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I'm doing it wrong.

Discussion in 'Estimative Index' started by nerbaneth, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

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    Hi guys!

    Its been a while since I have posted here - I haven't had algae problems since I started dosing EI!

    Well, I got a new tank and new lights.. (ada 90-p with 4x39w t5HO) the lights are 2x10,000k and 2x6,700k. My plants were doing great until I did a water change. I noticed they weren't pearling as usual in the morning. When I got home from work.. algae(string).. lots of it! I understand that my lights are just about overkill for this tank, but I love how it looks. I would like to find a dosing method that fits the lights and the tank.

    Here's what I dose:

    1/4tsp of aquariumfertilizers.com PMDD daily:

    "PMDD Pre-Mix 1 lb contains 1 part each of Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Plantex CSM+B."

    Per 1/4 tsp this translates out to:

    1/16tsp - Potassium Nitrate
    1/16tsp - Potassium Sulfate
    1/16tso - Magnesium Sulfate
    1/16tsp - Plantex CSM+B

    I know that this isn't ideal, but I bought a pack a long time ago and would like to use it up (it is still half full) and then place another order with them to get individual macro nutrients so I can mix it myself!

    I do 50%-60% water changes once a week

    I have pressurized CO2 on HIGH (the bubble diffuser made for a 90gal is almost maxed out) and the bubbles get blown across the tank by the spraybar of the eheim 2026. On the other end of the tank there is a 125gph powerhead blowing in the opposite direction to get the area underneath the spraybar that wouldn't have enough flow otherwise. I sometimes notice my fish are having difficulty breathing and turn it down (sometimes add an airstone) I would also like to figure out how to get enough co2 in the tank without stressing out my fish! I built a DIY drop checker (via hoppy's guide) But it leaks.. and I need to make another that doesn't! My CO2 turns on and off with the lights.

    I think I have told you guys everything. Let me know if I missed anything at all.

    So, what do I need to change to have dry nutrients PMDD style EI dosing with what I have? And, how do I get my co2 dissolved in my tank without killing or hurting my fish?

    Thanks,
    -Danny
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    No Time To Scrimp

    Hi Danny,

    All that light, big tank, lots of plants, in my ever so humble opinion this is no time to be cheap (I am one of the cheapest entities on the planet) waiting to use up US six dollars of PMDD against the investment you have is bad business. You need EI on the heavy side, as soon as possible.

    Yes, a hard look at the CO2 delivery is in order. I am not a fan of shooting water from both ends, my opinion there needs to be an uphill side.

    If CO2 is stressing the fish, that is a lot of CO2. A test tube or small vial anything that will easily hold more than 5 ml and tubing of sufficient size to connect to the tube is all you need for a drop checker, doesn’t have to be fancy, we only need it, or better yet several to get an idea of what is happening in the tank.

    However, you need like, three times a week
    • 1 1/4 tsp of KNO3
    • 3/8 to 7/16 tsp K2SO4
    • ¼ tsp KH2PO4
    • 3 to 31/4 tsp MgSO4
    • 3/8 to 1/2 tsp CSM+B on the other three days
    My guess is a teaspoon or so of GH booster each week would not be a bad idea.

    With all that light that may well be on the low side. Nothing wrong with lots of light, just remember that light drives the process.

    For the moment I would dose 1/2 tsp PMDD at minimum everyday till you can get other fertilizers.

    You likely need to do a couple of extra 30 percent water changes as well. If you do the extra water changes, you should be able to increase the PMDD to ¾ tsp per day maybe even a bit more.

    Make sure the filter is clean and all the fish are accounted, for as well as any plant debris.

    Of course pull out and clean up as much of the algae as you can.

    Biollante
     
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey Danny,

    This is a 90 gallon tank correct?

    I think the issue is that the high light is causing more c02 demand than the current diffusion method can supply....

    Can you describe it in more detail?

    Can you try a needle wheel powerhead instead of the spraybar which I assume is powered by the canister?

    Canisters tend to be generous in the estimation of their flow rates:)

    Or maybe a disc or two (one at each end) and the current powerhead used to distribute it?

    Some loc line to direct the outlet flow may also help.

    How about removing one of the 4 bulbs for a bit? Or maybe raise the fixture itself?

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    CO2 and flow. You'll need to get the CO2 you have to where it needs to be. Right now you likely have lots of CO2 in a few areas. With that kind of light, for decent CO2 you NEED to see ALL your plants moving around a bit. Not palm tree flat in the hurricane, but moving a bit.

    Try the needlewheel method, it's cheap and it provides flow. Plus you can aim it wherever the drop checked show low CO2.

