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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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EI Report Card

It has been a while since Tom Barr introduced his Estimative Index dosing regime to the planted aquarium community. I don't use it, but I can't help wondering how it is working out for everyone? Are folks having an overwhelming rate of success? Are some members crashing and burning? I am curious.

Without flaming each other and keeping the discussion civil, please post your experiences, positive or negative.

Mike

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 06:56 PM
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I don't use it personally, and am deeply suspicious of the sort of levels it will lead to. But it wouldn't be fair for me to comment since I've never given it a hard core attempt.

But I did want to note that there is a significant flaw in that rationale behind the belief that the 50% water changes put a 2X cap on concentrations. That is true only as long as the water you are adding has no NPK in it. In my case, my water has almost 1.0 ppm Phosphate in it, right out of the tap. So if I was to use EI strictly by the books, I could go WAY over 2X of my target concentrations. I've got spreadsheets that can prove this should anyone not believe it.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 07:00 PM
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Good thread!

I'll say its worked great for me...when I was back in Atlanta I had real soft water and had to add EVERYTHING...NO3, PO4, K, Mg, Ca, baking soda...etc.

Since the move to Arlington (and the wonderful Potomic cess pool), things have been much easier.

With higher lighting (the old 46g bowfront) I still had a bit of trouble getting the right fert doses, even with EI.

EI is a good (great) guideline for dosing since the principle is for plants to have an excess of nutrients...thus optimal growth and utilization of nutrients. So long as CO2 is in excess too.

I belive a lot of the problems people may have had/or are having is due to inadequate CO2--plant biomass--micros--macros...in that order.

As far as tinkering with the dosing, I've had to modify it quite a bit since I've moved. With my tap water already at 10 ppm NO3 and around 5 ppm PO4, there's no need to dose on my water change days. Throw in an Eheim liquidoser that was collecting dust in a storage container I decided to dose micros every day rather than three times a week.

I've also noticed small differences in uptake rate of NO3 depending on what type of plants I have. Thus, I only have to dose NO3 one more time during the week and by the end of the week my PO4 is down to 2-ish.

I think is an easy method of fire-and-forget type of dosing where test kits are needed--to an extent...but not the extreme mad-scientist everyday testing such as PPS.

When algae appears I'm a firm believer that there is some water parameter that is out of balance..again this may be attributed to co2, plant biomass, micros, macros. REMOVING algae and correcting the parameters seems to solve problems well.


Just my 2 cents....well I suppose its turned into my 25 cents...

edit...just saw Steve's remarks...hence my reasoning for tinkering with the system...so long as my plants appear healthy, no visible algae, colorful plants, and healthy fish...it works fine for me.

Re-boot!
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scolley
I don't use it personally, and am deeply suspicious of the sort of levels it will lead to. But it wouldn't be fair for me to comment since I've never given it a hard core attempt.

But I did want to note that there is a significant flaw in that rationale behind the belief that the 50% water changes put a 2X cap on concentrations. That is true only as long as the water you are adding has no NPK in it. In my case, my water has almost 1.0 ppm Phosphate in it, right out of the tap. So if I was to use EI strictly by the books, I could go WAY over 2X of my target concentrations. I've got spreadsheets that can prove this should anyone not believe it.

If you figured in the 1 ppm of phosphate you would have no problems.

And I have the math to show that the concentrations never actually reach 2x.
They come very close but never mathematically reach it.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
If you figured in the 1 ppm of phosphate you would have no problems.
The point here is that you do indeed have to factor that in. And I know that it is not rocket science to do so. But if someone were following EI exactly as described, that would not be factored in, and you could very easily exceed 2X due to NPK in the water.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Lets not make this a debate about how to follow the EI. I want to know how it is working out.

I am going to leave the previous conversation, however I want to keep this on topic. Hijacks and off topic posts will be removed!

