EI doesn't work and is killing my plants - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
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.

Thanks for challenging the system. To answer your question, it seems to be because my substrate is soaking up my phosphate as I have to dump 3-4x the recommended EI dose to keep it above 1ppm for any extended period of time (and keep green spot algae at bay). However, now that I know that I don't have to have my fertz so high all of the time, this may be a non issue, if this issue I just described is true at all. I also had to get my potassium above 50ppm to get my tank to start bubbling at all. I literally dump 1/16 tsp of potassium sulfate in everyday, and 15 minutes later bubbles are shooting off of everything in my tank. Something is sorely amiss and I'm at a loss. Otherwise my leaves start dying again at the base, starting with yellowing and holes.


Also, I still have literally no idea why my leaves on all plants have pinholes and slowly die at the lower extremities of the plants. Why the hell do I need so much potassium to prevent this? 60 PAR too low? I'm still stuck here and I'm sure the problem will show its head once again even if I reset my with aquasoil and seiryu rocks.

And lastly, what should ppm readings be at any given time? Or does this not matter as much as how much you dose per day? I ask because I HAD to keep phosphate up around 5ppm to avoid green spot algae which meant I had to dose that one every day after measuring it in the morning.

Last edited by Ddrizzle; 06-12-2019 at 12:27 AM. Reason: Reasons
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post #32 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
Thanks for challenging the system. To answer your question, it seems to be because my substrate is soaking up my phosphate as I have to dump 3-4x the recommended EI dose to keep it above 1ppm for any extended period of time (and keep green spot algae at bay). However, now that I know that I don't have to have my fertz so high all of the time, this may be a non issue, if this issue I just described is true at all. I also had to get my potassium above 50ppm to get my tank to start bubbling at all. I literally dump 1/16 of potassium sulfate in everyday, and 15 minutes later bubbles are shooting off of everything in my tank. Something is sorely amiss and I'm at a loss. Otherwise my leaves start dying again at the base, starting with yellowing and holes.


Also, I still have literally no idea why my leaves on all plants have pinholes and slowly die at the lower extremities of the plants. Why the hell do I need so much potassium to prevent this? 60 PAR too low? I'm still stuck here and I'm sure the problem will show its head once again even if I reset my with aquasoil and seiryu rocks.
The main reason I'm interested in lean EI dosing is because I've been struggling to figure out why I have some pin holes in my plants. It is most significantly effecting rotala rotundifolia while my other plants have it, it is very minor.

From my research high amounts of potassium >20ppm, and/or high ppm of calcium can cause issue with magnesium uptake, which in turn causes chlorosis and necrosis of leaf tissue between the veins.
The recommended fix is to dose magnesium however it makes more sense to me to also fix the issue that causes it which is to get potassium and calcium under control.
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post #33 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Quesenek View Post
The main reason I'm interested in lean EI dosing is because I've been struggling to figure out why I have some pin holes in my plants. It is most significantly effecting rotala rotundifolia while my other plants have it, it is very minor.

From my research high amounts of potassium >20ppm, and/or high ppm of calcium can cause issue with magnesium uptake, which in turn causes chlorosis and necrosis of leaf tissue between the veins.
The recommended fix is to dose magnesium however it makes more sense to me to also fix the issue that causes it which is to get potassium and calcium under control.

We probably read the same things, which is why I started dumping in potassium daily. It worked, but seemed wrong so I gave up on it. Now I'm thinking it was ok for my specific setup. I also made sure my magnesium was at least 10ppm but the bubbling cranked up after adding potassium. I watched this as an experiment multiple times.
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post #34 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
We probably read the same things, which is why I started dumping in potassium daily. It worked, but seemed wrong so I gave up on it. Now I'm thinking it was ok for my specific setup. I also made sure my magnesium was at least 10ppm but the bubbling cranked up after adding potassium. I watched this as an experiment multiple times.
From research I believe potassium dosage is a double edged sword.
Potassium allows better uptake of nitrogen which could be the reason why when added in a large amount it causes pearling in your case, however it seems with too much it also restricts the uptake of nutrients such as calcium and magnesium which shows symptoms that imitate iron deficiency.

