Confused about EI dosing..help needed ! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Confused about EI dosing..help needed !

I have managed to totally confuse myself regarding how to use nutrient calculators.
My tank is a 50 gallon medium-high light with CO2 injection. It has moderate to high density of plants.

From what I understand, the calculators don't take into account that a tank has a "natural" production level of nitrates and phosphates as a result of the nitrogen cycle. How do I account for this when calculating my dosing ? The dry potassium ferts I have contain either nitrate (KNO3) or phosphate (KH2PO4). So dosing potassium automatically means I also have to dose nitrate and phosphate ? Am I being totally stupid here ? *G*

Also, I have a trace solution with the following analysis :
Fe 38 g/l
Mn 9.6 g/l
Cu 0.48 g/l
Zn 2.40 g/l
B 3.50 g/l
Mo 0.70 g/l

So, very high iron here. How can I mix up a dosing solution from this ?

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 01:46 PM
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I would adopt EI dosing for 40 to 60 gal tank for this is what scores of other folk's do regardless of what may be available (well unless grossly over stocked,over fed)
1/2 tsp KNO3 3X a week
1/8 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
Flourish comprehensive for trace 3 X a week.
50 % water change weekly.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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roadmaster : I ran this through the accumulation charter at rota.la. Of course, with 90% uptake there is little problem. But with 50% uptake, nitrate levels will reach close on 30ppm. And that is not taking into account what the tank naturally produces. Let us say that 50% water change weekly with no dosing whatsoever keeps a steady level 10ppm. You're saying I should disregard that ?
And, what kind of uptake of nitrates and phosphates is to be expected ?

And, as mentioned, my trace solution is not Seachem, and can't be found in any of the clculators.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghia View Post
roadmaster : I ran this through the accumulation charter at rota.la. Of course, with 90% uptake there is little problem. But with 50% uptake, nitrate levels will reach close on 30ppm. And that is not taking into account what the tank naturally produces. Let us say that 50% water change weekly with no dosing whatsoever keeps a steady level 10ppm. You're saying I should disregard that ?
And, what kind of uptake of nitrates and phosphates is to be expected ?

And, as mentioned, my trace solution is not Seachem, and can't be found in any of the clculators.

Would put test kit away and dose as suggested for 40 to 60 gal tank.
Would use whatever trace solution you have three times a week.
Is the whole point of EI to ensure plant's have unlimited fertz to draw from.
Can always decrease/increase as needed but EI is sure way to see that plant's have all they could use.50% water change weekly prevent's excess accumulation.
Is critical with CO2 injection and any lighting much above low light application that enough nutrient's are there.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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I do understand about unlimited access of nutrients for the plants. But I also know that constant nitrate levels in excess of 20ppm is not so healthy for the fish.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghia View Post
I do understand about unlimited access of nutrients for the plants. But I also know that constant nitrate levels in excess of 20ppm is not so healthy for the fish.

NitrAtes from inorganic mineral salt KNO3 are harmless.
It is the process that break down of organic's from fish food ,fish poop,to ammonia ,then nitrites,and finally nitrates that is stressful for fish.
Inorganic mineral salt's like KNO3 don't go through the process.
Don't over stock,over feed,and you will have no worries with EI dosing.
If it mean's anything,,I last tested my low tech tank maybe a year ago with modified version of EI once a week and nitrate level's were 80 ppm or maybe higher. (red colored solution).
Plant's ,fishes,shrimp, are thriving.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 04:28 PM
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Like the man said, loose the test kit and dose with weekly 50% water changes. It works.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
NitrAtes from inorganic mineral salt KNO3 are harmless.
It is the process that break down of organic's from fish food ,fish poop,to ammonia ,then nitrites,and finally nitrates that is stressful for fish.
Inorganic mineral salt's like KNO3 don't go through the process.
Don't over stock,over feed,and you will have no worries with EI dosing.
If it mean's anything,,I last tested my low tech tank maybe a year ago with modified version of EI once a week and nitrate level's were 80 ppm or maybe higher. (red colored solution).
Plant's ,fishes,shrimp, are thriving.
Is there an explaination as to why a nitrate that is the result of the nitrogen cycle is different from a nitrate that comes from inorganic salts ? I thought a nitrate-ion (NO3-) is the same whatever its origins. And it is the NO3- we measure (if we measure).
Experiments have been done to provide nitrate toxicity data for freshwater fish, something like 40 papers exist. One (by Rubin & Elmaraghy 1977) found that at 191ppm nitrate level (from KNO3), 50% of guppy fry died within 96 hours. I know we're not talking about fry here, but we ARE talking about long time exposure. Toxicity in fish follow much the same pattern as in humans...it is converted to nitrite which changes hemoglobin to methemoglobin (which has reduced oxygen carrying capacity).

Not saying this to bicker, I just want to keep my fish safe AND have thriving plants :-)

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 09:07 PM
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Nobody is suggesting that we run nitrate level's anywhere near the hundred's of part's per million your research suggests.
Nor does EI method.
I too have read paper's on the topic and under EI method of dosing,the target level's fall far below any harmful %.
Could not happen with 50% water change each week.
Difference between inorganic KNO3 is there is no biological oxidation of ammonia first .

