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Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by PK1, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. PK1

    PK1 Guru Class Expert

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    Tom,

    I have just purchased a duplex Aqua Medic dosing pump and want to set-up the system for automatic fertilizing, and I have a few questions that I could use your help with. But first, here's what I got:

    90 Gal with ~75-80 Gal. water
    4 x 65W PC lights
    Press. CO2 with 30+ ppm
    KH = 4-5
    GH = 9
    pH = 6.2 during the day, 6.5 at night
    Fish load: about 50 cardinals, 10 Ottos and a couple SAE's

    Here are my questions:
    - Is it better to add ferts per the normal regime (ie. one day Macro's one day Traces) or should I stagger every 12 hours with the pumps
    - Based on whichever scheme you recommend, what should the PPM addition per dose be (not sure if what I have is what you consider a "high light" set-up)

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    pk1,just an observation,your choice of cardinals in a school like that has to be the most beautiful sight there is. i have about 20 in a 75 gal tank,along with other assorted fish . i wish now that i would have stocked with all cardinals and rummynose.regards,cornhusker :) :)
     
  3. PK1

    PK1 Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    It is a nice sight, but more so in the evening: This is the only time they school! But they school really well at that time, they constantly go back and forth in one harmonious group. During the day? They are all over the place... I am very curious to know why this is.

    The problem is actually my SAE's, they are getting too big and they ruine the "mood" bacause they are so hyper. I may actually give them away soon.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps


    I'd suggest cooler darker colors, these will accent the cards much better.
    Get rid of the SAE's, replace with 50-100 Amano shrimp or cherry shrimp(these breed well).

    That will fit better.

    Consider some red fish liek red ark pencil or N espei, maybe a catfish type of fish that schools in addition to the ottos. Cory adolfii or panda would mix well.

    For your dosing pumps, you can stagger then at 12 hour intervals just fine.
    Timers are the limiting factor as a rule.

    They can do dosily dosing easily, but every other day is tough(try to program that sometime, most timers will not, X-10's and your computer can though easily).

    I do this for my client tanks.

    I'd use a reservior based on a 2 week draw daily. so say the pump uses 10 mls per minute.
    Set the timer for on for 5 minute(50mls).
    The total volumje for each 2 week refill will be..............50mls x 14= 700mls

    So to this 700mls, add:

    4.5 tsp of KNO3
    1.25 tsp KH2PO4
    1 tsp MgSO4

    Then dilute the traces with 80 mls of traces and then top off with water to 700mls.

    This will give you the typical EI dosing foer a high light tank.

    So Macros:
    3/4tsp KNO3 3x a week
    ~1/8 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
    ~15mls traces 3x a week
    1/2 tsp after water change MgSO4

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. PK1

    PK1 Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    I have heard 10,000K lamps also enhance colors, what's your take on this? I currently have 4 x 6,500K, would it make any difference to the plants (or algae) if I make 2 of the lamps 10,000K?

    OK, so basically you are telling me to add ~3.6 ppm NO3 and 1.25 ppm PO4 every 24 hours. So if I wanted to stagger every 12 hours, I would alternate between traces and macros and dose 1/2 the above amounts (ie. 1.8 ppm NO3, 0.6 ppm PO4 every 12 hours)? The timer that came with the Aquamedic allows me to dose by time interval, so I can do any interval I want (eg. pump for 5 minutes every 12 hours or pump 2 minutes every 6 hours, etc.) so I have quite a lot of flexibility.

    And the last question: when I do water changes do I add one initial dose (ie. 3/4 tsp KNO3, etc.) and then let the pumps top up on a daily basis, or just do the water change and let the pumps add in the small amounts every day?
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    I let the pumps add the traces later, I dose macros/GH on water change days only.

    If one doses at 12noon, the other 12 midnight etc, that's fine for a daily.
    MWF type dosing with a Sunday or Sat water change can also work well.

    Really up to you.

    A mix of 10K and 6500K will do well or a 8800K.

    If the background and the back of the tank and the plants are darker colors, the fish will stick out much more with higher light.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. aussietanker

    aussietanker Junior Poster

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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    Just a follow up question on dosing pumps ....

    in this example where a 2 week cycle is being considered ...

    doesn't the mixture "settle" after a while ... so that eventually as the two weeks goes by the mixture gets "stronger" on a daily basis ..... or do all dosing pumps mix and swirl the mixture before pumping it into the tank ...

    just curious .... if it worked ok .... a dosing pump might just make everything a bit more accurate and consistant ... esp while away on holidays etc!
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    No, the mix should be well dissolved. We also generally add more before it gets down to the end. We also wash the containers out every so often, and have caps so that evaporation is not a big issue.

