EI doesn't work and is killing my plants - Page 4 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #46 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 06:51 AM
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You have verified your lighting and CO2 and you are suppling all the needed macros. So that leave one thing left. Your micros.

CSM+B is a good fertilizer but like most is missing some plant nutrients (nickel) and it is not balanced for an aquarium. Most fertilizers have little to no copper and zinc in them. CSM+B has 0.001ppm of zinc and 0.006ppm Tap water is typically very rich in these nutrients due to leaching from metal pipes. I could not get reliable growth in my aquarium with the fertilizer I purchased, RO water, and inert substrate. Now I am making my own micro fertilizer a I keep my zinc levels at 0.020ppm Zinc and 0.010ppm copper and have reliable plant growth.

I think this might be your problem. Some people including myself are now making their own micro fertilizer rather than buying it. The links below are about making your own micros. They are long but contain a lot of useful information. i also think you might just want to use an inert substrate in the future. your nutrient rich substrate only lasted a few months. Meaning in the future you may have to replace the substrate as soon as your plants get established. Also if you make your own macros you wouldn't need the extra nutrients from the substrate.


https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...ix-thread.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...ng-thread.html
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post #47 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post

But I am not sure what you mean by EI tunnel vision.
It may not apply to you or some of the regulars specifically, but it applies to a lot of the other threads diagnosing issues.
I think a lot of it is beginners reading old posts and getting into sucked into the old idea that any issue is a "deficiency issue" and related to lack of dosing in some way. - And not enough of the regular crowd correct them on that or have alternative methods to display/explain/demonstrate.

If you think about the whole EI philosophy to start with - you dose things in excess to rule out nutrients and thus allow one to focus on CO2/Light/Husbandry etc. Words straight from Barr himself.

However, if I did a statistical count of how many threads and percentage of replies in this forum is still focused on nutrients (and most recommending even more) - it is probably 70% or more, regardless of whether the issue is algae or plant growth. When this number should be closer to 0% if the above statement was true - and if not true, then why ? This is something I cannot figure out myself; a system that was developed to rule out nutrients end up having more nutrient related issues and discussions than any other system out there.

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post #48 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 11:48 AM
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I also would use Pantanal as an indicator for deficiencies quickly as it can be quite fussy quickly if not given enough ferts.
+1 on the Pantanal.

And brings up another point. Different plants thrive at different optimum conditions.

A tank packed full of flowery stems like Pantanal is different than a hardscape tank full of Rotala.

The tricky part is finding the best levels for your particular mix and mass of plants.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
However, if I did a statistical count of how many threads and percentage of replies in this forum is still focused on nutrients (and most recommending even more) - it is probably 70% or more, regardless of whether the issue is algae or plant growth.
Part of the problem is that EI is not uniform. It's been presented as too broad a range IMO.

Here's a comment from my thread that addresses this.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post11204273


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post #49 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post
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've grown RR in regular EI dosing with Aquasoil beautifully for years.

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post #50 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 12:45 PM
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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.
Nothing in this hobby happens instantly. If you were to buy plants that were sub-par to begin with, unless you had the knowledge to bring them back, those plants would continue to decline. I'm not suggesting that you did that, however, such knowledge comes with time, lots and lots of reading, patience, experimenting within your own tank and understanding that you can never know everything; nobody does.

Once you get the algae situation under control, things will get better. You're not the first person to have a run-in with EI dosing. There have been lots of people that have come through here that figured that if they just kept dumping ferts in their tanks that they would have a tank that resembles some of the tanks seen around this forum. What they failed to understand is those tanks didn't get there overnight. Said tank owners have had their fair share of frustrations and failures just like everybody else.

If you're willing to keep a open mind, find somebody that has been in this hobby for a long time and follow them. Listen to what they say, apply what they teach and you'll be fine. I personally have a few favorites that I go to when I'm frustrated with a problem. There is Dennis Wong who has appeared in this thread, Dave from ADU and my third newest favorite, Filipe Oliveira. Not all of them agree about everything, but all of them are excellent 'teachers', been in the business of aquascaping for a long time and can help a person work through lots of issues. I have zero interest in aquascaping and my tank shows that, but I do have a clean tank that is problem free most of the time. I don't care if my lack of not wanting a tank of perfect stems makes me a second class citizen. It's my tank; I keep it as I see fit.

The other option of course is to continue to blame EI and not learn anything. My just saying this will ruffle a few feathers around here which isn't hard to do, but a closed mind doesn't lend itself to keeping people in this hobby for long. It's easier to blame everybody for everything that went wrong then find another hobby to get into.

EDIT: Even pros don't always have good days.


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post #51 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
However, if I did a statistical count of how many threads and percentage of replies in this forum is still focused on nutrients (and most recommending even more) - it is probably 70% or more, regardless of whether the issue is algae or plant growth. When this number should be closer to 0% if the above statement was true - and if not true, then why ? This is something I cannot figure out myself; a system that was developed to rule out nutrients end up having more nutrient related issues and discussions than any other system out there.
Yes, this is a major weakness of this board, you are the 'outlier' if you aren't caking on the high water column ferts.

