What is the optimum dosing frequency? - The Planted Tank Forum
View Poll Results: How frequent do you add fertilizer to your tank?
Once or more often per day all nutrients 12 23.53%
Every other day, perhaps alternating micros and macros 27 52.94%
Weekly, perhaps after water changes, or twice a week 11 21.57%
Less frequent, or not at all, or what the heck are we talking about 1 1.96%
Voters: 51. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-04-2006, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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What is the optimum dosing frequency?

This question has come up recently, but I think it hasn't been discussed to death yet and deserves its own thread. Where I am really going with this is - do you think one can dose too often, keeping levels too level?

Some ppl measure and monitor a lot, trying to keep nutrient levels at a certain ppm. Others go EI and don't worry about actual levels. Others yet try to replenish actual measured uptake.

Independent from that, dosing frequency will vary. When I started this hobby, I didn't dose at all. After running out of nutrients and into problems, I started dosing once a week. Later that became twice a week. Then I started autodosing, and just for fun, set it to dose twice a day. Now I am dosing all my tanks once a day, keeping very even levels throughout the week.

I don't follow EI, rather try to find the minimal levels that still grow nice and healthy plants, and related to that, I can skip water changes for a week without too much stuff building up (tanks are understocked too).

Just wondering if infrequent dosing, and the resulting higher/fluctuating levels, have given your plants some sort of boost that isn't there if things are evened out too much?

How often do you dose, and how did you get there?


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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 01:05 AM
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I dose plantex csm+b with extra iron I add myself every day. If I know I won't have time to mess with any tanks the next day, I just double dose them the day before. If I just get in a hurry and forget a day, I don't worry about it. Heavily stocked tank, so I get by with dosing macros only 1-2 times a week. 50% water change weekly. I test every once in awhile ( once a month maybe) nitrates and phosphates just to make sure I'm not going crazy, test the kh in the tap and the tank about as often as well because my tap can be anywhere from 2-5 over the course of a few months for whatever reason.
I guess my method is mostly EI-ish. I've been doing it before I ever heard of the method and it seems to work for me.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 01:15 AM
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I dose pmdd premix every other day (1/4) teaspoon dry dose. i only monitor nitrate and keep it at 10-15 and do 50% water change a week on sunday. I dont add phosphate i have enough in the tap water. I tested dailey when i started to find how much my plants used no i test once a month maybe or more often if i suspect something is out of line.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 04:25 AM
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I dose macros one day and micros the next. I use EI. However, I do not dose the sticky amounts. I use about 3/4 of the sticky recommendation and it works for my tank.

When I first started I tested PH, KH, Nitrates, Ph all the time. I have stopped testing. I have not used a test kit in months. I do have a PH controller with a real time reading. As such, I check PH a couple times a day.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 05:24 AM
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I dose both micros and macros everyday since I use a doser I made to do this for me now. Before that I was doing macros twice a week and mircos the other days when I remembered.

On my other tank I don't have a doser so I just do macros twice a week as well as micros.

When I was using SC Iron I noticed that it was better to dose everyday or else it seemed that my plants showed signs of Iron deficiency. Now that I use Tropca Master grow I find that I can get away with only twice a week (my 10 gallon tank) and all is well. The chelation has a lot to do with this. SC Iron is a very weak chelate and it would precipitate out of solution very quickly.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 02:25 PM
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My dosing is wierd. I suppose a modified version of EI. I was very successful with the EI method when I was concentrating on plants and smaller fish like tetras and rasboras.

After I moved to Arlington, I noticed my water already had 10 ppm Nitrate and 5+ ppm of phosphate (something about lead pipes!!). So EI kind of went out the window from that point on.

Then moving on to discus and the heavy feeding and poop my nitrates are normally around 15 ppm while phosphates hover around 5. No additional dosing needed of macros other than potassium and magnesium during water changes, which are TWICE a week. This resets my macros and keeps my nitrates and phosphates at an acceptable level.

The key has been a high CO2 rate...upwards to 50+ ppm...which keeps the plants healthy and allows for adequate uptake of the macros and micros...which are dosed via a liquidoser.

The liquidoser is set to 8 mL a day of 1/2 TABLEspoon of plantex in 250 mL water. I squirt 8 mL of fluorish iron into the liquidoser too. The full doser is set on Sundays and runs through Saturday. Its pretty much on-par with the EI schedule I had of alternating micros...but now every day.

Life is much easier, the tank is clean, fish are happy, plants are growing, co2 is lasting forever, and 2 hours a week (1 hr Sun, 1 hr Wed) to maintain the tank is nice to spend time doing other stuff.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magicmagni
When I was using SC Iron I noticed that it was better to dose everyday or else it seemed that my plants showed signs of Iron deficiency. Now that I use Tropca Master grow I find that I can get away with only twice a week (my 10 gallon tank) and all is well. The chelation has a lot to do with this. SC Iron is a very weak chelate and it would precipitate out of solution very quickly.
I am using Flourish Iron too. Do you think it becomes inactive in a solution, like we use for autodosing, after a couple of days? What makes it precipitate in a tank, but not in the bottle? That would make something like a Liquidoser the preferred way of application...