    -
    S



     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    You are starving the plants! They are screaming for phosphates! Add that to the extreme overdose of light, and I'm surprised the tank is doing as well as it is. That is a 45 gallon tank aqua forest aquarium and only 18 inches high, so the light intensity at the substrate, with T5HO, unless they are ADA lights, will be about 300 micromols of PAR, which is reef tank light, not planted tank light.
     
  6. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    Local Time:
    11:36 PM
    Hi!

    Thank you for all of your answers! Sorry for the delayed responce- I was out of town with no internet. This was, of course, no help to my algae problem.

    Hoppy -
    I understand my lighting is waaaaay too intense, but I really like it! Is there anyway I can apply EI to my tank to make it work? I am going to put the lights on individual timers, so maybe I can do 12hrs with two t5s and 4 hrs full blast in the middle of the day? I had a lot of difficulty figuring out how to light this tank because it is so deep. One dual t5 fixture gave too many dark areas so I added another. The lights are fishneedit lights so the bulbs inside them are VERY cheap and will need to be replaced as soon as I can. Are there bulbs that will help my situation?

    Biollante -
    You really gave me an appreciated smack in the face. As I look back on my (approx) $700 I have spent in the last month or so on this tank, buying some cheap dry ferts seems like nothing!

    As far as my co2 is concerned, I am almost certain that the distrobution of it is good, and that my real problem in that the plants aren't getting enough nutrients to make oxygen for the fish. This will be the next thing to look at once I get my dosing of ferts correct.

    For now, it is toothbrush vs algae for this (self inflicted)frustrated aquarist.

    Thanks,
    -Danny
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Adaptable

    Hi Danny,

    The beauty of the whole EI system is that you can adapt it to any situation.:)

    Just realize that light really does drive the system, I have a high light tank that I like simply because I like it, so I do the extra maintenance, dose heavy. Further I understand that like a car, a plane or a boat pushing the operating envelop means you must do everything right with much less margin for error and when things go wrong, they go wrong fast.

    There are many choices in bulbs; how much do you want to spend?;)

    This is an area where I think it is okay to be parsimonious, find a good commercial lighting shop and go in tell them what you have and what you want, if you know the bulb temperature you want then get it in the highest CRI value you can get. You may be amazed at the price difference.

    Make sure you are not depending on your plants to produce the oxygen for your fish, at night your plants become oxygen consumers.

    Generally, we learn more from our mistakes then our successes, a little toothbrush time can focus the mind.:rolleyes:

    Biollante
     
  8. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    Local Time:
    11:36 PM
    I started this system because I wanted a high maintenance tank :) I suppose I might be crazy and make it so when I get home from work, cleaning fish tanks at the lfs, I get to clean four more tanks. - And I love it. Unfortunately, I did a few things wrong in the beginning that have lead to undesirable results in this tank.

    I am about to order fertilizers and I am curious why you add K2SO4 and MgSO4 when they are already in GH Booster?

    I think I am going to order GH booster, KNO3, KH2PO4, and CSM+B. If required, I can always buy MgSO4 in the grocery store (Epsom salt) Does this seem appropriate?

    The bulbs I have are new, they are just no-name bulbs(with kelvin ratings) I have just been wondering if they are not as good as buying expensive bulbs. You seem to believe they are fine?

    This is my tooth brushing break... and yea... I've been thinking! To anyone with string algae - The toothbrush REALLY works well. This is my first hair algae explosion and my first time to try it!

    Thanks!
    -Danny
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    K2so4

    Hi Danny,

    I love maintaining Aquaria! These days I have help with the “main” tanks. I keep several tanks that are (more or less my private domain) and a bunch of Rubbermaid type containers and a couple of “aquaculture” systems to raise tasty critters.

    The biggest single failing I see here and in life in general, is a failure to take responsibility; without “owning” our mistakes, it is very difficult to learn from our mistakes and move forward. Therefore, you are ahead of the game.

    Go ahead and order the K2SO4, the GH booster has the quantities to raise and/or stabilize the water. The recommended doses for EI assume the underlying water qualities are met. You can always add too or reduce amounts based on your observations.

    Use the Epsom Salt, if you don’t like the sound of it, order MgSO4.;)

    Some people call me cheap, so be it, I can’t say the expensive bulbs aren’t better. I am quite convinced that many bulbs simply are “relabeled.” Generally, I have been able to match specification for specification, though I certainly haven’t tried all. My advice is match the color temperature you want and get the highest Color Rendering Index (CRI) you can. I am aware there are quite a number of online sellers as well.

