Low Tech EI dosing - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Low Tech EI dosing

Me again,

So far MTS has hit me Ive got two nice tanks a 20 gallon and 10 gallon both heavily planted and on their way to growing some plants. Although both of these tanks are dirted and capped with eco complete/flora max, i do does the generic excel (glut-blah-blah) I have purchased a EI dosing package from Green Leaf Aquariums. Now I run liquid co2 so I have a few questions.

1. How would you dose dry ferts for a low tech setup?
2. Which ferts are micro and macro?

Id like a thorough explanation as to how to appropriately dose my dry ferts and how much, now most of you will point me to another thread, thats fine, but i would prefer for someone to take the time to explain this to me, i dont mind reading and learning but id like for someone to dumb it down for me and point me in the right direction so that i can have even better looking plants. Id like someone to "take me under their wing" with this subject.

Thanks guys


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 05:58 AM
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Fish food supplies fair amounts of N, P, and trace minerals.
It is fairly low in K, Ca and Fe.
Tap water might supply many traces, Ca, Mg, and N in the form of ammonia (from chloramine).

A low tech tank (low light, no CO2) might have enough of most fertilizers from fish food and water changes. If not, then I would first dose K and Fe.
You are adding carbon, so the next step is to use the EI method, but monitor all the things you have tests for. I would start with half the basic recipe for a low tech tank.

Macros: N, P, K.
Nitrogen (N):
Sources include fish food, water changes and KNO3.
Test NO3 and keep it between 5-20 ppm.
If the level keeps going too high while you are dosing ferts, then use less.
Phosphorus (P):
Sources include fish food and KH2PO4.
I do not test for P. I go by the Nitrogen. If I do not need to dose N, then I know the fish food is supplying enough N, so I assume it is also supplying enough P. If I need to dose N, then I dose P in the same ratio as the EI recipe.
Potassium (K):
Sources might include some water, but not always. Fish food is pretty low. K2SO4.
I have heard it is pretty hard to overdose K, and when I skip dosing the plants show deficiency. Small holes that start brown, then black, then leaf tissue falls out. For me, this was mostly on Java Fern.

Secondary nutrients: Ca, Mg and a few others.
Generally supplied by fish food, tap water. GH booster, such as Seachem Equilibrium.
If the GH of your water is at least 3 degrees, then assume the Ca and Mg are OK. If you see deficiency signs of one or the other it might be worth testing for each mineral separately. If you are keeping hard water fish (many live bearers, certain Cichlids, certain Rainbowfish, others) then use GH booster to get the water into their preferred GH. Read the label, and do not buy a GH booster that include sodium chloride (salt).

Traces or Micros include about a dozen minerals that the plants need in very small amounts. The only one I will discuss separately is iron.
Sources include fish food, tap water, fertilizers. Fish food is not a good source of iron.
CSM+B is one common trace mineral supplement. Some people add extra iron at the rate of 4 parts CSM+B to 1 part chelated iron.
Chelation is a method of combining the mineral (in this case, iron) in a way that most chemical processes in the aquarium (or garden soil) will leave it alone, but it can be broken down to make the iron available to plants.
__________________________________________________ ______

Here is how I would do it:

1) Read the EI recipe.
2) Figure out how much of each material you might want to add to the tank for 2 weeks.
3) Mix one bottle with macros and a separate bottle with micros. If you need GH booster just use it once, when you do a water change.
4) Dose at half the normal rate for a low tech tank.
5) Monitor the NO3, GH and any other tests you have. If there seems to be a problem then adjust what you are adding.
6) At the end of 2 weeks see if the plants are growing better.
7) Make adjustments to the recipe and do another 2 week run. You ought to fine tune the system pretty fast. Keep the test equipment handy so if you see a problem you will have one more tool to help figure out what is going on.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 03:41 PM
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I'd cut the EI dosage by 2/3rds, so you'd only add about 1/4-1/3rd EI.

Water changes: maybe once a month 40-50%.

Note, you will not need as much in the start, but as the months go by, the soil will lose Nitrogen, so more KNO3 would be added later as the tank ages.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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So basically let me ask this next, what is the smallest dosage you could do to start?

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 01:36 PM
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Don't worry about using the smallest amount possible to start. You've gotten two great replies that answer all your questions you just have to do some experimenting / research for yourself.

This will help a lot http://rota.la


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TECKSPEED View Post
So basically let me ask this next, what is the smallest dosage you could do to start?
Diana gave pretty good advise. Since it's dirted you may not need to add much now. I would test Nitrates, phosphates and GH to get an idea of where you are. The dose is dependent on the frequency of water changes. I would suggest you read this post. It should give you the basics in regards to nutrient management. If you need more help feel free to PM me.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for all of the info, I have read everything you have given me, I guess my biggest question is with calculating the dosage themselves, i will use the link given to me for dosing dry ferts, however, is there a way to take the milligrams (mg) from the calculator and put it into units that i can use with measuring spoons (i.e. 1/8 or 1/16) also I know for one of my tanks 1/16 measurement will pop up as a dosage for a nutrient, but i dont have a 1/16 measuring spoon (this sounds silly i know) is it adequate enough to just fill the 1/8 measuring spoon half way to yield a 1/16 measurement or must these be exact measurements?


