To EI or not to EI that is the question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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To EI or not to EI that is the question

Ok so we are currently running 55gal and 20 gal planted tanks that we dose with flourish and root tabs in both and excel into the the 20gal but not the 55. We are in the process of switching to pressurized Co2 in both (Co2 cylinder is in the mail and Bettatail is making me a setup).

Once we have the Co2 running on both tanks we were curious as to which method works best? Should we stick to what we are doing now or switch over to the EI method at that point?

If we did go with the EI method what is the prefered method that you all use for it? Liquid solutions or dry ferts? Which works best? Where is the best place to get everything you need for say the solution method?

I was just reading a post about EI that is on "Jame's Planted Tank" that seems interesting. Anyone use the method he posts about?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 03:22 PM
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Dry is always more economical. Remember liquid your paying for water.

Many folks get all their 'EI' type ferts at aquariumfertilizer.com
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 03:49 PM
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If a liquid solution is more convenient, you can buy the powders and make your own solutions. The calculator below is really helpful for making them.

http://calc.petalphile.com/

I use the following containers, they do have ml markings on them to make it easier.

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...7655&catid=535

I use EI daily and calculate the contentration for a 15 ml or 1/2 OZ daily dose into 50 gallons of aquarium water since I have a 57 gallon aquarium.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 04:10 PM
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If you are still feeling your way around fert dosing, liquid ferts are a convenient way to better feel how much of each you need.

Yes, dry ferts are more economical but if you are just starting out, the dosage allocations per day per ingredient can be a bit daunting. Its a bit of a science to get everything just right so take your time and experiement and know what best works for your tank. remember to take into account the type of plants, their rate growth, plant density, type of light, its intensity and duration as all variables.

Good luck.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 04:57 PM
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I have to respectfully disagree with the liquid for beginners, and here's why -

I think that if you're new and trying to feel things out, you're not really going to understand all the differences in types of plants, growth rate etc, and having liquid or powder doesn't give you any more knowledge in understanding how to fine tune them.

What I have been doing and having good success with is just using the EI chart for dry dosing. I haven't tried mixing my ferts in bottles, (and maybe I would prefer this if I tried??) because I felt like it was just one more step of conversion where I was concerned I would make mistakes.

The dry dosing method you just have a measured amount of dry powder. Done.

What I typically do, is on my water change days I preportion my dosing for each day of the week into little plastic gladware cups. They're ready to go through out the week and I don't have to measure each day.

I buy my powder ferts from Green Leaf Aquariums.

So that's just my take, I felt like doing powders was more straight forward, with less conversions.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so if I am correct I would be dosing KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and trace (csm+b) 3 times a week. What else should we dose? We have well water that is run through a water softener so I have been dosing aquavitro GH and KH to keep my levels up between 3 and 4 degrees. Is there another dry fert i can dose to replace the aquavitro? Magnesium? Calcium chloride?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolsen27 View Post
Ok so if I am correct I would be dosing KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and trace (csm+b) 3 times a week. What else should we dose? We have well water that is run through a water softener so I have been dosing aquavitro GH and KH to keep my levels up between 3 and 4 degrees. Is there another dry fert i can dose to replace the aquavitro? Magnesium? Calcium chloride?
If you want to keep your GH up, just use GH booster.

It is a mix of calcium, potassium and magnesium sulfates (3:3:1).

kH can be kept up through a bicarbonate salt (potassium preferably, but sodium will do too).

Anthony


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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What about crushed coral for KH?

Do you still use root tabs when dosing EI?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 12:09 AM
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id say definitely go EI. i have found it to work very well, and have no intention of going back.
i like to mix bry fertz into solution and then dose the solution into the tank.
dose KNO3, KH2PO4, and KSO4 3 times a week (they are all mixed in 1 bottle)
dose plantex CSM+B 3 times a week along with flourish iron for extra Fe (may not be necessary for you, and there are many other Fe sources).
and dose a gh booster with every water change (1 time a week)

do you need a kh booster? most plants seem to like low kh. if you do need it, baking soda works fine. NaHCO3. and you only need a tiny bit. i would dose it with my gh booster after the weekly water change if i were to use it.
i would NOT use crushed coral. you have no control over the rate of dissolution, and it will raise your gh too, also in an uncontrollable fashion. i tried crushed coral when i had a tank with 0 kh. did not work well.

you can still use root tabs. but dont bother except for really heavy root-feeding plants. crypts, erios, and the like.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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We have well water that is softened so our water has 0 GH AND KH before I treat it. I worry about low KH and dosing Co2 causing my PH to swing like crazy.

What we do now to buffer our water works, I was just looking for more options.

We have sometime of crypt in our tanks and in my 55gal I have 2 amazon swords. So still keep with root tabs near them but don't bother with the rest of the tank?
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolsen27 View Post
Ok so if I am correct I would be dosing KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and trace (csm+b) 3 times a week. What else should we dose? We have well water that is run through a water softener so I have been dosing aquavitro GH and KH to keep my levels up between 3 and 4 degrees. Is there another dry fert i can dose to replace the aquavitro? Magnesium? Calcium chloride?
I would get the Barr's GH Booster or make your own.

Do you really need K2SO4? You already have two sources of potassium. If you work out the math you should have enough ppm of K without adding it. (especially if it's in the GH booster)

If you want to get fancy you can introduce Iron using different chelating agents, DPTA and glucconate, depending on your parameters. You could also add Borax to supplement Boron.


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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I have been going back and forth about the K2SO4. Most of the site I am getting info from say dose it and one say don't. I am leaning towards not dosing it for the reasons you mentioned plus the KH booster I am currently using has potassium in it also.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by UDGags View Post
Do you really need K2SO4? You already have two sources of potassium. If you work out the math you should have enough ppm of K without adding it. (especially if it's in the GH booster)
I've always wondered about that, also. Most EI charts don't list it. What is the reason it is included in some fert packages if you don't need it?


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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 11:52 AM
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I've always wondered about that, also. Most EI charts don't list it. What is the reason it is included in some fert packages if you don't need it?
If you are using the nitrate and phosphate, they will get you to the middle range of potassium. You can use the sulfate to be at the high end of the recommended range. If he is adding the GH booster though it has the potassium sulfate already in it.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by UDGags View Post
If you are using the nitrate and phosphate, they will get you to the middle range of potassium. You can use the sulfate to be at the high end of the recommended range. If he is adding the GH booster though it has the potassium sulfate already in it.

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I already have high GH from my tap water, over 10, so I don't dose a booster. Would it be a benefit for someone like me to dose K2S04 in an EI tank?


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