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EI for 300 gallon tank

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by calihawker, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. calihawker

    calihawker Junior Poster

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    After trying several dosing methods with marginal success I want try EI by the numbers. I'm trying to extrapolate from the examples in the EI light thread and noticed that the larger the tank the higher the dosing percentage. For example taking the 20-40 gallon regime x10 requires 2.5 tsp KN03 but 100-125 gallon x3 would need 4.5 tsp. I'm not really looking to understand the concept, just the numbers that apply to my tank.

    Also my water is very very soft so I need quite a bit of GH booster. I've asked this question on several forums and never got an answer but I would like to make my own booster and need some kind of formula.

    BTW, before anyone asks the tank is high light, high tech, very good c02 and heavily planted.

    Thank a bunch for any help!!

    Steve
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Low GH water is lacking in magnesium and calcium. You can dose Epsom Salts, Magnesium sulfate, and one of several calcium compounds, including Cacium nitrate and calcium chloride. There is no magic ratio between calcium and magnesium, but you need more calcium than magnesium, so 4 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium would work.

    The GH boosters, including Seachem Equilibrium, were designed for adding to RO/DI water, so they contain other elements that would be removed by the RO/DI filters, but just for soft tap water you don't necessarily need those elements, and a trace element mix would provide them in any case.
     
  3. calihawker

    calihawker Junior Poster

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    Dosn't P04 fit into the GH booster formula as well? My tap water is not only soft but fairly well stripped of minerals. The local water board lists potassium as "not detectable".

    Thanks for your input!
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plants consume potassium, nitrates and phosphate so rapidly you have to dose those anyway. EI takes care of those. The reason for making a special effort to dose calcium and magnesium is that the quantity needed to build up the GH is so great that a trace mix would never be able to supply that much. Other elements that are needed are needed in such small concentrations that they fit well in the trace mix.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Given the limited success of other methods, you do not mention them, it might have little to do with that and more to do with CO2/light etc.

    EI is not going to save anyone from those issues, nor is any method.
    As EI has richer non limiting suggestions, it might is some cases where high light is present and the folks add enough CO2. Likewise, say PMDD where PO4 is limiting may work reasonably well where EI might not if the CO2 is low, and not noted by the aquarist or assumed to be the same.

    So there's more to it than this.

    In a high light 350 Gal, I add this weekly:

    High fish load and well fed.
    50-60% weekly water change
    Trim, clean well.

    3-4x a week:
    1 table spoon of KNO3
    1 teaspoon KH2PO4
    75 mls of TMG

    After water change only: 1.5 Table spoons of GH booster

    Sometimes the CO2 tank runs out when I'm not around. So I might get a tad of algae at high light before getting to change the gas tank, I'll have them add Excel at 150mls for a week or two and things are reset and clean again.

    That's about it.

    Mostly a CO2 tweaking is about all I really need to worry about.
    Tank has been up and stable for 4 years now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    IMO, I think you do yourself a disservice with this comment/attitude.

    Even if someone says dose X of this and Y of that, and it works for you now, you will have learned nothing, and will not be able to understand or react when things change or again go south.

    I can understand you not wanting to be overwhelmed by EI at first, but I do not understand why you would be willing to take anyone's advice (no disrespect to anyone) so blindly. It appears you have done this before and it has not gone well based on your opening line........

    Tom IS an expert and this forum does have great knowledge, but you should try and understand WHY someone gives certain advice and why it does or does not work, regardless of it's source.

    EI dosing is very variable from tank to tank, and even within a specific tank, based on light and nutrient demand, c02 availability, current, fish load, plant bio-mass, etc.

    Since you have tried other dosing methodologies, you should have no problems with understanding the concepts and application of EI.

    If not, folks (including myself) are happy to help.

    Thanks,

    P.S. I do not mean this in any way, shape, or form as any kind of personal attack and I apologize if it did, or you are offended:)
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Gerry, folks will come to understand and learn more as they get more involved over time. Hard not too really. Everyone has their own pace and learns when they so chose. I do however go after folks that want to talk the talk, ask the questions, bicker endlessly, but then claim they do not really want to know why or claim they do not care that much. I do wail on folks when they say things counter or are just being wind bags and not helping much.

    If someone wants just the simple stuff and nothing more, that's their goal and a specific question. I pointed out why the light/CO2 other methods may not have given them the best results.

    Those are the common errors, so this way they are covered with the minimal jargon. They will talk Plant jargonese later on:)

    This person has bought into it already, but just wants to know what to add to make sure.

    Give them time. They just wanna know how, once successful, then they can pursue more in depth stuff and are more confident and familiar.
    It's a lot to take in in most folk's case.
    And that's the simple version.