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TECKSPEED View Post
Thank you everyone for all of the info, I have read everything you have given me, I guess my biggest question is with calculating the dosage themselves, i will use the link given to me for dosing dry ferts, however, is there a way to take the milligrams (mg) from the calculator and put it into units that i can use with measuring spoons (i.e. 1/8 or 1/16) also I know for one of my tanks 1/16 measurement will pop up as a dosage for a nutrient, but i dont have a 1/16 measuring spoon (this sounds silly i know) is it adequate enough to just fill the 1/8 measuring spoon half way to yield a 1/16 measurement or must these be exact measurements?
You can select "the result of my dose" in the calculator to get teaspoons. I would use a solution. The amounts below are based on weekly doses and monthly 50% water change. These doses assume no nutrients from your substrate which is doubtful. You can adjust the doage as needed based on your tests.

In 500ml of water add the following amounts of nutrients. Dose 5ml per 10 gallons of water.

KNO3 4 teaspoons (5ml raises NO3 3.37ppm)
KH2PO4 teaspoon (5ml raises PO4 0.42ppm)
Plantex 3 teaspoons (5ml raises iron 0.22ppm)
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 06:39 PM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21944

I recommend the regimen from this thread. When I bought my dry ferts from nilocg, this is the link he advised me to use. I have 4 low tech set ups, one dirted, the rest are either floramax or black diamond. I was advised to use the measurements once a week for low tech instead of the recommended 2-3 times per week for high tech. I made adjustments from there. This is working well for me.

Heed the information provided by Diana and Tom (Plantbrain), they are the experts.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 06:52 PM
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I recommend the regimen from this thread.
Generally that's good advise. Using those doses weekly instead of every other day is the same as 1/3 the EI dose which is what Tom suggested.

However, using those doses can cause problems for the OP. First, the OP has a 10 and 20 gallon. Measuring very small doses is prone to error not to mention having teaspoons that small. Second, he has a dirt substrate which typically will provide sufficient nutrients alone for awhile. Diluting in water allows for more accuracy and has the ability to reduce dosing easily. I seriously doubt the OP will need to dose 5ml of any of those solutions. It's impossible to say without some baseline tests. If he chose to do weekly water changes a full dose may be fine. Monthly? Not so much. This extra time broadens the range of each nutrient. Many may become too high using monthly water changes.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Generally that's good advise. Using those doses weekly instead of every other day is the same as 1/3 the EI dose which is what Tom suggested.



However, using those doses can cause problems for the OP. First, the OP has a 10 and 20 gallon. Measuring very small doses is prone to error not to mention having teaspoons that small. Second, he has a dirt substrate which typically will provide sufficient nutrients alone for awhile. Diluting in water allows for more accuracy and has the ability to reduce dosing easily. I seriously doubt the OP will need to dose 5ml of any of those solutions. It's impossible to say without some baseline tests. If he chose to do weekly water changes a full dose may be fine. Monthly? Not so much. This extra time broadens the range of each nutrient. Many may become too high using monthly water changes.

I agree. My tank sizes are 20 high (dirt), 2x29, and a 40b. I change 50% weekly, not monthly. I have measuring spoons down to 1/16 tsp. The operative word is "estimative" and since I change weekly, it works well for me
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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right now im changing about 25-30 percent weekly, my 10 gallon is newly setup about 3 weeks ago or so, on the other hand my 20 has been setup for about a year and im getting some brown algea and think it may be a deficiency that the dirt isnt catching (dirt isnt meant to be a catch-all anyway) This is why i ask about dosing i have everything to do it but never applied myself to the topic but i would like to now.

Basically what ive heard around the forum is to cut the dosage from three times/week to just a monday and tuesday lets say and then sunday water change and repeat. My biggest concern was if I had to be spot on with dosing.


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 09:09 PM
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No dosing method needs to be spot on, nor should require that.
Somewhat consistent is fine.

Folks worry and over think ferts.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 09:56 PM
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The solutions I listed are a standard EI daily dose. For low tech 1/4-1/3 of this is fine. You can dose 5ml per 10 gallons once a week or 2ml three times a week which would be a better option. The weekly water changes are good. In fact, for the new setup 2-3 times a week can avoid a lot of problems you may have with a new tank. That said, you still have a fresh dirt substrate. It's impossible to know what nutrient levels you have without testing. Dirt substrates can supply more than enough nutrients depending on what soil you used and even which batch the soil came from.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 10:40 PM
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I just took these numbers and multiplied by 8 so that 1/8=1tsp and 1/32= . I mix that amount into a 32 oz jar so that 4 oz is a full dose . I just dose that or 2 oz twice a week per 10gallons.


10- 20 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 1/8 tsp KN03 (N) 3x a week
+/- 1/32 tsp KH2P04 (P) 3x a week
+/- 1/32 tsp (2ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ing-guide.html
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