I've read that the ideal potassium dosage is between 5-20ppm a week. Which according to my dosage amount for my tank ~40ppm a week is quite a bit of a difference, and could be what is causing issues.

My current tank is more of an experimental setup so that I can test things out before I setup something bigger, having a canary type of plant such as rotala rotundifolia is very helpful to see what impact the ferts are having on my tank.

I will have to see what impact my current plan of doing 1/3 or less of EI has on my tank in a month or two after everything has settled and adjusted to less nutrients.
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post #35 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 01:30 AM
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You need to read Dennis’s substrate pages, paying special attention to layers and microbial section and how the warning about avoiding organics in really deep anaerobic layers pertains to your tank.

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...substrate.html

Your setup also ignores everything about setting up a good, brisk buffeting current across substrate bed using a pump/circulator to create a good high>low current flow.

This pic of your I’ve marked up shows problem area in red. Blues is your circulation pump and where you should have it placed and pointed.

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Last edited by DaveKS; 06-12-2019 at 02:55 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #36 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 01:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
EI tunnel vision is super strong in this forum - because most of the crowd comes from one place.
Dennis I love your posts and points of view. I read them, and them reread them, and try to figure out how I can take that information and apply it my own tank. As anyone can see, your results speak volumes.

But I am not sure what you mean by EI tunnel vision. I don't know of many that are blindly following EI here. In fact, there have been quite a few here testing lower dosing schemes. Myself I am front loading macros at NO3 about 1/2 EI, and daily custom micros at 1/4 EI. And with good results.

And like you have said, I agree CO2, light, and even more important husbandry play a more important role than dosing. Each needs to be taken seriously. IMO, more focus on those aspects allow for a wide variety of dosing schemes to be successful. Reminds me of your earlier thread on the over emphasis on dosing.

My guess is that your tanks would look great at 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 EI dosing. Just saying I don't think dosing is the primary reason for your success, and the difference might be negligible.

And by the way, you inspired me to up my PAR levels. Could be disaster, but we will see what happens.
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post #37 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 02:01 AM
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If you are looking for a formulaic, low-dose approach, consider PPS.
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post #38 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
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.
+1 Exactly this. It controls algae AND it controls growth which is important if you don't want to be doing heavy trimming every week or two, dealing with persistent shading issues or shifts in the requirements of the tank, or if you want to maintain particular height or control the look of your scape.

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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
No kidding, High ferts with EI is the exception not the norm just about everywhere I know of except on this board.
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post #39 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 03:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
But I am not sure what you mean by EI tunnel vision.
I don't know of many that are blindly following EI here.
In fact, there have been quite a few here testing lower dosing schemes.
Those of us dosing ferts for quite some time can "read through" a post or thread about dosing and quickly determine that the EI "claim" is greatly modified.

We all purchase the EI fert package but don't dose @ EI levels.
Yet many still call it EI as a reference even though it's quite modified.
I can understand the confusion for some that are just hunting for the recipe.
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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #40 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 03:32 AM
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It is most significantly effecting rotala rotundifolia while my other plants have it, it is very minor.
Rotala Rotundifolia doesn't need a lot of Potassium (I only dose about <2ppm K weekly) (Gh=8, kh=5) it doesn't need or like high ferts at all. Rotalas are part of the Lythraceae family and they easily get stunted, or have holes or necrotic spots in high ferts. See Rotala Kill Thread on Barrreport.com Vin Kutty showed many great insights in that long thread.

I stunted these R. Rotundifolia and P. Erectus stems in my old scape and replanted them in my new and they have fluorished under what would be considered very lean dosing here.

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post #41 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 04:06 AM
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Rotala Rotundifolia doesn't need a lot of Potassium (I only dose about <2ppm K weekly) (Gh=8, kh=5) it doesn't need or like high ferts at all. Rotalas are part of the Lythraceae family and they easily get stunted, or have holes or necrotic spots in high ferts. See Rotala Kill Thread on Barrreport.com Vin Kutty showed many great insights in that long thread.

