EI or PPS-Pro...Help Me Decide - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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EI or PPS-Pro...Help Me Decide

I have been researching both methods and I think I am going to go with EI but I was hoping to get some opinions here before I make my final decision. So first some background. I have a 54g tank that is on its way to becoming heavily planted. Substrate includes Flourite and I have been dosing 1-2x a week with Flourish. No CO2 and at this time I don't intend to start with pressurized CO2 but I am going to start dosing with Excel. My goal here is to really just to have a lush vibrant planted aquarium and maybe speed up growth a little (I'm not looking for explosive growth). Lighting consists of a T5 HO with two 10,000k daylight bulbs and I'm currently running it for 8 hours a day. I'm considering replacing one bulb with something in the 6,000k range and reducing lighting to 6 hours.

Here is a link to my journal if anyone wants to see pics of the tank...

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=521841

So my thought is to do a modified version of EI whereby I would dose at lower levels than what is recommended for my tank size given that I'm not going to be using pressurized CO2. I may also do some testing at first even though EI does not require this just to get a baseline for parameters and then once I see how the plants react I can make adjustments accordingly. As for dosing nitrogen, I have a pretty full fish load so my nitrates are already in the 20ppm range so I'm thinking I may not dose nitrogen unless I see my nitrates drop.

So my questions to anyone reading this are as follows:

1) What do you think of my plan? Any advice would be much appreciated
2) To anyone currently using EI what has been your experience? Pros vs cons?
3) To anyone using PPS-Pro, why should I be using that method instead of EI?

Thanks for the help!
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 01:06 PM
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It sounds like you already have a pretty good grasp on the subject. I would highly recommend the concept of EI over any method that may limit nutrients. PPS Pro is leaner and in some conditions may limit nutrients, primarily PO4. Why limit nutrients? It makes no sense.

Most people new to fertilizing methods view EI as a method that requires large weekly water changes and specific amounts of nutrients every day. To be honest, I think that application is easier than other forms but it's not required. EI is simply a concept that supplies non-limiting nutrients. This makes nutrients independent of light and CO2.

If you have nutrients that are independent from light and CO2 you only have to worry about two things, light and CO2. You will be supplying CO2 via Excel so that's easy. This means all you have to do is adjust lighting to create a system that does not become CO2 limited.

I would start with 1/4 of the EI dose using excel. That should be pretty close. As you have already noticed you may want to test things initially to gauge uptake ratios. I recently wrote a post about this subject that you may find helpful. It's called the EI concept explained because too many people fail to see the advantages and flexibility. It's more of a concept than method.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 01:16 PM
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Fert dosing, lighting and plant selection are all interdependant. If you neglect to factor any in this equation, the result will likely end in some form of algae.

If the intentions are to dose less than Ei, why not start with pps pro and work upwards rather than down.

Let's not forget the obligatory use of co2


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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 01:30 PM
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What is the difference?
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
Fert dosing, lighting and plant selection are all interdependant. If you neglect to factor any in this equation, the result will likely end in some form of algae.

If the intentions are to dose less than Ei, why not start with pps pro and work upwards rather than down.

Let's not forget the obligatory use of co2
True, nutrient uptake is controlled by light and CO2. However, if nutrients are never limited, by supplying excess, they are said to be independent. By providing excess we always have enough so any one nutrient will never be limiting or "dependent" on light or CO2.

I think it makes more sense to start high and work down. Why start off limiting growth? When do you know you have reached the maximal growth rate or plant health? If we start high we will see a difference when we decrease dosing. Now we can be sure that this is the critical point for nutrients. Further dosing decreases simply limits growth. If we work upwards we are making guesses about when we finally have enough.

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Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
What is the difference?
A single dose of PPS pro supplies less than EI. So it's simply a "leaner" method, see below. The ratio of PO4 to other nutrients is also smaller. PPS pro relies on testing more to adjust nutrient levels, EI does not. We perform water changes with EI to maintain target ranges. The key to either method is to be consistent. Both will work. I prefer the easier of the two.


PPS Pro Dose
NO3 1.07ppm
K+ 0.69ppm
PO4 0.11

EI Dose
NO3 3.2ppm
K+ 3.2ppm
PO4 0.6ppm
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 02:38 PM
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+1 to consistency

EI is my preference
because u can tweak to your desire

Regards,
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 04:32 PM
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OIC, I never test anything so I guess I prefer ei but then again I change how much I dose all the time. One of the problems with ei is that it doesn’t take into account what is in the tap water to begin with.

Water changes are very important. I suppose that depends on your water in the first place also.

I think excel is over rated.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 04:34 PM
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One word... Algae


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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 05:12 PM
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I like PPS PRO. My tank is 4 weeks old. Everything has quadrupled in size. No algae.

