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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apologies for opening a new thread regarding this concept, but the current one discussing these merits wandered a bit too far for me to ask the following:

Are those with tanks larger that 90 gallons really buying all of that fertilizer and nutrients and then pouring an unknown portion of it down the drain at the end of the week?

And are those who truly believe in this regiment with +180gal tanks really preparing 90 gallons of RO water per week, or just using well or tap water. Preparing 90 gallons of RO water uses nearly 450 gallons of actual water given 4-to-1 waste.

I get the concept of not having any limiting nutrients, but does not limiting up to point of detrimental, not beyond, warrant that use of water resources for those in the west or southwest in the US. Europeans I would presume have more water than they need.

Would I be a fool or naive for just observing the plant life and then acting accordingly even if not an exact science?
 

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Water isn't expensive, even in the areas of the US with shortages. The biggest fee is the general connection costs, not the amount used. If you want to be responsible with the waste water, use it for watering your garden or lawn. If you have a big tank, you're most likely using dry ferts which are dirt cheap.

You wouldn't be a fool for observing your plants and adjusting accordingly. The EI is just a method that works, not the only method that works.
 

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Are those with tanks larger that 90 gallons really buying all of that fertilizer and nutrients and then pouring an unknown portion of it down the drain at the end of the week?

Yes they are, everyone moves to dry ferts, it is cheap.

And are those who truly believe in this regiment with +180gal tanks really preparing 90 gallons of RO water per week, or just using well or tap water. Preparing 90 gallons of RO water uses nearly 450 gallons of actual water given 4-to-1 waste.

Some people are, I use tap water and WC based on TDS.
All water changes that I perform are based on some parameter.
7 aquariums and all are different, no two alike, with same tap water.
220 gallons total in tanks, less than 30 gallons WC per week.

I get the concept of not having any limiting nutrients, but does not limiting up to point of detrimental, not beyond, warrant that use of water resources for those in the west or southwest in the US. Europeans I would presume have more water than they need.

Regarding water usage and wasting of water, I have not considered.
I use some of WC for outdoor plants but not much.


Would I be a fool or naive for just observing the plant life and then acting accordingly even if not an exact science?

You would not be naive or a fool for this approach.
I use the PPS Pro & Classic methods of dosing.
Material to read is here. https://sites.google.com/site/aquaticplantfertilizer/home
It is not a science it is "Guesstimative"

My true thoughts.
I love my plants and like my fish.
I will not sacrifice my fish and inverts just to grow plants though.
I do not presently run any plant only experimental tanks.
Always a fear of suffocating or poisoning by adding compounds of any kind in excess.
Mind you this is only my opinion and I will not participate in WW3 over this.
 

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You can dose ferts solely according to witnessed deficiencies, which isn't a bad idea, seeing as how people are reporting toxicities (which can really complicate toxic/deficient symptoms).

As mentioned EI is one method, there are others methods that people do, such as PPS-Pro which tries to dose as much as the plants need and not in excess (not easy as it sounds as plant mass grows, you constantly look to adjust dosing amounts to compensate).

My understanding of RO units is that they are pretty much just advanced filtration systems. Do they really require using x4 the amount of tap water to produce x1 amount of filtered/purified "actual" water??? If so, then I had no idea.
 

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I was a pretty staunch EI guy until about a month ago. I started REALLY cutting back on EI dosing, I have not noticed ANY difference in plants, but have noticed a lot less problems with hair algae.

Its funny how this stuff comes and goes,,,,in the 80's(ya I'm that old) we did everything in our power to remove ANY and all excess nutrients from the water column!

In terms of wasterwater, my orchids grow like crazy with old tank water!
 

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I live in an area with drought and do 50% water changes with a 180 gallon tank that is EI fertilized. The water is keeping an 8x20" garden alive and I have to add fertilizer to keep annuals happy even though I use a lot of NPK+M. Have been doing so for 15 years. It works, the fish and plants are happy and algae is minimal.
 

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I use the EI method on two 40 gal. tanks and have great plant growth,healthy fish and minimal algae.if everyone on your block was changing 100 gallons of water a week that may make a dent but with the small amount of hobbyists in any given area that is not even a drop in a bucket.More water is wasted from dripping faucets than what we use and a lot of us recycle the water for other purposes.
 

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Yes, RO systems generate a lot of waste water. Some use this waste water for watering plants etc. as noted above. Here's a link to a website that explains the waste ratio. 4:1 is actually the best scenario. If you are pumping the RO water into a bladder tank it gets much worse. A permeate pump can reduce the amount of waste water.