I stunted these R. Rotundifolia and P. Erectus stems in my old scape and replanted them in my new and they have fluorished under what would be considered very lean dosing here.
Yeah I've been doing quite a bit of research trying to piece together information and while I have achieved great looking plants through heavy EI dosing, I think using rotala rotundifolia as a canary plant will be my indicator for fert levels from now on because while some plants are doing great others are just not right.
With information in this thread and other sources it does seem like lean fert dosage is the way to go.
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post #42 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 04:20 AM
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Yeah I've been doing quite a bit of research trying to piece together information and while I have achieved great looking plants through heavy EI dosing, I think using rotala rotundifolia as a canary plant will be my indicator for fert levels from now on because while some plants are doing great others are just not right.
With information in this thread and other sources it does seem like lean fert dosage is the way to go.
I don't really understand how RR would be a good indicator for fert levels. If you were doing a mixed species high density stem tank it might even do okay with higher excess ferts, as it isn't as sensitive as say Rotala Wallichi to excess ferts. On the other hand its needs are so modest, other plants like Ammanias would stunt well before it would ever show any deficiencies.

Lean dosing works well for hardscape focussed tanks, I doubt my lean dosing would be suitable for most of the dutch scapes displayed here though. I would argue one could start more lean and increase with higher plant mass, more demanding stems, or if your plants are showing deficiencies. But going the other way is much more difficult.
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post #43 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 05:17 AM
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I don't really understand how RR would be a good indicator for fert levels. If you were doing a mixed species high density stem tank it might even do okay with higher excess ferts, as it isn't as sensitive as say Rotala Wallichi to excess ferts. On the other hand its needs are so modest, other plants like Ammanias would stunt well before it would ever show any deficiencies.

Lean dosing works well for hardscape focussed tanks, I doubt my lean dosing would be suitable for most of the dutch scapes displayed here though. I would argue one could start more lean and increase with higher plant mass, more demanding stems, or if your plants are showing deficiencies. But going the other way is much more difficult.
My reason is that I've seen it brought up as an excellent indicator plant due to it being a weed type grower and how sensitive it is to ferts it will show issues before other plants.

As far as wallichi being more sensitive, I would argue that wallichi is pretty bullet proof. Mine has been the fastest growing and best looking plant in my tank even when I was doing a 3x amount EI dosing experiment for a couple of weeks to rule out the fert levels being too low causing the problems with random holes in leaves, the wallichi didn't act phased at all by the amount of ferts in the water.

I do feel good about the lean dosing experiment because of the tanks I've seen in this thread that run very lean.
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post #44 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 06:22 AM
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My reason is that I've seen it brought up as an excellent indicator plant due to it being a weed type grower and how sensitive it is to ferts it will show issues before other plants.
I don't think it is unless ferts are in great excess and you might also need moderate/low plant mass as well.

Quote:

As far as wallichi being more sensitive, I would argue that wallichi is pretty bullet proof.
It seems Wallichi is less predictable. https://barrreport.com/threads/rotal....13975/page-27
Rotala Eenie may be a better choice for detecting too high ferts.

I also would use Pantanal as an indicator for deficiencies quickly as it can be quite fussy quickly if not given enough ferts.

Quote:
I do feel good about the lean dosing experiment because of the tanks I've seen in this thread that run very lean.
I am the last person who would disagree with that, I wasted 4 months on EI ferts before I tore down my tank, threw out the toxic CEC aquasoil and turned everything around in a month on leaner ferts, but I will never and likely will never have a tank of hungry high demand stems.
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post #45 of 198 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 06:42 AM
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I don't think it is unless ferts are in great excess and you might also need moderate/low plant mass as well.



It seems Wallichi is less predictable. https://barrreport.com/threads/rotal....13975/page-27
Rotala Eenie may be a better choice for detecting too high ferts.

I also would use Pantanal as an indicator for deficiencies quickly as it can be quite fussy quickly if not given enough ferts.



I am the last person who would disagree with that, I wasted 4 months on EI ferts before I tore down my tank, threw out the toxic CEC aquasoil and turned everything around in a month on leaner ferts, but I will never and likely will never have a tank of hungry high demand stems.
Good idea for plants to try out, once I get rotala rotundifolia growing without looking like the leaves have been chewed up by something I might try out some other finicky species.
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