Re: EI Question, Re: Feeding 5 Times a Day?
Roan Art said:
On another planted tank site "that shall remain nameless", they heavily advocate feeding fish 5 times a day to carry the NO3 levels.
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.
I've searched here and can find no reference in the EI documentation -- or anywhere else -- that addresses this "addition" to EI.
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.
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
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.