 hours/day, lean column ferts, 33% water change once per week.

Quote:
As I mentioned I'm dosing regular EI dosing in my newly setup 3-Ft and the plant mass is extremely lean. How is this possible that I don't have any nuisance algae from the excessive ferts?
You have 5 plants(?) in your 3 ft tank growing for what 3-4 weeks? it would be rediculous if you are dosing the same as Ddrizzle which is Classic 'EI' 22.5ppm NO3 per week and totally excessive and unecessary.

If slow plant growth was the goal, than leaner ferts and a reasonable light period(not 3 hours at Max) would achieve heathier plants with less risk of algae.
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post #24 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 09:49 PM
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If you are using aquasoil there is a lot of leeway with regards to dosing.
Read this :
https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...rs-how-to.html

If you have light plant load, a less heavy dose is actually much easier to control. This is why most hardscape focused lightly planted competitions scapes never use EI - even the competition folks from the US that started with EI moved away from it due to control issues (they always get dust algae on their hardscape/walls). Nutrients are just one angle though, CO2 control - overall tank husbandry are much more important factors.

My farm tank that uses aquasoil doses 1/3 EI or less - and that is with a lot more light than most of the folks here. Best thing is, I can get away with doing water changes once every 2 weeks even.




and for my hardscape focused scapes I can get away with 1/4 EI or so. Still much higher density compared to many EI tanks. Plants don't really uptake all that much - or rather they can down regulate their uptake to grow on much leaner levels than people on this forum would have you believe. Look outside at the rest of the world (where most of the competition scapes come from) - most folks don't use EI at all... and we all grow plants just fine

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post #25 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 09:55 PM
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ADA uses Aquasoil and very lean water column ferts, If anything they reinforce that high water column ferts is not the optimal way to grow out an Iwagumi.
The exact opposite of your argument:
.
On the attack again are we? I simply asked the OP why he would get rid of perfectly good AS that was it. If he wants to dose leaner that’s up to him, but I don’t think regular EI Dosing is the issue here. So you need to calm down.
Since you don’t have the experience of ever doing an Iwagumi and must rely on simply reading things and attaching links. I can do the same thing. Here’s an instructional iwagumi link from George Farmer (I’m sure you’ve heard of him, using full ADA and he has a six hour photo period and his comment in the article is:

George Farmer Comments: …It was interesting that I did not experience any algae, despite the low biomass. I put this down to a restricted photoperiod, rigorous maintenance and good quality plants, substrate and fertilisers

https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co....gumi-aquarium/

The link you attached is in the ADA gallery where they have a full time staff maintaining the tanks, far removed from the typical hobbyist. The shorter light cycle is your best friend and yes you can increase the photo period in some of these setups depending on the parameters once the tank matures, I was really referring to the OP who is setting up a tank without significant bio-mass. How do I know this, because I'VE ACTUALLY DONE IT.

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Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post

You have 5 plants(?) in your 3 ft tank growing for what 3-4 weeks? it would be rediculous if you are dosing the same as Ddrizzle which is Classic 'EI' 22.5ppm NO3 per week and totally excessive and unecessary. .
Actually there’s six plants and thank you, you just proved my point. I have no biomass and I’m dosing regular EI and everything is clean.
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post #26 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
If you are using aquasoil there is a lot of leeway with regards to dosing.
Read this :
https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...rs-how-to.html

If you have light plant load, a less heavy dose is actually much easier to control. This is why most hardscape focused lightly planted competitions scapes never use EI - even the competition folks from the US that started with EI moved away from it due to control issues (they always get dust algae on their hardscape/walls). Nutrients are just one angle though, CO2 control - overall tank husbandry are much more important factors.

My farm tank that uses aquasoil doses 1/3 EI or less - and that is with a lot more light than most of the folks here. Best thing is, I can get away with doing water changes once every 2 weeks even.
SNIP

SNIP

and for my hardscape focused scapes I can get away with 1/4 EI or so. Still much higher density compared to many EI tanks. Plants don't really uptake all that much - or rather they can down regulate their uptake to grow on much leaner levels than people on this forum would have you believe. Look outside at the rest of the world (where most of the competition scapes come from) - most folks don't use EI at all... and we all grow plants just fine
SNIP
This is interesting.
If you had to guess, what level or how much ferts are you getting from the aquasoil?

I'm asking because if I do this with inert substrate I would expect 1/3 EI dosage to be much too lean.
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post #27 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Quesenek View Post
This is interesting.
If you had to guess, what level or how much ferts are you getting from the aquasoil?

