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Why EI needs to be dosed daily

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plant Fertilization' started by tiger15, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. tiger15

    tiger15 Member

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    I can understand why micros need to be dosed daily because the shelf life of chelated Fe in bio available form is short. But I can't understand why macros need to be dosed daily too. K, N and P are stable and always in available form till fully assimilated by plants. So why can't macros be front loaded heavy once a week before the next WC.
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    EI is based on having a high light tank, so the assumption is that the tank has a lot of fast growing plants in it. Those plants will use up nutrients pretty fast. If you have less than high light you can dose less often, and for low light tanks you might only dose every couple of weeks. So, you need to evaluate your tank set-up and determine how much and how often to dose accordingly. You might be able to do that by monitoring just the nitrates in the water - inexpensive test kit, but a better indicator might be to monitor potassium. Once you get a feel for how fast your plants use up the nutrients you don't need to bother with testing - this method is not one that requires lots of testing.

    A very effective method for judging how much and how often to dose is to start out with what you know is plenty - follow the tables. Watch the plants to find out what they look like with no limits on nutrients. Then cut the dosage of Potassium, for example, by 1/4. Watch the plants for a week or so, to see if they are adversely affected. If not, cut the dosage again by 1/4 and repeat until you do see some adverse affects. Go back to the dosage that doesn't show those adverse affects. Repeat for the other nutrients. You can do this to check how often to dose, as well as how much to dose.
     
    #2 VaughnH, Nov 26, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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  3. tiger15

    tiger15 Member

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    Where can I find inexpensive K testing kit? This is one macro I have been dosing into a black box without knowing the levels I have.

    High or low light tank makes no difference. There is no explanation on why EI macros need to be dosed 3x or more a week. Why not multiply 3x or 6x the recommended daily dosage and front load the entire dosage once a week and be done with it. You don’t want to front load micros due to stability and toxicity concern, but I am not aware of such constraints for macros, right?
     
  4. Mike k

    Mike k Member

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    API has a phosphate test. My thought one the other question would be about balance and maintenance. Could you front load? Probably. If you handle it that way how engaged with the rest of it are you?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    I've front-loaded my entire macro supply along with each water change for months on end. Not a single problem with it.

    The macro ions are all stable. It's been abundantly shown by various people here on the site that macros don't promote algae growth by themselves, just by having somewhat elevated concentrations. I think the notion of daily dosing is kind of a throwback to the PPS-pro thought that "we mustn't have ANY more than X amount in the tank, or we'll get algae!" That, and the notion of engagement in something to do with the tank on a daily basis. There's plenty of other things to check, clean, or change that are more useful for maintenance. Not dosing your tank daily doesn't mean you're not doing it right.
     
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  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you dose a whole weeks nutrients on the first day of the week, then change 50% of the water on the last day of the week, I doubt that you would run into problems. But, remember, if the plants don't consume most of that dose you will end up with more than your one weeks dosage of those nutrients. It really is possible to dose too much nitrate for some fish, at least.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The reason for 2-3x a week dosing......this is about the min frequency without some reduced growth, large drop in ppm's.
    It was justified, a long time ago, 1990's.

    Daily works perhaps because more folks can keep track of a daily routine vs Tues, Friday and Sunday.
    I dose 2x a week for the 120 and dose traces 4-5x a WEEK. You can modify things, add less, more(not likely you will need to).
     
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  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The reason for 2-3x a week dosing......this is about the min frequency without some reduced growth, large drop in ppm's.
    It was justified, a long time ago, 1990's.

    Daily works perhaps because more folks can keep track of a daily routine vs Tues, Friday and Sunday.
    I dose 2x a week for the 120 and dose traces 4-5x a WEEK. You can modify things, add less, more(not likely you will need to).
     
  9. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    My system is not super-densely wall-to-wall planted, but it's getting there. I find that dosing about half a standard EI dose of NO3 included with water change, and feeding the fish well daily, I don't see a measurable drop in ppm's. NO3 stays pegged in the 20-30ppm range from right after one water change to right before the next one without a measurable (with dumb little consumer test kits) difference.

