The Planted Tank Forum banner

Low Tech EI dosing and Nitrates

6864 21
So I have been Low Tech EI Dosing for about a month now. Before that I had gotten my nitrates in a more manageable number. I was having problems before with it getting too high.

Now I have noticed that before I perform my water change on my 30 gal, that the nitrates are back to being at some of the highest ranges of my API Test Kit.

Am I doing anything wrong? Should I perform more water changes or larger one? Or reduce my dosing?
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
Try cutting down on potassium nitrate and adding some potassium sulfate. And cleaning/water changes to get nitrates back down. Depending on stocking level and plant growth, you may not need to add as much nitrate as EI suggests. I don't add any at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,007 Posts
First, verify that your nitrate test kit is giving you correct readings. You can mix a known nitrate concentration test solution per http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=83545 and see if your test kit gives the right reading. It is best to use 2 or 3 different concentrations of nitrates in your test solutions, and check all of them to see how good your readings are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,717 Posts
If the fish food is giving you enough nitrogen (based on the nitrate test) then it may also be giving you enough phosphorus, but probably not enough potassium. Probably getting enough traces, except for iron.

You might cut back the EI and try it more like this:
Little or no KNO3
Little or no KH2PO4
Use K2SO4 instead, at whatever rate is suggested for the KNO3.
for example, if the chart suggests 1/4 tsp of KNO3 and you think 1/8 is enough, then dose 1/8 tsp K2SO4 so the plants still get the potassium they need.
Little or no trace.
Dose chelated iron instead of trace, or combined with the trace minerals so the tank is getting more iron and less trace minerals.

When I was running heavily stocked tanks all I needed to dose was K and Fe. Fish food had everything else, water changes kept the GH and KH correct. As I improved conditions (light, carbon from excel) I had to start adding a little bit of other things, but kept the K and Fe dosing the highest, since fish food was still supplying a lot, just not quite enough N, P, traces.
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,398 Posts
A lot of people forget the "Estimative" part of the Estimative Index; it's just a starting point, and since everyone's individual tank is going to differ, you adjust accordingly.

Plant species, total plant sizes/mass, light levels, CO2 levels, biomass, tap/source water chemistry can all affect dosing needs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses.

This is for my 30 gallon in my signature.

I was advised to start with this dosing:

1/2 tsp KNO3
1/32 tsp KH2PO4
1/4 tsp CSM+B

50% water change a week.

Plants are as follows:

Argentine Swords (three large groups on the right)
Bacopa Caroliniana (quite a few on the back right)
Bacopa Monnieri (small group mixed in with the Caroliniana)
Creeping Jenny (or so I think, front left)
An unidentified plant on the back left

I am looking to add a fair amount of some foreground plant around the rock in the middle.

I started EI dosing because I felt I was at a point where I could take things to the next level. It is not like anything was wrong. Next week I plan to trim my bacopa and replant. The bottom halves are covered in slime algae that I am still recovering from. The new growth is fine. So my thought process at the time was to grow them as much as possible, and then trim and remove the pieces that are covered and replant with the pieces that are not.

Also I need to trim some of the swords that are not recovering.

Also, I just kicked the bucket on my Nitrate test kit and will need to replace. It seemed to be reading correctly based on what I would expect from my other tanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,572 Posts
Does not matter what nitrate level's are in other tank's for they are not the tank in question.
If you want,dose 1/4 tsp KNO3 and observe plant's reaction over a few week's.
Can alway's bump it back up if plant's respond poorly.
Agree with Hoppy.unless one takes the time to calibrate their test with known sample,then one could easily have less or more than they think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,572 Posts
The next level is adding CO2. You're wasting ferts that's all.
Your plants aren't going to grow any faster or more lush by adding more nutrients without CO2.

No harm done really.
I agree that faster growth,more lush growth ,is achieved with CO2 injection.
Also agree that if one is dosing full EI level's in low tech application that they are prolly wasting fertz.
Is not to say that 1/3 to 1/4 of EI does not benefit the plant's in low tech for I and many other's have seen the benefit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
SO perhaps I should cut everything back by 1/2 then after a month another half?

Looks like by one calc I should be using:

1.389 g KNO3
211 mg KH2PO4
869 mg CSM+B

Using a unit converter, it seems it should only be

1/4 TSP of KNO3, not 1/2.
1/32 tsp KH2PO4 seems right
1/16 CSM+B maybe?

Guess I need to do my homework. I think for now I am just going to cut the KNO3 in half.

Also, I thought it was recommended to still EI dose without CO2?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,610 Posts
Guess I need to do my homework. I think for now I am just going to cut the KNO3 in half.

Also, I thought it was recommended to still EI dose without CO2?
Are you adding CO2 and/or Excel or not?

If not, then stick with the non CO2 method. There's no low tech EI method. EI is used for Excel and CO2 enriched tanks only.

"Low tech" I assume in your context is no CO2 or Excel.

API NO3 test kits have many issues, never reply or do management based decisions on their results without checking to see if they are correct and in the 1st place, Hoppy told you what you need to do there already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Are you adding CO2 and/or Excel or not?

If not, then stick with the non CO2 method. There's no low tech EI method. EI is used for Excel and CO2 enriched tanks only.

"Low tech" I assume in your context is no CO2 or Excel.

API NO3 test kits have many issues, never reply or do management based decisions on their results without checking to see if they are correct and in the 1st place, Hoppy told you what you need to do there already.
Ok, my bad. When I was reading about Low Tech EI dosing, I was under the assumption that meant no CO2 or CO2 additive.

