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Want more accuracy? Want daily PMDD style EI dosing?

Discussion in 'Estimative Index' started by Tom Barr, Jul 4, 2007.

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  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    EI was developed mainly in response to folks that had no test kits that lived in 3rd world countries and for lazy/cheap folks.

    Some folks like dosing daily, when they feed their fish.
    Some forget to dose 2-3x a week(uhhh was it on Tues or Wed I last dosed the traces?? ahhh......????.), so a daily routine works better for their habits.

    Some have a tiny tank and want more consist ppms in their dosing than 1/64 th of a teaspoon can afford. Whatever your reasons, this is just an example. If you have high PO4 in the tap, add less KH2PO4, good GH, skip the GH booster etc.
    If you have high NO3 in the tap water, skip the KNO3, use K2SO4 in place of it.
    This is an example of EI for a 12 week supply for a 20 gallon tank for those with teaspoon aversion.

    To 1 liter of DI water add:

    60 grams KNO3
    15 grams of KH2PO4
    25 grams of GH booster(K2SO4 +MgSO4 may be used instead if the GH is high in the tap water)

    Add 12 mls of this solution daily.
    Add TMG at 2.5 mls daily.
    (or you can use a mix of Fe DTPA + CMS+B, at 1:4 ratio and mix 1 table spoon to 1 liter of DI water, add HCL or Excel to prevent fungus etc)

    That's it.

    That's EI without the teaspoons and more accuracy in dosing.
    If you fiddle with daily dosing, you may have a better routine
    and habit. Some are okay with 2-3x a week.

    You can scale this up or down to suit your tank volume, light level etc, make larger batches etc.

    But if you are not and skip dosings etc, then EI may not give the same results using 2-3x a week dosing as daily.

    Thus it is not the method that fails, it's our own habits and routines.
    Still, this gives a PMDD type routine for folks to do. It's richer than PMDD however, but targets the same nutrients, , NO3/PO4/K+/Traces/Ca/Mg

    PMDD uses a similar routine and nutrients, but leaves out PO4.

    That was due to the hypothesis that was falsified later that PO4 limitation controls algae and limits them.
    PO4 can limit CO2 demand indirectly through limiting plant growth strongly however. That dependency led many to believe that PMDD was correct at the time.
    If the CO2 was independent, then adding high PO4 was not able to induce any algae blooms.
    Still, richer dosing, or leaner is up to you. You can add more of one formula or less of another.

    I think it's obvious and logically to start high and reduce the dosing. This way, when the reduced dosing shows poor plant growth, you know it's due to a dosing routine, not indirect effect or co limitations.
    Researches look at limitation in crops this way, they do not limit the plants and first, have a poor sad looking plants and increase the nutrients from there, residual effects on plants would skew the results.
    Whereas with a healthly unlimited plant, there is much higher likelihood of dependency from other factors.

    Teaspoons are easier to explain and most folks do not own a scale etc. Plants are not these sensitive things, nor should your tank be either. While accuracy and equipment is nice, they are far far far....from needed or required for this hobby.
    Plants have a wide range they can adapt and grow well in, thus such accuracy is not critical as some will have you believe.
    Anyone with common sense can see and test that themselves.
    EI nor any method was ever meant to be rigid. You finness and tweak the method/s to suit.
    Often we think what we did is really causing an effect. Often it's just we are paying more attention to the tank.
    That can help any tank as we all know. Experience also plays a large role in successes, watching the tank and doing water changes if something does not seem right and checking CO2 etc, clean filters etc.
    Never wait. Keep on top of things.

    Note, the above is not written in stone, you can modify it, and use less, or more depending on what you'd like to try and most tanks will require less.
    In general; with dosing, start high(safely assume a non limiting value), then slowly and progressively reduce while watching plants carefully for responses.

    UKAPS also has a similar version of this:
    http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/EI.htm

    Note, there are many incarnations on the web, but please bear in mind, things are flexible.
    You can modify them and adjust them.


    If you have a larger tank than 20 gallons, add the ratio more, if less, add the fraction say 1/2 for 10gal/20gal to get the dosing, pretty simple.

    Some references:
    http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/pmdd-tim.html
    The general notion that helped start this DI&Y fert approach on the web from which all others evolved, including EI:
    http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/sears-conlin.html

    This approach to algae was not shown to be correct. It focused on algae, not plants, however, it did help plants to grow better, which indirectly mitigates algae issues.
    Also, it should be noted: PMDD used very low light intensity, things have changed a lot in the last 15 years, and with strong limitation of PO4, this is the bottle neck, which means you can have strong reduction in demand of CO2, N, K+ and other nutrients, that become dependent on PO4 limitations.This reduction in CO2 demand led many to assume that limiting PO4 helps resolve BBA algae. However, it's not low PO4 that reduces BBA, it's good stable CO2/light balance.
    These issues with PMDD aside, it did pave the way for more general focus on plant growth and DIY fertilizers which are widely used for water column dosing by at least 90%. EI and adjustments made to PMDD llustrate the fact we do not limit algae, rather, we focus on good conditions for plants.