    I felt the same way when I first started out and did not want to display my own ignorance. I still feel quite stupid about a great many topics in the aquarium hobby and have never considered my self an "expert", those are labels given to me by other folks. I'm a bone head and feeble minded............
    But I know it at least and try to make plans to avoid some of that.
    If someone brings up why, then I'll try to answer that, "How" question are easy:)

    Do not give me more work Gerry, hehe.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. calihawker

    calihawker Junior Poster

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    Gerry.
    I'm not offended in any way and understand the passion that you, Tom and many others have for this hobby. At the risk of getting flamed, I have to admit that I do not share that passion. I want a piece of living art as the centerpiece of my bar. Nothing more, nothing less. The fact that I live in the middle of nowhere prevents me from hiring a maintanence service which I would do in a heartbeat. The tank has been a saltwater F/O, an SPS reef and now planted-discus. I have to admit that the current version is the most challenging.

    Having said that, It's my intention to provide the most hospitable environment for the inhabitants of my tank and it is necessary that I undersatnd how to acheive that. Knowing why a thing happens helps to understand how to manipulate that thing but as Tom said, knowing how is what I'm looking for right now, the why part will come when I change something and see the results for myself.



    Tom,

    I really appreciate all of your help.




    Cheers!
    Steve
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I knew it!
    Haha, yes, many folks are in this boat.

    Well, I can give some hints to reduce the pain and make the pesky bugger easier for you.

    I think a huge back ground in plant Physiology and science is NOT the least bit required. I had a nice looking set up without any schooling or real background other than some fish keeping.

    Some are curious and want to know more with time, some just want a specific goal, nothing more, they have other interest etc.

    Well, you are a caring owner, that much is evident.
    With that, you can go a long way with the tank.

    More than any know it all without the caring..........

    Some questions shall follow.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Steve,

    1. Since the tap is nice and soft, great, jujst add the GH booster, do not worry about the KH at all(as ling as it's 5 degrees or less).

    2. How is the water change set up done right now?
    Do you use a siphon etc and refill with tap or RO etc?

    3. Filter type here.
    Flow, wet/dry sump, pumps etc etc

    4. Type of lighting, watts, bulb types etc.

    5. Fish load planned.

    I'll tell you CO2 will be the biggest issue and you may need to fiddle with it a fair amount to get it dialed in, after which is should be fairly stable.

    The nutrients, truthfully, are very easy.

    If you can set the tank up to turn a valve to quickly drain it 60%, and turn another to refill it somewhat quickly, this will make your life much easier, this can be done DIY or hire a plumber to make it like flushing a toilet.

    When you need to work on the tank and get in there, this will make it 20X easier(when it's 1/2 full).

    Otherwise you are wet, make a mess, cannot reach some spots without dipping the head in.

    Get some Excel for problems, Big Al's sells 4 liter amounts 37$.
    Tropica master grow is good and they sell 5 liter jugs also.

    GH booster and the ferts you can get on line as well.
    They are cheap.

    If you have HQI/MH's lighting, run them only 4-5 hours and during business hours, use the PC's, FL's, T5's only during the hours before and after the MH's.

    If you have a wet dry sump, raise the level in the over flow(if built in) to about 2-3" below the water level in the tank, so you will need to cut and add a new standpipe, see Hofner Gruggle buster for keeping the sucker quiet.

    Duct tape the Wet/dry box lid up so that no air can escape in/out of the dry section in the sump. This is important as you will see later.

    CO2, feed into return pump.
    Dialing in the right amount of CO2 is not going to be that easy.
    Anyone that tells you otherwise is full of crap.

    If you have an issue raise the light up and reduce the hours.
    This will reduce the CO2 demand.

    90-95% of all the issues will be due to CO2 as long as you maintain the water changes, light, and normal maintenance.

    Select plants that require less light also and consider reducing the intensity of the light.

    You might want to think of a cooler deep forest feel, the discus will pop out and color up better.

    Not the harsh intense light.
    More light = more work.

    Something you will not want.

    Where is this located?
    I might know someone.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. calihawker

    calihawker Junior Poster

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    All good with that
    I've tried several different methods, the difficulty being the inability to store and heat/age 150+ gallons of water. I have a pump setup to drain the tank and a 55 gallon drum with a pump back into the tank. I just setup hot and cold taps into the drum to mix water to temperature as I'm pumping into the tank. Straight tap water with the addition of prime.
    2 Rena xp3's, 1 xp4 with a magdrive 9.5 booster. Loaded with just sponges and some chemstars. Not sure of the flow rates but I'm starting to wonder if I have dead spots here and there.
    4x40 watt T12 6500k for 12 hrs.
    2x250 watt MH 4 hrs.
    At the next light change cycle I will be upgrading to T5's
    Currently: 60-70 Harlequin Rasboras, a dozen SAE's and a common Pleco.
    Planned: 12-15 Discus, 15-20 Amano shrimp.
    Honestly I think this is the area that I have had the least trouble with, if I can trust the drop checkers that is. I have a rex grigg style reactor, built a little bigger, on the out side of the xp4. The solenoid is hooked into an aquacontroller and controlled by ph. There are drop checkers on either end of the tank, both reading pale green to yellow. Fish are very happy and healthy.
    Again, how well can I trust the drop checkers?
    Agreed.

    I'm about an hour east of Sacramento.

    Thanks again Tom!

