I'm a little confused about the results from this online dosing calculator - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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I'm a little confused about the results from this online dosing calculator

This nutrient calculator is giving me unbelievable results. It can't be correct can it? I have a 2.5 gallon tank and was going to add .2ml of flourish nitrogen to it and I wanted to see how many ppm that would increase it to. It said that recommended dose (adjusted for my tank size) would only increase N by 0.32 ppm and NO3 by 1.39 ppm. And I know you should shoot for a 5-10ppm range. Seems low but I suppose it could be accurate as you wouldn't necessarily want the recommended dose to top you out at 10ppm of NO3.

Anyone have any experience with this calculator? I think it was called WET's calculator until the guy died and this someone took over the project.

Here's the main page
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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recommended dose of phosphorus of .2ml is even lower only raising my ppm by 0.03
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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Another question, can someone explain why the graph of nutrient concentration in the water eventually levels out? Seems like if you are putting more than the plants consume in the water and doing anything less than a 100% water change the concentration should steadily rise. Unless this is taking into account the plants growth and increase in consumption of those nutrients.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 06:51 AM
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Recommend dose of their nit to take your tank from 0ppm to 10ppm is 6.3ml.

Phosphorus will require 1ml to take your tank from 0ppm to .5ppm.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothreat33 View Post
Another question, can someone explain why the graph of nutrient concentration in the water eventually levels out? Seems like if you are putting more than the plants consume in the water and doing anything less than a 100% water change the concentration should steadily rise. Unless this is taking into account the plants growth and increase in consumption of those nutrients.
The magic of math. Someone smarter than me can probably give it the proper term, but you can simply simulate it with your calculator.

Let's pick 5ppm as what you add, no plant uptake, and assume a 50% water change.

5-50%=2.5

Right? So you add 5 and water change again

2.5+5=7.5
7.5-50%=3.75

Repeat

3.75+5=8.75
8.75-50%=4.375

4.375+5=9.375
9.375-50%=4.6875

Looks like its flattening out to 5!
Keep going and you'll see you don't really go beyond 5

Try it with a lower percentage to represent a lesser water change, it still levels out but just at a higher point.

Depending on the dosing method, you may or may not care how accurate your plant uptake is. The point is, regular water changes of a consistent amount will guarantee the math that you see above and from the nutrient calculator so without testing the water, you can be fairly confident about the level of nutrients in the tank.


Funny enough, I never wondered about that bit of magic when I first started out but like you, I did have a tough time realizing how little fertilizer is actually in commercial bottles. But here's the thing, that concentration in flourish was meant for non high light, non co2, low growth rate tanks that most of the populace had about a decade ago. A predominantly fish loaded tank with a couple of low demanding plants. And if that's the kind of tank you keep, its recommended dosages might still work. The hobby has advanced much and as such, we now are able to push much harder on plant growth. In addition, you'll see a lot of tanks on here predominantly loaded with plants with just a few fish. As such, our fert demands are an order higher. To economize, as flourish is not cheap, you'll find that most of us buy dry powders (salts) of the nutrients and mix our own. That's sort of predominantly the reason why that nutrient calculator site exists. If you're not ready for that yet, some fellow hobbyists do sell higher dose pre-mixed fertilizers too. Look for nilocg, thrive, apt complete, or aquarium co-op liquid fertilizers and a few other hobby oriented shops have made their own too.

Perhaps this site may help in understanding the different methods

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...hy-bother.html

By extension, the entire site is a great read of you're starting out.

