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EI Question, Re: Feeding 5 Times a Day?

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by Roan Art, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. Roan Art

    Roan Art Junior Poster

    Jan 12, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Been doing a lot of reading here and on different sites that applaud the EI method of dosing.

    On another planted tank site "that shall remain nameless", they heavily advocate feeding fish 5 times a day to carry the NO3 levels.

    I've searched here and can find no reference in the EI documentation -- or anywhere else -- that addresses this "addition" to EI.

    Therefore, am I correct in assuming that this, ah, "fad" has developed independantly of EI and is not part of the EI method at all?

    I really hope it isn't. I don't even want to get into why this is a bad idea in relation to fish health ;)

  2. Simpte

    Simpte Prolific Poster

    Feb 17, 2005
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    Re: EI Question, Re: Feeding 5 Times a Day?

    I really don't see how that could carry No3 levels. If all the food is eaten not all of the byproduct comes out. Much is used for growth, energy etc....
    I couldn't give you numbers on how much (it would vary from food to food) but many angel breeders feed 5 times a day and still have to dose no3. I may be missing the bus on this one polluting a tank with excess food just doesn't seem smart.
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator Social Group Admin

    Jan 23, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Re: EI Question, Re: Feeding 5 Times a Day?

    And you and every planted aquarist is relatisicatlly going to add food 5x a day? I have a job. Many have kids, leave town for days on end.
    Autofeeders on every one's tanks?

    The other main issue why this will not work well: fish food starts out as NH4/urea waste by products from fish.

    At lower light, or if the tap has a fair amount of NO3 already(many tap waters in Europe), then you can supply the plants with enough in some cases. Add some soil substrate, and you can do this also for awhile, till the soil runs out of Nitrogen.

    It can work in some situations.
    But suggesting 5x a day feeding is nuts.

    And a great way to induce algae.
    You are welcomed to try it.

    Well, folks adding food 5x a day are not really interested in plants, they are interested in raising fry, breeding.
    So they should set up their systems accordingly.

    The addition is simply icing on the cake in many cases.
    Most do not overload their planted tanks with fish, if you do, you are asking for trouble.

    But if you have say 12 discus adults in a 120 gal tank, and feed 2x a day, you can likely get away with about 1/2 the KNO3 dosing.

    Fish loading is considered.
    But.........folks don't read that part for some reason.

    Still, even the best routine can still improve the plant health with additions of KNO3.

    No, it's not a Fad, it's a very old concept and with low light/non CO2, it does work quite well.

    Like a farm, if you want to increase crop production, you need to do weed control, you need to fertilize to increase plant production.

    But you can do it naturally and not add anything and collect the crops that way, but you'll lose most of it to pest and poor growth.

    Adding CO2 and the inorganic ferts increases growth rates and health of the plants. Pruning, herbivores and scrubbing improves the algae issue.

    I do the non CO2 method very well and have a 100% success rate at it's use.
    For CO2 enriched tanks, EI is suitable, but not for non CO2 approachs.

    That is likely part of the confusion here.

    You can remove all the fish and dose inorganically also in either/any system.
    But it's easier to control algae and other issues in a high light tank with much higher NO3 demands than supplying with fish waste.

    Dosing NH4 at slightly measurable levels is a great way to induce algae.
    Try it sometime to prove this to yourself.
    NH4Cl works well. Jobes sticks also. Or progressively adding more and more fish/shrimp etc to a tank till you get algae.

    I've done each of these methods over the last 8 years or so a number of times.

    It's the NH4 that is the problem.

    At low levels, it's fine, plants will suck it all up, but as the demand for N increases, you become more reliant on inorganic NO3 forms.

    Think about it.
    Why can't you add as many fish as you want to a tank?

    NH4 and high NO3's.
    Water changes can address this correct?
    Up to a point when it becomes a real hassle.
    Still, many breeders and discus folks do large 2-7x a week water changes.

    I suggest once a week and dose thereafter.
    You can dose NH4 and do daily water changes without algae.

    But few will submit to daily water changes of 50-80%:)

    But it can be done and for the same reasons breeders do it, fish health and algae.

    Now, try adding NO3 inorganic to a tank, it does not require O2 to convert it to NO3, it's already there.

    NO3 is benign compared to NH4.
    You can add 75ppm or 100ppm and not get algae.
    Fish may not like over 75ppm though.
    Note, this is not the same as NO3 from fish waste.

    You add NH4=> algae
    You add NO3=> no algae.
    NO3 can be added over a wider dosing range and with less frequency.

    So the answer is not a black and white thing, it depends on the goals of the aquarist.

    For folks using CO2 and planted tanks, EI works well for most folks.
    For non CO2 methods, see the other thread on the topic here.
    There is also a marine planted tank approach as well and a grade in between the non CO2 and the CO2, so called Excel tanks, another member write one there.

    So I rate these 3 different apporachs on a growth rate scale.
    CO2 high light: 10
    CO2 med light: 8
    CO2 low light: 6
    Non CO2 + Excel: 4
    non CO2: 1

    The bottom two, maybe three can be supplied via fish waste only and it also may depend on the plants species also as well as the substrate macro nutrient content.

    But the top 4 can use EI.

    Tom Barr
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator Social Group Admin

    Jan 23, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Re: EI Question, Re: Feeding 5 Times a Day?

    Breeders also do frequent water changes. I think the application here is to non CO2 methods, then the above is true as Roan mentions.

    So getting the context of the user is also very important.
    Non CO2 methods are not suitable for EI, they are not needed and less labor intensive method can be employed, still, I do add a little KNO3 to my non CO2 tanks also, but folks can add K2SO4 and increase their fish feeding if they see signs of low NO3.

    Tom Barr
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator Social Group Admin

    Jan 23, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Re: EI Question, Re: Feeding 5 Times a Day?

    BTW, rather than "nameless" sites, often it's better to prevent misunderstandings due to out of context issues by saying what site it may be.
    It's not a personal issue for me.

    There are very few methods left that I have not done and virtually everyone I've come acrossed, I've managed to tweak and improve.

    Your [personal usage of EI can always use some tweaking to various degrees, EI is just a method to get a ballpark range without test kits, then tweak from there (also with or without test kits)

    Tom Barr

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