50Gal attempt at EI dosing question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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50Gal attempt at EI dosing question

Hello everyone.

I have been slowly trying to move more into the deep end of planted tanks and stumbled across EI dosing and was interested in the cost savings and additional control over dosing. I bought some minerals and wanted to seek help if I bought the correct ones and a good start for mixing Macro and Micro.

To start, here are the minerals I bought-
Potassium Sulfate
Epsom Salt
POTASSIUM NITRATE
Gypsum
Monopotassium Phosphate

The biggest reason I am asking for help is I was going to use this guide at first (https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co....plant-feeding/) but some members over at Aquarium Advice suggested a few other minerals so it threw off what I was basing my understanding on.

My questions-
1. Are these minerals good/correct to start
2. What is a good starting point in macro/micro mixes
3. Should dosing be macro one day, micro the next, macro the next, etc.

And if it matters- I have a beamswork DA FSPEC & beamswork EA light, CO2 (tuning bubbles currently), decently planted. Plants currently pearl and are all healthy. I do have some algae growing on plant surfaces which I am working on fixing.

Here is picture tax.




Thanks guys, excited and overwhelmed with all the information out there at.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 06:52 PM
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Those all look good, but you will want to add in some micro nutrients. Several people here "roll" their own micros, taking each individual element and mixing it together, plus iron (typically DTPA but you can use EDTA if your pH is below 7.0). They report a lot of success with it. I personally use CSM+B and have been doing okay with it so far, once that runs out I'll be rolling my own as well.

You should also head over to rotalabutterfly.com and run your numbers to get dosing recommendations. Remember EI calls for slathering on the nutrients and doing a big 50% water change once a week. The epsom salt and gypsum you'll only want to dose once a week as those are GH boosters. Have you tested you water? You may not need to boost your GH if the water you use already has a sufficient amount of hardness in it.

I think you're off to a good start, just gotta get your micro nutrients.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Ok cool. However I think I may be a bit more confused now, I thought macro and micro were only different due to the amount dosed, is that not the case? What should I buy to create a micro dose?

Doing the water change weekly for 50% isnt an issue for me as my rainbows already require that. I have a GH tester but havent used it in awhile on my main tank, however itll probably be pretty low as my TDS is 70-100. I can measure that later tho.

This is what the website suggest my dosing as-
Common Name Forumla EI Daily (grams)
Potassium Sulfate K2SO4 1.35
Epsom Salt MgSO4 3.84
POTASSIUM NITRATE KNO3 0.988
Gypsum CaSO4∑ 2H2O 5.2
Monopotassium Phosphate KH2PO4 0.163

So I can add all these together in a container dry, and dump it into the tank? Or is it best to dilute them in water beforehand? I think ill start with dosing 5 times a week instead of 7. Thanks for the help!
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Lokilow View Post
Ok cool. However I think I may be a bit more confused now, I thought macro and micro were only different due to the amount dosed, is that not the case? What should I buy to create a micro dose?

Doing the water change weekly for 50% isnt an issue for me as my rainbows already require that. I have a GH tester but havent used it in awhile on my main tank, however itll probably be pretty low as my TDS is 70-100. I can measure that later tho.

This is what the website suggest my dosing as-
Common Name Forumla EI Daily (grams)
Potassium Sulfate K2SO4 1.35
Epsom Salt MgSO4 3.84
POTASSIUM NITRATE KNO3 0.988
Gypsum CaSO4∑ 2H2O 5.2
Monopotassium Phosphate KH2PO4 0.163

So I can add all these together in a container dry, and dump it into the tank? Or is it best to dilute them in water beforehand? I think ill start with dosing 5 times a week instead of 7. Thanks for the help!
No, micros are totally different. Yes, you dose them at much smaller quantities than macros, as 30 ppm of copper for instance would be very bad in most cases. However micro nutrients consist of elements like copper, zinc, boron, manganese, iron, etc. They are a key component in having healthy, happy plants.

The epsom salt and gypsum I wouldn't dose but once a week when you do your water changes. But it would be best to figure out what your hardness (dKH and dGH) is at first. The plants in your pictures don't seem to have deficiencies related to hardness.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Sweet. Where should I start for micros? The website i linked in the first post actually use mircos from the macros which is what confused me.
For micros should I just use liquid? I was hoping to save money my mixing. From what im reading the micros are also in very small which might be hard to mix.

I apologize if im asking to much, this has all just become a rabbit hole the more and more i learn and starts to blend together.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Lokilow View Post
Sweet. Where should I start for micros? The website i linked in the first post actually use mircos from the macros which is what confused me.
For micros should I just use liquid? I was hoping to save money my mixing. From what im reading the micros are also in very small which might be hard to mix.

I apologize if im asking to much, this has all just become a rabbit hole the more and more i learn and starts to blend together.
No need to apologize! That's what these forums are for.

First, I think we should get some basic parameters for your tank.

pH
dGH
dKH

Do we know these values? If so, post them so we can go from there. There are several options out there, however with EI yes, you can generally just dry dose nutrients providing you don't need an extremely small dilution. If I remember correctly from your posts above, you are injecting co2, correct? Do you know what your pH is before co2 comes on? That is the value we need - pH without any co2 injection.


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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Ph before CO2 has always been right around 7.4 and 7.6. I use Eco Complete substrate so that helps bring it up. 7.6 is what it is normally. Ill recheck my GH and KH tonight to give a better number. I hate taking those measurements cause its hard to understand. So I just share number of drops to change the color.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokilow View Post
Ph before CO2 has always been right around 7.4 and 7.6. I use Eco Complete substrate so that helps bring it up. 7.6 is what it is normally. Ill recheck my GH and KH tonight to give a better number. I hate taking those measurements cause its hard to understand. So I just share number of drops to change the color.
1 drop = 1 degree (approximate). So if it takes say 3 drops to change color, you have 3 dGH/dKH.

