EI - is this dosing schedule right? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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EI - is this dosing schedule right?

Hello,

For ~6 months my 28 gal plant tank has been an algae heaven, so I decided to: 1) switch from DIY co2 to tank/injection and 2) start dosing w/ Tom's EI method. After 10 days EI dosing (if I'm doing it right, see question 1) and 20 days co2 injection the algae has gone from an eye-sore to absolutely prolific. My plants have also gone from barely surviving to thriving, but covered in BBA (tons of this), fuzz (huge amounts), green spot algae, and some sort of long thread algae.

Tank specs:
28 gal
4.6 watts/gal pc 6500k, 10hrs/day
med-heavily planted
~18 fish, cardinal tetras and others similar size
6.9-7.0 pH (Lamotte)
170ppm KH (Lamotte)
32.0 ppm CO2, injected, left on 24/7
old Emperor bio-wheel power filter

I'd sure appreciate any help in identifying the source of my algae problems! Here are specific questions, though general advice is also appreciated:

1) Is this dosage right for EI:? All quantities listed below are total for weekly dosing. All products are Seachem. I plan to switch to dry ferts eventually, but this is what I have now and would like to make it work. I do trace and macros on different days, Excel every day.

50% water change 1/week (w/ tap water, hard ~180ppm GH, other parameters unknown)
2.5 mL Flourish
15 mL Trace
7.5 mL Iron
35 mL Potassium
25 mL Phosphorus
10 mL Nitrate (I assume that this should remain low because of high fish load)
20 mL Excel (I've upped this a bit the last few days in the battle against the algae)

2) Could the fish load be the problem?

3) Do I need a filter that disturbs the water surface less than the hang-on-the-back power filter? The tank isn't covered

4) Could there already be too much of any of the things I'm dosing in the tap water, such that I've got way too much after dosing, and feed the algae? i.e. nitrate or phosphate

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and offer advice! I'm at my wit's end!

David
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 07:23 AM
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How are you diffusing the CO2? How are you measuring it? You need to reduce your lighting a bunch until you get the algae under control (ie < 8 hours, probably more like 6 for right now). The HOB is probably reducing the amount of CO2 you have. As far as the ferts, according to the Fertilator, the amounts you are adding for the whole week would put you within, or close to, the desired ranges at that specific time(ie. if you added the weekly amount you dose on one day, you would be within the desired ranges). However, these levels will likely get depleted, as your plants will use them up. Do you dose daily, every other day, once a week? Be more specific here. EI dosing is basically adding enough ferts so that there will definitely be enough for the plants, then doing the water change to prevent any build-up. Do you have test kits to measure the levels in your tank? It seems that more info would be useful at this point. But, definitely reduce your lighting and check your actual CO2 levels to start with

Edit: Sorry, just noticed you dose alternating. What specific doses on each day, though?

Mike


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Mike,

I'm diffusing the co2 with a Aqua Medic reactor 500 & powerhead. It takes about 3 bubbles/second to keep the co2 up to 30-32 ppm. I assume that it would take less bubbles/second except that my HOB filter lets the co2 escape more quickly with surface agitation.

I've determined co2 level with Lamotte pH and KH test kits, I just tested the 32 ppm late in the light cycle yesterday.

I'll reduce the lighting cycle starting today.

Are you saying the amounts I'm adding are not sufficient for a week, rather should be dosed daily or every other day, thereby adding 3x the amounts I listed to the aquarium each week? Currently I dose trace and macros on different days, and do 50% of my macro dose on the same day as the water change.

Thanks for your help,
David
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 02:22 PM
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Get yourself a drop checker to find out what your co2 level is. Drop the lights down as said to 6-8 hours, and get rid of the hob. This is a start, see what heppens after that. Also are you cleaning out all the algea and triming off the effect plants?

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 02:24 PM
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_T View Post
Mike,

I'm diffusing the co2 with a Aqua Medic reactor 500 & powerhead. It takes about 3 bubbles/second to keep the co2 up to 30-32 ppm. I assume that it would take less bubbles/second except that my HOB filter lets the co2 escape more quickly with surface agitation.

I've determined co2 level with Lamotte pH and KH test kits, I just tested the 32 ppm late in the light cycle yesterday.

I'll reduce the lighting cycle starting today.

Are you saying the amounts I'm adding are not sufficient for a week, rather should be dosed daily or every other day, thereby adding 3x the amounts I listed to the aquarium each week? Currently I dose trace and macros on different days, and do 50% of my macro dose on the same day as the water change.

