Not seeing value in "megadosing" nutrients - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-16-2020, 07:27 PM
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It looks to me like iron has a lot of unknowns in the hobby.
Well, this here is what we know so far.


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post #17 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-16-2020, 08:45 PM
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I dose .1ppm iron daily (.7ppm weekly), but that is all gluconated (Seachem Iron). Because of my level one UVS, I cannot use chelated iron, such as EDTA or DTPA. Generally, you need to dose more gluconated iron that EDTA or DTPA forms because it is consumed by plants so rapidly. After going back and forth with Seachem on how to determine how much to dose (their directions are a little misleading), they advised to dose enough so that ferrous iron tests show zero iron after 20-30 minutes. During that time, the plants will uptake virtually all of it. In my case I could actually dose higher than I do and remain within these test parameters. This is because it is in the ferrous form and not the ferric form found in chelated versions, which are designed to last much longer in the water column (up to several days). Additionally, the gluc iron is not dependent upon pH levels.

As far as test kits for iron are concerned, after trying a few different kits, I found that the Nutrafin kit (may be labeled under the Fluval name) is good at detecting both types of iron. I donít have the Hanna version because I donít think it is important to test for iron at that price since iron testing is so questionable in both results and value, as @Edward pointed out. However, I do use Hanna for other types of tests and would expect their iron test to be good, as well. I found Seachemís test to be good with ferrous iron (which is their product), but not very good for ferric iron. As I understand it, the chelated bond has to be broken down by these types of reagents before actually being able to measure the ferric iron (this is the reason for the lengthy time to measure EDTA and DTPA iron) and many test kits arenít good at doing that. Conversely, some were not good at measuring ferrous iron.
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post #18 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-16-2020, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post
I beleive the most scientific about their tanks use this Fe tester https://hannacan.com/hi746-iron-low-...eckerr-hc.html I don't have a dutch tank so I never saw the need to get one but its as good as you get in our hobby. Range is up to 1ppm Fe which should be good for most tanks.
That's what I have. I have the one that has a 0-5PPM range and shows out to two decimal points. It's actually not so easy to use, but yes it is a nice tester.

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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
I dose .1ppm iron daily (.7ppm weekly), but that is all gluconated (Seachem Iron). Because of my level one UVS, I cannot use chelated iron, such as EDTA or DTPA. Generally, you need to dose more gluconated iron that EDTA or DTPA forms because it is consumed by plants so rapidly. After going back and forth with Seachem on how to determine how much to dose (their directions are a little misleading), they advised to dose enough so that ferrous iron tests show zero iron after 20-30 minutes. During that time, the plants will uptake virtually all of it. In my case I could actually dose higher than I do and remain within these test parameters. This is because it is in the ferrous form and not the ferric form found in chelated versions, which are designed to last much longer in the water column (up to several days). Additionally, the gluc iron is not dependent upon pH levels.
That answers a lot of questions. It sounds like during the titration period, dosing should be during the day with lights on so that plants can uptake the iron immediately and can be retested 20-30 min later. I have been dosing an hour or so before lights on (which is convenient for me). I can see why they recommend daily dosing of it. Actually it seems critical in a high tech fast growing tank.
Since iron can't be transported inside the plant and it's gone in 20-30min, it needs to be re-introduced everyday for new growth to get enough iron.
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post #19 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-16-2020, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ahem View Post
Daily
15-20ppm CO2
1ppm Seachem N
.30ppm Seachem P
2 ppm Seachem K
.25ppm Seachem Iron
5ml of Seachem trace or occasionally Seachem flourish
5ml Seachem Excel
12.5ml Seachem Flourish Advance
This was my weekly dosing for about 8 months. I mixed everything in an old Easy Green bottle and dosed 4x per week:

6 ppm NO3
2.8 ppm PO4
20.8 ppm K
.16 ppm Fe
1.6 ppm Mg

So leaner on N but higher PO4 and K. It worked pretty well when supplemented with Osmocote root tabs, but as soon as the root tabs started to run low you could see deficiencies in the plants. I was using the Seachem fert plan for a few months like two years ago, but I just got sick of having to measure out 6 different liquids every day.

I pretty much doubled the lean dosing since then. Plants are growing bigger and faster, plus I don't have to worry about root tabs. I'm using more fertilizers, but I've still only had to buy the dry ferts once in my life. It also allows me to dose macros once per week which is just easier. The downside is the plants are growing bigger and faster so there's more trimming maintenance.

The whole concept of EI and "MEGADOSIIIIIIINNG" is very particular to American aquarists and this forum in particular. Most other aquatic horticulturists from Asia and Europe are using much leaner dosing, in line with what you do. If it's working for you, I don't see a reason to change.


