finally rethinking my EI for auto dosing. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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finally rethinking my EI for auto dosing.

first a question before my long winded story about dosing. what is your favorite DIY GH booster? i used tom barr's 2K2SO4, 1 CaSO4, 1 MgSO4 (by volume) if that good then i think im good with what i am doing lol.

now the story:

so the biggest problem i think i was having with setting up an auto dose for my 55g was my gh booster. CaSO4 is a very common source of calcium for GH boosters. but as many of you might know is the solubility of CaSO4 is horrible. thus i wouldn't be able to make a big pot of it and auto dose off it. so i went to look for other forms of Ca on the market and settled with Ca(NO3)2. my first attempt at making a big pot of ferts for auto dosing went horrible... i think a few decimal places got dropped and a few 4th dimensions were opened due to divide by zero.... either way it was a mess lol. this first attempt was taking everything by volume. which wasnt smart on my end.

warp forward to now, i got a very nifty gram scale from the fleabay and it was quite accurate for what i was going to need it for. basically i took (10 times) the mass of 4 weeks worth of each fert i need for EI. then i took the average because it did change a bit due to volume ect. and i came out needing the following:

5.38g K2SO4
3.8g MgSO4 +7H2O (epsom salt... gotta factor the heptahydrate)
37.51g KNO3
10.38g KH2PO4
2.24g CaSO4 + 1/2H2O (plaster of paris)

remember this is for 4WEEKS of ferts (if any of you are playing at home).

then i broke it down into the basic nutrients supplied with this. i figured i need:

19.93g K
7.25g PO4
22.99g NO3
0.62g Ca
.38g Mg
19.2g SO4
i ignored H because i dont think it matters that much and i didnt touch the KH2PO4 any ways....

now i calculated i need 2.52g of Ca(NO3)2 to replace the Ca source completely. this added an extra 1.91g NO3. i took a look at the almost 23g of NO3 and the nearly 2g of extra NO3 and think "eh thats and extra 1/10 the nitrates i dont think it will matter.

when i set this system up i will still be doing a weekly water change, but this fert cocktail is being dosed daily (1/28th of the bottle at a time mind you). when my real time clock module comes in i will be going back to a 3x per week with this stuff.

so now what i need input on:
i ignored the loss of SO4 when i dropped the CaSO4. im assuming the sulfates dont do anything for the plants so it shouldnt matter right?

do you think the extra nitrates will bother anything? im doubtful because of the volume measuring had swings of the KNO3 of about 5/6g between high and low.

doing smaller dosing every day shouldn't matter right?

i know all my math isnt there but does any one see any flaws in what i did?




thanks as always for the input
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 04:22 AM
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1)
Do you really need to dose GH booster (or equal) that often? Does the GH drop in your tank between water changes? If not, then maybe you do not need to worry about adding it to the auto doser, just add it once a week at water change time, and even if it drops by a degree a week that is no problem at all.

2)
Plants do use sulfer, but in very small amounts. I would not bother factoring it in with what you are doing.

3)
Dosing daily is not a problem, except for one thing (and I think that is not a problem)
If you dose iron (often in trace mixes, or dosed separately) and phosphate they tend to become an insoluble precipitate that locks up the iron so the plants cannot use it. I do not see any factor for trace minerals. If you are going to still dose these by hand, then I would do it a few hours before or after the macros. Once you get the full auto dosing set up the micros would be one day, the macros the other day.

4)
I am not going to check your math. If you can figure out a way to check it by some other route, and you get the same answers then I think that is a good way to check.
No fair dividing by zero. You can arrange to get any answer you want if you try that.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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My tap water is nearly 0dgh. So i think the gh booster is if anything under dosed lol.

Eventually i will be setting up the tank to do everything on its own. Every 4 weeks i will just need too refill my fert bottles. I will be dosing the trace with iron with the pump set up. But i will be doing it from its own pump and inlet into the tank. I will be feeding the ferts into the output of my canister filter. Ive heard that as long as the phosphates mix in the tank before the iron is introduced then the iron phosphate wont be an issue. But even so i might do an 3x week dosing once my rtc comes in. Thanks for all the input

edit:
after doing more research on the DIY GH boosters it looks like the more popular is 3:3:1 Ca, K, Mg. i guess i will be redoing some calculations to fit that in a bit lol.