Thanks for your help,
David
David,

It all depends on the rate with which your plants use the ferts. But with the EI method, you just need to make sure there is enough in the water. Have you tried using these calculators or the seachem dosing chart as a guide?
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...fertilator.php
http://www.seachem.com/products/planted.html
http://www.fishfriend.com/fertfriend.html

Mike


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
10 mL Nitrate (I assume that this should remain low because of high fish load)
You know what they say about assuming!??! Have you run testing to see what your N levels really are? With such high light, low levels of N can easily wreck havoc.

I do not believe that 18 - 1-2" fish can produce enough N for 4.6wpg. At least not if you 're heavily planted....as you must need to be w/ that much light!

I had 4 - 4" Lake Tebera Rainbowfish in a 29g, along w/ 6 Threadfins, 5 Bronze Corydoras, several Ottos, and a few platies. The bright light and heavy plant growth were still leaving the N levels at 0! I needed to add N. Oh, and one female GBR & one female Aggie Apisto.


Quote:
Are you saying the amounts I'm adding are not sufficient for a week, rather should be dosed daily or every other day, thereby adding 3x the amounts I listed to the aquarium each week?
If you're dosing just 10ml of Seachem N one time per week you're adding 6.23ppm per week. Target values are between 10-20ppm for good plant growth. E.I., targets upper ranges to assure of no limiting nutients. Following E.I., would be 3x per week; dosing around 22.57ppm into 28g by week's end.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2007, 12:44 AM
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Are you doing good substrate vacuuming? Excess mulm can cause continuous algae problems until eliminated.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2007, 02:17 PM
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I have to ask, why eliminate the HOB filter? If the water level is kept high enough over the flow lip it doesn't disturb water..?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 02:41 PM
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HOBs are notorious for out gassing CO2, but as you said keeping the levels high can help cut that down, but won't eliminate it . Also you can combat it by injecting more CO2 is relatively cheap.

Bio-wheels are even more notorious for out gassing. You can take out the wheel. Plants will use ammonia and Nitrites.

Also how are you measuring your CO2 levels? Charts, and drop checkers with aquarium water can be inaccurate at best, very very inaccurate at worst.

Walter

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2007, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tazcrash69 View Post
Also how are you measuring your CO2 levels? Charts, and drop checkers with aquarium water can be inaccurate at best, very very inaccurate at worst.
If the both the drop checker and ph/kh calculation are innacurate, how can I determine co2 levels?
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-04-2007, 06:10 PM
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-04-2007, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_T View Post
If the both the drop checker and ph/kh calculation are innacurate, how can I determine co2 levels?
Use a drop checker with a KH standard.
The calculations, and chart only work if the only buffers present are carbonate\bicarbonate buffers.
If you use a KH standard, there should be no other buffers, and the drop checker keep that liquid separate from the tank water.

There is a full explanation here: http://www.njagc.net/articles/co2dropchecker.htm


HTH

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-04-2007, 08:39 PM
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David, for the cost on one bottle of the SEaChem products, you can by enough ferts for several months if not years.

Dry ferts..........

Less complicated, cheaper etc.

EI is not going to save you nor will any method from such algae issues.
Plants grow well for other reasons than dosing alone.
So do algae.

I think CO2 is the Achilles heel here as well as starting off with nice algae growth to begin with, and stunted covered plants............

Not exactly a good starting point.

Why do you have 4.6 w/gal on lighting?
That means more CO2 demand and nutrient demand.
and more algae and plant growth to deal with.
Try using 2x 20 w lights, or maybe 2x 24 T5's on the tank(spread wide).
That will resolve about 80% of the issue.

DIY CO2 is possible to do right for such a tank, but many slip up and neglect something.

Same for high light.
Most folks have no business using this much light given their goals/routines.

You need to clean the algae that's there out, then focus heavily on CO2, more eye balling the plant's growth, pearling etc and watching the fish etc, adding good current, use a canister filter, eg a 200gph model and do not break the water's surface but have decent movement across the water's surface.

Drop checkers..........well I'm not a big proponent of these, they take too long(2 hours or more for readings) and color resolution is poor, maybe you can discern color better than me........ They are better than the tap water KH testing in many cases.

for such a tank:

The suggested amounts in the EI article for a 20 gallon tank will cover the nutrients..........you need to do some work first, then clean, then tweak CO2, and/or consider a less intense fixture.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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