    EI and this daily method can be used with a macro nutrient rich sediment also, and I encourage the use of ADA aqua soil, or worm castings or soils, wetland clays etc in conjunction with water column dosing.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  2. Anti-Pjerrot

    Anti-Pjerrot Prolific Poster

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    Just be aware of the solubility for the amount of ferts to water. Don't increace the concentration of the ferts much more than what Tom suggested.

    (Store @ 5°C)

    Tom - how a bout adding some HCl (to lower pH) for an antifungal effect?
     
  3. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    I am not Tom, but I always put some 37% HCl in my stocks. Indeed to keep the fungus away!

    greets,

    yme
     
  4. JamesC

    JamesC Lifetime Charter Member
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    I don't know why the HCl addition isn't mentioned more often as I find it makes a big difference. I add 0.5 ml Normal HCl to 250 ml trace solution. The HCl keeps the solution acidic so preventing the chelator from breaking down as quickly and so preventing mould.

    James
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think this is namely for the traces............and it works well for CMS if you use it.

    Macros really have little issue with fungi.

    PMDD was an all in all concoction.
    However, no PO4, so the Fe-PO4 interaction was never an issue.

    So keeping them apart resolves that for the macros, but not for the traces for the fungi.

    PMDD advice suggestd this a decade ago as a solution.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Also, if you use Tropica etc, there's not a need to add HCL.........

    Regards.

    Tom Barr
     
  7. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Hi Tom

    I have a question about the above dosing amounts of TMG or Tropica's Plant Nutrition liquid . You are recommending dosing 2.5 ml per 20 gallons or 75.7 liters per day. Tropica recommends dosing 5 ml per 50 liters or 13.2 gallons per week.

    Why are you suggesting dosing so much extra TMG? That's a 231% increase over what Tropica recommends.

    This is how I got the 231% increase:
    (2.5 ml ÷ 75.7 liters x 7 days per week) ÷ (5 ml ÷ 50 liters x 1 day per week) x 100 = 231.2%

    Also, the EI dosing of Traces calls for 2 ml 3x per week for 10 to 20 gallon aquariums and for 5 ml 3x per week for 20 to 40 gallon aquariums.

    It's odd that there is such a difference. Is this a typo?

    Thanks

    Left C
     
  8. dapellegrini

    dapellegrini Lifetime Charter Member
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    ??? What does this mean? I just mixed up a 20x dose (for 60-gallons) of KNO3, KH2PO4 and K2SO4 in 500ml of water - I get crystals of something undissolved on the bottom of the bottle - did I perhaps break some rule of solubility?
     
  9. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    At a given temperature there is a limit to how much of anything will remain in solution with water. So, you need to stay under that limit for each of the fertilizers dissolved into your fertilizer cocktail. Since most of the fertilizer is KNO3, that is really the limiting factor. You don't really need the K2SO4, so it might help to omit it.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Left C,

    Claus suggested much less due to many folks not using CO2 and having lower lighting in Europe.

    When we add CO2 and 2x as much light, the demand goes up.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Hi Tom

    Hum.....I still have a question about the above dosing amounts of TMG.

    The EI dosing of Traces calls for:
    2 ml 3x per week or 6 ml per week for a 10 to 20 gallon aquarium
    5 ml 3x per week or 15 ml per week for a 20 to 40 gallon aquarium

    You are now saying to dose 2.5 ml daily or 17.5 ml per week for a 20 gallon aquarium.

    This is 2.5 ml more than you would dose in a 40 gallon aquarium or an aquarium twice as large.

    I believe that you mentioned with EI dosing that you use the same dosings amounts whether you use TMG, Flourish or a correct solution of CSM+B.

    EI was designed for added CO2 and high light too.

    I'm still wondering why it's a little high. A 250 ml bottle would only last about 14 weeks for a 20 gallon aquarium or you would use a little over 0.9 liters per year for that same aquarium.

    Thanks

    Left C
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    It's not that high though.

    I did not come up with the tables for EI, I stated a long time ago that you could scale up froma basic 75 liter tank and slide, rather than abrupt changes.

    So a 20 gal would 5mls 3x a week, or about 2mls per day.
    A 30 gal would get 3 mls a day or 7mls 3x a week and so on.

    The math is kept simple, but folks seem to want tables, I did not make those , those are other folk's ideas and approaches, if you have less light, they should work fine on the leaner side.

    They tend to target less, rather than more vs the EI I suggested.
    It might surpise you, but traces are generally underdosed.


    Claus mentioned this every time he came here.
    Several growth studies on aquatic plants suggest they will optimize growth at 2-6 ppm of Fe.

