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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I vary between working at home and being gone for a couple weeks at a time. What this means is that if I want to start EI dosing my plants (I do), I'm going to have to auto-dose. As cool as all of wasserpest's methods are, I think I'm going to use a peristaltic pump and timer. Assuming that I'm dosing all ferts on a per day basis (rather than macros one day micros the other), I can think of three ways to do this:
1) A continuous feed 24 hours per day.
2) A continuous feed for the 8-12 hours that the lights are on.
3) A short burst (between 1 minute and 1 hour) about the time the lights come on.
4) It really, really, doesn't matter.

I'm leaning towards option 4, but figured you would all know better. Also, I'm not sure how loud these pumps will be, so if it turns out they make a whirring noise then option 3 it is. I listen to a lot of quiet music in the same room as the tank, so even most air pumps are too loud in my opinion.
 

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My setup is 2 peristaltic pump that pumps up 1.8ml/cc per min. Been doing EI solution to dose everday. I used the fertilizer calculator to match the EI dosing for a week e.i Nitrates 20-30 etc etc... So if i need 18cc of macro i set my timer 10min.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Has anyone had any issues with settling? Based on some comments about the lifespan of peristaltic pumps, I'm considering one of wasserpest's methods.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/diy/22116-poor-mans-auto-dosing-take-iii.html
The submerged pump with a flow restricting valve and a redirect to circulate the solution. This brings up a couple more questions:
1) Does anyone have issues with their solutions settling or needing mixing? I'm under the impression that if you don't mix the wrong ferts or make them way too strong that this isn't an issue, but at the same time it seems lots of people opt for some sort of mixer.
2) How reproducible will the pump be? On one hand, the engineer in me really likes the peristaltic pump. It seems very reproducible, accurate, etc. On the other hand, the K.I.S.S. principle nearly always wins, and the small fountain pump may win there.
 

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2) How reproducible will the pump be? On one hand, the engineer in me really likes the peristaltic pump. It seems very reproducible, accurate, etc. On the other hand, the K.I.S.S. principle nearly always wins, and the small fountain pump may win there.
I think that in this situation KISS principle is on peristaltic side. Buy one for 30$ , set it up and forget. You cant get precise and constant dosing with submerged pumps, it just not worth bothering with. I tried it,not working, even devised my system:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfeAPtJtP_A
 

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Can you recommend a specific $30 pump? I'm seeing pumps ranging from $20 to $2000, and I'm not sure where the junk transitions to something reliable.
I have two cheap ones from ebay, about 30-40$ each, they are working fine for about a year. I dont really expect them to die soon since they all have to do is work 1 minute a day. Most motors in childrens toys are under greater stress.



Generally, i think theres 3 classes of peristaltics:

1 Cheap ones without power source
2 Ones used with washing machines
3 medical/laboratory ones

I had a class 2 peristaltic ones but i think its overkill for our purposes. Its sturdy little thing and seemed like it can pump crude oil but it pulled 55W from network
 

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Has anyone had any issues with settling? Based on some comments about the lifespan of peristaltic pumps, I'm considering one of wasserpest's methods.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/diy/22116-poor-mans-auto-dosing-take-iii.html
The submerged pump with a flow restricting valve and a redirect to circulate the solution. This brings up a couple more questions:
1) Does anyone have issues with their solutions settling or needing mixing? I'm under the impression that if you don't mix the wrong ferts or make them way too strong that this isn't an issue, but at the same time it seems lots of people opt for some sort of mixer.
2) How reproducible will the pump be? On one hand, the engineer in me really likes the peristaltic pump. It seems very reproducible, accurate, etc. On the other hand, the K.I.S.S. principle nearly always wins, and the small fountain pump may win there.
I do the fountain pump way. When I first got them (I use 2 identical pumps), they were not consistent, and not consistent with each other. After a short time, they seemed to slow a bit and now are both consistent, and consistent as a pair. If you do it this way, you may want to keep them on for a few days in a bucket outside or something. Mine needed some "break in".

This is the only method I have tried so I cannot compare.


I would only take advantage of this is you are creating a system that allows you to dose for a week or longer. To me, doing this daily is not likely going to yield much benefit over manual dosing every day. The only advantage to this is the convenience of being able to dose over a longer period of time with the same effort. I get 2 weeks out of my setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm not sure how using one pump vs the other prevents me from dosing daily vs weekly. I'm planning to dose on a daily schedule so that I can use a 24 hour timer to control it. However, I'm only planning on having to fill my containers every other week, with enough space to do it monthly if I'm going to be out of town for a while. Do you use a bypass tee and ball valve on the output, or do you run it strait to the tank?
 

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The T for recirculation isn't really necessary. With its impeller movement, the pump itself creates some circulation in your solution. Depending on the kind of pump, you can remove the screen from the impeller chamber to increase the mixing effect.

As long as the pump is strong enough, and a nozzle or such on the outlet restricts the flow, the dosing volume is very consistent. Every so often, when salt crystals start to impede the flow, you have to clean the nozzle.
 
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