The likely reason why there are so many nutrient related problems here is that the experienced regulars here push their systems hard. and novices try to emulate aspects of what they are doing when they see the pretty tank shots.

High light, high CO2, and a bias towards 'Dutch' scapes where there is a never ending task of balancing the needs of numerous different species of plants that have different preferences. Adjusting fertilizers is an iterative process in most of these tanks and it never stops, new species are added, the tank biomass changes, new experiments etc.

If we all blindly followed your example and everyone had 200+ par shining on their tanks without all the other details being covered, I beleive we would see even more 'nutrient related problems' because the higher PAR often highlights any mistakes or imbalances.

Diagnosis of excess ferts is difficult, reversing toxicity takes a long time(if ever), considering that most here don't even beleive it ever causes any problems, the old Barr rhetoric over the last decade prevails, "excess ferts never hurts, its usually a CO2 problem".
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post #52 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 03:56 PM
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Whichever method of dosing you choose your always providing ferts in excess, otherwise something would run out. What is EI? Your dosing Macro/micro. As many experienced aquarists on this board have mentioned you tweak things for your setup. You don't blindly dose regardless of what the tank is showing you.

With that said most systems I don't believe will suffer by some movement in dosing I'm not talking about extremes just within normal range.

These excerpts are from advancedplantedtank.com:

"While the growth rates on the EI system are considerably faster, especially if higher lighting/CO2 levels are used, most plants can adapt to either a fat or lean nutrient dosing system."


In regards to Tom Barr (EI):

"His success is more closely tied to good maintenance, quality of lighting and upkeep than on the actual nutrient ratios used, but people tend to get caught up with the nutrient angle.

In regards to EI and ADA:

"Looking at these two popular methods show just how large the differences between dosing levels can be and both systems can produce great planted tanks."
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post #53 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post

Bump:
Part of the problem is that EI is not uniform. It's been presented as too broad a range IMO.
Broad Range, No Guidance on Ratios of Elements. Sparse guidelines on how to apply it to different types of tanks or how to adjust. Take your pick as to potential caveats they are numerous.
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post #54 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:22 PM
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The likely reason why there are so many nutrient related problems here is that the experienced regulars here push their systems hard. and novices try to emulate aspects of what they are doing when they see the pretty tank shots.
Some of us just can't drive 55!!


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post #55 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:24 PM
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Some of us just can't drive 55!!
Why drive 55 when you can drive 155 on the Autobahn with EI ferts in your gas tank and a shot of NOS every once and a while.
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post #56 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:35 PM
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@Ddrizzle,

create a clickbait title, get a clickbait discussion. As always, discussions go on all sorts of tangents with no real resolution. What about YOUR tank? Don't really know for sure. Take all the guesses that came before me. However, I will impart upon you something I live my planted tank by.

"Think of light as a gas pedal of a car. The harder you press down on the gas pedal (the more light you have), the faster your car will go (the faster your plants will grow). However, the car will require more regular maintenance (your plants will require more maintenance, i.e. fertilizers, CO2, etc)."

Quoted from Darkblade's primer : https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/s...php?t=107303#2

The phrase has been rephrased. quoted. paraphrased. but it holds true.

Whatever ails your tank right now, be it fertilizers, co2, etc, the easiest solution is also the simplest solution right now, but probably one of the hardest to do because we're mentally blocked from doing it. You have no business going fast on a car that doesn't have all its cylinders humming or wheels balanced. So, I echo the posts earlier to reduce your lighting levels and/or amounts. A Satellite Plus Pro at 8 hours full intensity sounds like a little too much. Too much gas.

If you have algae at the level you're having within 5 days, cutting light levels can only help you. A plant in the darkness can't even die in 5 days or else how would we ship plants? Try it for the next 5 days. Something significant. Like half the lighting period or half the intensity.

What do you do if it makes a difference? Try to run at that reduced level for a while as you figure out all the other issues. Flow, co2 injection, saturation, everything mentioned before me. All good ideas in their way. Pick a method of fertilization and stick with it for a while. Shouldn't matter in the short term. Less light lets you run slower and buys you more time to think about your problems. Can't think about issues if you're scrubbing down a tank every 5 days.

Who am I? Probably a noone. I can't claim any famous publications or fancy award winning tanks. I can only claim that I'm some regular hobbyist that went through what you are going through many years ago. Ecoxotic E-60 (Current Satellite Plus Pro's predecessor) at full power for 8 hours. and before that some T5HO Coralifes at full power. Just trying all sorts of stuff but always algae farming. Finally got smart and cut that light down.

When you get things right, I promise, you CAN run high light to your hearts content without triggering significant amounts of algae. I now can push 2X Satellite plus pros at their full power. But even then, I only do it for 4 hours and drop it to 30% or less for the rest of the time (the other 4 hours). You give plants that short burst and they can be happy enough. Back then, I was baffled myself when I saw tanks running lights way higher than me and not getting algae. To the point of disbelief. But you know what? At the time, my tank just wasn't running properly. Except, the hard part here is not knowing what the problem is. So what do you do when your car is acting weird on the highway and it doesn't match up with what you understand is wrong with it? You drive slow, pull off, stop and take a look. Either way, you let off the gas.

