Dosing Ferts - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Dosing Ferts

Ok so I am now decided that I will start dosing ferts to increase plant growth and health, but I am totally confused lol!
I have a 29g with lots of fast growing stems at the moment and 2 x 36W T5's. I was running these with a 25W bulb aswell (not a T5) but after a week I noticed some algae building up. So i stopped the use of that. Carbon Dioxide should be coming this week.
I dont get what EI is.
Would anyone be able to tell me what I should dose and when etc. . . ie a timetable type thing because I am not getting it and then I can tweak it as needs be. I read the sticky in water parameters but I dont fully understand and I don't want to make a huge mess!
I also have a big BBA problem at the moment. This started just before I started on my way to a planted tank because I had fully stocked my fish and only had a couple of plants. Excess nutrients = BBA (i think)
I have also read about a Carbon:Nitrogen:Phosphorus ratio (10:20:1)
Any help would be greatly appreciated because I am sure you can tell I dont have a clue what to do about this.
I think I would prefer to dose dry ferts.

Thanks

Kiran
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 05:18 PM
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EI is short for 'estimative index' a term coined by Tom Barr for a simple way to fertilize your tanks. Basically the idea behind it is that if you give the plants all they need to grow, algae will be kept at a minimum. The sticky you refer to, basically tells you what to do for a tank your size.

Personally I think you have plenty of light with the 2x36 set up. Just be sure that you get even coverage throughout the tank. I definitely wouldn't recommend going with any more lighting unless you have your CO2 and ferts all in line. The BBA will start to go down once you get your CO2 set up and running - that should be your first goal. Then start the dosing routine you see in that sticky. At first, perhaps add the macros only at water change and perhaps half as much another time during the week. See how your plants respond, get a nitrate and phophate test kit to see how the plants utilize the nutrients. You can adjust your routine once you see what's happening in your tank. You should have: potassium (K), nitrates (NO3), and phosphates (PO4) as your macro elements. Your micros are the trace minerals and iron that you add during the times that you don't add the macros.

HTH.

Bert
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 05:38 PM
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The basic principle behind EI is to always have enough of every nutrient in the tank, and rely upon a weekly 50% water change to get rid of any excess from dosing too much. I have the same size tank as you, and I dose 1/4 to 3/8 tsp KNO3 three times a week, 1/16 tsp KH2PO4 three times a week, and traces on the days I'm not dosing the macros. I can tell you for sure that you have to have CO2, and keep it at 30+ppm during every day or you will get lots of algae - I have learned that by experience. I upped my dosage of KNO3 from 1/4 to 3/8 tsp for that reason too - the more light you have, the faster the ferts get used up. No testing is needed, other than PH and KH if you really follow the EI principles.

Hoppy
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Cheers for the help guys that has cleared things up for me. How do I know how many ppm my CO2 is?
Apologies if this sounds stupid again but what would my trace minerals be?

Kiran
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2006, 04:25 AM
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http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_co2chart.htm is one way to measure ppm of CO2 - measure KH and PH and use that calculator or the chart at the bottom of the page.
Another way is to take a sample of the water in the tank, let it sit for several hours in a shallow container, then measure the pH of that water. If the CO2 ppm is around 30-40ppm, that pH measurement will be about 1.0 higher than the pH of the tank water after the CO2 has been on for a couple hours or so. I consider this to be the most accurate method.

Hoppy
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2006, 04:27 AM
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Trace elements can be from TMG (Tropica Master Grow), CSM+B (Plantex CSM plus extra boron), Flourish, etc.

Hoppy
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