Question about EI and WC scheduling - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Question about EI and WC scheduling

Still trying to wrap my brain around all of the diffrent ferts, looking at some of the sites that sell them makes things even MORE confusing due to the fact that there are MANY more out there than is listed in the EI

Anywho, my question reguards the routine, the this on this day, that on these days, SKIP this day do water change the next

My delima comes from the skip 1 given day like clockwork, I CAN NOT put in place 1 set day of the week to do WC. I do WCs every week, doing them isn't the problem, with the way my work scheduling is drawn up I NEVER have 1 day off that is the same day every single week. I don't work a 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, more like this week it's 9p-5a M,T,W off T, 12a-8a-F,8p-8a S,S off M,T,W, 9-5 T, off F, 9-5 S, off S.......

With such an erradic work schedual will skipping the 1 day but doing a WC on what ever given day off BUT doseing which ever I happen to be on (bottel 1/bottel 2) as the regimine dictates after I do my WC be OK, say putting it in as my tank fills? I did my WC on Monday of last week, this week it'll be Wednesday maybe Thursday before it gets done but the commerical ferts I've been using (Flourish comprehensive & Excel) have been dosed every day with out fail like feeding my fish, or my cat.

This kind of erratic dosing can it lead to a toxic build up, or do 1, 2, or 3 days one way or another really matter that much?

With that having been said this tank a 40gal breeder is about 3 months old now. moderatly planted heading towards making it heavy. My prameters are Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, PH 6.6-6.8ish. Lighting is a Corallife 95w 6700Kv CFL (blub is a little more than a month old) running 11 hours on a timer, temp 74deg.

The PH was at 7.0 as of last Thursday when I put new fish in but testing it last night before coming to work I found it had dropped to the 6.6-6.8is range. I doubled up on the Flourish products Friday trying to combat the diatoms and theyare mostly gone a little on the glass at the top and a slight tuft on the water sprite, no other algae. I have had two deaths over the last 2 days though, some of my newest fish, a cory an an oto, could this be related to the change I made and subsquent PH drop? The rest of the fish are lively, good gill function, and none of them are at the top of the tank as if in O2 diffency.

Just trying to get a workable grip on things, I want to bring this tank to the next level from what I've done over the years. Any help is always appreicated.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 12:19 PM
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I have the same issue of erradic work schedule. I have a 180 planted that i EI dose. I just do atleast 1 water change a week i don't have set days. I do have a minor case of BBA but it stays in check and i just nuke it with hydrogen peroxide when i feel it gets too much of a hold. Then my sword tails and red tail devour it. I haven't had any issues with this but i also dose my tank with the dosing ammounts of a 125 so i might be running on the light side of ferts too.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 11:38 PM
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How is NO3 at zero? Did you shake the test bottle and the solution exactly like the instructions? If you don't shake vigorously per instructions, you'll get zero.

Anyway, if you add only the amounts that plants use, you can skip regular WCs since the plants will use it up. The WC is really just to prevent adding too much. It's a KISS thing. It really doesn't matter when you do the WC.

Also, are you adding CO2? 95 watts seems like a lot of light for a 40breeder if you don't have CO2.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 12:17 AM
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First off the chemicals you should have on hand are KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and Plantex CSM +B. You can go with any method you want with those chemicals. They are cheap enough to stock up on everything at once since shipping is a large chunk of the purchase. You can also get additional DTPA iron (percentage is not important) although it's not critical. If your GH is low a GH booster.

You can confuse yourself by reading too much when it comes to fertilizing methods. There are more ways to dose than you can shake a stick at. When it's all said and done, all you're trying to do is provide sufficient amounts of each element plants need. Providing them in excess means they never go hungry. I prefer this approach.

The easiest way to accomplish this is the EI method. No need to be exact, test water frequently, calculate plant uptakes or any of the other confusing techniques others dwell on. Here is an explanation of non-limiting nutrients. That is all we need to do. Here is another link that explains the amounts to dose for specific sized tanks.

