I also agree. I just switched to pressurized and man the difference in plant growth is outstanding. FWIW, I use PPS-Pro. I really like the results as far as plant growth. There is a consistent, steady growth. I notice when I buy a new plant locally, the growth greatly improves within a few days. The only issue I have is with GSA. I hear this is a common factor in using the PPS method of fertilizing, since it is lean on phosphates.
So add more PO4 to the solution mix next time and then you have addressed that. You know enough to solve the issue, use the common sense.
EI is not much more than non limiting PMDD + PO4. That's about it, and using more % water changes, no test kits are needed. I claim no different.
PPS is leaner, so if you really wanted to, add less EI and use test kits to avoid water changes. I prefer to do water changes because it makes working on the tank less messy and no water all over the place, wet arms etc.
I wanted to go with EI, but the water changes of 50% is just too hard on my fish (especially the otos) due to the water quality. (I cannot afford RO yet.)
What is wrong with the tap?
I've had ottos over 30+ years with a huge variation in tap water having lived in the midwest, the south, both coast, rock hard and super soft. No issues here with them or most fish. Always done large 50% water changes. Just like the breeders. The only issue was really the KH, but once they are acclimated to harder water, then there's little issue. If you do large water changes, the system stays more stable because it's just like the tap all the time.
I've never had any associated issues with % water changes and fish.
They have always seemed to like more water changes.
Few will disagree.
RO: That waste 90% is rejection water so that's far more environmentally wasteful which is hardly ecologically sound reasoning.
I can do 10X the water changes with the same tap water as you can with RO. That's the part pps does not tell folks. Why not just live with higher KH? You can remove everything else with a simple no waste carbon filter.
Spent carbon can be heated and reused or used as a soil amendment etc.
So say I do 50% weekly water changes and you do 25% monthly using RO on a 40 gallon tank. I have to pay for a RO, store the water etc. I'll say the labor is free for doing all that.
10 gallons of of RO will take about 100 gallon per month, vs the EI 50% water change weekly will use 20 gallon per week x 4 weeks= 80 gallons of tap water vs 100 gallons of tap water(RO).
Who's wasting more water here?
Waste is also an issue, what you do with the water afterward is critical also, it's not waste for me since I irrigate and recharge the ground water with old tank water. Water that I have to use anyway for the landscaping.
Also, I felt changing that much water weekly was not the greatest thing for our environment, since it is a resource many of us take for granted. Off my soap box....
Please, this some perception fed to you, if you honestly wanted this:
In aquariums: go all non CO2 approaches which make it far easier and much manageable to go without water changes for months, years etc, eg here's a tank using the non CO2 methods I've suggested:
No water changes for many months:
I mean if that is really your goal and the trade off you honestly want to avoid water changes and think less is better ......
.....why not go all the way there?
The results are easy to see. Folks have done nice non CO2 aquariums for years, "why add CO2 poison to the water that stressed fish and kills more fish in planted tanks and causes more algae than any other single issue by a huge factor?"
I can use environmental agenda horse manure and promote an agenda as well
Does not mean the logic follows however.
You cannot have it both ways, you have to accept trade offs for your stated goals, so you cannot disparage one method using CO2 and high light while you do it as well and then use very harsh environment test kit reagents, RO etc on the other. Those can be and often are even worst environmentally. Be honest and look at the trade offs fairly.
Heck, be honest and aware about this stuff if it's a soap box issue at least.
We all can improve in this area, but the trade off vs what you get here is not some gain as you suggest, in fact, it might be more harmful ironically.
You should not use higher lights and CO2 either if this is your "feeling".
Ah, but you are willing to forgo that trade off for faster growth and other considerations, what about the noxious chemical by products from test kits, RO waste water? I'm sure you take these to hazmat section and not just toss into the landfills? Nutrients get cycled rapidly and are relatively non toxic at the small ppm's we add, particularly if you spread them on landscaping soils.
I do point out trade offs, which are applied to all methods. You do not get something for nothing. There is always some trade off involved. Folks need to be honest about those trade offs, not fill them with agenda and bad mouthing because the method is not theirs, or they did poorly with the method.
You failed, not the method.
Perhaps you messed up the CO2, perhaps you did 101 things we are not even considering, aquarist kill fish for many reasons not related to water changes, or dosing KNO3. Common sense will quickly tell you this is true. So it is difficult saying what caused what.... unless you confirm things.
Is the savings worth the benefit? Often times not.
As far as a sustainable philosophy method for aquarium keeping, the non CO2 method cannot be beat by EI or PPS. PPS seems to try to imply it's the same, but it's not even remotely close nor as a successful as a non CO2 method at that aspect. Nor is EI. But it makes no such claim either, nor does ADA, which also uses 50% weekly water changes and virtually no test kits.
Any method using enriched CO2 enrichment is industrial agriculture based high yield cropping systems, the same type the reefer growers use.........is not nearly as sustainable, so ADA, EI, PPS all fail on that agenda if you use logic.
You want a more natural approach, then go non CO2, you get 10-20X less growth however. That's the trade off, but it works and requires virtually no effort once established.
But with either method, I believe consistency is the key to success. I didn't see great improvement until I started following the instructions to a T. I don't overdose, and I dose daily as recommended. A bit of a pain, but well worth it in the end.
Okay, answer me this then:
So at what ppm's do you get algae or poor plant growth, bad fish health, bad shrimp health for say NO3, K+, PO4, Fe etc in each and every case when the other parameters are kept independent? How do we know the other parameters are truly independent and not confounding the results?
Are you, or anyone else able to say? How far out there do we have to go before we see detrimental effects? Folks say this all the time, yet others routinely add high levels without ill effects. That falsifies these claims and advice.
The explanation is that the dosing is causing one limiting to be replaced by another. Thus if you limit PO4, it causes indirect effects NOT associated with the root causes. This is testable and repeatable, that's why you need to be careful in what you assume and look for such indirect effects, make sure the test is independent and looking at only one thing at a time, this is basic stuff in plant science text books. See Liebig's law of minimum, various PO4, NO3 (or light as well) limiting CO2 demand papers etc on plants. Less light obviously means less growth also, so less light means less demand for CO2, less demand for nutrients, and also less growth rates. Some trade offs are good, some not what some folks want or think they want. CO2 and light obviously affect dosing and nutrient demand. I do not need to add anything other than fish food for most non CO2 planted tanks if I limit the light and CO2. Clearly the reverse is also true, if I add more light and CO2, I need to add more nutrients to scale things up. Fairly logical. ADA uses lower light(in terms of PAR, not watts/gal), sediment and water column ferts(in case the user forgets to add the water column ferts- sediment sources act as back up) and CO2, which is easier to add at lower light intensities.
This makes for an easy to use system.
EI can handle the higher light intensities better than other methods, but it also knows that the higher nutrients do not cause algae. Still, it and every method works better with low to moderately low light, there's more wiggle room. Adding sediment ferts is also a wise trade off, it helps add ferts synergistically and complements any water column fert routine. Now we have moved beyond agenda, "either or", products, and any one method and can generalize what trade offs are useful to meet a particular goal we/folks we help might have. That's far more useful to the hobbyists(who have many goals) and helps new folks have more success.