Daily water changes when dosing EI? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Daily water changes when dosing EI?

Hey all!

I'm in the process of doing the fishless aquarium cycle on my 29g planted. It's heavily planted with co2 injection and the plants are growing fast; though I do have some algae. And one particular plant has some heavy leaf melting but new leaves are forming.

I'm dosing ammonia to 3ppm and that process is well complete. Ammonia drops to 0ppm in 24 hours easily. But I'm battling nitrites. I just can't seem to get them to come down and I can't seem to get those bacteria 'under way'. I'd like to do daily water changes, like I normally would with a fishless cycle, to keep the nitrites from getting too high and having an adverse effect on the bacteria growth. Is this a bad idea, concerning the plants and EI dosing? Should I modify something? I was thinking of skipping the "rest days" and doing macro/micro every other day, and dosing AFTER each water change. Would these be detrimental to the plants?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 07:34 PM
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The real question is have nitrates appeared? That will tell you if the bacteria colony is forming. If you are dosing nitrates the you may not be able to tell if nitrates are being produced by the bacteria.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, nitrates are being produced by the bacteria. I'm very familiar with the nitrogen cycle and have been keeping tanks for a long time; though I've never done a planted tank before. So my question related to EI dosing and whether my plants would be adversely affected by daily water changes.

I do dose nitrates, but only when they drop. Dosing ammonia causes nitrates to rise, though the plants do eventually consume it and so I add nitrate when it tests below 10ppm or so; (With no livestock, I'm less concerned about high nitrate levels. And they never get 'that' high).

I was under the impression that plants would consume nitrogen in any form it presents itself, but they don't seem the least bit interested in the nitrite. It remains at 1-3~as high as 4ish ppm, and doesn't seem to drop until a water change, then it quickly climbs again with an ammonia dose.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 08:57 PM
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Daily water changes when dosing EI is just wasting the ferts IMO. If you're dead set on doing daily water changes during this fishless cycle (which also seems like a waste to me) then I'd stop dosing until the tank is cycled.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
Daily water changes when dosing EI is just wasting the ferts IMO. If you're dead set on doing daily water changes during this fishless cycle (which also seems like a waste to me) then I'd stop dosing until the tank is cycled.
My concern is nitrites building too high, slowing the process. Which is typically how I've done the fishless cycle in the past. Even if not daily, but when nitrates 'maxed out' at 3-4ppm or so, I'd do a large water change, and then dose ammonia and continue the process. Dosing ammonia every other day. Though it could take two back-to-back 50~70% water changes in order to get nitrites down, which is how every-other-day ammonia dosing turns into daily water changes.

But this is the feedback I'm looking for. If it's unnecessary, then I won't. Currently, I'm doing weekly water changes per the EI schedule.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RomansFiveEight View Post
My concern is nitrites building too high, slowing the process. Which is typically how I've done the fishless cycle in the past. Even if not daily, but when nitrates 'maxed out' at 3-4ppm or so, I'd do a large water change, and then dose ammonia and continue the process. Dosing ammonia every other day. Though it could take two back-to-back 50~70% water changes in order to get nitrites down, which is how every-other-day ammonia dosing turns into daily water changes.

But this is the feedback I'm looking for. If it's unnecessary, then I won't. Currently, I'm doing weekly water changes per the EI schedule.

Well, hopefully Diana will chime in, but if I recall the fishless cycle correctly, once you get that first bacterial bloom that can take care of the ammonia within 24 hours you want to lower your dose of ammonia closer to 1ppm instead of the 3-4 ppm that you start with.

How long have you been cycling this tank?

The more I think about it, if it were me I'd stop dosing ferts altogether until the cycle is complete. The plants wont thrive during that time, but they should make it without any huge problems. Then once the cycle is done go back to the EI dosing.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-10-2015, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
Well, hopefully Diana will chime in, but if I recall the fishless cycle correctly, once you get that first bacterial bloom that can take care of the ammonia within 24 hours you want to lower your dose of ammonia closer to 1ppm instead of the 3-4 ppm that you start with.

How long have you been cycling this tank?

The more I think about it, if it were me I'd stop dosing ferts altogether until the cycle is complete. The plants wont thrive during that time, but they should make it without any huge problems. Then once the cycle is done go back to the EI dosing.
That's possible, honestly it's been a long time since I've done a fishless cycle/established a new tank. I actually moved a canister from another established tank to this one, and was a bit surprised when I wasn't "instantly cycled". But that tank has multiple filters so it might not have had much bio-filtration.

It's been going for right at three weeks. So it's "on schedule", for sure. But the last thing I want to do is slow anything down. I'm ready to stock this sucker! Plus I'm sure that at least some of the algae I'm dealing with will go away once the tank is more stable, stocked, and doesn't have ammonia and nitrite to deal with. (Since the source of ammonia will be slow and gradual and won't ever be measurable, rather than big chunks once every couple of days).

I'll try backing off on the ammonia to see what kind of results I get!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-11-2015, 03:58 AM
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Quit dosing ammonia so high. Why keep adding it when you just need to remove the results?

Dose 1 ppm.
a) bacteria need time to catch up- the ammonia removing bacteria are growing faster than the nitrite removing ones.
b) Some plants do not like that much ammonia.

After a few days of 1ppm once a day, go to 1 ppm twice a day. The bacteria ought to catch up pretty fast, and 1ppm twice a day will grow just about the same amount of bacteria as 3 ppm once a day.
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