The funny thing is, my plants have never looked better. All my new growth since I started is amazing. The amount of growth has slowed a little, but the size of what does grow is nearly twice what I was seeing before.

Should I stop all together? If I was to use Excel, do I have to do this daily or once a week as well?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,105 Posts
Ok, my bad. When I was reading about Low Tech EI dosing, I was under the assumption that meant no CO2 or CO2 additive.

The funny thing is, my plants have never looked better. All my new growth since I started is amazing. The amount of growth has slowed a little, but the size of what does grow is nearly twice what I was seeing before.

Should I stop all together? If I was to use Excel, do I have to do this daily or once a week as well?
I would switch to solutions. Your KH2PO4 dose is pretty high for non-CO2. That said as long as you're doing 50% weekly water changes it won't hurt anything.

I certainly won't question plantbrain's comment about there being no EI method for non-co2. However, the premise of non-limiting nutrients is still the same whether you use CO2 or not. I personally would dose non-limiting nutrients and do the 50% weekly water changes.

So the question remains what should you dose? Assuming your tap water is free of nutrients try 1/3 the doses listed in this thread, Dry dosing and Nutrient Solution Recipes.

We know that you don't need those levels for non-CO2 but it does not matter. Technically, you could use full EI dosing and still see no problems. The dosing relies on water changes. Basically, the worst that can happen is you waste fertilizers. Personally, I would rather waste 0.25 cents of fertilizers a week than have deficiencies. I'm not quite sure why everyone seems so intent on dosing close to limiting levels. It seems a silly venture to me.

As far as Excel or glut is concerned, daily dosing is the way to go. If you do start using Excel you can continue the 1/3 dosing listed. The only time you will need to increase is when and if you upgrade to CO2 injection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I would switch to solutions. Your KH2PO4 dose is pretty high for non-CO2. That said as long as you're doing 50% weekly water changes it won't hurt anything.

I certainly won't question plantbrain's comment about there being no EI method for non-co2. However, the premise of non-limiting nutrients is still the same whether you use CO2 or not. I personally would dose non-limiting nutrients and do the 50% weekly water changes.

So the question remains what should you dose? Assuming your tap water is free of nutrients try 1/3 the doses listed in this thread, Dry dosing and Nutrient Solution Recipes.

We know that you don't need those levels for non-CO2 but it does not matter. Technically, you could use full EI dosing and still see no problems. The dosing relies on water changes. Basically, the worst that can happen is you waste fertilizers. Personally, I would rather waste 0.25 cents of fertilizers a week than have deficiencies. I'm not quite sure why everyone seems so intent on dosing close to limiting levels. It seems a silly venture to me.

As far as Excel or glut is concerned, daily dosing is the way to go. If you do start using Excel you can continue the 1/3 dosing listed. The only time you will need to increase is when and if you upgrade to CO2 injection.
I had already cut everything in half. So I am not hurting anything by doing this, just not taking full advantage of what I could? Sort of like a super car in NYC LOL.

My problem with using Excel is its expensive. I would have to dose daily correct? How much would I be dosing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,021 Posts
I run a low tech 75 with no co2 or excel and I have great results with no algae in the tank at all. At least visible algae that can be seen.

I dose way less than you too. I only feed every other day as well.

I stopped dosing kno3 and got k2so4 (potassium sulfate)

I was reaching 30ppm nitrates while I was dosing kno3 and don't like it being that high.

Hope this helps.

I don't dose glut because I have a lot of Val's and I know they will melt. Plus why change things when my tank is doing so good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,610 Posts
A good method for the low tech(no CO2 gas or Excel) is to have a decent health fish load, feed them routinely and stop with the water changes, pack the tank with plants.

You can dose things like KNO3/KH2PO4, GH booster and traces. But you likely need a little less if you have a decent fish load and feed them routinely.

Still, I've seen no ill effects if you over dose the KNO3.

Low tech non CO2 methods I suggested years ago are roughly 1/10th to 1/20th(if you have fish and feed often) what EI suggest.

Why? Growth rates are about 10-20X slower than with EI.
So build up is also 10-20X slower.

So instead of build up over say 2-3 weeks without a water changes with EI, you get 20-60 weeks, or about once every 3-6 months, maybe a year etc between water changes with the non CO2/Excel method.

1/3rd works well, even 1/4 or less __if___ you have soil and/or decent fish loads with the Excel dosing.

If not, then dose at 1/10th. I dose basically once a week or two with non CO2/no excel methods.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
SO I am digging up this thread again LOL.

I stopped any and all dosing because it was becoming a pain to figure out. I switched to Flourish because it seemed easier. In my tanks with basically just wysteria, this seems to be working fine. My main 30 gallon though is struggling.

When I first starting EI dosing, I was following this:

1/2 tsp KNO3
1/32 tsp KH2PO4
1/4 tsp CSM+B

It was something that was suggested to me by someone else. When I was doing this, my plants seemed VERY happy, however I was struggling with algae. Which is then when I started this thread.

So I was going to start doing this:

1/4 tsp of KNO3
1/32 tsp KH2PO4
1/16 tsp CSM+B

Which is roughly half what I was doing. Does anyone think that is still not small enough of a dose? Should I make a liquid solution and dose even smaller amounts?

Maybe I should go back to reading more about the whole subject LOL
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top