    Also, the color of the lgiht has much more to do with your preception than true color of the plants.
    Most seem to like 6500/10K, or 7200(Triton)/8800K ranges.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. PK1

    PK1 Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    Tom,

    I have been running the dosing pumps for a few weeks now. One thing is for sure, it is a lot easier to maintain the tank now, all I do is do the prunning/water changes once a week - great!

    There is a problem though: Eversince the pumps have been on line, I have had a (mild) case of GSA, GSA was non-existant before the pumps.

    First I started dosing as you had recommended:

    But I found it would take a day or two after water changes for the plant "pearling level" to get back to normal, so I thought maybe the nutrient amounts need a bit of time to build up. To help things a little, I changed the formula to the following (in 750 ml solution):

    6 tsp of KNO3
    1.5 tsp KH2PO4
    Dilute the traces with 120 mls of traces and then top off with water to 750mls

    Unfortunately the GSA is persisting, nothing else has changed.

    Any ideas?
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    CO2.

    You need a tad more.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. abwalker

    abwalker Junior Poster

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    PK1 and Reef Doser

    Hey PK1....
    I was wondering...how do you get the aqua medic pump to dose on alternate intervals. For instance, I want dose my traces opposite my macros. So I tell it to dose for x time every 24 hours, but, how do I keep them from dosing at the same time? Do you program one pump, then wait 12 hours, then program the other pump? How do you have yours programed?
    Thanks for any help.
    Abby
     
  12. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    I use the dual Aquamedic dosing pump and that's exactly how you have to do it in order for the two pumps to not dose at the same time. I have one set to come on every 4 hours for 30 minutes (adds macros and top up water). After setting this one, I wait 2 hours and then set the second pump to 30 seconds once every 24 hours (micros).

    I don't think there is any other way to do it.

    These pumps are great because you can actually set the intervals down to seconds (most digital stand alone timers will only do a minimum of one minute).

    However, I find it very puzzling that AquaMedic has not thought out the practical aspects of what happens if the power cuts for any reason. The pumps of course stop when the power cuts. However, when the power comes back on, the system does *not* start up again. You have to manually start up the system again (and when you do, both pumps come on so you have to stagger them again). Luckily I didn't find this out while away on a a multi-week vacation! I can't think of a situation where you would not want the pumps to re-start automatically, so why build it that way??
     
  13. abwalker

    abwalker Junior Poster

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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    Hey, thanks for the response. So, you dose your macros in small quantities over the course of the day, and the micros once per day?

    I'm still not sure if I should stick to the every-other-day schedule that I've been dosing manually, or if I should switch to daily doses. If I read the begining of this tread correctly, I'm not sure Tom answered the original question. Hey says that 12 hour intervals is fine, because most timers won't allow 48 hours between dosing. However, as we know, the aquamedic pumps do allow for that interval.

    So, is daily better, or is every other day better, given that the pumps allow for either? It seems to me that daily should be better because there is a more constant supply of nutrient, but it seemed like that interval was referred to as a trade-off due to the limitations of the pump/timer.

    Any thoughts?

    Abby
     
  14. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    I would say daily is better. The reason I dose the macros six times a day is that the macros are actually part of the top up water and six times a day ensures that the water level in the tank stays constant.

    If you're not using it for top up as well as macros, then once a day should be fine. On the other hand, given the flexibility of the pumps' timer, why not dose two or three times a day?
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Tom: EI & Dosing Pumps

    I just take what I want to dose for the week, then dilute it into water.

    Say I want to add 30ppm a week, then I just add that to say 1100mls of water, and set the dosing pump to dsoe for about 5min @ 30mls/min each day.

    For traces, I add them early in the AM before the lights come on, the macro late in the day, about 12 hour split.

    It's easier to change the volume and dilution than the timer in most cases, so you can add more/less easier.

    Thinking about it over a week dosing time frame is simpler for most folks.
    You can make a 2 week batch by doing the same thing 2x.
    So 2200mls instead and 2x the KNO3 etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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