    Toothbrushes cure many evils.:cool:

    Biollante
     
  10. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    Local Time:
    11:36 PM
    My fertilizers are coming in tomorrow. I will start out dosing like this -

    However, you need like, three times a week
    • 1 1/4 tsp of KNO3
    • 3/8 to 7/16 tsp K2SO4
    • ¼ tsp KH2PO4
    • 3 to 31/4 tsp MgSO4
    • 3/8 to 1/2 tsp CSM+B on the other three days
    My guess is a teaspoon or so of GH booster each week would not be a bad idea.

    Is there anything against mixing all of those together in the ratios provided above and dosing daily? I haven't made the calculations yet because I am waiting to see if anyone is opposed to this idea. I ordered GH booster, and soon noticed that the GH of my tap water is so high on the test kit that I cannot tell you how much is in the water( except by saying 'a lot') Should I still be dosing GH booster?

    I am considering buying a hydor koralia for my tank because 'point flow' seems to be way too much for plants. Do you think that a wider flow will help? I currently own a hydor koralia 1 that is in my reef tank. I think I will move it to the planted tank temporarily and see how it does. The downside of this, of course, is that the koralia is HUGE and ugly(IMO).

    Last night I figured that I would entertain myself with the idea of using PPS pro... I guess I have been listening to barr's words too closely for too long because PPS pro doesn't make sense! According to what I have learned on this forum and others, PPS pro is no different than buying bottled fertilizer and hoping that the amounts that the company suggests you use is the amount you actually need. Sounds like it might work for 1 out of 10 people.

    My wonderful girlfriend went through before we had some of my friends over and did a MAJOR toothbrushing of everything. Before this I was going to tear my tank down, bleach the plants and start from ground 0. I still have a good amount of the hair algae but it is much more under control. Before doing EI the 'Right Way' should I bleach all the plants to start out fresh or will proper dosing eventually kill the algae? Either way is just fine with me.

    One FINAL question. What should my lighting cycle look like? I was thinking about 2x39w on for 12 hours and have the other lights turn on for 4 hours midday. I would prefer the lights to be on all the time if that is possible.

    Thanks,
    Danny
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Mix Em All the Time

    Hi Danny,

    I mix my fertilizers ahead all the time, just split between macros and micros (trace).

    I am told the micros should be dosed on separate days or at least a couple hours apart, which being an old PMDD kind of plant, I was dosing macros and micros together for all those years, now I’m an EI kind a plant so I’ll accept the orthodoxy. ;)

    I was a touch high:eek: on my Epsom salt recommendation so I will modify it and give you a week’s worth.

    The general advice is to dose macros on water change day then micros the next, and take a day off during the week.

    At each weekly water change, I would also dose a teaspoon of GH booster

    Into 500 ml of preferably DI or distilled water mix:
    • KNO3, 1 ½ teaspoon should result in 14 ppm NO3, target 10-20 ppm.

    (personally I target a bit higher)
    • K2SO4, ½ teaspoon gives 14.25 ppm K, target 10-20 ppm
    • KH2PO4, ¼ teaspoon gives 2.9 ppm PO4, target .5-3 ppm
    • MgSO4.7H2O (Epsom Salt) 1 tablespoon gives 4.6 ppm Mg, target 2-5 ppm
    • Add water to bring to 900 ml, three doses of 200 ml each, obviously, you can

    modify the amount of water to whatever suits your needs or desires.
    • Store in a container marked “Macros”

    Most people I believe target 0.1 ppm iron, I target closer to 1 ppm iron, my plants like iron.
    Into 500 ml of preferably DI or distilled water mix:
    • CSM+B 1 teaspoon gives .8 ppm iron, target 1 ppm iron
    -OR-
    • CSM+B 1/8 teaspoon gives 0.1 ppm iron target 0.1 ppm iron
    _THEN_
    • Add water to bring to 900 ml, three doses of 200 ml each, obviously, you can modify the amount of water to whatever suits your needs or desires.

    These numbers give you a place to start. Lighting is the big thing that drives everything else.

    I think the Hydor Koralia is the coolest most effective devices to come along in a very long time. Hydor Koralias are the most efficient devices for moving water while avoiding laminar flow issues I have seen. Hydor Koralia is beautiful!

    I don’t see a problem with your lighting, 10 or 12 hours a day, that’s moderate lighting. Make sure your CO2 is good hitting at least 30 ppm, I tend to push higher. I guess, across the board I think more is better, in recent months I have concluded that with the exception of light; I like to push things higher.

