Fertilizing w/o using the EI method - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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Fertilizing w/o using the EI method

I'm not able to start using the EI fertilizing method right now as time does not allow me to do weekly water changes. I have an Aqua-Medic Reef Doser with 4 pumps, and I want to set it up to start the planted phase of my 105 tank. I have CO2 injection w/ a needle wheel and 216W of T5HO light. How do I go about seting up my fertilizer program with out using the EI method?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 05:18 AM
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If frequent water changes are a problem, you might want to check out the PPS method. There are several threads over on APC but a good introduction to the method can be found here: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...tic-plant.html

I had thought about trying it myself but it seems to have mixed reviews and I am getting decent results with EI. From what I've read, it seems that it's working well for a lot of people and not having to change the water each week is certainly appealing.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 08:05 AM
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I am probably going to get flamed for this but I test the water and add whatever it needs. I have only been doing this for a few months but I am having good results, but, and it is a big but, I am running low tech with no co2.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 02:02 PM
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I run PPS-Classic and it works great, there are a few different dosing schemes out there and they all seem to work well EI is just the most spastic (as in overdose like hell and remove the excess with large water changes) that has amazing results were PPS doesn't overdose so it takes a bit longer to get the same results.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoparMuscl View Post
I'm not able to start using the EI fertilizing method right now as time does not allow me to do weekly water changes. I have an Aqua-Medic Reef Doser with 4 pumps, and I want to set it up to start the planted phase of my 105 tank. I have CO2 injection w/ a needle wheel and 216W of T5HO light. How do I go about seting up my fertilizer program with out using the EI method?
Well, then you can also try adding ferts to the sediment, then you do not have to dose much , if at all.

Since you seem concerned about time, try using low light and CO2(or not). Non CO2 and sediment ferts would mean no water changes for years even..........no need for dosing pumps etc.

You can also chose better plant choices for the scape(low light + CO2 or non CO2), or use Excel and forgo CO2 or partial.

EI, ADA, you name the dosing, all can use the test kits and simply balance what you add vs what the test kit reads.

That use of test kits is not exclusive to ANY one method.
I'm not sure why some seem to assume so.

There's no rule that says you cannot use it for EI either BTW........or use a little of the testing + water changes to find what amount of each works for you.

However, what concerns me here is the issue that you seem to suggest you have no time, but want higher light CO2 enriched systems, which is asking for more errors.

The other issue, you trade off a water change for a test kit routine.
Which is harder? Is testing something you think saves time?

Is there an automated dosing test kit?
No, there's not.

There are automated water changers, see various threads here.
That is a huge time save, test kits still take about the same time(I've tried to whip through a set of 4 test in the same time it takes me to change 50% of the water, even fast, it's no time saver). So a little engineering(auto or semi auto water changes) can resolve things as far as time and water changes.

However, you need to figure out that dosing is not the main issue and it is relatively very easy. Light/CO2/choosing the correct plant and scape that's easy to care for /correct engineering seems to be far more critical to long term success.

These are not really anything to do with dosing, as far as ease..........add either MS or ADA AS, that will make any dosing routine easier and that more flexible.

Same with lower light......same with using automated or semi automated(hard plumbed, just turn a valve to drain, turn another to refill, it's what I use) water changes etc etc etc.......

EI is not to be used as sledge hammer that insist on anything, test kits maybe used, less than 50% weekly, I go 2-3 weeks sometimes without a WC etc etc........... use your eyeballs and the plants as the test kits and observe.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 06:09 PM
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Well, then you can also try adding ferts to the sediment, then you do not have to dose much , if at all.
Tom,
Can you please clarify what you mean by adding ferts to the sediment? Does this mean adding root tabs? Or are you referring to using an enriched substrate such as Aqua Soil? Or would either of these work?
Thanks
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 09:36 PM
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Adding fertilizers to the sediment, means fertilizing the substrate. You can use ADA aquasoil, which has nutrients included in the particles, use mineralized topsoil, which provides most of the nutrients needed, add time release fertilizers (osmocote) under the substrate, or add fertilizer tabs under the plants. All of those let the plants feed from the roots as well as the water, so less fertilizer is needed in the water. And, better yet, a less rigorous fertilizing routine is needed.

But, once you decide to use high light intensity, you have to use pressurized CO2 for anything but the smallest tanks, with a high enough bubble rate, and a good enough diffusion method to get near maximum concentration of CO2 in the water, and you need to make sure the plants have all of the fertilizers they need to grow as fast as that light is driving them to grow. Also, you need to do a good job maintaining good water circulation in the tank, and maintaining clean conditions in the tank. The less light you use, the less critical those things become.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birds'nBunny View Post
Tom,
Can you please clarify what you mean by adding ferts to the sediment? Does this mean adding root tabs? Or are you referring to using an enriched substrate such as Aqua Soil? Or would either of these work?
Thanks
What Hoppy stated.

