Basic EI fert dosing advice for a noob so noobful it hurts - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Basic EI fert dosing advice for a noob so noobful it hurts

I just ordered a fert package consisting of 2lb KNO3, 1/2lb KH2PO4, 1lb GH booster, and 1/2lb CSM+B. How should I dose a 5.5, a 3.5, and a 10 gallon tank? Just to be clear, I have one of each.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 02:37 AM
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what are the lighting and CO2 for each tanks?

In general, for a high tech tank you dose the suggested amount of EI. Bear in mind this is only a suggestion, you may dial up and down for each chemical depends on situation.

In a low tech. setup, you may try 1/3 strength of EI

Here's a calculator for EI http://rota.la/

For GH booster, do you know the water hardness of your tank water? If you are using tap water, check your water report in your region. Different plants/fish/shrimps may require different GH.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 02:37 AM
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Just to add, here is the dosing as outlined on the Barr Report. As mentioned, EI dosing ratios depends on your lighting.

10- 20 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 1/8 tsp KNO3 (N) 3x a week
+/- 1/32 tsp KH2PO4 (P) 3x a week
+/- 1/4 tsp GH booster once a week(water change only)
+/- 1/32 tsp (2ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change

You can adjust accordingly for your smaller aquariums.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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csm+b is trace elements, correct?

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by cbachmann View Post
csm+b is trace elements, correct?
Yes. Buying dry ferts is so cheap and they last so long that I prefer to stick on the high side of EI dosing even with non or diy CO2. You aren't going to cause algae do to over fertilizing from everything I've read and personal experience.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 04:01 AM
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+1 to what everyone here has said. One additional thing that I may add is that with tanks that small it might be easier to mix up some liquid fert from the dry fert and then dose that way. If you need help with this let me know I can walk you through it.

BTW, your ferts will go out tomorrow morning via priority mail, you should have them in a few days.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbachmann View Post
I just ordered a fert package consisting of 2lb KNO3, 1/2lb KH2PO4, 1lb GH booster, and 1/2lb CSM+B. How should I dose a 5.5, a 3.5, and a 10 gallon tank? Just to be clear, I have one of each.
Given these tanks are are the smaller side, the liquid dosing might be best.
Either way will work, but it's easier to measure smaller amounts with liquids, for 20 Gallon and above, no need, use dry.

Once you do it for 2 weeks, this will be all easy and "old hat", boring even.
Then you can focus on CO2, light, the 2 biggest drivers of growth and issues.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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I'm a chem student, so I was actually kind of hoping to work a bit more technically with the chemicals. I wouldnt mind sitting down with a calculator and figuring out the molarity of a few solutions. How many mg/week of each compound (or mixture in the case of csm+b) should go into, say a 10 gallon tank? Also, what exactly is in csm+b? And in what percentage?

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 08:24 AM
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cbachmann the issue with small tanks is that you have two problems to deal with. The first is plants use up nutrients very quickly in small tanks since there isn't a large quantity of fertilizer in the tank. The second problem is you can't add too high of a concentration of certain nutrients (particularly micros) without bumping into toxicity issues.

These two problems contribute to the difficulty of maintaining small tanks with water column fertilizing.

Of course there are ways to get around these issues. Plant species choice makes a big difference. Lowering the lighting/CO2 to reduce nutrient demand. Dosing much more frequently (small regular doses to maintain set levels). The problem is most people don't enjoy babying their tanks daily, or being restricted in terms of plant species.

Quote:
How many mg/week of each compound (or mixture in the case of csm+b) should go into, say a 10 gallon tank? Also, what exactly is in csm+b? And in what percentage?
How many mg/week depends on the plant species. If you have all slow growers then they might only need a few mg/week, if you have all stems, high light and CO2 they could need several mg/week. That is why the E in EI stands for Estimative - because nobody knows exactly how much to give a given plant.

No need to calculate CSM+B values out yourself, the last link at the end of my post will calculate out each of the micro nutrients in CSM+B for you based on how much iron you want to add to the tank. Though I suppose you could double check the calculator's values by running the numbers yourself.

CSM+B Guaranteed Analysis:
EDTA - minimum content 55%
Iron - chelated 7.0%
Manganese - chelated 2.0%
Total magnesium - water soluble chelated magnesium 1.5%
Zinc - chelated 0.40%
Copper - chelated 0.1%
Molybdenum 0.06%
Boron 0.04%
From: http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/in...ditU=2&Regit=5
Here are the EI values you should use for 10g tanks. I calculated them out based on EI guidelines with one or two modifications (explained in thread) and formatted them with a bit more explanation than the original EI dosing guidelines

My explanation:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...9&postcount=29
Original EI explanation:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21944
You don't need to calculate out all the concentrations, there are 2 calculators that already do that for you:
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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I have one nagging curiosity. Why is it better to dose smaller amounts over the course of a week than larger amounts once?

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 06:58 PM
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I have one nagging curiosity. Why is it better to dose smaller amounts over the course of a week than larger amounts once?
We get into a daily routine when we do something over and over. This helps us to remember to dose. It also prevents large swings which can impact some inhabitants. Most hobbyist with CO2 injected tanks dose every other day; macros one day micros the next. This can prevent nutrients in the trace mix from binding to macro nutrients, iron and phosphate in particular.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 07:45 PM
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We get into a daily routine when we do something over and over. This helps us to remember to dose. It also prevents large swings which can impact some inhabitants.
There is that, but also if you dose a full week's supply of micros at the beginning of the week in a smaller tank you will reach toxicity levels. In larger tanks this is less of an issue because the quantity of fertilizers in the tank is much larger at the same concentration.

