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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Dosing By Eye

In my experience the more I dose{EI}, the worse my tanks look. Lots of algae. It also makes for a lot of work{weekly water changes}
I have decided to dose by watching the plants for what they need. Is anyone doing this? Do you know of any articles that tell what to watch for? I think I know, but a guide would be useful.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 11:59 AM
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well with my experience with EI i did weekly water changes and such but when i wanted my plants greener i dosed more iron without a problem. im not too sure about articles but maybe tom barr's forum might have some more insight on this. http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquati...frequency.html both these articles are great http://www.ukaps.org/EI.htm

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 02:26 PM
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IME algae means not enough CO2. Be prepared to crank it up, and you may need a different diffusor to make sure it all gets dissolved. Google "PPS Pro" and "PPS Classic". However, be prepared to do some testing and adjusting, even with PPS Pro.


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 02:37 PM
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You could do it by eye, but I think your algae comes from other sources. I can dose 2x the recommended EI guidelines, and get no algae. You can also probably just dose 1/2 EI, and get by fine that way too, and possibly do a water change every 2 weeks.

If the water changes are what's getting you motivated to change up your fert routine, have you thought about trying to automate some of the water change process?


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfaller1 View Post
In my experience the more I dose{EI}, the worse my tanks look. Lots of algae. It also makes for a lot of work{weekly water changes}
I have decided to dose by watching the plants for what they need. Is anyone doing this? Do you know of any articles that tell what to watch for? I think I know, but a guide would be useful.
You can dose the tank observing the plant growth. Does not matter what method you follow. We can use ADA, Seachem , EI, PPS etc at the end of the day the goal is providing nutrients. To dose by observing plants you will need to know the plants you have in your tank very well. You will have to know the requirements to make them look their best and dose accordingly.

Bhushan

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by HoustonFishFanatic View Post
You can dose the tank observing the plant growth. Does not matter what method you follow. We can use ADA, Seachem , EI, PPS etc at the end of the day the goal is providing nutrients. To dose by observing plants you will need to know the plants you have in your tank very well. You will have to know the requirements to make them look their best and dose accordingly.

Bhushan
+1,

EI and the list of levels and parameters before that, even PMDD....was all done more or less by eye, every method is to some degree.

It's not meant to be a brute rigid thing.

Nutrients matter much less, light matters perhaps most, followed by CO2, this is why folks have issues with dosing, it's not the dosing routine, rather, the light/CO2.

You find nice algae in ADA tanks, you also find similar examples with EI, or any other method you can chose.

It's not the methods that fail, they all add ferts, perhaps at different rates, or locations(water column and/or sediments etc) and as we add ferts, those are not the cause of algae nor are they remotely limiting to algae. Some seem to suggest or outright make the statements to that effect.

Secondary effects, eg: limiting PO4 strongly can influence CO2 demand, thus limiting PO4 at lower ranges of light can work to reduce CO2 demand(because PO4 is more strongly limiting, plants do not need as much CO2, thus CO2 is indirectly stabilized, but if you stabilized it with non limiting PO4, then there's no issue to begin with.........), many see that and think it's evidence that PO4 limitation limits algae.

It doesn't. They did not test the other side, the part where CO2 is non limiting and PO4 is also non limiting. That was very sloppy and not careful. That led to poor conclusions and assumptions. Some seem to still want to focus on nutrients and suggest that limiting PO4 makes things easier(but then you have GSA more) with CO2, but this is backwards thinking/logic.

If you want to reduce CO2 demand, start with light, that will reduce CO2 demand and make CO2 much more manageable. Problem is, many have HLD

Still, if you think less is better, then it would behove you to focus where all growth starts; light and reduce that, which reduces CO2 demand , which = more stable CO2 and less algae, and which = less nutrient demand, meaning you can use leaner dosing(or not, it will not matter, something I've demonstrated and said for well over 10 years now, often the only one........saying it).

Not the backwards way.
Light is more stable and requires (virtually) no testing, PO4 and nutrients? Yes, they can/do. They are not nearly as stable.

So light makes the most sense to use given the trade offs to manage growth, algae and stabilize CO2.

Focus there and with CO2. This seems to be a revelation for many.
However, many folks just keep hamming away with high light and not getting the balance right with CO2.