Enjoy!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Funny enough, I never wondered about that bit of magic when I first started out but like you, I did have a tough time realizing how little fertilizer is actually in commercial bottles. But here's the thing, that concentration in flourish was meant for non high light, non co2, low growth rate tanks that most of the populace had about a decade ago. A predominantly fish loaded tank with a couple of low demanding plants. And if that's the kind of tank you keep, its recommended dosages might still work. The hobby has advanced much and as such, we now are able to push much harder on plant growth. In addition, you'll see a lot of tanks on here predominantly loaded with plants with just a few fish. As such, our fert demands are an order higher. To economize, as flourish is not cheap, you'll find that most of us buy dry powders (salts) of the nutrients and mix our own. That's sort of predominantly the reason why that nutrient calculator site exists. If you're not ready for that yet, some fellow hobbyists do sell higher dose pre-mixed fertilizers too. Look for nilocg, thrive, apt complete, or aquarium co-op liquid fertilizers and a few other hobby oriented shops have made their own too.
It's very cool how this hobby is constantly evolving and the science and behind it changing and updating. I'll just have to make sure I'm adding enough if flourish is kind of dated. The thing about the graph is that unless you kind of know how much your plant is uptaking you wont really be sure of your nutrient levels over time. if you get that number off the ppm of a nutrient can vary widely. and you could actually be over dosing or even under dosing. After messing with it a while the larger water change the more forgiving the ppm shift is to an estimated uptake value. Which makes sense.

I guess if i wanted to estimate my NO3 uptake I could dose flourish nitrogen for a certain amount of days, assume the plants uptake none of it and calculate what the ppm of the water would be, then test the water and find the actual ppm. The difference would be my plant uptake.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 02:15 PM
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Yup. I think its gelling in your head! It'll sink in better in time. And your mentioned conundrum about how much ppm / overdose / underdose problems was precisely why the author of the EI method explained that in most occasions, you actually can overdose quite a bit without harmful effects. His theory allowed many to just dump and run and worry about things more important like co2 levels, keeping the tank clean, etc.

If course, hobbyists have figured out now that this is true only to a point. For example, recently someone respected did a lot of analysis and figured out that you can't really do the starting recommended levels of EI if you have hard water.

Of course, supporters of the pps dosing method will be glad to say, see, we were right all along! They have lower starting values and eschewed the "waste" of the EI method. And they actually have a technique that relies on a tds meter to tell when you need that water change to reset your nutrient levels. So, if you have a big tank and if you're really conscientious about water consumption, this may be something to think about.

So there's a bit of nuances but overall, if you have less demanding beginner type plants like java fern, anubias, and other stuff they sell in big box pet chains, and you dont have any higher lighting, and if you are satisfied with how your plants are doing, then what you have done with flourish may be fine already.

And most importantly, what method you choose, remember, it's all about the water changing and the bit of leveling off "magic" that you've discovered if you dont want to be constantly tied to test kits after you've figured out what levels work. OR, if you're happy with running test kits for the foreseeable future, then all this mathing is totally unnecessary! . Just test and dose or water change. It'll probably get tedious though. The nitrate test alone is a pain -- not to mention every other test. Now you see why people got creative to come up with these fertilizing regimens so they didnt have to test?

Theres another member on here who loves to remind new members to keep perspective. So, a page from that book, I'm compelled to tell you that what you have stumbled upon can be compared to a bunch of hot rodders and car tuners in the planted tank world. Just like you wouldn't start slapping new performance parts on your daily driver without realizing the implications, you really dont have to adopt any of the methods if they feel "extreme" to you. So take everything you read with a little salt and be pragmatic.

Anyway, go visit the link that I gave earlier at advancedplanted tank. It's a wealth of info and a good primer to all things planted tank so you can figure out how deep into this rabbit hole you want to get!

Oh, and welcome by the way! Post a journal of your tank, and in time, people will start joining you in your journey. You can ask even more pointed questions about your tank and members will probably be glad to help you out.

Or if not, find a journal(s) of a tank(s) you like, follow along, and in time, you'll pick up a lot as the poster shares his/her methods, pains, and successes.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-10-2019, 08:41 PM
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Yep, every tank is a special snowflake and can vary widely on uptake simply by lighting, Co2, choice of plants and planting density. There is no one size fits all routine and you basically have to use the rough guidelines provided by forum advice and manufacturers specs and then test to know for sure.

Dose on mon, test on Wed, if uptake is undetectable then you do a little rethinking on dose going forward. Seachem has dose calcs on all their product pages that allow you enter in tank size and current and desired target ppm.
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