    How much does a happening tank consume? What's the rate, ppm's per day?
     
  10. tiger15

    tiger15 Member

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    If you dose enough for the week, there should still be excess at the end of the week according to EI formulation even with a large drop in ppm, right? It can easily be verified by testing.

    Most high light planted tanks have light stocking, and the depletion of macros is fast. I have a heavily stocked cichlid tank, and there is an opposite trend of increasing N and P by the end of the week, as verified by testing. I am not sure about K though because I don't have and can't find an inexpensive test kit for K. So in my case, front loading macros after weekly WC will help moderate the ppm, right?

    I have been dosing micros every other day and K weekly, and will start dosing N and P next week when they come in. Previously, I didn't even dose for N and P under the assumption that I had enough natural N and P from heavy stocking. My N and P were as high as 30 and 2 ppm before weekly 75% WC. I have CO2 injection and grow mostly Anubias, Java fern, Buce and Crypto that can resist cichlid abuse. I have not achieved lush growth in my plants, and I was advised to dose N and K regardless of stocking and the explanation is that it won't hurt to have excess N and P.

    I will see how it goes after next week, but want to understand the right way of dosing. I am on travel one week at a time often, so even if I elect to dose daily, it may not be feasible at all time.
     
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  11. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    There is more than one "right way" to dose fertilizers. As much as anything, what made the Estimative Index method so popular, is that it isn't a rigid, set in concrete, system. The principles of it are simple and very liberating if you have been struggling to get just the right concentrations of each nutrient in the water at all times, using daily testing, milligram scales, precisely mixed solutions, etc. Once you accept that there is no harm in having a higher concentration of nitrates, phosphates, etc. in the water, than the plant will consume in a day, you have a lot of freedom for dosing as often as best fits your desired schedule. The only nutrient that is "tricky" is carbon. The most effective concentration of carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, for high light tanks, is too close to the concentration that can harm fish, for you to be as casual with it. And, the concentration that doesn't harm the fish is too close to being too little to avoid BBA outbreaks for you to be casual with it. That's why it is best to concentrate on CO2 instead of to KNO3, KH2PO4, etc.
     
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  12. tiger15

    tiger15 Member

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    I read that EI micros is close to toxic level to shrimp, and some won’t make it. I don’t keep shrimp and have no concern.

    I have been a cichlid keeper and used to do massive WC weekly to reduce nitrate. So dosing N and P after WC is uncomfortable to me.
     
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  13. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    I have red cherry shrimp in my 20g and they do well with 3weekly doses of CSMB. They breed, and don’t suffer from what I can tell. The copper in CSMB doesn’t kill them. I have copper water pipes, and that seems so kill them over time if I use that water.

    I recently added some low grade (less inbred) Crystal red shrimps in that tank, I’m going to see how they like the conditions, but so far so good, they are always busy eating. We will see if they breed.
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You read very wrong.
    I've had international shrimp judges come to my home in person.

    I cannot kill them with ferts even if I wanted too, and I've tried.............mostly to save the high grades and cull the rest.
    I've tried all sorts of chemicals that do not kill the plants but supposedly.........harm shrimp...........haha, they laughed at me.

    As far as EI and normal dosing, no way.

    Shrimp.jpg
     
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  15. burr740

    burr740 Micros Spiller
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    My fire reds have never minded high ferts. Extreme co2 tends to stop them breeding, as does not feeding them properly, but Ive never seen a negative response from ferts.
     
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  16. Julia Adkins

    Julia Adkins aquariumfertilizer.com
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    I am sorry people but don't you want to have all the nutrients or measurable salts in the water to have reduced to almost nothing before a water change? You dose enough to feed the plants for a week. You want the plants to have consumed most of the nutrients over the course of the week. Otherwise you are wasting nutrients when you do a water change. Unless you are using that waste water to water plants in your greenhouse or your garden. The purpose of a water change is to clean the tank of waste, not excess nutrients.
     
