Can u use dry ferts without EI

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by paul.stopher, 1 Oct 2009.

  1. paul.stopher

    paul.stopher Newly Registered

    Surrey UK
    Hi, I have been up and running for 10 wks on my firt attempt at a planted tank with a juwel rio 400 (355l)
    lighting T8s 0.75WPG
    Tropica substrate topped with sand
    DIY CO2 at constant 20ppm
    Ph 6.8
    Gh 6
    Can anyone advise me on using dry ferts without going EI and doing 50% water changes a week 175l is a lot to be changing every wk ( water Meter). Would like to stay at my current 20% per wk water change. I want to go dry ferts as dosing this size tank is going to be pritty pricey with Name brand bottles of fert.
    All help appreciated as I have no idea where to start.
  2. Superman

    Superman Member

    Hi Paul,

    You can dose as much and as little as you'd like of dry ferts.

    The idea of "EI" is to provide enough so that the plants are never at a point that they've used up all of the fertilisers. If that was the case, then the plant would be deficient.

    Therefore, the amount of dry ferts someone would dose is different in each tank, therefore you're tank's full blown EI might not be as much as the reference tank of your tank's size. In addition, no one would want to knowingly dose too little as that'll be an algae magnet.

    I would suggest that you look at what the EI calculations say for your tank size then reduce it as you've got relatively low light. I'm not sure how much you'd go down by, but you could do something like 25% see how that goes, if it's going ok for a week, you could step it down by 5% until there's a deficiency shown and then pop it up to the previous 5% step. That number you arrive at could be defined at "full EI" as you're providing just enough for the plants to use without having a load excess ferts in there losing money.

    As you said, the liquid brands are expensive, and the EI salts can be expensive when you buy them, but I've had some for over a year as I've never used the initial batch I got from Aqua Essentials.

    Dosing dry salts is a bit of trial and error if you want to add as little as possible. In the past I've been in both camps but knowing that my plants aren't deficient is the main reason for EI.
  3. paul.stopher

    paul.stopher Newly Registered

    Surrey UK
    Thanks superman.
    Will trial it out and see.
    Sounds like much of this planted tank thing seems to be if it works for you use it.
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Chicago, USA
    That's a really short sighted way of looking at it. it is not about random probabilities but instead WE lack the ability to measure and account for all variables that contribute to plant health. Can you tell exactly haw much light is reaching every leaf? Can you calculate the exact amount of CO2 and nutrients traversing the leaf/water interface? Can you determine exactly the amount of nutrition being taken up by the roots? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding no, not unless you have £50,000 worth of measuring equipment. As a result, EI starts with a worst case analysis and doses at levels that will satisfy all but the most stringent conditions. If the environmental conditions of your tank are not near the extreme limits then it's possible to back off the dosing levels. But because you are unable to determine exactly where your particular tank lies with respect to the extreme limits you must then experiment with the dosing levels to see how far below the limits you can go. EI is about understanding the relationship between dosing and health, and so the plants will let you know, through their response whether your decisions are wise or foolish.

    Have you, or anyone you know ever been on a diet? How can you tell whether you are eating exactly the right amount of food or not to maintain health while losing the right amount of weight at the right speed? It depends on your activity and your level of fitness and your starting weight, so no one amount fits everyone. This is exactly the same thing (except in reverse). We are feeding plants so that they grow faster and stay healthy.

    Stop thinking of EI in terms of magic numbers and rigid formulas. It is a concept of nutrition and health so it requires your intervention, observation and analysis. We are farmers. Simple as that. Like farmers, we try to optimize our yield and sometimes it requires corrective action depending on the amount of sun or rainfall. The farmer growing tomatoes in Lincolnshire probably does things a little differently than the tomato farmer in Greece, not only because they each have different conditions, but because they may have different goals as well.

    The thinking EI hobbyist tries to understand WHY something works, not just "if it works then use it" because what woks in one tank may not work in another. 8)


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