Reverse Osmosis System, water waste, permeate pump, Cambria CA

Back to the thread. I use RO water for water changes and really don't want to change water unless something in the tank parameters dictates I need to. For me this is almost always nitrates are getting too high. Along with keeping RO waste water down I spend a lot less on ferts. I need to test more often but compared to the time I would spend doing 50% weekly water changes on a 125g tank I feel the time spent testing is well spent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you have a big tank, you're most likely using dry ferts which are dirt cheap.
So what would say are the annual costs for just the micro and macro nutrients per gallon for a high light CO2 tank. I assume that the amount of dosing is based on water volume in this instance. Thanks in advance.

Bump:
My understanding of RO units is that they are pretty much just advanced filtration systems. Do they really require using x4 the amount of tap water to produce x1 amount of filtered/purified "actual" water??? If so, then I had no idea.
Yes they do and that is when new. As the membrane nears end of life, even higher. And being from North Western NJ, it's not easy to water frozen plants under a foot of snow for at least several months a year. That was a joke.
 

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I buy 3 pounds of nitrate, 2 pounds of phosphate, 1 pound of potassium and micros a year, adds up to maybe $40. For a 180 gallon tank that sure doesn't seem like much to spend.

Hobbies are time and money pits, that is how they work. How deep the pit gets depends on how deep you want to go.
 

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I believe Tom Barr has said repeatedly on this forum and others that 50% weekly water changes aren't required for EI. That he doesn't necessarily change that much or that often. That it all depends on how his plants/tanks look to his experienced eye.
 

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Potassium sulfate $2.50 a poundx1=$2.50
Potassium nitrate $2.50 a poundx3=$7.50
Monopotassium Phosphate $5 a poundx2=$10
Plantex+B $11 a poundx1=$11

I do also use GH booster but make it myself from the KSO4 as I happen to have calcium carbonate leftover from making dog food. Have to come up with something else in 6 months as the last bottle is only half full now. $1 a pound for magnesium sulfate, need a pound of that a year too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Potassium sulfate $2.50 a poundx1=$2.50
Potassium nitrate $2.50 a poundx3=$7.50
Monopotassium Phosphate $5 a poundx2=$10
Plantex+B $11 a poundx1=$11

I do also use GH booster but make it myself from the KSO4 as I happen to have calcium carbonate leftover from making dog food. Have to come up with something else in 6 months as the last bottle is only half full now. $1 a pound for magnesium sulfate, need a pound of that a year too.
For a 180 gallon tank?
 

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The dry ferts really are cheap. My tanks are relatively small- 48 gallons total- I do the 50% water changes once a week and am still using the original 1-lb bags I bought two years ago. I probably will have to buy more ferts later this year, but it's such a minimal cost. And like others mention, I reuse all the tank wastewater. It goes on my houseplants and the garden. In winter when I don't have as many plants for water, I actually use it to flush the toilet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I believe Tom Barr has said repeatedly on this forum and others that 50% weekly water changes aren't required for EI. That he doesn't necessarily change that much or that often. That it all depends on how his plants/tanks look to his experienced eye.
Now I am less clear on this. If he does not test and just adds nutrients and then varies the water changes, how is that any different then any random light schedule with small water changes?

And how does one account for fish bio load.

I have seen all of the well manicured tanks showing beautiful aquascapes but these tanks seem not to be fish heavy. I have close to 70 fish in a 90 gallon so between food and then food recycling, by the fish of course, how does one factor that into the equation?
 

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I have close to 70 fish in a 90 gallon so between food and then food recycling, by the fish of course, how does one factor that into the equation?
This would tell me a nitrate rich water column.
Most likely no KNO3 dosing will be needed.
Guessing you base water changes on nitrate testing?
I mix a PPS Classic solution of Nitrate Free for this purpose dosing is then based on PO4 levels.
Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Guessing you base water changes on nitrate testing?
I have an older test kit from 2003 so while Nitrate is usually between 0 and 5, I stick to a weekly schedule of 15-20% using RO water and Replenish. I should find the Lamotte kits from my reef days and order new reagents.

The State of NJ has restricted Phosphate in lawn fertilizers due to runoff into local lakes creating algae blooms. Ironic that a state laden with petrochemicals would worry about excessive plant growth. I have never measured Phosphate nor have I ever dosed any directly so I have no clue what that is. But according to the EI advocates, algae is not a problem due to plant competition.

One last question. In a substrate that retains nutrients, is there any issue with buildup or do they simply leach out when the water column concentration is reduced during large water changes.

Thanks in advance.
 

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If dosing suggested EI levels of macros, most of the nutrients are not used. It just builds up.
If dosing suggested EI levels of micros, due to its inherently toxic concentrations, it can and will reduce plant growth which reduces nutrient demand including CO2.
High CEC substrates will adsorb and desorb ions if there's a concentration gradient. "Leech" isn't the correct term in this instance.
Phosphate is the form that phosphorus takes. Excessive phosphate provides a phosphorus source that allows algae to bloom. Some algae produce toxic phytochemicals which can kill fish and make humans sick. Massive fish die-offs starts a chain reaction which can kill most other life in waters.
 
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