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Trying to Understand EI

Discussion in 'Estimative Index' started by Homer_Simpson, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Tom, I know that you have spoken about how the estimative index is just that estimative and can be adapted/modified in accordance with one's particular tank parameters lighting, plant density, stocking levels, tap water parameters, and c02 non c02 injection.

    So here is what I am wondering about. I am sorry if these questions seem stupid, but I am trying to learn as much as I can about this. This would be for a high tech, high lighting(3 watts/gallon), high plant density tank. If the idea is to do a 50% weekly water changes to get rid of excess nutrients and reset the tank, would doing water changes every two weeks and not dosing the second week be sufficient to allow the tank to utilize the extra nutrients that would normally be removed through water changes within the first week?

    Second, could the amounts normally used be reduced so that there is no excess build up but the plants benefit just as well. For instance, reducing the normal doses by say 50% per week. Then just dosing that amount weekly and perhaps changing water only once a month.

    Is Estimative Index more like "Guesstimative" Index in that you may have to eyeball the plants carefully and adapt or modify the original EI doses to address specific nutrient deficiences, kind of like when a farmer eyeballs his crops and without testing can determine with pinpoint accuracy which fert nutients he may need to increase or decrease to improve crop quality.

    Thanks.
     
  2. FacePlanted

    FacePlanted Guru Class Expert

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    for the first question, I would think that not dosing the second week would eventually lead to too much of one nutrient and a deficiency of another -- an imbalance or nutrient limitation that would stunt the plants. Plus, I dont think that the amount left over at the end of the week is enough to last a whole other week, a day or two maybe.

    second question - isn't that like the PPS fertilization method? trying to just dose exactly what the plants consume each day. That seems like it would be hard, and would require a large investment in time testing a bunch of parameters each day. Plus, there would still be a buildup of wastes like dissolved organic compounds that the plants aren't using and are just building up week after week.

    you really can't get around doing waterchanges with a high-tech setup. In a non-co2 tank, frequent waterchanges will cause fluccuating co2 levels and induce algae. So very infrequent waterchanges work best in low light, no co2 tanks. They still need ferts, in non-limiting quantities, but they take a lot longer to use them up -- the need to dose is less frequent. Same dosages and nutrient levels, just less often -- I think -- I dont do a non-co2 tank with EI. My lowtech tank just sits there and I top off the water once every 3 months or so, and I dont dose it. So I dont know too much about the lowtech approach, but I have a great, successful, hightech, high light, co2-injected, EI tank with no algae and great plant growth

    3rd question - yes it is like the guesstimative index in that the levels aren't written in stone. Taylor them to your specific tank's needs, lighting, type of plants, etc. But the whole point of EI is that no matter how you customize the doses for yourself, you are always dosing more than the plants can consume for every nutrient - which will eliminate the need to customize the dosing to account for a nutrient deficiency. That is where the suggested levels come into play. Tom has tested and found that in the best, perfect conditions with a lot of light and unlimiting co2 - these are the levels of nutrients that will be more than the plants can take in - levels that won't limit the plant in a nutrient - no matter how fast it's growing. These are the max. beneficial levels. You might use less in some situations, but you should never need more. (except maybe in very high light - I could be wrong though) The whole point is so that when your plants are doing bad, you know for sure that it's not a nutrient deficiency - and that you can look somewhere else for the cause - which will either be lighting or more likely co2. Good, consistent co2 is necessary for this to work however - or you will get algae. Not from excess nutrients, but from poor co2 not allowing the plants to grow, thus allowing the algae to use the nutrients...and grow.

    I definately know that I'm NOT Tom, but I hope that'll get you started and answer some of the questions you have. He can fill in the blanks and correct me where I'm wrong.

    Guh-Bye!
    -Mike B-
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No, that's not the PPS system at all.
    That's the PMDD system.

    That's been one of the issues I've long had with Edward's claims about "his method".
    He claims it's "his", that he did the "research" and spent years coming up with PPS.

    That's baloney.

    Add PO4(which came namely from my suggestions back well over 12 years ago now) to PMDD.
    Use test kits....which PMDD suggest to maintain residuals.
    Water changes and lack of them can done mainly as a fail safe with PMDD if you mess things up or get too far out with the balancing concept. Same applies with PPS.

    So they are not any different.

    PPS's only goal seemed to be using test kits to avoid water changes.
    If someone can show me otherwise, I'm all ears, Edward and Vic never did even after pages and pages of the same question over and over. Lots of personal flames and bad mouthing unfairly the EI method as well as others though.
    They never answered the question, likely because the question exposed the Baloney, that's when folks do not answer. It's also baloney when you have to put down someone personally and the method without support.


    I and many/most everyone on the APD, used PMDD and test kits.
    It was a real main.

    I usede the infinite series at the end of the practical aspects guide of PMDD to suggest and diltuion series for the EI method, so you no longer needed to play a blanace with 3-6 chemicals or more, and use test kits and calibrate them often.