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post #20 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-17-2020, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by gjcarew View Post
This was my weekly dosing for about 8 months. I mixed everything in an old Easy Green bottle and dosed 4x per week:

6 ppm NO3
2.8 ppm PO4
20.8 ppm K
.16 ppm Fe
1.6 ppm Mg

So leaner on N but higher PO4 and K. It worked pretty well when supplemented with Osmocote root tabs, but as soon as the root tabs started to run low you could see deficiencies in the plants. I was using the Seachem fert plan for a few months like two years ago, but I just got sick of having to measure out 6 different liquids every day.

I pretty much doubled the lean dosing since then. Plants are growing bigger and faster, plus I don't have to worry about root tabs. I'm using more fertilizers, but I've still only had to buy the dry ferts once in my life. It also allows me to dose macros once per week which is just easier. The downside is the plants are growing bigger and faster so there's more trimming maintenance.

The whole concept of EI and "MEGADOSIIIIIIINNG" is very particular to American aquarists and this forum in particular. Most other aquatic horticulturists from Asia and Europe are using much leaner dosing, in line with what you do. If it's working for you, I don't see a reason to change.
If you go over to The 2HR Aquarist website these amounts are pretty much in line with those Dennis Wong recommends. He also mentions that nitrate levels >10 ppm makes one more prone to GDA and GSA.
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post #21 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-17-2020, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post

And 7 ppm NO3 and 2.1 ppm PO4 weekly is not that light. I'm at 10 NO3 and 3.5 PO4 and folks think I dose EI. Fact is very few blindly follow EI, and most dial in what works best in their particular tank and mix of plants.
From the PPS website:

Medium light
PPS-Pro Solution #1, 1ml per 10 gallon or 40 L
PPS-Pro Solution #2, 0.5ml per 10 gallon or 40 L
Water change 50% once a week
This limits water column nutrient levels to 14 ppm NO3, 1.4 ppm PO4, 18 ppm K, 1.4 ppm Mg, 0.7 ppm Fe(TE).

It seems the difference between PPS PRO and 'EI' is small and mostly the ratio of N to P.
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Last edited by cl3537; 10-17-2020 at 10:13 PM. Reason: ...
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post #22 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-17-2020, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post
From the PPS website:

Medium light
PPS-Pro Solution #1, 1ml per 10 gallon or 40 L
PPS-Pro Solution #2, 0.5ml per 10 gallon or 40 L
Water change 50% once a week
This limits water column nutrient levels to 14 ppm NO3, 1.4 ppm PO4, 18 ppm K, 1.4 ppm Mg, 0.7 ppm Fe(TE).

It seems the difference between PPS PRO and 'EI' is small and mostly the ratio of N to P.
We may have to get @Edward to weigh in here, but if I go to the calculators (RotalaButterfly and Zorfox) and use the daily dosing recommendations, I get EI as being dosed at over three times what PPS is dosed for NO3, even accumulated. PO4 is 6x higher EI:PPS. Am I missing something?
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post #23 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-18-2020, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
We may have to get @Edward to weigh in here, but if I go to the calculators (RotalaButterfly and Zorfox) and use the daily dosing recommendations, I get EI as being dosed at over three times what PPS is dosed for NO3, even accumulated. PO4 is 6x higher EI:PPS. Am I missing something?
There isn't one set of numbers for EI or PPS(that I know of), they are both overdose and then reset weekly regimes where it is easy to calculate the max possible accumulation. I wrote 'EI' in single quotes because Greggz dosing has migrated from any fixed set of numbers for years and he uses custom micros as well. The nitrates dosed for PPS pro can vary from as little as 7ppm to much more and I'd be surprised if EI didn't have a broad range as well those don't appear to be differentiators but I agree I'd rather have the experts chime in on the differences.
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Last edited by cl3537; 10-18-2020 at 12:40 AM. Reason: ...
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post #24 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-18-2020, 01:20 AM
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I view one of the primary differences between the two in that aspect of reset. EI requires it at high levels and ~weekly, rightly so, whereas PPS tends to be more flexible, in frequency and quantity, as it tries to more closely match uptake with dosing. This a major factor and circles back to the water change frequency thread we were all discussing last week.

They both have fixed-dose starting points, which is what the calculators use, but both philosophies recognize the desire/need to be flexible. I do believe that, despite flexibility around their mean, they remain quite far apart on expected water column nutrient levels.

I consider myself much closer to the PPS philosophy, in recent years, after many years with EI. @Greggz: it would be interesting to hear which approach you believe you are closer to now.
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post #25 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-18-2020, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
I do believe that, despite flexibility around their mean, they remain quite far apart on expected water column nutrient levels.
When one wants to understand what the fundamental difference is then we have to ask a question, what was the envisioned priority? Was it fauna with supporting healthy flora, or just flora.