Mike

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 08:54 PM
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I personally prefer to tweak my dosing a little bit and get the amounts just right. I find that following EI to the t doesn't bring out some of the richer colors that keeping the nitrates on the lower side can achieve.

EI does work well for most people, but as you become more familiar with what each nutrient does for plants and how it effects your tanks in particular I think much better results can be acheived by observing the plants, looking for defficiencies, and adjusting one's dosing accordingly.


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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 09:15 PM
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I am a rookie in the planted tank and I started using the EI method. The results are great. I could not be happier with my tank. I have lush growth and finaly have the algae in retreat. The method definitly works.

Rick
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 09:27 PM
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I tried the EI method for 9 months and have battled algae for the last 8 months. Algae is now under control since stopping.
I have backed way off my macro's to about 1/3 of what "EI" Dosing Amounts were for my 75G and doubled up on the micro's and my algae is running with its tail between its legs.

I really believe that the weekly 50% water changes needed with EI are excessive and remove bacteria rich water needed for a healthy aquarium. Its the only thing I can think of. In the last month I have only done one 20% water change and have added water as needed and my water is now back to crystal clear as it was in the days before EI.
My plant growth slowed a bit, which isnt a bad thing , but the best part is that my algae's have pretty much been beat and my tank is better for it.

EI may work for some but it aint my cup of tea anymore.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 09:39 PM
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While I don't follow EI exactly, I do use the idea behind it. That is, having nutrients in excess so nothing ever runs low. I do test every so often and adjust my dosing accordingly. For example, a few weeks ago, I discovered my nitrates had gone up to around 40 so I when I did my water change I didn't add any. For me, it has worked. I am on the other side of the fence from Buck in regards to the 50% water changes. I find my tanks look the healthiest for the first 3 days after my 50% changes. Except for some clado in one tank, which appears to be slowly retreating, algae isn't a problem (crosses fingers and knocks on wood).

Of course, there are still certain plants which give me fits, or just plain old can't grow. So, I am sure there are other 'ways' of doing things that might give me better results. But, I have learned to be happy with what I can grow instead of pulling my hair out over what doesn't.

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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 10:54 PM
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I follow it to a certain degree and find it a little easier to dose my tank.
I will every now and then test the water,I Just like to keep my NP in some sort of order.

You can always add but never take.

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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 11:02 PM
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I dose, do water changes and don't test. I would say that I am using it. If I don't stay on a regular KNO3 schedule I get outbreaks of BGA.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 11:43 PM
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I've been using my own variation of EI. It certainly keeps things simple. I only add macro ferts at water change and midweek. Occasionally I'll forget to add my midweek ferts which is what happened last week. BGA came back this week.

My micros get added daily automatically with a liquidoser. But all-n-all its been the best my tank has ever been, with very little fuss. I don't add PO4 since my tap water is loaded with it.

I just got a peristaltic pump that I'm going to hook up eventually. What I want to do is add KNO3, micros and topoff water all together by mixing a concentrated solution of ferts/water into a 5 gal bucket and dose from that daily. Since PO4 is the one that reacts with micros,and I won't be adding that, KNO3 and micros mixed together should be fine.

Marcel
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 12:48 AM
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I use it and couldn't be happier. (was that said already?)
My plant growth could be described as abundant and my algae has all but disapeared, in spite of my moderate NO T-12 lighting. I would be lost without EI as I couldn't begin to figure out the proper dosing levels for myself.

Thanks Tom et al.

Steve

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 02:46 AM
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For me this method definatly works, although like most others using it i dont follow it rigidly, although i do follow the 50% water changes, my water is very soft so my dosing routine is probably a bit involved more than most anyway, i think once you find a balance in your tank as to how much to dose this is probably one of the easiest ways to do it, i would do the odd test now and again especially when i make changes, just to make sure things are as i imagine, when i get problems with algae its usually down to my water parameters being out of balance usually due to human error or lazyness and its usually easy enough to rectify once i find out whats out of check.

So thanks Tom for this method i would probably be lost without it
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