E.I. & Dosing Example


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
Tom (or anyone), please join in. I have a few questions, perhaps you can help. When you mention using 1/4 teaspooons, etc., you are talking dry powder of fertilizer directly added to the tank, right? I use a liquid mixture of 167 mls of water with one teaspoon of the various fertilizers when doing liquids. Is that the ratio you use when dosing liquid fertilizers? You also mentioned not using vermiculite in the substrate. Why is it detrimental?
Okay, my tank. It is 75 gallons, 4 feet by whatever, holding 63 gallons of water. Eheim 2229 canister, Top Fin 60 otb filter, UV sterilizer when I feel I need it, and pressurized CO2 with controller. I try to maintain a 6.8 PH by controlling the KH in the tank @ 6.5. A little high according to the chart, but the fish don't seem to be stressed, and I have no major problems. Light is a JBJ 260 watt compact fluorescent with four CoraLife colormax bulbs. I believe, with compact fluorescents and a good reflecter, that would be approximately equvalent to 345 watts, or about 4 watts/gallon. Is this correct? GH is maintained at 5 GH. Trying to maintain the 4:1 Ca/Mg ratio. The tank has been recently redone, massive pruning, cleaning, heavy replanting. Just having begun utilizing your methods (addition of ferts, etc.), I achieved incredible growth!! I just couldn't bear to cut anything or remove anything, I was reveling in the plant's growth after all that time of growing algae. Finally, when 75% of the tank was pure plants, and the fish couldn't swim in it, I had to replant/prune massively. Sob!!
This is the result of my water report from the county, for reference:
Al,B,Cd, Cr,Mn,Mo,Ni, are negligible.
CA- 11.5 ppm
Cu- .11 ppm
Fe- .o1 ppm
Mg- 1.9 ppm
P- .3 ppm
K- 1.7 ppm
N- .64 ppm
SiO2- 6.70 ppm (Is this level problamatic or too high?)
Na- 4.1 ppm
Zn- .02
Okay, I drain and refill 30 gallons for my weekly w/c. At that time, I will add the ferts necessary to bring the level of water I replaced up to the level, at one time, that you recommend in the E.I.- that is, NO3 to 20 ppm, K to 30 ppm, and PO4 to 1.0 ppm. I do this by adding potassium nitrate & sulphate, and potassium phosphate, according to Chuck Gadd's calculator. I don't trust the test kits, so what's in the 30 odd gallons I didn't change, I have no idea. GH for the entire tank is 5GH and KH is 6.5.
Now, please stop giggling and laughing, but is this the correct way to do it? Or, do you try to maintain that nutrient level and add the ferts equally (4 x/week) to get to those levels, for the 30 gallon w/c?
Greg got me straight, I hope, on adding the micros 3x a week, approximately 19 mls at each shot. Is the mixture I use ( 1 tsp/167 mls water) and frequency for the micros okay? Double checking, much of what you say is contrary to accepted practice, but yours WORKS!!
I apologize for the long post, but I, like I'm sure others, want to follow your doctrine as closely and as accurately as we can. This post is for that reason.
And, btw, write the d--n book, will you?
Thx in advance,

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Re: E.I. & Dosing Example

I am writing the book, this is a chapter set up and each will be edited and expounded further from this project.

I main line it with the dry ferts, right into the tank.
Vermic is very light weight, try it sometime and see how it fairs:)

As far as being all intense about getting it just right......... relax.
CO2 and NO3 are okay them things will not be too bad.

You can do this:
50% water change weekly for now.
After add: 1/2 teaspoon of KNO3 and 1/8" teaspoon KH2PO4 every other day.
On the off day add 15mls of traces.
No need for the K2SO4. You can add it after the water change is you want, you can add more GH is you want with SeaChem EQ, but these are not needed.

Later you can guess and extend the water changes longer etc, but if you get too far out and have trouble/poor plant health you can revert back to the defaults with weekly 50%.

That's a safe routine and perhaps over advised by me but works under a wide range of aquarist tank's conditions with no need to know their water test kits etc.

It's not a golden rule or something that is not flexible, some appraently seemed to assume it was, but I've never said folks must do 50% weekly, it's a suggestion to get back on track or if you would rather not mess with any playing around and just want nice max growth.

If you want to get away from water changes: non CO2.

You will need to prune often now and become use to that instead of pruning off all that training algae as I call it.

Don't slack on pruning.

Tom Barr


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
Re: E.I. & Dosing Example

Thanks, Tom, I've got my chainsaw out and I'm ready to prune!!!