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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As my 20 gallon tank has been progressing I have been reading many articles and posts on fertilizers to find one that will work for me. It seems to be that EI dosing is the way to go currently, but I just want to be sure I am thinking correctly. I have been dosing API Leaf Zone and Flourish Comprehensive every other day in smaller amounts to keep nutrients available to the plants. Along with that I use seachem root tabs in my PFS substrate.

I have a fair amount of fast growing plants, but also have slower growing plants too. I have pearling on some of the plants which means the need a good supply of nutrients due to the growth rate, right? With the details listed below does it seem that EI dosing would work well? Also, is it necessary to pick up any other test kits, or go blind with dosing? I am not sure what my light level category falls in to since I don't have any way to measure PAR. Any help is appreciated, thanks!

The tank
- 20 gallon (16 3/4" height) tropical community 80 F with and AC20 and 50
- pH 7.4 (before CO2) with peat filtering, 7.0 with CO2 running
- 20-30 ppm CO2 (with room for error), pressurized CO2
- ammonia: 0ppm, nitrites: 0ppm, nitrates: 5-10ppm (seems to be dropping, too early to tell)
- GH: 6 dH, KH: 11 dH (again with error as I have confirmed the test accuracy)
- 24" Aquatic Life 48W T5HO, ZooMed Flora Sun and Ultra Sun, on legs 4" above the water

- Plants: Purple Cabomba (8), Brazilian Pennywort (floating), Riccia, Java moss wall, Water wisteria (2), rotala rotundifolia (10), limnophilia aromatica (4), chain swords (E. Bolivianus)(8), banana plant (2), alternanthera "cardinalis" (3), and amazon swords (3, small, different species, not permanent)
 

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I think EI would work well for your aquarium.

From what I can tell, you have two T5HO bulbs over your aquarium? This is quite a bit of light, so your plants will be hungry for CO2 (good that you have pressurized CO2) as well as nutrients.

While a PAR meter is useful, it is very expensive, so unless you have a lot of money to spend, there are better things to invest in :)

For test kits, you are fine with what you have, though you could get an iron or phosphate test kit if you really wanted to. I personally keep the test kits around just for when things go wrong as a diagnostic tool, but other than that, once you have a regimen down, you don't really need to test on a regular basis. As long as you keep up with the 50% weekly water changes that EI dosing asks for, your nutrient levels will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, at least I am partially on track :D.

It is two bulbs over the aquarium. I guess it is a bit much for lighting, but I am happy with the plant options I have. The CO2 was added a few weeks ago because I was loosing to BBA with double dosed excel and one bulb. I just couldn't keep a balance of CO2 and the BBA loved that, but the plants suffered from the low light. I was going to go to pressurized anyway, so it seemed like a good time to do so. Since the BBA isn't spreading and the plants are growing well it was a great move. So, I guess the levels of CO2 are where they need to be from what I am seeing.

I'll pass on spending a lot of money on a PAR meter, and put the money into the plants :). I am glad I don't have to buy more test kits, but it does sound like a good idea to have the iron and phosphate kits around.

One other question, once I get a good balance of fertilizers on the EI method, can it be tweaked to lower the amount of fertilizers going in assuming the plants still respond well? That way the water change amount could still be around 25% safely. I only ask because I am on well water and during the summer it is possible to run the well low. Either way I will order a package somewhere with micros and macros.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks again, I will just have to try it to see how it goes and adjust as needed. I would still be doing weekly water changes, just wanted to be able to plan ahead just in case.
 
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