    Unless you just have a really bad situation with a plant and it is reasonably sturdy you could bleach it, I just think that is extreme, I have found a soft toothbrush or gently rubbing with your fingers does wonders. As you make corrections, the algae should subside. If the causal effects have not been solved, extreme measures will only weaken the plants and therefore the system. Generally, I would rather have a strong plant with algae then a weak plant without.:rolleyes:

    I have no opinion on PPS Pro, having neither used, nor studied the system.

    My general view is that there is no magic, it is about figuring, educating ourselves as to whether or not we can reasonably provide optimum conditions for our plants and critters. I believe it is unethical to do otherwise. We have to make educated guesses and then observe and correct.

    The fallacy, it seems to me, is the concept of ‘balance’, whatever a system is, it is balanced; it can be no other way. It is our job to understand our desires, balance that with our understanding abilities, time, and financial resources.

    Read, this is the most amazing site. I know some of the stuff gets wordy (like me) and Tom Barr loves to throw the science at people and perhaps bully folks a bit with his intellect, oh well, he is right as far as I can tell, most all of the time.

    Then observe.:)

    For the simple version go to Aquarium Plants and Aquatic Plants - Greg Watson's Guide to Dosing Strateges for Live and Freshwater Aquarium Plants and get the guide, it really is a simple explanation.

    Biollante
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Danny,

    I think you are giving nutrients much more credit than they deserve and believe they are the cause of your woes.

    CO2 and light are much more the issue and why many folks have issues with every dosing method(no method alone fixes problems, that's because there's a lot more to plants than nutrients). In other words, there are examples of both algae and clean nice looking aquariums using the various methods. Why they work or do not...........suggest it's not a matter of mere nutrients. You cannot have it both ways, high in one tank and it's fine...........low in another and that's why things are doing well and have them both be right.;)

    This suggest we look elsewhere for the significant issues, like CO2 mostly, since we can measure light easily with a light PAR meter and test things there(have etc).

    EI/non limiting a nutrient(or all of them like EI) makes the nutrient independent of the other factors. So that light and CO2, general care etc, are now the dependent factor/s.

    Algae may or may not go away, depends on light and CO2. CO2 has many factors also, not just one. Rate of degassing varies largely tank to tank............and perhaps day to day depending on evaporation and when the surface level declines and increases more turbulence. Current, pattern, gas phases/microbubbles floating around, water changes, time to reach critical CO2 after lights come on etc.

    I have to honestly wonder why the nutrient crowd never discusses many of these issues with CO2. Or how that limiting say PO4 stronger than CO2, affects CO2 demand in plants based in Liebig's law of the Minimum. Or how lighting affects things and tested using a standard method for comparing light aquarium to aquarium?

    I think reduction of light is a wiser approach, makes both CO2 and nutrients easier to manage.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr










    .
     
  13. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    How Extraordinary of Me

    How extraordinary of me, I thought I did mention CO2, I consider it a macro.

    I am indeed sorry if I left any doubt in anyone’s mind as to the importance of CO2 or for that matter lighting.:(

    It is the tripod, remove any leg and it falls over.

    Biollante
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Don't sweat it, you did mention it.

    I can mention it too, 101 times, some, not all........folks still seem to not get it.
    Never hurts to add another yack about CO2 and it's importance.

    Folks end up chasing nutrients if they mess up CO2, then they never get it , sometimes ever, or perhaps only years later after everyone have long since figured it out.

    So I try hard to get them on that path of understanding for CO2, lower/moderate light etc.

    Then nutrients are very easy..........

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    CO2, Fertz, Easy On The Lights


    I will admit this is one of the stranger aspects of this hobby...:confused:

    Oh well, just don't limit the opportunity for growth.:)

    Biollante
     
  16. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    Local Time:
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    Biollante,
    Thank you so much. If there was some kind of 'Tom Barr Point' you should get 100! You have been way more than helpful to me.

    Tom,
    Maybe I am crazy, but I had my co2 up so high that I killed one of my fish and upset most of them. This is my own stupidity for not being more cautious about the switch to pressurized. At this same time, my algae was growing like crazy. This combined with two powerheads pointing at each other (plus the canister filter) lead me to the conclusion that CO2 was not the limiting factor. I do not believe that increasing CO2 is the answer in my case - possibly better distrobution.

    You mentioned that evaporation and surface turbulence (among other things) have a great deal to do with co2. Do you have any suggestions on how to reduce evaporation on an ADA tank? I loose about 1/4" of water a day. It seems impractical to put a glass lid on the tank due to loss of appearance and loss of ease to reach into the aquarium. It kind of takes the 'rimless' out of 'rimless tanks' to me. Is there any other things you suggest to keep CO2 at a more stable level? I suspect that unstable CO2 could be a cause of my problems.

