After feedback from you and visiting other posts, I feel much more comfortable dosing with dry ferts. I think I am going to just buy a kit and learn as I go. Working with the calculator a bit, I now have a pretty good understanding of how it works. It the very wide range of options for ingredients and each one supplementing different things that seemed intimidating. I think if I just get a good kit, Input each ingredient and volume of my tank and add it into the mix.
One question, I believe the EI method depends upon a large water change once a week. I run my tanks with a continuous drip water change. For example, my 180 gallon has an actual volume of around 170 gallons (including filters). I have a 2 gph continuous drip going in which adds 48 gallons every 24 hours. This comes to around 1/4 water change every day. It may seem like overkill, but my water starts out at about 10 ppm nitrates and I kind of have to keep a high flow going to keep it under 20 ppm. I tried switching to 1 ghp and my nitrates rose to almost 30 ppm. Before I put in the continuous drip, I was struggling to keep it under 40 ppm and it was a ton of work. Once I went to continuous drip I could never go back. I only have to do water changes when something gets out of balance or I just feel like I need to do some house cleaning.
I will probably start out with 1/2 gph drip on my 54 gallon. This will change 12 gallons a day at a bit over 22% of total volume daily. How do you think I should adjust for a system like this? If I simply add the 12 gallons (for the first day) to the 54, I would be dosing for 66 gallons. This would start out strong and gradually taper off as the water changes. Since I would be dosing every other day, it would start off high and end up low after the second day. The plants will probably consume a lot of the nitrates allowing me to go to a much lower water change rate (maybe 1/4 gph) or it might even be easier to not do drip at all and do water changes since the tank size is more manageable. Does anyone have experience dosing with a setup like this?
This is the thing that makes each if us choose how we want to do the dosing. Some prefer to not test and just go with doing lots of water change with the idea of "rest" on the overdose of ferts we are adding when doing it EI. I started EI but then found that I was always too high on nitrate and way to high on phosphate and this is when dry ferts seemed better as I was able to totally stop dosing potassium nitrate and cut way back on phosphate. I don't mind the testing and each tank does act a bit different, so my situation comes down to doing the testand after some time, as I see how each tank settles in, I adjust what I am adding and I also find that tanks do change as the fish and plants are always growing dying or changing in some way. The sub is also prone to change as it collects more debris or we move things around. At one point, I was working the idea of keeping up on vacing the surface but as I got more into dirt from falling out of pots and spilling, the idea of vacing well enough to keep that dirt out was just not going to work and it is far less work to just leave it and adjust my ferts as the whole tank changes much like the garden outside.
The garden is always changing as plants and trees change so that light and growth changes. Maybe that's why they call it a hobby? Because we never run out of "fun" things to do. Like trim the weeds in the tank!!!
One small hint that is easy to miss if you get a Clippard is the way it is put together so that the top can be rotated to better fit how the wires, etc come out. Okay to rotate the body but recommended NOT to take it apart as it may not fit back just right.