At that pH, what I would personally recommend is either rolling your own with DTPA Fe, or GLA is now selling a salt that contains both EDTA and DTPA that looks promising.

Of course YMMV, my off-gassed pH is 7.4 and the EDTA in regular CSM+B seems to be working alright. I will be changing it up in the future, however.


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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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So my GH is 3 drops and my KH is 2 drops.

So DTPA Fe is the same as Chelated Iron?

When you say EDTA are you referring to a specific mineral? I see EDTA zinc and iron powders listed on amazon.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 06:38 PM
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So my GH is 3 drops and my KH is 2 drops.

So DTPA Fe is the same as Chelated Iron?

When you say EDTA are you referring to a specific mineral? I see EDTA zinc and iron powders listed on amazon.
That is great water! Seeing as how your plants aren't showing deficiencies related to hardness, I'd say omit the gypsum and epsom salt for now, see how things progress.

Yes, DTPA/EDTA Fe are both chelated iron. DTPA and EDTA refer to different types of chelators, and there is research showing that they work differently/more efficiently at different pH levels.

With your water, I'd say your best bets are either going to be rolling your own (there's a thread here that has a ton of information, or perhaps @burr740 or @Greggz can chime in, they are worlds more knowledgeable than I am when it comes to this) or using the micros that are mixed EDTA and DTPA that Green Leaf Aquariums offers (found here: https://greenleafaquariums.com/produ...x-1lb-jar.html ).

When you convert your tank into a co2 injected, high energy tank, you definitely do not want to omit the micro nutrients as you will quickly run into problems if they aren't provided. As I understand it, the GLA micro fertilizer offered in that link should be dosed at the same quantity as CSM+B using the Rotala Butterfly calculator.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 06:43 PM
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Get some premade micros, you're not at the stage yet to be making oyur own. That gla csmb+dtpa sounds Ok
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 07:51 PM
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Honestly I would not worry about dosing macros....Let your plants grow a bit more and then see what you need...

Fish poop should be more than enough for macros. Only thing to worry about is micros and if you are not constantly trimming and taking out stems it is not a big issue either...

Maybe some iron & potassium for your rotalas and that's about it (keep in mind water changes replenish micros as well)


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Get some premade micros, you're not at the stage yet to be making oyur own. That gla csmb+dtpa sounds Ok
Without sounding sarcastic, what makes me not ready for making my own macros? Is it not the same as basically making my own Seachem Floursh and flourish advance in some cases? Will it not still benefit the plants and save me money? What classifies someone as being ready to roll their own minerals?

I still want to try it out as I have already bought my minerals and scales. I also want to be able to get higher requirement plants to see if I can grow them. But i am still in the return period of the minerals.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 06:43 PM
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Without sounding sarcastic, what makes me not ready for making my own macros?
I don't think that comment was meant to be negative at all.

Right now your tank is lightly planted with mostly low light slow growing species, and a few stems mixed in.

At this stage, there are other things that matter more than micros. If your intention is to add more fast growing stems, getting the others right will make more difference than the micro mix.

First is to get an idea of what PAR you are dealing with. The amount of light you provide has an effect on everything else. If you don't have enough, colorful stems will not be as colorful. Too much and algae can become a problem quick.

Dialing in CO2 is not dialing in bubbles. It's dialing in your pH drop. How are you measuring pH? API liquid or calibrated probe? Do you know your approximate pH drop? The more stems you add the more it will pay to get it right. The standard you will hear is a 1.0 drop, but most heavily planted tanks are more like 1.2 to 1.4.

As you increase light and CO2, the need for ferts also changes. EI dosing is a starting point. Right now with your mix of plants you really don't need much dosing. As you progress into more difficult plants and greater plant mass the demand will increase.

As to micros, I am a big believer in rolling your own. But again, with your current set up, it's not really a priority. Once you add more difficult fast growing stems, they will be more sensitive to the mix of micros.

Since you are new to all this, it might help you to find some journals of tanks that have similar goals to yours. It will help give you an idea of everything that goes into it, including the need for excellent maintenance and plant management.

As to dosing, I have a link in my signature below to a spreadsheet I put together that many here are using. It will give you a better understanding of all the things folks are tracking. The Share Your Dosing thread is also a good place to learn more about how folks manage their tanks.

So far it looks like you have a very nice start, and sounds like you have ambitions to improve. I also keep Bows, so it's nice to see the Boesemani in there.

If you do decide to roll your own micros, here is a link to my journal where I show how do it. Good luck with the tank and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here. Consider starting your own journal, as it's a great way to share and learn.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post10937818
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 09:53 PM
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Without sounding sarcastic, what makes me not ready for making my own macros? Is it not the same as basically making my own Seachem Floursh and flourish advance in some cases? Will it not still benefit the plants and save me money? What classifies someone as being ready to roll their own minerals?

I still want to try it out as I have already bought my minerals and scales. I also want to be able to get higher requirement plants to see if I can grow them. But i am still in the return period of the minerals.
Think what he was alluding to was fact that micro mixing using all separate components is way less forgiving of errors vs using a premade CSM+B.

https://greenleafaquariums.com/produ...x-1lb-bag.html

Just use the mix above, add water and start dosing. I really donít see point of buying components over the quality mixes like above or Niloc version. The few $$ you save is not worth all the hassle. You can buy extra iron or other components to add to premixed if you want to customize down road.

Dennis Wong has good page on mixing drys.

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