    Reducing light in my tank would make my life(and almost everyone's life) easier, but I would prefer to modify EI to fit my lights instead of the other way around. Is there a t5 bulb that produces pleasing light but has a low PAR? I could be happy reducing the light that way.

    I didn't mean to get caught up in nutrients, but I was pretty sure that my dosing schedule was wrong(and it was). I needed an aquatic-jedi-knight, like biollante, to step me through the correct process(thanks again).

    I plan to premix a months worth of daily dosing dry fertilizer so.......
    Now onto the math part:

    Macros:
    KNO3 - 1.5tsp
    K2SO4 - 1.5tsp
    KH2PO4 - .25tsp
    MgSO4 - 3tsp

    This was enough fertilizer for 3 doses.

    Finding the smallest common integers in this set will leave me with 'parts' that I can deal with more easily than teaspoons and fractions.

    KNO3 - 6 parts
    K2SO4 - 6 parts
    KH2PO4 - 1 part
    MgSO4 - 12 parts

    Since I have multiplied all of the numbers by 4, this is enough fertilizer for 3*4=12 doses if parts=teaspoons

    Assuming again that parts=teaspoons,
    I have a total of 25tsp which means that one dose will be 25tsp/12dose = 2.08tsp per dose.

    Therefore as long as I make a mixture using the appropriate 'parts' above, two slightly heaping teaspoons should be my dose 3 times a week.

    To dose 6 times a week instead of 3, I should divide the amount of tsp by 2. Therefore, on a daily basis, I will dose 1tsp of the mixture above.

    Assuming a month is 30 days long, I will need to make 2.5times the teaspoons=parts amount.
    This gives:

    KNO3 - 15tsp or 5tablespoons
    K2SO4 - 15tsp or 5 tablespoons
    KH2PO4 - 2&1/2tsp
    MgSO4 - 30tsp or 10tablespoons

    This makes me a 30 dose supply. At the end of this mixture I should consider what I can do to improve the mixture by observation or decide it is sufficient for my tank. I should only change one thing per month so I can really search and destroy my limiting factor(s).

    That last part was just me thinking aloud. If anyone sees flaws in it, feel free to point it out.

    Thanks,
    Danny
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    1 cm is not going to do much, as long as you add water about 3 days or so, that's enough. I think learning how to use CO2 carefully is a a skill and experience helps a great deal.

    Many go overboard and then remain gun shy from then on.
    They start looking for other ways to cure algae issues. It must be done slowly and progressively, it's not something where you just wail the CO2 in at a high rate.

    You watch the fish carefully, you add CO2 a little bit more and watch for 3-5 days or so. Most want to add lots of CO2, then cure the algae asap.

    That approach does not work.

    Also, after a long period of stress to plants, it takes the plants a few weeks to recover really well. Less light can help during that time to reduce algae, take the CO2 stress off etc. More water changes, cleaning etc.

    Once the plants start going well, the effects of higher CO2 are reduced on fish, then you can go back up to higher CO2 and light if......you want, or leave at the lower light/CO2.

    I prefer the latter.

    Sure, add screen to reduce the intensity.
    I think EI/nutrients modification is not going to solve a CO2 issue very well for you. Light is about the best tool you have to reduce the demand and nutrients(not just one) and is very easy to do.

    Not using the light as a tool for management as well as CO2 more carefully are likely why you have algae to begin with. I'd not avoid it. These 2 parameters are what drives everything and can solve virtually every algae issue no matter what method of dosing they chose.

    The ferts are fine.

    One of the things you will really need to learn are the light CO2 issues.
    These are far more significant in the overall plan, how plants grow, what drives everything, including the ferts/uptake etc. You also will find that modifying and adjusting light and CO2 carefully, well etc.........will be far more fruitful for algae.

    While nutrients may or may not work, and we find plenty of examples where it seems both occur, regardless of dosing methods, this suggest strongly(it has to), that there's some other issue occuring, so CO2 and light are the most obvious larger players.

    I'd focus really well on those two.

    You can raise the light, you can reduce the hours, you can filter or screen the light to reduce intensity, you can wire the light to have each bulb go to a timer etc.
    CO2? You really need to be careful, do this much like the fert plan you have and slowly change things and watch.

    Get some excel in the mean time, add that while you add CO2.
    Do good sized water changes in the morning after the lights have been on for 1-2 hours and see what the tank looks like later that evening.
    That's a good reference of what the aquarium could look like with good CO2.

    Many folks believe it is not the CO2.
    You are not the only one who thinks that way:cool:

    Once you realize it, then you have learned a great deal.
    Some have a tougher time with CO2 than others, those who get lucky have few issues, those that do not are destined to suffer till they do understand it.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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