For example, if you add 1 gram of a given fertilizer to a 10 gallon tank you'll have 1 gram / gallon. If you have a 100 gallon tank you'll need to add 10 grams to get the same 1 gram/gallon concentration right?

Now say you have the same amount of plants in both tanks. If the plants need 1 gram of fertilizer per week in both cases, then in the smaller tank they will deplete all of the fertilizer in the water, but in the larger tank they'll only have used 1 gram, so you'd have 9 grams left over in the big tank at the end of the week.

This makes a difference because certain nutrients are toxic in small concentrations (particularly the micro fertilizers). The key here is that the concentration of a nutrient is what is toxic not the quantity in the water. So in a large tank you can add a lower concentration but still have a large, long lasting reservoir of nutrients compared with a smaller tank. If you lump the entire week's fertilizer into the tank at the start of the week your plants are more likely to be exposed to toxic concentrations despite having a very low reservoir of nutrients.

This is why larger tanks are more stable (think of all our salt water cousins).

I believe this is also one of the reasons why plants can grow very well in ponds and rivers even though our test kits read 0 ppm nitrate, phosphate and ammonia. Because perhaps the lake has only 0.01 ppm but that is still 100's of pounds of each fertilizer available to the plants, versus our tanks which have higher concentrations but lower reservoir capacity.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 08:13 PM
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In larger tanks this is less of an issue because the quantity of fertilizers in the tank is much larger at the same concentration.
Agreed, larger tanks are more stable.

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There is that, but also if you dose a full week's supply of micros at the beginning of the week in a smaller tank you will reach toxicity levels.
But this? Sorry, I'm still not seeing it.

If we add a weeks supply of nutrients to 5 gallons or 100 gallons we will still have the same ppm. The toxicity levels are measured in ppm correct?

How will this cause toxicity?

Since there is less reserve wouldn't the ppm of traces theoretically fall faster in a smaller tank? The same logic should apply. I just don't get it.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 09:03 PM
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Good question/point. Here is my line of thinking:

These are the instructions for EI: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21944

Quote:
*Dry Dosing Plantex CSM+B...
Converting 1 tablespoon to 250ml H20,
20 ml = 1/4 teaspoon of dry fertilizer.
There are 12 - 1/4 (1.08 g) teaspoons dissolved
250ml/12=20.83ml.

20~40gal
50% H20 change-weekly
(1.3 g) 1/4 Tsp-KN03 3x a week
(0.35 g) 1/16 Tsp-KH2P04 3x aweek
1/2 Tsp-GH booster once a week
5ml or 1/16Tsp (0.27 g)-Trace 3x a week
Optional
1-2ml-Fe/Iron 3x a week
So according to these instructions you should be adding 3.9 grams KNO3, 1.05 grams PO4, and 0.81 grams CSM+B per week for a 20-40g tank.

Scale these instructions down to a 2-4 gallon tank and you should be adding:
0.39 g KNO3, 0.105 g PO4, 0.081 g CSM+B per week. Which works out to the same ppm concentration. The problem is, if you have the same plant mass in both tanks the smaller tank will run out of nutrients first because it has a smaller reservoir of each nutrient (as explained above). Maintaining constant nutrient concentrations in a small tank becomes much harder. As a nutrient is depleted plants start running into problems. To compensate for this you'd have to try maintain higher concentrations (to increase the reservoir) which is where the toxicity issue comes into play.

Also, most people cannot measure out tiny amounts of micros like CSM+B because they don't have accurate scales and don't know how to do a dilution. This means that there is an additional risk of overdosing micros.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zapins
There is that, but also if you dose a full week's supply of micros at the beginning of the week in a smaller tank you will reach toxicity levels.
I suppose saying you will [definitely] reach toxicity levels in smaller tanks is a bit of an overstatement, but hopefully you see what I mean from this post. More of a cautionary note to be aware of than a guarantee.

It is safer to space out the doses so you don't dump in a huge amount at the beginning of the week possibly cause toxicity issues, or have the plants run out half way through the week and starve for a whole week. Plants can get by with chronically low concentrations of nutrients if they are consistently present in the environment, but do not do as well in a feast or famine situation (dose at beginning starve the rest of the week). Better to keep consistent nutrient levels, which is why I suspect EI recommends 3x a week dosing rather than once a week which would undoubtedly be easier for the hobbyist.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 09:32 PM
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Okay, I think I see where your going with this. If I add the full complement of nutrients the plants will use macros before all the traces are absorbed. When I see my nitrates are 0 I add another compliment of nutrients even though traces may be in abundance. Eventually we have a problem.

For explanations sake lets eliminate the plants. Now we have 0% uptake.

If I add a full weeks supply of Plantex I get this...

Element ppm/degree
B 0.09
Cu 0.01
Fe 0.50
Mg 0.11
Mn 0.14
Mo 0.0038
Zn 0.03
dGH 0.02

It doesn't matter whether it's 1 or 1,000 gallons.

Toxicities are measured in ppm. None of these are close to toxic levels. If we model that on wets calculator using any of those doses we never approach toxicity with regular water changes. That balance of water changes and nutrient additions is vital. We can't add excess without reducing the total regularly or things WILL fall apart. This is why I think a low tech tank with nutrient additions and few water changes are harder than high tech as far as nutrient management. We simply have to "clean house" (water changes) or it becomes to toxic for habitation.
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