I start with good light, then non limiting CO2. To provide good CO2 by eye: good pearling the last 1/2 of the day, Riccia pearls really well and is a good indicator plant(plant test kit/Phytometer), so if it pearls well when I walk by, I know I have decent CO2.

Now.........I can start to tweak nutrients.
I start with an assumed non limiting amount, EI was based on this.
Then slowly and progressively reduce this until I see a negative response in plants. Then bump back up to the prior dosing richer routine.

This adds the min amount for non limiting nutrients, CO2 and limits growth by the light. Want more growth? Add more light, which means adding more CO2, and more nutrients.

If you have algae with EI, it's already ruled out nutrients for you, so look at CO2/light.

Algae infested tanks often needs some extra added effort to correct the functioning in the aquarium. So you might need to do more water changes, cleaning, add Excel, do a 2-3 day black out etc, tweak and look real close at CO2( hardest thing for most). Once things are growing well again, then algae sort of goes away on it's own.

Algae grows when the plants are not or there's a lull in growth, not because they are "limited" by nutrients.

You can do 1/2 EI, or 1/4 or 2x etc, it's not written in stone, never was

But it's not the source of your issues, light and CO2 etc are, perhaps cleaning filters, current, stocking, other general aquarium issues not addressed, consistency, or pruning etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Dang it Tom..I will have to read this about 24 times before I even remotely get what you just said. Do you talk this way too?
I know I am doing something wrong, but it's going on 2 years now and it seems by now I should be good at this...

Thank you all.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfaller1 View Post
I know I am doing something wrong, but it's going on 2 years now and it seems by now I should be good at this...

Thank you all.
Yes, I know the feeling.
Try less light, better monitoring of CO2, use Riccia as an indicator plant for good CO2. If it pearls the latter 1/2 of the day, then the CO2 ought to be good.
If not, then you might wanna focus more on adding it.

It's easy to spot when you walk by if it's pearling or not.
Some folks, for whatever reason, start off just fine, others......spoend a long time and have issues.

Point is, it's not just nutrients, CO2 plays the massive role as does light.
If nutrients are addressed, then focus elsewhere.

You know others add them and have no issues, so they cannot be the cause of woe.

So it has to be one of these other options.

Regards,
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 06:53 PM
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Tom,

You must keep that post in a file as you use it often in pointing out that its a guideline and not absolute science.

John



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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjp2 View Post
Tom,

You must keep that post in a file as you use it often in pointing out that its a guideline and not absolute science.
He keeps it in the folder labeled "Broken Record"

Tom is at least consistent, if nothing else!


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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 11:09 PM
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Tom,

You must keep that post in a file as you use it often in pointing out that its a guideline and not absolute science.
It's not some absolute one topic issue with nutrients.
You cannot finger every issue on nutrients.

Observations tell you otherwise, simple test etc.
Either that, or perhaps everyone else is lying and the person questioning thing sis the only person or a small group of me too's, while the rest of us are in some conspiratorial cabal.

That does not jive either.

If you compare other folk's tanks to yours, what may have worked for one person, will not always work for you. Maybe they messed up CO2, maybe they have more, less light than you, different plants, different starting point , filter, flow, current, % water change, poor test results.........

You do not know who to believe but if you keep failing, you try something else naturally..........

I hope so anyway.

Thing is, there are things you can rule out and know that it's causing the issue.

This will get you much farther ahead.

Not everyone is a good observationalist, not everyone is a good scaper right away either, a few are............so many will not hit a decent abalnce with light, cO2 and ferts.

But you cannot discuss ferts without addressing light and CO2.
I make clear mention of this in the articles I have written dating back to 1996.

Folks only read assume EI means weekly 50% water changes.
They do not read much else.

Selective reading.
I think watching the plants is the best thing personally.
But you can rule out nutrients pretty easily, add non limiting amounts.

Then it's an issue of light and CO2.
Moderate to low light= > CO2 ought to be fairly easy to target and the only real thing to watch for.

Add Excel if you have algae while you dial in the CO2 good.
This should not be that mysterious.

I nag about nutrients. but CO2 and light equally.
Some suggest all I talk about is water changes, but I suggest non CO2 more than just about anyone that also uses CO2.........And variations in between.
It's rare, if ever you see me tell folks to add MORE light.