Good luck and I hope you find your way!
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post #57 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:36 PM
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Someone crashes and burns because he didn't adjust his speed around a turn and it's "I shall have my revenge in this life or the next"
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post #58 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post
Yes, this is a major weakness of this board, you are the 'outlier' if you aren't caking on the high water column ferts.

The likely reason why there are so many nutrient related problems here is that the experienced regulars here push their systems hard. and novices try to emulate aspects of what they are doing when they see the pretty tank shots.

High light, high CO2, and a bias towards 'Dutch' scapes where there is a never ending task of balancing the needs of numerous different species of plants that have different preferences. Adjusting fertilizers is an iterative process in most of these tanks and it never stops, new species are added, the tank biomass changes, new experiments etc.

If we all blindly followed your example and everyone had 200+ par shining on their tanks without all the other details being covered, I beleive we would see even more 'nutrient related problems' because the higher PAR often highlights any mistakes or imbalances.

Diagnosis of excess ferts is difficult, reversing toxicity takes a long time(if ever), considering that most here don't even beleive it ever causes any problems, the old Barr rhetoric over the last decade prevails, "excess ferts never hurts, its usually a CO2 problem".
We are outliers when we choose to feel we are. I feel I am apart of a community here- even though my goals for my aquariums are quite different than (some, many?) others on this forum. You may want to look at posts beyond the fertilizing section - we are actually a diverse group of membership at TPT.



I am an active member on this site and have no identification with this:

"High light, high CO2, and a bias towards 'Dutch' scapes where there is a never ending task of balancing the needs of numerous different species of plants that have different preferences. Adjusting fertilizers is an iterative process in most of these tanks and it never stops, new species are added, the tank biomass changes, new experiments etc.

TPT is comprised of a diverse group of people that have different goals for their tanks. There are many other members on TPT who have no aspirations to ever be apart of the Dutch scape group. I have no desire- my focus and interests are elsewhere- on my fish. There are many TPT members like me; they are low-tech, have had fish tanks for years, and would just like to add some nice green plants in the aquarium to give their fish a healthy, "natural environment." Our knowledge of plants, lighting, ferts and its interaction is limited- we are here to learn how- utilizing low-tech- we can get some satisfaction in growing some plants in the aquarium.
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post #59 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 09:23 PM
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We are outliers when we choose to feel we are. I feel I am apart of a community here- even though my goals for my aquariums are quite different than (some, many?) others on this forum. You may want to look at posts beyond the fertilizing section - we are actually a diverse group of membership at TPT.
Without a doubt but this is plantedtank.net .

I mainly read the dosing thread, tank journals, and requests for advice threads. I beleive I am an outlier because the most active and vocal posters here are predominantly displaying dutch style tanks or just blindly using or preaching EI in all cases and giving advice based on their experiences with THEIR tanks, without proper balance given to the contrast between their tank and the one they are trying to help.

It may be they do not realize that leaner would work better or they do have as Dennis put it 'EI Nutrient Tunnel Vision'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
My tank is probably the outlier, but I'm sure some folks will find my values curious

Substrate PAR vary between 180 to 200ish umols.

Amounts dosed per week
K - about 16 to 20ppm
NO3 - 6 to 8ppm
PO4 - 3 to 5ppm
Mg - 5-7ppm

Fe - 0.1 to 0.15

(relatively) rich soil under rooted plants.
Should a top Aquascaper and teacher in this hobby consider himself and his methods as an outlier?

No. I don't think so, this place needs to feature more scapes that run on leaner ferts to demonstrate that it is also a viable method and educate more on the proper selection and starting point which in the vast majority of cases should have been leaner in the first place. Leaner ferts, less light, and slower and more controlled growth initially with a slow ramp up with increasing plant mass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaozhuang View Post
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
In this thread and in others this phrase bears repeating until it trickles down so that the general advice from the average regular poster here is more balanced.
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post #60 of 268 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 09:35 PM
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I honestly don't understand what the major problem is here. Yes in a perfect world the communication on what to with certain setups could be better, etc.but EI last I checked is not a company It's guy who developed a dosing method. In contrast ADA is a company. Now I love ADA stuff I obviously use their AS (which is probably what 99% of the people in the US use and not much else), but how many people come on this forum and don't know what to do with it? They don't follow any of the guidelines set out by ADA in terms of water changes, lighting and planting and usually end up with a mess. Some even have rinsed the stuff and then call it the product from hell.

This is going back to Dennis's thread on over thinking ferts. There is a fairly wide margin of error if your take care of husbandry, co2 and lighting as he even describes on his site. Dennis doesn't even contribute Barr's success to fert dosing, but to the other aspects mentioned. If you have algae growing everywhere I'm very confident it's not because you provided a little too much of this or that or forget the nickel.
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