The typical schedule you see is simply a suggested routine. Dose macro and micros everyday, do it every other day, once a week, Twice a week, alternate and blah blah blah! The truth is just dose enough each week to meet the needs of your plants. The water changes are very important to dosing non-limiting nutrients. You can change the water after 4 days one week and 8 days the next. Being exact is not important. The concept is simply to do the water changes around once a week.

If you're going to be sporadic with water changes dosing something everyday is a good idea since the doses won't be large percentages of the week's supply. You can dose macros and micros on the same day or alternate the two. I've personally never had problems dosing micros and macros together.

In short, don't let the specifics confuse you. Just dose and change the water. A few days either way will not cause your tank to have a meltdown. Mother nature is more resilient than we give her credit for. Fertilizing is not an exact science despite the countless debates over this or that.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 12:29 AM
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Pretty much what Zorfox said. After all it's called an Estimative Index. It is not an exact science. If it was and you had to test this and that to be successful long term continuously it would get old very quickly. I dump my EI mixed ferts (macros) in a 1 gallon water jug and spread them across my tanks. If one tank is 70% of my total gallons in my home I use about 70% of the jug and so on and so on. I just make sure I mixed enough in so nothing is limiting. I change water roughly once a week and that's it.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 01:31 AM
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Zorfox has excellent advice.

Furthermore, if you are going to be sporatic, it might be easiest and least stressful to build and autodoser (plenty of info on here), or buy one, and dose your ferts in home made liquid mixes. You only need 2 mixes; macro and micro. I'd just set it to dose micros and macros every other day, and then just make sure you change the water once a week on average. The day doesn't matter. Don't over think it too much. Having an autodoser really made things easy for me.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
How is NO3 at zero? Did you shake the test bottle and the solution exactly like the instructions? If you don't shake vigorously per instructions, you'll get zero.
I shake the bottels till my hand feels like it's going to fly off. Don't know how it's 0. I do need to calibrate the test though. I'm still trying to get off the ground here to run with you guys at the hobby level, up till now I've been the goof at wallymart who takes his fish home floats the bag 15 minutes and dumps them in the tank, walleymart water and all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
Also, are you adding CO2? 95 watts seems like a lot of light for a 40breeder if you don't have CO2.
I really don't know if it's a low, medium, or high lighting setup for this tank, lighting like the ferts is another thing that makes my head swim when I read about it.

As for CO2 I have been dosing with excel, but do not have an injector and fankly at this poing I don't have the money for one, nor the inclination for DIY. Next on the equipment list is a better filter, the power filter I have is set to be replaced next month with a under cabnet canister filter. After that then I'll look into a CO2 injector setup, until then I'm planning on just staying with the excel.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
First off the chemicals you should have on hand are KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and Plantex CSM +B. You can go with any method you want with those chemicals. They are cheap enough to stock up on everything at once since shipping is a large chunk of the purchase. You can also get additional DTPA iron (percentage is not important) although it's not critical. If your GH is low a GH booster.
I'm trying to get myself to the point where I can get the money to start using better ferts, right now I'm trying to figure out the how, what, and why I need to do for when I do get there in the next month or so. For one thing I jumped into setting this tank up to quickly, I tried to hit the ground running and (supprise) now I'm having issues, nothing major, nothing that can't be fixed, but there it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
You can confuse yourself by reading too much when it comes to fertilizing methods. There are more ways to dose than you can shake a stick at. When it's all said and done, all you're trying to do is provide sufficient amounts of each element plants need. Providing them in excess means they never go hungry. I prefer this approach.
I confuse myself just getting out of bed But I get what your saying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
The easiest way to accomplish this is the EI method. No need to be exact, test water frequently, calculate plant uptakes or any of the other confusing techniques others dwell on. Here is an explanation of non-limiting nutrients. That is all we need to do. Here is another link that explains the amounts to dose for specific sized tanks.
First you tell me I can confuse mysel reading to much then you give me links to things I need to read, now I'm real confused LOL JK/JK

thanks for the links I'm at work now, once the clients go to bed I'll give them a going over