I ARRIVED at dosing via eyes, then went back and tested and measured.
Once I had mad pearling and healthy growth of a wide range of wimpy plants, then I knew I good reference to compare.

So then it's worth while to test and see what those good conditions are, rather than going in with an assumption from the start. If the dosing works at high light, then it will certainly work at low light as well as high and medium light. You might need to add more at lower light, but doing so should not harm or induce any algae, poor plant growth either.

Water changes just reset the tank, it does not mean you must do them either. Many fish only folks go longer time frames, as well as myself.

But if I wanna stay on top of things, or if there's an issue:
2-3x water changes a week, blackout maybe, Excel, pruning, cleaning, filter cleaning, dosing, then focus on CO2 and tweaking that, looking for any CO2 loss/changes etc, careful watching of fish etc. Reduce light if it's not down in the 2w/gal or less range.

There's no secret, this is the same old thing and has been for years.
Folks that hit things right, understand and get, some of us have more troubles for many reasons.

But it's not the methods of dosing that fail, it's us.
I've doubted many things, but then came back and realized that was not it later.

Then I move on to the next most likely culprit.

I think in person this is pretty much common sense, and you can look and see in person and quickly tell, on line, it's much harder to pinpoint things and help out.

Maybe I sound like a broken record, but these same issues have come up a dozen times or more in a dozen years on dozen boards.

So you get many of the same old issues for many, and you also get many of the same success % as well.


Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfaller1 View Post
In my experience the more I dose{EI}, the worse my tanks look. Lots of algae. It also makes for a lot of work{weekly water changes}
I have decided to dose by watching the plants for what they need. Is anyone doing this? Do you know of any articles that tell what to watch for? I think I know, but a guide would be useful.
I too, like waterfaller1 started EI dosing and had tremendous growth but that also included algae. I stopped dosing and most of the algae is gone. I still have some BBA but we're dealing with that slowly.

Most of the answers I have seen addressing algae problems are inconsistent or too little Co2. I have a pressurized sys on timers with drop checkers at least to the yellowish green stage. Should this not be a sign of sufficient Co2??

Do plants have to be at the pearling stage to indicate sufficient Co2??

Does that mean that drop checkers are not good indicators of Co2 even when using 4dKH solution??

I decided to 1/2 the recommended EI dosing regime even before reading this thread. So this only confirms the fact that more is not always better.

Would it not be prudent to have newbie EI dosers start with 1/2 of the recommended dosage and then titrate from there?

Guess I should search SnS for some Riccia!


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 02:16 AM
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I dose by eye as well. I used the info in EI to learn how to start and other info to learn how to read the plants so that I add whats needed. From EI, I don't worry about exact amounts, I dose an amount that feels right.

Tom, I just just teasing about having the post on file. Seems you have to stress that EI is a guide and can be adjusted to fit the individual needs.

John



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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 12:17 PM
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I'm on the CO2/flow bandwagon. I dose EI and I find that the times my tank has not done as well ( algae issues, poor growth, stunting ) has been when CO2 has been inconsistent or low, I've slacked on keeping the tank and filters cleaned up and/or I've allowed the tank to become overgrown. To me, it always comes back to CO2. Stunted plants, no growth and lack of pearling are all obvious signs that there is insufficient CO2 when you're providing enough macros and micros which EI provides.

A lot of people blame it on light. I have 2x54 T5 HO on a 75. Two hours into the photoperiod I start to get pearling from all of my plants which include L. cuba, P. stellata, P. erectum, blyxa, etc. After four or five hours pearling is pretty vigorous. If it's not, I have a CO2 issue. Flow in the tank has dropped off because filters need to be cleaned, surface agitation is up a bit because I didn't top off the tank yesterday or plant mass has increased decreasing flow so I need to thin out some plants.

If this goes on for a longer period then I notice new growth on L cuba and P stellata is twisted and bent. They don't seem to be as erect as they used to be and the colors aren't as vibrant. Algae starts to show up. If I had taken my cue from the lack of pearling that I noticed a few days ago I'd not have stunted plants and developing algae now.

IMO, Tom and anyone else who tells you that CO2 is the main focus in a planted tank is spot on. Adding ferts is easy as is lighting. It's maintaining adequate and consistent CO2 that can be difficult and makes or breaks your success in a planted tank.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 04:21 PM
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Well, seriously, put your think caps on here.