    I make no claims as to the origins like I worked in some lab for years in EI, the method was already there, nor suggest I invented the entire process/method from scratch......I just suggested it works and have ever since.

    I did not invent PO4 dosing, I just argued for it.

    As far as reducing the water change, well, try reducing the growth rate instead.
    If all you have for this tank is a water change once every 2 weeks, then you really should use less, not lots of light. As you increase growth speed, you have more trouble predicting the growth/nutrients.

    You have goals that have opposing trade offs.
    You can run the infinite series and see what types of outside ranges you might get without any uptake(or if anyone else wants to run a basic EI build up curve with 2 weeks' worth).

    So you dose 2 weeks worth at 20ppm of NO3 per week, now you are no longer 2x, now it's 4X. So you can have a potential build up to 80ppm , no longer just 40ppm.

    I can do it without testing and without water changes(maybe 3-8 weeks out), but I've been at this a lot longer and use the algae and plants much better than most.
    I can also do it much easier with ADA AS and run things leaner if I wish. But then I may as well run less light, which many do when they leave for vacation.

    Less light= less uptake= less demand, so you can do less dosing ..............

    My question was much different than PPS or PMDD: at what levels do fish, algae, plants, and inverts have issues with high NO3, PO4, K+, Ca, Mg, Fe, CO2 and so on.

    Rather than spreading fear and bad mouthing, I decided to test and set up some simple experiments to see if what was often claimed was true or not.

    These folks never addressed those questions really and never did the experimentation to see. I know because the questions have been posed many many times yet not one of them ever even bothered to do a control tank.

    Not one. Not much of a test is all you do is observe your own personal tank and based the conclusions solely on correlation.

    "The earth looks flat" ......so it must be."

    Me?
    "Let us test some things: why to Sea ships as they travel into the distance disappear from our field of view at the lower part first, then lastly by the look out mast?"

    "My tank has algae, I have high PO4, it must be high PO4(or some association with it)."

    Me:
    "I made sure everything else was in good shape, then added high non limiting PO4. I did not get algae. I repeated this many times, over many years with many tanks, lucky cannot be the reason."

    Correlation does not = cause.
    Folks get mad at me because they believe it does and blame me for their failures or issues.

    Use your head, do not blame others for your own failures(it's not my tank!), not the emotional psychology.

    Figure it out step by step.
    If you want to play around and see if you can get away with a goal/trade off, no issue, but you also need to know there may be some failures(very likely).
    Even without doing weekly water changes, plenty of folks have issues and blame it on EI, when it might be CO2, filter size, general filter cleaning, maintenance etc....the reasons for failure are long................and many have nothing to do with EI.

    Just keep that in mind when you judge PMDD, PPS, ADA, EI, non CO2 etc.......and hear someone complaining about the method causing their issues.

    It's not the method's fault, it's ours.
    It takes time to gain such hard won experience. Some get lucky right off the bat, many do not.

    So they will suggest one method over another based on their success and their failures.

    Rather than doing this, try to see what slows things down to make the growth more manageable, the aquarium easier to keep over time based on you, not someone else!!!

    You have to keep this tank and what are you willing to do to keep it?
    Some are really lazy, so a non CO2 method may be the best method.
    Slow growth, rare trimmings, no water changes, low light: trade? Patience and keeping the hands out of the tank.

    Want CO2 etc but slower growth, leaner nutrient dosing?
    Use ADA AS+ light/leaner PMDD+PO4 + low light.

    The sources of nutrients compliment eachother.
    Here's an example of this:

    Rotlala102107.jpg


    resized70galADAwith1.5wgal.jpg

    After several months of not trimming:
    resized120907.jpg

    The tank is not hard to take care of, requires good water changes, CO2 maintenance and trimming though.

    You could easily get away after the tank grows in well with 2x a month water changes.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr










    Those that came later and tried it, said, well "yep, what do you know? It's true."
     
  4. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Many thanks FacePlanted and Tom. As always, I really appreciate you taking time to answer my questions Tom. I understand. And I know, you have heard this before, I in no way question any method as being effective or ineffective without first learning as much as I can about it, trying it, and seeiing for myself what happens. It is just the way I am. Even when I was at University, I was constantly critical and was always questioning my professors, more to try and better understand where they were coming from and get a better understaning of the issues.

    Another reason that I have started doing this since taking up this hobby is experimenting with things myself as the hobby(not so much with re: to you Tom) appear ripe with inconsistencies and I feel the best way to weed through this is to try things for myself. For instance, ask people if pool filter sand is okay to use as a substrate and you get 5 different answers, from everyone who swears that they had the worst plant growth ever using it to ones that claim they had the best plant growth ever from using it a a sole substrate. Another example, you ask why your plants grow leggy and you get different answers from everyone who says increase your light intensity, to others who say decrease lighting intensity to others who say use different K rated tubes. At the end of it, you end up more confused and none the wiser until you decide to test the solution(s) yourself and discover what happens. These are but two examples. I am sure there are other factors that could account for such inconsistencies but for me, it is just easier and more satisying for me to test things out than try and seek what other factors may account for such inconsistencies. I also learn best hands on which is another reason, I need to "do" in order to "learn."