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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgiadawgger
Then moving on to discus and the heavy feeding and poop my nitrates are normally around 15 ppm while phosphates hover around 5. No additional dosing needed of macros other than potassium and magnesium during water changes, which are TWICE a week. This resets my macros and keeps my nitrates and phosphates at an acceptable level.

The key has been a high CO2 rate...upwards to 50+ ppm...which keeps the plants healthy and allows for adequate uptake of the macros and micros...which are dosed via a liquidoser.

The liquidoser is set to 8 mL a day of 1/2 TABLEspoon of plantex in 250 mL water. I squirt 8 mL of fluorish iron into the liquidoser too. The full doser is set on Sundays and runs through Saturday. Its pretty much on-par with the EI schedule I had of alternating micros...but now every day.

Life is much easier, the tank is clean, fish are happy, plants are growing, co2 is lasting forever, and 2 hours a week (1 hr Sun, 1 hr Wed) to maintain the tank is nice to spend time doing other stuff.
Sounds like very even levels throughout the week as well... So far no indications that frequent dosing has disadvantages.


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2006, 07:13 PM
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I would say I dose three or less times a week based on ei. I dose npk and micros at different times during the same day. Sometimes of course I forget, but ei has always been forgiving coupled with what most would consider insanely high co2 levels,..but, the fish don't complain a bit. I have soft acidic water 3dkh with near nothing in the way of nutrients according to the local water report it might as well be ro, that probably helps. My ei dosing is very precise and instinctual hows that for an oxymoron, maybe I'll post my charts. Funny thing is I thought about it today and kind of chuckled, Its getting hard to remember being frustrated with algae, its been over 6 months since I've seen any. My problem has become that dang pesky protein buildup, other wise clear as crystal.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 03:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
What makes it precipitate in a tank, but not in the bottle? That would make something like a Liquidoser the preferred way of application...

Light. Keep the bottle in a dark place especially if you put it in a clear container. If you have to use a clear container just wrap it with paper or something so light can't get in.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 04:29 AM
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Good topic Wasserpest. I think a lot more people don't follow EI than we realize considering all the PR it has around here.

Myself: I also have near RO well water. Like zip KH and GH out of the tap and pH in a low 5 ( I think). The change water's pH raises to ~ 6.4ish after a day with pumps... off gassing CO2 is my guess. So for the 50 gallons of change water (in a separate container) I dose 1.5 teaspoons of K, and 7 grams of MG then the next day around 17 grams of Calcium chloride and about 3 teaspoons of baking soda. This gives me around a 7.1 pH and 4-5 GH and ~ 3 KH for water changes. The tank's pH controler is set at 6.6 pH and I keep average KH at 4-5 degrees. After that, maybe 5 mls of SC Iron on water change day (occasionally but not every change). I do dose CSM+B on change day and two more times during the week except when I forget. If I forget, I don't try to make up for it.

Occasionally I dose NO3 and rarely PO4, but I mostly let the fish food and poop take care of the macros. But I run a heavy fishload and around a 30- 40% weekly water change regimen on a 90G and (for now) a lighter fishload on my new 65G. I do have some different algae pop up from time to time so I'm probably deficient in NO3 or PO4 for part of the week. But I seem to have more problems if I dose those two macros, than if I don't. Got to get the fish population down, I suppose. Its not really that heavy of fish load, but I sure do like to feed them! LOL

Now I have a question I've been wondering about for a while. Can micro nutrients show up as a by product of fauna poop?





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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betowess
Good topic Wasserpest. I think a lot more people don't follow EI than we realize considering all the PR it has around here.
Although I don't follow it by-the-book anymore, I would still recommend it in a heartbeat to any newby to the hobby. It is so easy and I think our service as "experienced" hobbiests is to provide pros and cons to various dosing methods according to personal experiences...I second the "great thread" comment.

As far as tinkering with EI...it takes a lot of patience, practice and sometimes frustration. It requires a mild to moderate knowledge of basic chemistry and biology (plant uptake, tapwater and tank nutrient parameters) and patience (did I say that again?). The last thing we want is to have a newby jump right in with a high light, high tech, sparsley planted tank, with little co2 and sensitive fish like rummy nosed tetras or discus and have a disaster happen because of lack of research and info. Threads like this are great. Even though the search button is easy to use, sometimes it helps the newer folks pick up easy information to start with.

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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That's all good stuff, but wasn't where I wanted this to go...

What I wanted to find out: If anyone has indications that too frequent dosing, too even levels are detrimental to plant health. With autodosers, you can pretty much keep levels the same, while the other extreme would be to dose everything once a week. Just wondering if anyone has found advantages of one over the other.

(This goes back to Steves difficulties with his thread algae, some ideas from Ktulu_JL in that same thread, and some PMs going around afterwards)


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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest

Just wondering if infrequent dosing, and the resulting higher/fluctuating levels, have given your plants some sort of boost that isn't there if things are evened out too much?

How often do you dose, and how did you get there?
My bad for not staying more on topic. I really don't have an answer other than in nature it would seem things will not stay as consistent. On the other hand, plants in a nursery do better if fertilized regularly. My plants in the tank have no standard dosing routine and seem to grow grow grow, but some with probs. Who knows.





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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 05:09 PM
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modified ei here - pmdd, morning after water changes, start ei the following day. My water has high phoshate levels from the tap, so my ei solution only has a pinch of phoshate, and sometise that is omitted on the first macro day

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