Adding more should not do any harm or induce algae in anyway.
If so, then how can we possibly explain why so many folks can dose non limiting levels for plants (algae have extremely low non limiting levels, they have virtually no biomass relative to plants.........and are never CO2 limited) and no algae? Logic alone tells us it cannot be both reasons for the cause of algae. And yet, still........after all these years.........many folks still cannot wrap their heads around the results and observations, ignoring what others and in many cases, they themselves have seen at some point.
Are the rest of us in some conspiracy and are all lying?
Not likely.

You cannot argue this point, those tanks with non limiting levels are the results. They do not have algae and dramatic plant growth. So...........what causes algae then? We have to look elsewhere. Since nutrients are non limiting, we can better focus on CO2, flow, lighting, filtration, etc.
Maybe you cannot adjust CO2 correctly, maybe you have too much light, maybe poor flow. There's many ways to mess things up. That's not a dosing issue however. Dosing can have some indirect effects, and that's the evidence that nutrient limiting is valid to some folks. But when tested directly, most do not have such results. So we can falsify these effects by making nutrients independent and then tweaking CO2 or perhaps light and see direct effects. If you start low and dosing higher progressively, it takes a longer time frame for the plants to adjust and you do not know quite how far to go to hit that just enough point for non limiting growth. They are already stressed and weakened from being limited.

Adding to that, as you increase nutrients, the plants will respond and use more CO2, so that too must be adjusted and scaled up appropriately(often it's not). If you have good high CO2 for non limiting nutrients and for limiting(they will always require less CO2 ppm's) nutrients, then it can work.
But it takes time for the plants to gear up and start growing at their best due to low nutrients. If you start at the higher non limiting level, then reduce from there slow and progressively, making changes on average 2-3 weeks, then you can reduce the usage. Still, if you buy into this whole "less is better" idea/theory, then it should start with less and minimal light. That cost us more $ and waste more resources, adds more CO2 into the air etc than anything else. the tiny amount of nutrients lost is pale by comparison to the lawn fertilizers and landscaping water use in Urban settings. I know of no farmer that adds limiting levels of fertilizers to crops. Cost of ferts is not a concern, relative to everything else, they are ridiculously cheap. Same for water.

Non CO2 planted tanks can go all over the place with nutrients and stay there for months, perhaps years. But here again, the CO2 while low, is very stable.............And if the entire idea of dosing is not good for you, try sediment locations, ADA AS, MS etc etc..then you dose lean to the water column and not worry.
At least for 1-2 years........

Still, this is more for convenience, reduce errors and forgetfulness to dose routinely, not reduction of algae, or some excess idea. Sediments ferts are in "excess" in both cases in the root zone. They may not be in the water column due to leaching out etc. You have a few options here.
But if you dislike frequent pruning, want better CO2 stability, then less light is perhaps the "best method". This also without any doubt, reduces the rates of algae growth for every species if not "curing it" on it's own(but this is also indirect as reduced light reduces CO2 and nutrient demand in plants).
Plenty of folks have high light and no algae, so that alone is not it either.

This leaves CO2 wide open.
A nutrient(C) that's 40-50% of the plant's total dry weight, that can change 10 fold in less than 1 hour, that moves around during the day, that can kill fish/shrimp, that can induce algae better/more consistently than any other in planted systems. It's the hardest thing to measure well and monitor and track. I've never met or heard of any one killing fish with KNO3 dosing in this hobby, CO2? Every week.........

Those are the observations. So where would you put your marbles?
Well, if eyeballing is all you got and wanna do: Riccia stone or on a branch somewhere is a good way. Maybe a good indicator plant like Erio setaceum, or Tonia, HC, good growth of moss is also good etc, maybe pearling of certain plants. You need to know what good healthy growth looks like and then keep it there for the plants you keep. Use good routine dosing, sediment ferts(N and P) might help prevent errors and offer a back up, moderate to lower light. High light if you are skilled and things look good. Then adjust CO2 slowly and methodically, just like nutrients.CO2 is less forgiving than any nutrient. This is why it's one of those things that causes grief a plenty.

Regards,
Tom Barr




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