Easy.

I WC 50% weekly. Look at my tank journal.

My tank journal:

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 05:20 PM
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I think either one would work well for you, if I were you I would go with EI and dose half the suggested amount. But like I said I think either one would work well for you. Both methods are a starting point and you may have to adjust nutrient levels specifically for how your tank reacts to the given nutrient concentration.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
It sounds like you already have a pretty good grasp on the subject. I would highly recommend the concept of EI over any method that may limit nutrients. PPS Pro is leaner and in some conditions may limit nutrients, primarily PO4. Why limit nutrients? It makes no sense.

Most people new to fertilizing methods view EI as a method that requires large weekly water changes and specific amounts of nutrients every day. To be honest, I think that application is easier than other forms but it's not required. EI is simply a concept that supplies non-limiting nutrients. This makes nutrients independent of light and CO2.

If you have nutrients that are independent from light and CO2 you only have to worry about two things, light and CO2. You will be supplying CO2 via Excel so that's easy. This means all you have to do is adjust lighting to create a system that does not become CO2 limited.

I would start with 1/4 of the EI dose using excel. That should be pretty close. As you have already noticed you may want to test things initially to gauge uptake ratios. I recently wrote a post about this subject that you may find helpful. It's called the EI concept explained because too many people fail to see the advantages and flexibility. It's more of a concept than method.
Thx Zorfox. I read and commented on your post the other day. It was very helpful. When you say 1/4 of the dose I assume you mean1/4 of the dose that is recommended for my tank size, right? Also is your recommendation that I dose Excel daily and the recommended levels? What would you recommend for the amount of time I run the lights? On the topic of lighting, do you think it makes sense to replace one of my 10,000k with one in the 6,500 range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
Fert dosing, lighting and plant selection are all interdependant. If you neglect to factor any in this equation, the result will likely end in some form of algae.

If the intentions are to dose less than Ei, why not start with pps pro and work upwards rather than down.

Let's not forget the obligatory use of co2
Thx citydweller. As Zorfox stated I think I would rather start with higher doses and work down since I can be relatively certain nothing is lacking that way. Reducing the dosing is actually a common application of EI for low-tech tanks.

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Originally Posted by Aquaticz View Post
+1 to consistency

EI is my preference
because u can tweak to your desire
Another reason I'm leaning towards EI
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
I think excel is over rated.
Why do you believe that? Are you referring to Excel as a brand or liquid carbon in general?

Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
One word... Algae
Wouldn't you say algae is a threat no matter what dosing method you follow. As you said everything is interdependent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lab_Man View Post
I like PPS PRO. My tank is 4 weeks old. Everything has quadrupled in size. No algae.

Easy.

I WC 50% weekly. Look at my tank journal.
I will check it your journal thx. Why did you decide to do PPS Pro instead of EI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilocg View Post
I think either one would work well for you, if I were you I would go with EI and dose half the suggested amount. But like I said I think either one would work well for you. Both methods are a starting point and you may have to adjust nutrient levels specifically for how your tank reacts to the given nutrient concentration.
Thx nilocg. The fact that both would work well is what makes the decision so hard lol. But I just feel like EI leaves more room for error which is important to me as a newbie.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rak9378 View Post
When you say 1/4 of the dose I assume you mean1/4 of the dose that is recommended for my tank size, right? Also is your recommendation that I dose Excel daily and the recommended levels? What would you recommend for the amount of time I run the lights? On the topic of lighting, do you think it makes sense to replace one of my 10,000k with one in the 6,500 range?
1/4-1/3 the dose for your size tank. I'm surprised no one has mentioned it but that's about the same dose as PPS Pro lol. Except EI has a higher PO4 ratio. Otherwise, basically the same. Call it whatever you like, just maintain non limiting nutrient levels and it's all good.

I would use Excel everyday. It is undetectable after 24 hours so... Yes, follow the directions on the bottle.

I'm certainly no lighting guru but I like 6-8 hour cycle. I run 8 now and it seems about right. I also prefer the 6,500K bulbs. If you haven't checked out the sticky that Hoppy wrote you should, Lighting an Aquarium with PAR instead of Watts
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
I'm surprised no one has mentioned it but that's about the same dose as PPS Pro lol. Except EI has a higher PO4 ratio. Otherwise, basically the same. Call it whatever you like, just maintain non limiting nutrient levels and it's all good.
Because you're making this more of a low tech (kind of) with no CO2, you're going to have to tinker with the fert dosing anyway. Pick one and start testing and watching and comparing. Take a pic though, before you start dosing so you have something to compare to.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 10:27 PM
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I don’t use excel. I just don’t think it is worth the expense. There are plenty of plants you can grow without using it.
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