    Steve
     
  12. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Drop checkers have three big problems: first they are very slow responding to changes in CO2 concentration. It takes about 2-3 hours for one to reach equilibrium with the tank water. Second, they are limited in accuracy by our ability to judge the solution color. Since that color is a measure of the pH of the water in the drop checker, and the ppm of CO2 indicated is proportional to one over ten raised to the power of the pH, a small error in reading the color makes a big error in the CO2 indication. Drop checkers are dirt cheap, and are a way to make use of the KH/pH/CO2 relationship without worrying about having water with "contaminants" that affect the pH and KH. But, they will never be an accurate measuring device. And, third, the concentration of CO2 in the tank varies a great deal from place to place in the tank. If the water circulation isn't ideal a drop checker can show "30 ppm of CO2" but in among the plants, where it is needed, the concentration can be far lower.

    A drop checker allows you to avoid what used to be a common problem - having tank water with a KH and pH that indicated you had 100+ ppm of CO2 in the water, when you really had less than 10 ppm. But, it isn't the last word on CO2 concentration.
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Steve, I'm in Sacramento:)
    I go to Tahoe all the time.

    I know most of the hillbilly backroads, as that is where I often explore wherever I live.

    I can do some work for you if you want.
    PM me.

    I travel to the Bay area weekly do do work for clients.
    I ain't cheap, but I can get things going and then you can relax and have things set up easier and be able to do it yourself. I did that for a client in LA.

    Results:
    [​IMG]

    The tank looks much better than this now, this was about 9 months ago

    [​IMG]

    I'd suggest a sump/overflow, Bag filter, some sponge and about a Iwaki RT 55 or so.

    As far as adding more circulation, the Sureflow Adaptors for the Maxi jets or the Seio Rio pumps are excellent, one or two would be plenty.

    No, the drop checkers are not particularly good IME, they are slow response and they are not easy to determine the color.

    WC- the hot and cold tap is all you need, add directly and plumb right into the tank. You can test via your hand and it's about accurate to 2 F so you can adjust the tap to suit easily. No need to pre mix water and then add to the tank later, this is not Marine saltwater fortunately.

    Amano shrimp can last awhile in the tank, but adult Discus will eat any they can catch. 200 is more like the numbers you need.

    Also, with clients, I get all live stock at wholesale.
    So the cost is much much lower(wholesale + 10%), even though I'm not cheap.
    I make up cost savings in other areas.

    While I do take on long term clients, most are more inclined to have me help them, then teach them how to care for it. The other thing that can be done is once a month and then you deal with it at a lower key level 3 weeks(say just water changes).
    I did this for the CEO for Levi's here.
    He does pretty well and no longer needs me.

    T5 upgrade will help.
    I'd go no more than 10 hours tops for light.

    I think the CO2 may still be an issue, Controllers are only as good as delivery system they try to control, it does not imply they are really controlling CO2.

    Seems like the tap is similar, we get it from the same water shed.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr











     
  14. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the more nuanced and realistic perspective......with experience comes wisdom :)

    I was too quick on the trigger and didn't think it through, my bad:eek: :eek:

    I do not want to add to your workload in any way, shape, or form .

    I think I have taken up more than my share of your time already lol

    Steve,

    Thanks for being kind. No flaming done here at all.......not that type of place or person.

    Sorry if I gave you that impression or to anyone out there lurking.......

    I am just glad you found this site, as it is the best available IMO....

    Best of luck with your tank. Please post some pics when you can.

    Here is a link for dry ferts:

    Planted Aquarium Fertilizer

    and for the Hofer Gurgle buster:

    Hofer Gurgle Buster Construction

    BTW, I just purchased a Pan World 250PS pump to run my 180 and it is very nice. Quiet and powerful, it is more than enough for my tank and I have to throttle it back. Runs my wet/dry filter and sump and both my NC canister and c02 venturi with plenty left over.

    Almost the same as Iwaki, a little less $, built by a former Iwaki engineer...This is equal to the mdrlt100 in ratings, I think.

    Just a thought.....

    Take care.
     
  15. calihawker

    calihawker Junior Poster

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    Gerry,
    Is the gurgle buster just noise reduction for overflow boxes. I still have my durso stand pipes, if I'm going back to a sump, they worked quite well.

    Thanks!
     
  16. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Steve,

    Pretty much IMO, although they are easily adjustable whereas the durso are not...

    As long as you don't have a large waterfall in there > 3-4" as per Tom, and the noise is okay with the durso, then let it go.

    I had investigated them awhile ago, but decided that my setup was pretty darn quiet.

    Later,
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Do not sweat it Gerry, we all love ya.
    I've been on line with folks for a long long time and can "smell" the goals some have pretty well.
    I go off on things very often myself.
    More than you.

    Main thing is to help the person and resolve the issue. Some folks have bad attitudes, some are just looking for help at some specific level.
    The web is hard to communicate vs in person. We all see and know that!

    Haha, I was joking here, just so you know. Do not let my web persona fool you.

    No intent taking away anyone's fire here or anything like that. Do not hold back in the future ;)


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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