I have failed at the EI method - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-02-2005, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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I have failed at the EI method

Went to the Barr report and read all about the EI method. I was particulary interested in using his method with Excel. Here was my dosing schedule:

day 1 50% WC
day 2 1/4 teaspoon KNO3 and 1/16 Teaspoon KPO4
day 3 3ml traces
day 4 nothing
day 5 =day 2
day 6= day 3
day 7=day 1

everyday dose 6ml excel

Tank 55gallon
substrate schultze aquatic soil
2 wpg
semi lightly planted with crypts, apogenton, some val, some pond weeds, and a lily. About 50% plant coverage with respect to gravel space. I have 2 german rams, 4 pencil fish, 25 cardinals and 2 ottos.

Started off really good, and everything started growing nicely. By about 2 weeks green "blanket" algae started rampaging. It got so bad that I stopped dosing and the blanket has slowed. There is even algae growing on the surface of the water! What went wrong? Do you have to have a heavily planted tank with CO2 to be successful? It even said on his website that the EI method can be used with excel only..... Any help would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-03-2005, 01:08 AM
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Your dosing seems OK to me but I would say your plant choices are questionable for a newer setup. Every one of them is more dependant on substrate nutrients. I have grown most of those varieties in a tank with nothing but tap water and minimal extra micros (Flourish) dosed once weekly in the water column. They can do well with just some root tabs in the substrate.

My suggestion would be to get yourself some fast growing stem plants like hygro poly and such and get that tank some stability.
EI works but its not a good idea on a setup like yours. Too many unused ferts for too long. The 50% water changes only reset the tank and provide a safe guard against any one element being used less and hitting high levels.

BTW...what are you using to dose micro's ?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-03-2005, 01:30 AM
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I personally don't agree with EI's "don't test your water" principle, along with the dosing of phosphate and nitrate. If you have a moderate to full fish load (notice I didn't say overload), the tank will have nitrate, and most all fish food contains phosphate, so you are adding phosphate with the food.

I would take a wild guess that you have high phosphate and nitrate levels in your tank. I would suggest you test your water for nitrate and phosphate, and only dose those if your levels are zero. Just my own opinion.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-03-2005, 02:45 AM
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IMO...the EI method only works in high light tanks with high demand stem plants ... in those setups , phosphate and nitrate deplete quickly and are never an issue. Lets face it, if your plants aint hungry, why feed 'em as such ?
You are correct though...in a low light tank a good bio-load will supply enough nitrates ..."but" it still depends on your plant load.
A 20g tank of wendtii crypts would do just fine with a good bio-load and a rich substrate, but now take a 20G tank of Hygro Poly ?
I dont think so...You would have to be dosing additional nitrates because even in the same lighting they are by nature a more demanding plant on the water column.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-03-2005, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Good points. Several things to respond:

before plants the tank ran for several months. Trust me there is lots of junk in the gravel! I am going to order some fast growing plants, make a diy co2 system and start over. I think once the plants establish themselves I can take the co2 away and get some more slow growing plants in there. I will go very easy on the ferts and go from there. keep the suggestions coming!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-03-2005, 04:31 AM
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You can dose once a week perhaps 2x a week and dose the excel more.

Add:

1/4 teaspoon of KNO3 2x a week
1/16" teaspoon PO4 2x a week
10mls traces 2x a week

Add 28mls of Excel, everyother day.(you need more than the directions suggest)

50% weekly water change.

Pack the tank with plants, do not ever wait for the plants to grow in a new set up.

This is more likely why things did not go well, it's not the NO3, K+ nor PO4 levels, they can be all over the place, as long as they are not too low, things should be fine there.

The main things that causes algae in new set ups using EI:
1. Not enough plant biomass (not enough plant biomass to remove the NH4 from fish waste, once the tank settles in more, the bacteria asnd plants keep this cation immesurablely low)
2. Poor CO2 or carbon enrichment

NH4 is a great way to induce algae.
So add more weeds, let the other plants grow in and afterwards phase out the weeds slowly.

You'll need to remove the algae that's there now.
Clean the tank good, stir up any left over muck, trim the plants, then do the water change.

Add more Excel, light for only 10 hours a day, dose the above.

Regards,
Tom Barr



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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-03-2005, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lousybreed
Good points. Several things to respond:

before plants the tank ran for several months. Trust me there is lots of junk in the gravel!
Is some of that "junk" in the gravel contain FE!!! That is what makes gravel nutrient rich.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-03-2005, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help. Tom you are right, I was "waiting" for the plants to grow in. I am going to get some fast growing plants and pack the aquarium. I was thinking about starting with:
3-4 E. Bleheri
20 Jungle Val (there are some already in my tank growing well)
5 bunches of hygro poly
3 bunches of giant hygro
and some hornwort

Before I buy the plants I am going to experiment with DIY CO2 and get that working well before I start anything. I am going for 20ppm but we will see where the tank equilibrates.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2005, 01:38 AM
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there are a lot of threads around on this and other forums about how people failed at EI, one person in fact was asking people to post thier ei disaster stories.
i learned a lot from otherr people's stories and for me, i feel that EI depends on consistent CO2. DIY will work, but you need to comit to it and be consistent with it. the other thing is a pristine tank--which balances a nutrient rich water column and substrate with removing decaying matter and "overfeeding" in a timely manner. it is delicate, but possible.
it sounds like you are already planning positive improvements--post a picture!
good luck!

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30 gallon tall, pressurized CO2...killer lights
50 gallon long, killer filtration, low tech otherwise
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2005, 03:58 AM
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One of the corner stones of the EI method is high CO2 levels. In fact it's actually a surplus of all nutrients. I don't actually see it as a EI failure. More of a failure to understand EI.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-05-2005, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
One of the corner stones of the EI method is high CO2 levels. In fact it's actually a surplus of all nutrients. I don't actually see it as a EI failure. More of a failure to understand EI.
Yeah it is a little of both. I understand that EI really shines with high CO2 values. I will work a DIY schedule that will provide consistent CO2 levels by staggering several jugs. I will test this out before I get the new plants.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-05-2005, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris
i learned a lot from otherr people's stories and for me, i feel that EI depends on consistent CO2. DIY will work, but you need to comit to it and be consistent with it. the other thing is a pristine tank--which balances a nutrient rich water column and substrate with removing decaying matter and "overfeeding" in a timely manner. it is delicate, but possible.
it sounds like you are already planning positive improvements--post a picture!
good luck!
Any method using CO2, depends on CO2............sort of goes without saying........EI makes that very apparent since it addresses the nutrients and light is fairly well a given, unless you have too much/too little.

If something is not right, it's the CO2 with EI, or else you mixed up KNO3 and K2SO4 or KH2PO4 etc and have a NO3 deficiency.

90-95% of all algae issues are related to poor CO2...........
Excel is treated the same as CO2, but at lesser growth rate.
You still needs to add enough of that.......

It's better to know that it's only CO2 and not CO2+ PO4 and Fe......
Isolation is a key to solving issues and algae.

Regards,
Tom Barr



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