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EI, RO, TDS, Oh MY!!

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Bunnie1978, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Bunnie1978

    Bunnie1978 Junior Poster

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    Hi there!
    I have been successful for a while using a modified version of EI in my high tech 75g. Basically, I use less than the recipe amount, and add some iron. It's really great!!

    And then....

    Introducing my handy-dandy-fabulouso RO unit!

    I got an RO unit so that I could keep more delicate soft water fishes. However, I am lacking in confidence in the best way to take care of my lovely plants without elevated hardness unacceptable to my apistos, ram, angels, kribs, plecos, and others.

    So here are my questions:
    If I want to maintain soft water, what are the targets I should be shooting for in TDS/KH/GH? I can test for these three things, and I understand there are no easy answers, but having a target indication of success would be great!
    I have been shooting for 40-80 TDS, using a liquid macro, micro, and Ca/Mg solutions. I mixed the Ca/Mg solutions 10:1, measured in grams (100g Ca, 10g Mg) Is this a good mix?

    Daily, I squirt some of each, but I'm not measuring the amounts. Just a little squirt. I have a ton of the gree short strand fuzzy algae right now too. :(

    What do you think? Any guidance you can provide for anything specific I should be doing differently??
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

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    How RO is Your RO?

    (2) imagine my usual emoticons and italics and stuff it is just too much with having to try 2-4 times to post each time, I am sure I ticked someone off. Sorry, see disclaimer, I didn't mean it.

    Hi,

    I am a little unclear as to what you are trying to accomplish.

    Some of the critters you list have different requirements.

    Are you establishing another tank?

    Are you trying to breed Apistogramma, perhaps read http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/apisto_care.php. They are entertaining and interesting fish that breed readily when happy. They do require attention and have some special needs.

    A general rule is that reverse osmosis devices drop total dissolved solids at least 90%, usually we hope for more. If the water into your RO is 180-ppm, the TDS of the RO output should be less than 18-ppm, most hope a lot less. If as I do you live in a high TDS environment filtering the water prior to the RO filter is a good way to save money.

    What Calcium and Magnesium are you mixing? Generally, they do not work and play well together.

    I suggest getting the current water conditions under control first.

    Please share with us current conditions and dosing information.

    Biollante
     
  3. Bunnie1978

    Bunnie1978 Junior Poster

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    Sure! I have several tanks, so these questions are not as specific as that really. If I understand the science better, I can taylor the mixtures to each tank. Right now I have several species in temperary tanks while I figure out what to do with them.

    Here is a brief snapshot of my craziness:

    75g display - community, mostly growing out Ancistrus, some Cardinals, SAE, AES, Otos, Cories, Hypocostomus. High tech, heavily planted. Using RO only in (mostly just to get the TDS down, then I will start using some mix of tap/RO when I figure things out a bit better) Dosing 3 liquid mixes (traces, macros, GH) based loosely off of GH booster and EI. The mixes are based on a synthesis of several methods, and I have no idea if I 'm doing it right. In my display I do have some signs of what I believe is Ca deficiency (small, brittle, deformed leaves) but it's slight and only on a couple stems. I also have much less maroon color on my L. Peruensis. All other reds are great.
    [​IMG]

    29g Angels - This tank was recently set up with an experimental substrate. I was using Oil-Dri (low heat fired mont. clay) but it was incredibly dirty and leeched WAY too may silicates, so now I'm trying a layered from bottom - handful peat moss, Miracle Grow Organic Choice potting mix, Black Diamond sand, Flourite regular. This tank is newly set-up, doing the same things with the water as described above. No CO2 into this one. I don't have a picture of the newest set up.

    29g Apisto/Ram - Some Angels in here temperarily while I get the Angel tank under control. This tank is about a month old. Doing 50% W/C every couple of days. High tech, heavily planted. Using Black Diamond sand and Flourite Black as substrate, and it's very nice looking as a mix, and working well for cleanliness too. I have some big algae issues in this one.
    [​IMG]

    Testing results:
    RO water comes out at 1-3 ppm TDS.
    75g - PH 6.4, Nitrate 5, TDS 190, GH 125ppm, dKH 4. These readings were after dosing. I raised my macro dosing as a result. I did a test on Nitrate consumption a couple months ago on this tank, and using EI method I can dose 20ppm Nitrate twice a day and have 0 the next morning. (3/14)
    29 Apisto - PH 6.8, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 10, TDS 50, GH 53.7ppm, dKH 2 These readings were after a 40% W/C and after dosing (3/14)



    All the ferts I'm using were ordered only from either GLA or the other online retailer that I can't remember the name. The Mg is Epsom Salt, the Ca is Calcium Sulfate.


    Eventually I want to have mostly species tanks for the Apistos. I also have unplanted tanks with L-199s and L-333 that I plan to breed. Already breeding Ancistrus and Kribs for growing out and livebearers and convicts for live food. (Sorry if that offends anyone!)

    By the way, for anyone interested, here are 3 links to my Facebook photo albums of my tanks and fish. I have 21 tanks, 16 with fish in them now.
    Angels: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2054430&id=1403375997&l=41d96369a3
    Community: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2037049&id=1403375997&l=d1bbeeda6c
    Cichlids: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2051364&id=1403375997&l=1b023b1b53
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Addict Alert

    Hi,

    Oh goodie, a real addict :), after my own heart :D, if I had a heart. :eek:

    Now this makes sense.

    Not only am I not offended by your raising your live food I recommend, “Culturing” your live food.

    I also raise tasty critters of my own.

    I have 40 tanks ranging from 2.5 to 1200-gallons plus a zillion tubs, jars and buckets of various forms, I even have a dozen or so zip-lock bags hanging up with plants.

    It is an addiction! It is an illness,I tell you, an illness. There is no cure!

    Now that I have that out of my system, I will be back in a bit.

    I am going to make a serious recommendation, subscribe to the Barr Report. I do not get a cut, “they” do not even like me, which kind of goes with the whole evil plant monster thing, it is okay, the access to information is worth the price of admission. :cool:

    Biollante
     
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