    Hardly the routine 0.1ppm that PMDD suggested.

    FYI, PPS pro suggest even more than EI, about 5x vs the ratio of macro nutrients.

    Addign extra will not hurt, it's a bit silly to howl about EI wastefulness when the traces are being wasted using PPS pro.

    Relative to the macros, PPS suggest 5x on average the amount of traces.

    I guess 10ppm extra of NO3 is deathly toxic but 5x more copper, zinc and Mn is okay:cool:


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I just wanted a little more info. That's why I bugged you.:)

    I want to understand and learn more. I'm not content when someone says that X amount is correct, but there's no reason as to why. I want to know why X amount is correct. And, that is what you are explaining to me. Thank you.

    I wondered why you didn't put EI into a sliding form. I didn't like the tables. There's too much of a range. A sliding form would of been much better, IMO.

    I wanted a math formula.

    I know that on many of your comments hinted that more traces might be needed and you were experimenting with this idea. I saw 0.2-0.5 ppm or more Fe many times on your articles.



    Thanks again for you time, Tom!

    Take care

    Left C
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, back in the mid 1990's I was adding 1-2ppm of Fe via TMG.


    Not .2-.5ppm, that was 2-5x higher than PMDD suggested at the time.
    I was a bit more conservative because I'd not yet tested it myself and could not say.

    I speculated, but that's easy to do.

    I needed more evidence.

    To test for traces:

    You need to have everything else non limiting.
    If you do not this will confound your test results and be impossible to tease any useful conclusions out of/or answer your original question.

    From there you can go two main directions: low to high, or high to low.

    Now if you start at limiting levels, you can stunt the plants, this might take time to recover.

    Bad idea.

    So add excess, then slowly back off.
    Do this in 3 to 4 week intervals for each treatment/Test mls per tank size.

    So if a tank is 75 liters, try adding 5mls a day and then after 4weeks, lower it to 4, then 4 more weeks, try 3mls for 4 weeks, then 2mls and 1 ml etc.

    You need at least 3 weeks to see a difference due to plant's reserves.
    They horde trace nutrients and you need to depelete to see any negative plant health related signs.

    During this test, you need to be sure the CO2 and other nutrients are very well maintained.

    I suggest 2x a week 50% water changes when you do this and dose thereafter or go to daily dosing routines.

    Keep up on things, otherwise all your work will be wasted:mad:
    Done that a few times myself.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    So the only true method I really know of beside measuring dry weight differences or O2 level differences etc, is simly watching the plant's responses over time when you isolate the trace dosing.

    Basically, you use the plants as the indicator for plant health, which is really what we want to know, not some PPM level or test kit reading that we have to infer plant health to.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Thank you again for your explanation and time.

    Take care

    Left C
     
  16. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Left C., like most of us you seem to be looking for an accurate way to determine just what the plants need in the way of nutrients, not just a crude guess. But, plants are so adaptable they will do well with a wide range of nutrient concentrations, so finding the exact amount needed isn't really necessary. It would be necessary if when we overdo the fertilizing something real bad were to happen. But, that doesn't seem to ever be the case. As long as we maintain enough of each nutrient in the water, and don't go hog wild by using ten times what is required, the plants just adapt to that and do well. Then the water changes we do prevent us from inadvertently building up to ten times what we need, so using a crude table for nutrient needs does work very well. Even CO2 doesn't need to be some exact amount for best growth. It just needs to be the same, day after day after day, so we aren't signaling algae spores to start growing. I'm not a botanist by any stretch of the imagination, so I have no good idea why plants can adapt to such a range of nutrient levels, but I'm sure happy they are so accomodating.
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well,

    Plants cannot run away, so it's a good thing they can handle a wide range.
    They have little choice, that ........or else they die.


    We also can handle a wide range.
    We do not need to eat precisely and continuously all day/night either.

    And many of us have excess fat hanging aound also to prove it:D

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Oooh! That was below the belt! Considering where the fat is, that seems appropriate.
     
  19. danbryans

    danbryans Junior Poster

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    Was just wonderin.. Seachem Eq and GH booster are somewhat the same right? Are there any other alternatives to these if were gonna try the EI daily dosing approach? Haven't seen any seachem products bein sold here at any of the LFS I go to. And ordering both online would be a hassle somewhat. We do have dry ferts available here. I have been dosing EI since 5 mos. ago (i think). And for trace a friend was able to bring in some plantex CSM+b. So with this how would I be able to follow the daily dosing routine using KNO3, KH2PO4, KCL, CaCO3 and Epsom salt and CSM+B for example. :confused:
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Alternatives to GH booster: CaCl2+MgSO4.
    If you want it exact, add some K2SO4, FeSO4, MnSO4 as well.

    CaCO3 is not that suitable for adding Ca, try CaCL2, you should be able to find this easy enough.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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