    I joined this forum because I have a great deal of respect for you Tom and really value your advise and wealth of knowledge and experience around planted tanks.

    Thanks.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, because we all make mistakes with a given method, we all do.............
    that can lead some to assume and blame the method, yet we also know, that someone is still doing pretty decent with it, whether it be Diana Walsatd, her mentor/s, my mentors, Amano's, whoever you want to pick..........

    But the real wise person will know that they failed if things did not work out, not the method, you must assume that a level of success means that the method works fairly well, even if you cannot get it based on your own abilities.

    Do not worry, your abilities and skills do get better through time.

    Still, you should realize that learning about why and how a method works, why plants grow, why algae gtrfow are far far more fundamental.

    It's not about who you listen to, it's not about bad mouthing anyone, it's not about "well, I do not know why that method works", it's about seeking answers and trying things to rule out things like in order to have a nice ADA style/like garden, you must have high light.

    It does not matter what mistakes you make, you still know based on the above picture, it can and has been done.

    So you can try until you get it right.
    You learn where you go wrong, you learn what you over looked etc.

    You get better.

    Pool sand is fine, but it has trade offs vs ADA AS.
    ADA AS has trade offs that sand does not as well.

    Rather than merely accepting this 5 answer baloney and having folks howl about their opinions...............ad nauseum.............we should really think about what goals are achieved by each, what do we have to do to get good results and what options can make the trade offs more manageable.

    Then we are more prepared to give a fair answer for Pool sand, ADA AS, EC, Black flourite, SMS, Kitty litter, Soil, river sediment, Clays etc.

    One without agenda, with experience and answers that more sense than "Well, I used it and it causes algae, I use this and everything worked out great"

    That does not tell why it works for them, nor how.
    It really has little informational value at all. Just what happened to them.

    I started doing the test myself because of the poor test and reliance more on observations rather than simply testing it yourself to see.

    Poor controls and test seemed rampant, many feel this way about the plant hobby. However, the aquatic plant research field is not nearly as confused.

    Such basic things like controls are fairly obvious to them but entirely misplaced/missed/not even considered by many hobbyist.

    Some seem to assume they can based their entire conclusion on their bad luck, and their observations alone can/does support what they say. Arguing with me, some feel, is fruitless, but I do not view anything remotely close to that.

    The "argument" is really just a path to get to the bottom of their methods to figure out where they went wrong,m then next time, they can better figure things out for themselves.

    Many get mad and think you should get a simple easy answer in one post......not hardly.........it can take many post, some never quite get there:mad:

    You rule things out as best you can step by step(that way, you are that much closer and better to nirvana), but failures are never the method's fault you know works, even if you failed with it, you cannot assume I or Amano is to blame for it.................we have photo after photo showing it does, and many folks have stated it for decades now...........nonetheless, some folks will say such things.

    Some folks are not interested in really learning, they are frustrated, or whatever.......they just want the tank to look nice and whatever does it, will become their method.

    EI became popular for a few reasons, cheap, easy, simple, and I promoted it and helped folks. They are all fairly similar however, as much as folks claim they are so different and point out "how".

    Every method has someone that suggest and helps folks get there.

    All methods however, must address the fundamentals of aquatic plant and algae growth. You cannot get away from that. That's where the science really can help and comes in.

    Science, or common sense, or an open mind and realize you are pretty likely to mess things up, these are traits/tools that can really help you AND NOT USING SUCH TOOLS WOULD BE LIMITING YOURSELF.


    I think overall, non CO2 methods give the most success for most newbies. But few folks support that method curiously.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    That makes a lot of sense. At one time, not only in this hobby, but in all things in life, I was afraid to take risks afraid of a bad outcome. But I have come to realize as you stated taking risk and making mistakes are essential to learning and moving forward. When I set up a low tech tank non c02, I was amazed and surprised of how well the plants did. If I had never to chosen to try the method, I would have never experienced the outcome.
    DSCN1621.jpg


    Thanks.

    Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, some folks are scared of walking, they fall and don't like it...........so they crawl.
    Both methods will get you where you want to go however.
    Give that some thought.

    Still, it takes some time to get the balance right and realize that it's quite safe once you get the hang of it:eek:

    Some have kept on claiming crawling is better, never having learned how to walk.
    It is not always easy. Some get it right away, some do not.

    Having done quite a few methods, perhaps more than many/most, why would I lie or deceive? If your only success is one method(say crawling, skipping, running, or walking analogy above), how can promote anything else than what you know?

    "Don't run in the house!"
    Yep, I still recall hearing that:)
    Some folks get right back up and keep at it if they fall, some take a lot longer.
    If you do not give up, then you are more likely to learn.

    Still, even the most obsessed person still needs some experience and tempering that only time and patience brings.

    You have to fall a few times to learn.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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