I'm asking because if I do this with inert substrate I would expect 1/3 EI dosage to be much too lean.
1/3 EI isn't lean by any standard. Depending on your plant mix, some plants may fancy more, but I've seen inert tanks run with less than 1/3 EI growing plants perfectly fine. How do you think the rest of the world grows their tanks ?

I've seen tanks (in person, not just on the internet) across these countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, England - 99% of them do not use EI and grow plants just fine. EI tunnel vision is super strong in this forum - because most of the crowd comes from one place.

Go look up Tropica's dosing system, or what Filipe olivera uses (his is super lean)

Or what public systems such as the Lisbon amano exhibit uses


or the Sumida aquariums


or check out the levels in natural biotopes (from kasselman book here)


None of them comes even close to 1/3 EI.

Expand your horizons.

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post #28 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
1/3 EI isn't lean by any standard. Depending on your plant mix, some plants may fancy more, but I've seen inert tanks run with less than 1/3 EI growing plants perfectly fine. How do you think the rest of the world grows their tanks ?

I've seen tanks (in person, not just on the internet) across these countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, England - 99% of them do not use EI and grow plants just fine. EI tunnel vision is super strong in this forum - because most of the crowd comes from one place.

Go look up Tropica's dosing system, or what Filipe olivera uses (his is super lean)

Or what public systems such as the Lisbon amano exhibit uses


or the Sumida aquariums


or check out the levels in natural biotopes (from kasselman book here)


None of them comes even close to 1/3 EI.

Expand your horizons.
Thanks for the reply,

Don't take my comment as a challenge or anything I'm just really interested in experimenting with this.

I was just making sure I wasn't missing anything by thinking I could do this with inert substrate, or if I needed other supplements such as a high quality substrate.

Last edited by Quesenek; 06-11-2019 at 10:41 PM. Reason: words
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post #29 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 11:05 PM
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If you are using aquasoil there is a lot of leeway with regards to dosing.

My farm tank that uses aquasoil doses 1/3 EI or less
That's exactly the point I was making when i asked the OP "why get rid of the AS", EI isn't one number for each micro/macro. You adjust, I personally have not found much difference between a leaner EI and regular EI dosing (Not high end). The typical tank here is not a competition tank and the threshold for success is much lower.

Everything is different depending on context and culture. S.A. and Asia are far ahead of the US in planted tanks and it's a larger part of the culture. If you look at any of the aquascaping contests they are dominated by Asia. The US usually has between 10 and 30 entries Most in US don't spend as much time with their tanks and this does have something to do with EI Dosing. With a leaner dosing schedule you need to be on top of the tank more as opposed to something more excessive.
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post #30 of 126 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
1/3 EI isn't lean by any standard. Depending on your plant mix, some plants may fancy more, but I've seen inert tanks run with less than 1/3 EI growing plants perfectly fine. How do you think the rest of the world grows their tanks ?

I've seen tanks (in person, not just on the internet) across these countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, England - 99% of them do not use EI and grow plants just fine. EI tunnel vision is super strong in this forum - because most of the crowd comes from one place.

Go look up Tropica's dosing system, or what Filipe olivera uses (his is super lean) https://youtu.be/wtH44vCjW2Y

Or what public systems such as the Lisbon amano exhibit uses


or the Sumida aquariums


or check out the levels in natural biotopes (from kasselman book here)


None of them comes even close to 1/3 EI.

Expand your horizons.
Thanks for posting this video. I had seen it in the past, but I forgot what great advice this man provided. So many times on this site I hear people insisting that Rootabs serve no purpose when dosing the water column - that water column dosing is all you need. "Your wasting money!"- so on and so forth...
In my low-tech tank I essentially do the same as Olivera recommends in this video: root tabs and the recommended ML dosing on the back of the bottles of the Seachem liquid fert line. All problems of algae, in my case, are basically due to my lack of Co2- imbalance between light/ferts/Co2. But, I try to combat the algae with regular Excel dosing. Overall ( if you dont look too close ) it all works out fine.

Certainly, my tanks will not make any competitions, but they make a beautiful environment in which to high-light my focus- my fish. The fish seem much more comfortable now in a planted environment than the "only hardscape" tanks I had for all my set-ups for 26 years.



This is a picture of my low-tech tank a while back ago. The stem plants were primarily Valisneria, ambula, crypt spiralis.


180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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