Last edited by genocdex; 06-26-2014 at 05:26 AM. Reason: adding new GH recipe
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 12:41 PM
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Since you're mixing Ca and Mg into the solutions ignore the ratios of the GH boosters. All you're are looking for is adequate Ca and Mg. Plants are going to use 1-2ppm per week maximum. So dosing 4ppm/week will provide more than is needed and not impact other things.

You cannot use CaSO4.1/2H2O in a solution due to the solubility. The maximum solubility is 2.1mg/ml. Instead use Ca(NO3)2.4H2O (Calcium Nitrate Tetrahydrate). The solubility is better and it will also provide NO3.

Below is a recipe for your tank which will provide Ca and Mg in adequate quantities. Don't forget the trace mix .

The container size is 500ml and each dose is 41.6ml (enough for 4 weeks at 3 times a week dosing).

One dose will supply the following levels.

NO3 7.5 ppm
N 0.763 ppm
PO4 1.3 ppm
P 0.424 ppm
K 7.5 ppm
Ca 1.333 ppm
Mg 1.333 ppm
dGH 0.261
S 3.523 ppm

Add these to your 500ml container.

(x1) Ca(NO3)2.4H2O 17.868 gm (approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons)
(x1) MgSO4.7H2O 30.751 gm (approximately 6 1/32 teaspoons)
(x1) K2HPO4 5.424 gm (approximately 1 teaspoons)
(x1) KNO3 12.523 gm (approximately 2 1/2 teaspoons)
(x1) K2SO4 21.804 gm (approximately 3 1/2 teaspoons)


The levels above are for a 50 gallon tank using a container size of 500 ml and a dose size of 41.6 ml.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Silly me... I didnt see calcium nitrate was a tetrahydrate.... Thanks for pointing that out to me and giving me some guidelines which i can follow for ferting... If my calculions come out way off from that i will just use yours lol.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 04:09 PM
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Why not use Ca(NO3)2?

It's very soluble.

Then use MgSO4.

You can use KCL for the K+ and the K+from the PO4 also.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Ca(NO3)2 is calcium nitrate. The form it takes when we get calcium nitrate is a tetrahydrate. That means the formula is Ca)NO3)2 +H2O . Just likd epsom salt is MgSO4 + 7H2O.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genocdex View Post
Ca(NO3)2 is calcium nitrate. The form it takes when we get calcium nitrate is a tetrahydrate. That means the formula is Ca)NO3)2 +H2O . Just likd epsom salt is MgSO4 + 7H2O.
I sure plantbrain knows that lol. He devised the EI method. Not to mention he's one of the world's top authorities on the planted tank especially fertilizing IMO. He probably just didn't read my post .
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Oh... Oops lol... Thought he was miss understanding

Zorfox, just wondering how you came across those numbers? is this something you have done before or is there another thread i can look into for more insight? i think im going to use your doing but increase the volume to 1L and dose 33mL daily for now... untill my RTC comes in and i start using that.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-27-2014 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genocdex View Post
Oh... Oops lol... Thought he was miss understanding
Nothing wrong with explaining anything. He's not a highbrowed snob. Despite his expertise he's just a hobbyist like us and enjoys talking about the hobby.

Quote:
Originally Posted by genocdex View Post
Zorfox, just wondering how you came across those numbers?
I used a Windows based calculator I've been developing. I added a running total of the elements to make it easy to see how much of what is needed. My intention was to make a "wizard" so people don't have to think lol. However, business has been a little too good lately so I haven't had much time to work on it. If you want a preliminary beta copy you can download it here.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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i think im having issues with solubility still... theres a good amount of undissolved ferts at the bottom of the bottle at 1L of water... im not sure if its an issue of temp or just because i didnt use di water...
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:11 AM
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What fertilizers and how much? Heating the water can help.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Exactly the amounts you posted of the same ferts
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:23 AM
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I just double checked. The amounts are all well within solubility range. Heating the water should help. Just "nuke" it and see if it dissolves. I can't imagine tap vs distilled would make that much of a difference.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Im heating it on the stove as we speak.... But still milky particles.... Maybe the dechlorinator i used is interfering?

Edit: going to try distilled water... That should do it.... If not then im doing something horibly wrong lol

Last edited by genocdex; 06-28-2014 at 01:07 AM. Reason: doing di water
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