However, you may still do EI, or a modification thereof.

EI is just a modification of PMDD. It lost the testing requirements/suggestions, used the very same serial dilutions(see practical PMDD near the bottom for Fe, same can be applied to any nutrient) to do so. It also added PO4, and raised the ppm's much higher as at the time, PMDD was done at about 1.5-2w/gal of low output old school T12 lighting, folks with T5, PC, MH's etc, even at those same wattages/gal will need more nutrients.

However, as is the case with any method that's widely used, it must be flexible. There's no requirement to use less ppm's if you have ADA AS, or MS..........however, you generally can or may do so without issue.

The beef I have is when folks claim otherwise.
Many say or suggest outright that adding non limiting nutrients to the water column is "bad". I cannot find any verification to the contrary in my aquariums and the same can be said for thousands of other aquarists.

What specifically is bad?
If I have 10ppm or 40ppm of NO3, how is it bad?
What might I see?

Some claimed algae, some claimed fish issues, yet neither has ever been shown. they guess that's the reason, then my fish and shrimp breed and are fine and no algae, wimpy plants grow well etc. Falsifies the claims pretty fast. Some claimed that they need to do more water changes if they dose this way.

Why?
EI does not say you cannot use test kits.
Only that using a little math, it will give a range of ppm's for a given dosing rate and given % water change. If you want to tweak it to reduce water changes, that's fine. No method gets away entirely without any water changes for everyone, except perhaps non CO2 methods.

Some skilled folks and those that can watch their tanks well can avoid water changes for long time frames as well as reduce or not use test kits at all.
But this takes time, experience and I do not suggested it for most folks unless you have gotten pretty good and know the tank well. Few folks asking about fert routines are anywhere near that level of horticulture.

I can do that, but it's not what I'd suggest.
While you can avoid water changes with test kits, you also have to look at the trade off in dealing with multiple test and calibrating them since now your entire dosing routine relies solely on the results of your water testing.
So you have to buy and purchase these test kits, added expense.
Next you have to learn how to make a calibration curve with 2 or more known reference standards. Many just guess and by pass this step, so they really do not know either way and are guessing.

If you cannot commit well to weekly water changes, then it's very unlikely you may commit to weekly testing either IME and IMO and the stat's have long shown this about aquarist (who are honest).

Water changes are just simple easy step to re set things, and every method uses them, including PPS. I see folks messing and struggling with all that to avoid the work, yet spend far more time in the long run. Spend a dime to save a penny.

The actual "target level" is not "better" if it's lower either. In many cases the opposite is true. It's harder to maintain a lower level since it's used up and then there's little/none left. If you add enough to buffer a few days' worth, then it's a more robust target.

You can still add it daily if you want, or perhaps 2-3 x a week, or even weekly etc in lower light tanks. But.............adding sediment ferts adds more robustness either way, as does adding water column ferts extends the life of the sediment source as well and reduces the energy to transport ferts up through the sediment to the growing tips.

Sediment + water column source are complementary, not antagonistic, either/or etc.

Same deal with water changes, many aquarist wanna avoid that chore/work, but trading it in for more work and more technical aspects of chemistry does not seem like a good trade off, no matter how you slice it.

So if you focused on sediment ferts, less light intensity(Stop HLD!), then automated, or hard plumbed a fill/drain with a valve, or simply got a garden hose that adapts to the shower head, a U shaped PVC "hook" for the water changes, they are hardly any chore, even my 7 year old nephew can change his 20 Gal tank in 10 minutes and never lifts a bucket.
Drains the water outside for the landscape or in the drain in the home etc, then switches the hose end to the shower and refills in a 5 minutes.

How hard is hooking up the ends of a hose vs learning all this mish mash about reference standards, calibrations, micromanagement of chemistry?

Try teaching that to my nephew.
See how far you get.
"Where's my DSL Nintendo?"
Too late, you lost him.

So sediments offer a good alternative to avoiding the water change without the added labor and hassles of testing and then doses lightly to the water column(fish also add a good source). ADA does this but also still suggest frequent water changes, they also use less light intensity that you might think based of testing of light with PAR meters.

More light= more demand for CO2 and nutrients, less light, less demand.
If usuing less is honestly your goal, including water changes, and labor in general, then start with light, then consider CO2/Excel options, non CO2 methods, plant choice considerations, automation of water changes etc, then lastly mess with dosing.

It's the last thing on the list if you approach it logically, not the first.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2009, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. This gives me good place to start and great reading material.
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