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Last edited by Edward; 10-18-2020 at 02:23 AM. Reason: Added healthy
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post #26 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-18-2020, 02:26 AM
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When one wants to understand what the fundamental difference is then we have to ask a question, what was the envisioned priority? Was it fauna with supporting flora, or just flora.
It started out as fauna, then fauna with incidental flora (sometimes plastic), then became fauna with supporting flora, but seems to have recently become flora with supporting fauna, variously using EI, then PPS inclined. So far, the flora-only activity is just what I use my lawn mower on.
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post #27 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-18-2020, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
I view one of the primary differences between the two in that aspect of reset. EI requires it at high levels and ~weekly, rightly so, whereas PPS tends to be more flexible, in frequency and quantity, as it tries to more closely match uptake with dosing. This a major factor and circles back to the water change frequency thread we were all discussing last week.

They both have fixed-dose starting points, which is what the calculators use, but both philosophies recognize the desire/need to be flexible. I do believe that, despite flexibility around their mean, they remain quite far apart on expected water column nutrient levels.

I consider myself much closer to the PPS philosophy, in recent years, after many years with EI. @Greggz: it would be interesting to hear which approach you believe you are closer to now.
I follow many of the best tanks from around the world, and have the opportunity to communicate with many of them to learn more about their methods. I am talking about tanks that are similar to mine in that they are very plant centric, rather than hardscaped dominated.

The funny thing is not one of them would refer to their dosing as EI or PPS. They just refer to the numbers that they use. EI calls for 22:4:22 NO3:PO4:K and 2.0 Fe from micros (was at 5.0 just a few years ago). I don't know of one that doses at that particular level. And almost all pay very close attention to Ca:Mg levels, which is not a focus of EI.

There is one fundamental that is almost universally true of the most successful "Dutch" inspired tanks from around the world. Like you alluded to above, it's regular large water changes. IMO, that is easily the most common denominator regardless of dosing levels.

For me, I have tested loads of dosing levels over the years. My conclusion is that dosing is the least important of the fundamental things that the best tanks share.

Much more important to get light, CO2, and maintenance correct. And of those, maintenance may be the biggest common factor. The most successful people work harder at it. And that includes trimming, pruning, and plant mass management.

If you get everything else right, you can get by on a wide range of dosing. At that point dosing is really fine tuning things. If you don't get everything else right, even the most perfect dosing scheme won't save you.

The other thing to keep in mind is to always look at the particular plants in a set up. A tank full of Rotala's is a lot different than a tank full of Ludwigia's and Limnophila's.

As for me, current dosing is 10/3.5/15 and Ca/Mg at 20/8. Micros are custom at 0.525 Fe. And my tank is pretty much on auto-pilot right now. But the reality is most of that is not due to the dosing, it's due to everything else.


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Last edited by Greggz; 10-18-2020 at 02:54 PM. Reason: typo
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post #28 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-18-2020, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post

....

If you get everything else right, you can get by on a wide range of dosing. At that point dosing is really fine tuning things. If you don't get everything else right, even the most perfect dosing scheme won't save you.

...

The other thing to keep in mind is to always look at the particular plants in a set up. A tank full of Rotala's is a lot different than a tank full of Ludwigia's and Limnophila's.
Selecting some parts of Greggz' quotes, what may be interesting in the evolution of more attention to detail in dosing may be due to the expansion of species we keep. It was easy to please what is now known as "simple" plants as hobbyists are constantly pushing towards discovering the next rare species to introduce to the hobby. The constant desire to just tweak things just a little bit to get that new favorite plant to respond while not dragging down others has, in turn, pushed us to experiment with all sorts of variables Maybe the shrimp guys have it right. Don't mix some of those species if they require different water parameters. In that vein, I think even @burr740 has started to separate some things into different substrated tanks to get things to respond better. And didn't @Maryland Guppy use solo cups of different substrates for this very purpose?
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post #29 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-18-2020, 09:16 PM
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When one wants to understand what the fundamental difference is then we have to ask a question, what was the envisioned priority? Was it fauna with supporting healthy flora, or just flora.
In my case its hardscape based flora(low plant mass, easy to grow plants), the fauna of course I want healthy and they enhance the scape.
Cryptocoryne Parva has never been happy in my tank I suspect because I don't keep my lights very high (60 Par or so) or for a long duration(4-5 hours). The moss and Rotala grow annoyingly fast already.

But I still don't understand how knowing that differentiates EI from PPS Pro.
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post #30 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-18-2020, 10:21 PM
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Large water changes are optional.
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