  17. Julia Adkins

    Julia Adkins aquariumfertilizer.com
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    I have sold Nutritrace CSM for over 10 years and there have not been any problems with shrimp unless the tank is overdosed. Nutritrace CSM is a micro or trace nutrient mix because plants only need a small amount. If the plants are not using the components are building up in the tank or in the critters. We recommend mixing at a ratio of 1/4 cup Nutritrace CSM to 2 cups water. Then dose 1-4 drops per gallon per day, starting with 1 or 2 drops. Stay at that dose for 2-3 weeks and make small changes.
    I guess it is okay not to work on your tank every day, but living things, living systems need attention every day. At least looking at and enjoying your tank daily ensures that problems get nipped in the bud.
     
  18. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I don't agree that the purpose for a water change is to clean the tank of waste. The reason is whatever reason we have for a water change in our tank. If we are dosing per the EI method, one of the reasons is to prevent a build-up of nutrients in the water. A 50% water change every week, means the maximum concentration of nutrients in the tank is twice the weekly total dosage. If we have a problem with too much nitrate in the water we can do big water changes to reduce that to whatever we want to use as the maximum we will accept. If we find that our fish do better with lots of big water changes, that is one reason. It just depends on what we are doing, and what our goals are.

    The excess of nutrients in the water we drain out for a water change can often be used to water plants in our gardens/yards/patios. Those nutrients are not wasted. The nutrients we use are usually just agricultural grade chemicals, and we use very small amounts of those chemicals in our tanks. The waste, even if it is drained into the sewers, is a trivial amount compared to what is used on farm crops, much of which is also not used by the plants.

    If we have the time available we should be looking critically at our tanks every day, I agree, and that does give us a much better chance of fixing small problems instead of tackling big problems. But, this hobby isn't limited to just retirees like me, with lots of spare time. We all do what we can, not always what we should do if only we had the time and the energy to do more.
     
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  19. Julia Adkins

    Julia Adkins aquariumfertilizer.com
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    I agree that the amount dumped is trivial compared to that of big agriculture, but if nothing else why would you want to spend money on nutrients only to dump them down the drain. The products we sell are not chemicals. They are water soluble ground minerals. My sense of my tank is that for the fish it is like swimming in the toilet. The waste building up in the tank is really unpleasant. With the delicate tissues of their gills, the ammonia build up is caustic. I aim for homeostasis and do smaller more frequent water changes.
     
  20. Allwissend

    Allwissend Article Editor
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    All due respect, but I have to disagree. This belief is perpetuated by media which most often mentions chemicals as something toxic, unnatural and bad. Such a view does not help aquarists or further the hobby. The universe is made out of chemicals. Saying we don't use chemicals in aquariums is nonsensical. Water (H2O) is a chemical, float glass (Na2O)(SiO2) is a chemical. Furthermore, HCl, H2SO4, H2O2, etc. will quickly be labeled as "toxic chemicals" but are frequently found in nature.
    Here is the definition from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus
    All minerals are included in this definition.


    Regarding the main topic, I think Tom summed it up. Daily dosing is not a must, just like dosing every minute is not required. Nevertheless, plants like all biological systems, appreciate some degree of consistency. Frequent dosing helps maintain it. Plants can adapt the density/number of receptors, transporters and enzymes based on env. ques. However adaptation means energy expenditure and if conditions keep changing dramatically that energy will be wasted.
    How much or how little can that change (drop in ppms) without creating problems, probably depends on other conditions, frequency and plant specie. Obviously, keeping constant conc. of all elements all the time is unrealistic in our aquariums and is not how nature operates.

    I like the fat human analogy: Keep a fat human with lots of snacks for a long time. Take them away abruptly, and provide just bare minimum for survival of a normal human. Fat human will be grumpy, get sick or just die from hypoglycemia. The body cannot adapt so fast without experiencing a lot of stress.

    Keep those plants fat and happy. You are the main provider.
     
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