Couple questions & thoughts

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Is there any problem using EQ as trace in non CO2 tanks with Excel?

In terms of limiting water changes does it work to get a good reliable NO3 test kit and then use that as a marker for dosing and dose other ferts in ratio to KNO3.

So for example if NO3 seems low and I decide to add 10 ppm KNO3 in my 55 then I dose 3/4 tsp KNO3. All Tom's recommendations seem to recommend a quarter of the KNO3 quantity for KH2PO4 so I dose 3/16 tsp of this. If I have any green spot algae I dose more ie 3/8 tsp. For traces in tanks with none or very limited water changes Tom recommends EQ at 2x the KNO3 amount so I dose 1.5 tsp EQ.

This way I am doing water changes only about 1x/month. I am using only 3 fertilizers plus Excel. I have only 1 test kit which I only have to use 1x a month if that to make sure I'm staying basically on track. I only have to calculate KNO3 dosing and then the other ferts are dosed very simply in ratio to that.

Does that all make sense? I have been doing this in one tank for a couple months now and I like it. I'm thinking of using this system with all my tanks but wanted to have you all double check it first.

Thanks, Bill
 

wapfish

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Re: Couple questions & thoughts

Hmmm, it doesn't seem quite right to apply the EI method in this way. While such a strategy might work in certain cases, logic says it wouldn't be broadly applicable. For example, if a tank has a heavy fish load with lots of NH4 being generated from the fish, it would need proportionately less NO3 for the same amount of plant growth than one with a lower fish load and less NH4. Both PO4 and traces would end up being underdosed if added only according to NO3 need. In the EI method, macros and micros are continually "topped off" to finesse such considerations.

Or at least this is my understanding of things! :)
 

Tom Barr

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Re: Couple questions & thoughts

If you use Excel, stick with trace additions(flourish or TMG etc).

Eq and the Barr version both have Fe and Mn, but there's Zn, and other traces that need to be present.

I would not fertilize that 55 gal tank more than once a week at most with a normal EI dosing.

You have about 1/3 less growth with excel, but you can do the weekly water changes etc or once a month etc also, but you simply do not need that much nutrients and going for a 1 month water changes should do pretty good doing the Excel.

But you do not need much nutrients for such a tank..........
I'd add no more than 10ppm of NO3 per week.
Maybe less with the fish load.

As long as you add 4-10ppm a week, you will not see deficiencies from NO3 or K+. If you use the ratio for PO4, traces, SeaChem Eq, you should be fine.

You should be able to dial in the dosing by monitoring the NO3 if you so chose. I really have not found I needed to test though.

Growth is slow enough to respond by adding more NO3 if the plants look a little wimpy etc.

Main thing: add the excel consistently!!!

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Re: Couple questions & thoughts

wapfish said:
Hmmm, it doesn't seem quite right to apply the EI method in this way. While such a strategy might work in certain cases, logic says it wouldn't be broadly applicable. For example, if a tank has a heavy fish load with lots of NH4 being generated from the fish, it would need proportionately less NO3 for the same amount of plant growth than one with a lower fish load and less NH4. Both PO4 and traces would end up being underdosed if added only according to NO3 need. In the EI method, macros and micros are continually "topped off" to finesse such considerations.

Or at least this is my understanding of things! :)

Right, I get what you are saying and this was my primary concern with this technique. Maybe the reason it works for me so far is because my tank does have a very low fish load. The other thing is I also use GSA as a marker so I'm not completely relying on the KNO3 test in that way either. The other thing is I tend to dose a minimum amount of KNO3, KH2PO4 and traces regardless of how the test comes out so I guess I cover my butt there too.

This helps to think out loud about it all. I guess the other way for me to look at it is to use the NO3 test occasionally just to guarantee that NO3 levels don't get too high with the limited water changes I do and otherwise follow basic fertilizing routine based on Tom's experience.

Thanks for the feedback,
Bill
 

Dolfan

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Re: Couple questions & thoughts

I have a 75 gallon non CO2 Discus tank. I add 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of Eq per week and 1 capful of TMG and Flourish twice per week. I also bought a set of Gregs measuring spoons and add the middle size or large(pinch or dash I think) size spoonful of KH2PO4 1 time per week. Using Tom's recomendation I do not add KNO3. I stuff my 4 discus with 6 frozen cubes of food a day so the KNO3 comes from that. I have never had algae and everything grows well. I do change 15 gallons of water every one or two weeks. This method is worth its weight in gold. My Ph starts around 6 in the morning and goes to 6.5 or so by evening. My Kh is around 2. Using the 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of Eq Keeps my Gh around 10 at the beginning of the week and by the end around 7. I no longer test, though i did this morning just to make sure before i wrote this, it is always the same. I also added 2 cups of leonardite a couple months ago. With my Ph and Kh according to the CO2 chart I am around 30 ppm. I have often wondered if that is correct but if I have good growth and no algae it must be? If you have a low Kh like mine maybe you can save a buck and ditch the Excel?
 

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Re: Couple questions & thoughts

Thanks for the responses.

Tom, I haven't been adding any traces recently aside from the EQ so I'll start doing that again. I think I'll try the TMG. It may be coincidental but I still seem to see a correlation sometimes between Flourish dosing and the growth of hair algae in my tanks. You are probably right that I don't need to test. At this point I probably do it out of curiousity more than any real need. I do dose the Excel consistently - every morning when I feed!

Wapfish, The concern you raised was my biggest worry too. I think it works in my case because I have fairly reasonable fish load and it just seems to simplify things. I have to admit I also use GSA and dust algae as markers which also covers my butt a little in the KH2PO4 dosing. I also know enough from Tom to not let things bottom out so even if I didn't add any KNO3 I would still add a reasonable amount of KH2PO4 and traces.

Dolfan, I'm curious to hear more about the Leonardite. Where did you get it? Was it easy to add to your tank and mix in to your substrate or did it cloud things up? Have you noticed any change since you added it? For now I'm going to stick with the Excel. I buy the big bottle from Big Al's which makes it pretty reasonable price wise.

Thanks again, Bill
 

Dolfan

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Re: Couple questions & thoughts

Bill,

I ordered the Leonardite( Black Diamond) from a local hydroponics supplier. I bought 12 lbs for $40, way too much. Just get the 3 lb size for around $12. I measured two cups full and put it in a water pitcher then ran water in it until it got fairly clear and all sunk to the bottom. I just sprinkled it in. I have Eco Complete which is basically black so you cannot tell the leonardite from the Eco. I do think my plants grow faster since adding it but I have no science to back it.

Happy holidays everyone, Walt