Last edited by roadmaster; 05-23-2014 at 09:36 PM. Reason: addition
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2014, 08:07 AM
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Here is how I handled my low tech, high stocking level tanks:

Dose EI at the lower level for a week.
Monitor the NO3.

Know that fish food supplies N, P, most traces but not K, Ca or Fe in amounts that the plants would like.

If the NO3 test at the end of the week is too high, then I know it came from fish food, so P and most traces are probably also too high.
So cut the KNO3 in half.

But the KNO3 supplies the potassium that fish food is low in.
So dose K2SO4 to make up for the reduced amount of KNO3. While the amount is not exactly equal, it is close enough that however much KNO3 you don't use you should use that much K2SO4. (ie: If the EI chart calls for 1/2 tsp KNO3, but you really only want to use 1/4 tsp, then add 1/4 tsp K2SO4)

Do not worry about the reduced amount of KH2PO4 affecting the level of potassium. The 'full' dose is so low it is almost no potassium anyway. And half of nothing is still nothing.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2014, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Diana : Thank you :-) Yes, I will definitely experiment and dial in the dosing before any fish are added. I'm in no hurry and will give the tank time to stabilize somewhat without fish. Then I can observe growth and adjust dosing to plant uptake. When fish come into the picture, it should be easy to reduce levels of nitrates and phosphates accordingly.

The tank won't be heavily stocked with fish, but I do use live and frozen foods almost daily. As you mention, will need to monitor K.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2014, 09:17 PM
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Check your tap water's NO3, nitrate levels, sometimes they are quite high in the tap water there. Around the London, UK region, it's 20-30ppm ranges(as NO3).
So many skip the KNO3 for K2SO4 instead. The water change adds the needed dose of NO3.

Once you have a decent idea on the tap water, then dosing is pretty easy real fast. Boring even after a month or so.




Regards,
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-25-2014, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Check your tap water's NO3, nitrate levels, sometimes they are quite high in the tap water there. Around the London, UK region, it's 20-30ppm ranges(as NO3).
So many skip the KNO3 for K2SO4 instead. The water change adds the needed dose of NO3.

Once you have a decent idea on the tap water, then dosing is pretty easy real fast. Boring even after a month or so.
My tap water is 0.1 NO3. I'm in Norway, where the tap water generally is extremely clean of almost everything. It has a GH and KH of next to nothing (1-2) and pH is regulated up to around 8 to keep an aging delivery system from corroding.

As mentioned, I feed my fish well so may not need all the extra nitrate from KNO3. To get the K, I need to find a source for K2SO4. I'm not too keen on KCl ! But I see Seachem has a liquid 5.8% solution, probably not very economical though. Otherwise I can only find it in 100lbs bags for agricultural use...a little over the top..

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Kicked the chemistry part of my brain into gear and worked with the rota.la calculator (it is just excellent !) To get started, I've decided to do it like this :
I've calculated 3 different macro fert levels for my tank, low, medium and high, taking into account a theoretical "self-production" of the tank. In the beginning, I'll make up weekly doses in 100 ml bottles, with the weekly supply. This way, all I have to per week is use up the bottle in three dosings. And it won't matter so much if I get too much or too little, and less dry ferts will be wasted if I get it wrong.

Observing the plants for 2-3 of weeks, I can then assess growth and adjust to the next level if/when needed. Weighing out stuff doesn't bother me at all, I'm used to it as I make pretty much all my own skincare products. It is quickly done while I'm busy anyway during waterchanges. Later, when I know more about how my own tank and plants (and fish !) react, I'll make more longterm fert solutions.

I'm still not sure about traces. The closest I can find to compare mine with is the Miller's Microplex, except mine hasn't got all that copper. And 38g/l of iron isn't all that much after all...just 3.8%. But then again percents are difficult to work with when you don't know how it is calculated (w/w or w/v). Think I'll target the right ammount of Mn, and then supply with iron from another source till my current supply is out. Then I'll look into buying some Plantex CSM+B.

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 03:25 PM
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I would dose 2.5 ml of the trace mix you have 3 times a week. The levels in that trace mix are very close to Plantex CSM + B. Below is a comparison (Plantex levels are in parenthesis).

B 0.0461 (0.0613)
Cu 0.0063 (0.0069)
Fe 0.5 (0.5)
Mn 0.1263 (0.1432)
Mo 0.0092 (0.0038)
Zn 0.0316 (0.0283)

That is what 2.5 ml will do to 50 gallons.

If you want to understand the math better here is a good article. Just remove a few things from the equation. Below is the formula and solution for your tank size.

Desired concentration in ppm / % of element in fertilizer x 10 = ml/L

Targeting for iron in this example. To convert g/l to percentage just move the decimal left one position.

0.5 / 3.8 * 10 = 0.01315789473684210526315789473684

Convert ml/L to ml/50 gallons...

0.01315789473684210526315789473684 * 189.270589 = 2.4904024868421052631578947368421

So basically 2.5ml
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