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
The typical schedule you see is simply a suggested routine. Dose macro and micros everyday, do it every other day, once a week, Twice a week, alternate and blah blah blah! The truth is just dose enough each week to meet the needs of your plants. The water changes are very important to dosing non-limiting nutrients. You can change the water after 4 days one week and 8 days the next. Being exact is not important. The concept is simply to do the water changes around once a week.
I was thinking this was the case, BUT I wanted to make sure, I always tell my clients "if you don't know ask" it's a thing they get told regularly around here. I just want to feel comfortable that my erratic WC scedualing isn't going to create a hazerdous enviroment for my fish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
If you're going to be sporadic with water changes dosing something everyday is a good idea since the doses won't be large percentages of the week's supply. You can dose macros and micros on the same day or alternate the two. I've personally never had problems dosing micros and macros together.
Something to keep in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
In short, don't let the specifics confuse you. Just dose and change the water. A few days either way will not cause your tank to have a meltdown. Mother nature is more resilient than we give her credit for. Fertilizing is not an exact science despite the countless debates over this or that.
Thanks for taking the time to help

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherHobby View Post
Zorfox has excellent advice.

Furthermore, if you are going to be sporatic, it might be easiest and least stressful to build and autodoser (plenty of info on here), or buy one, and dose your ferts in home made liquid mixes. You only need 2 mixes; macro and micro. I'd just set it to dose micros and macros every other day, and then just make sure you change the water once a week on average. The day doesn't matter. Don't over think it too much. Having an autodoser really made things easy for me.
Dosing ferts on a schedual isn't my problem it's when I do my maintance and up keep that I was concerned with. I don't mind giving my tank attention every day, like my cat or if I had a dog, giving it attention everyday is just being a good stewart of life IMHO.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 09:00 AM
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Great advice! I am also new and this thread is great, thank you for all the information. I am debating over ei vs pps any advice? I know what ppm is but how do you measure the ferts to target a specific ppm in your tank.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 02:05 PM
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Your better off with ei methodology. Downsides are weekly wcs which need to be around 50% and can cost more in the long run on ferts.

The idea is to learn the needs of your tank and eventually just dose to those requirements.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 01:39 AM
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Any updates? Thanks
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
Your better off with ei methodology. Downsides are weekly wcs which need to be around 50% and can cost more in the long run on ferts.

The idea is to learn the needs of your tank and eventually just dose to those requirements.
Neither of these are requirements, they are arbitrary %'s and time frames used as examples only. I've never said they are required in nearly 20 years.
Cost for dry ferts is an issue? Really? We are talking about pennies per month.

50% is an easy % to do and use, weekly water changes are a good idea for any newbie and for the most part, the same is true for most any advanced highly skilled aquascaper for that matter. But it's still arbitrary.

You could do 2x 50% a week, or 80% once every 10 days, or 30% once every 2 week,s or 50% once a month.

I have tanks where I do all of that. Generally, 50% once a week and the dosing ranges covers most new folks and then they focus on much more important factors: CO2, light intensity, plant biomass/coverage in the tank, gardening and what not.

The only issue in doing less % water changes and frequencies, is assumed risk. How much and how long can you go before there's something wrong or bad that folks can consistently see? Quite awhile.

Is that good advice?
No, even if you dose very little with CO2/Excel.

Planted tanks love water changes. Non carbon enriched tanks do not.........IME............but some have done it without issues also.
The point there is reduced labor and virtually no dosing at all, but there's trade offs..

Bump: For dosing Excel, just cut the EI doses to 1/4th or 1/3rd, maybe do a water change once every 2-4 weeks, 50-60%, fish will be fine. If you do them weekly, then that's fine also.




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Tom Barr
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