EI daily methods or PMDD + PO4

ceg4048

Expert/Global Moderator
Staff member
Joined
11 Jul 2007
Messages
8,989
Location
Chicago, USA
There is no need to use Deionized, distilled or RO water when making up your nutrient solutions. The concentration levels are estimated and have a minimum required level only. There is little danger of precipitates forming from elements in the tap. Just add the powders to tap water and get on with it. If you're in Tesco spend your money on extra beer or a fine wine in lieu of DI water.

The minimum concentration levels for max lighting levels have already been calculated for you. There is no need to get wrapped around the axle. If you are using less than max lighting then you already will have an excess. There is no need to worry about "right range". Maximum uptake rates have already been calculated, therefore if you dose per the stated amounts these are automatically taken care of. A more detailed explanation can be found in this article: EI DOSING USING DRY SALTS

Cheers,
 

Henrik

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2008
Messages
67
Location
Chester, Cheshire
If you use CO2 and have reasonable plant biomass, the fraction from fish is pretty small, typically not more than 5-10%
Thanks Tom, that I think was the part I was not getting, I was permanently thinking that even if I provide exactly say 20ppm of NO3, could the fish and bacteria create another 20ppm and thus make me go 'out of a healthy range'.

I just got the quality details from my water company, Nitrate is at an average of 10ppm and Phosphate at 1.5ppm. Could I do without the KH2PO4 altogether given the fact that this is in the non-limiting range already? I actually use a carbon flow through filtration to eliminate chlorine etc., does that also eliminate phosphate or nitrate from the water?

Thanks, Henrik
 

Henrik

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2008
Messages
67
Location
Chester, Cheshire
If you are using less than max lighting then you already will have an excess. There is no need to worry about "right range".
I totally understand that you cannot have too few nutrients using this method. But after James' post on another thread about excess nitrate in tap water I am still not clear how I can make sure that I do not have excess levels of phosphate and nitrate that might be dangerous to my fish - as I cannot estimate the levels produced by fish and bacteria.

Good news on the tap water. I guess I will use my filtered water which should be without some of the 'nasties' we apparently have in our tap water.
 

JamesC

Member
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent
How much nitrate comes from fish is hard to say as it depends on what you have in your tank. I remember in my fish only tanks that nitrate used to rise quite quickly if I didn't keep up with water changes. If you keep to standard EI dosing you shouldn't really need to worry about levels getting too high as long as your tap water is low in nitrate and you don't have a tank full of overfed fish. If you do have higher levels then you can cut back on your dosing. Most people find that they can cut back except those with massive lighting.

What I was trying to point out in my other post was that this mindset of telling people to keep adding more and more nitrate is just wrong and dangerous to livestock, especially here in the UK where tap nitrate levels tend to be much higher than in the US. If 120ppm nitrate can kill shrimp then this shows to me that these levels are toxic and should be avoided.

Nitrate production as a result of fish is generally quite small, possibly about 10ppm per week. Nitrate uptake by the plants can vary a lot depending on plant type, light levels, CO2, etc but as a rough guide it is about 1-3ppm daily. You can see from this how people can with lowish light system get plants growing fine with no added nitrate.

Normal EI dosing adds about 24ppm weekly which is well within safe limits and means that you need not worry about reaching toxic levels. But add into this high tap nitrate levels and over dosing EI, means it is easy to reach toxic levels. Good levels of nitrate for plants and fish are 15-30ppm nitrate and not 80-150ppm.

James
 

ceg4048

Expert/Global Moderator
Staff member
Joined
11 Jul 2007
Messages
8,989
Location
Chicago, USA
Well, I just don't get all this NO3/PO4 paranoia, primarily because I haven't experienced the nitrate toxiciy syndrome and I've deliberately tried to induce it by hyperdosing. As far as I can gather the toxic effects of nitrate are as follows:

Poor growth, loss of appetite, lethargy, chronic stress, reluctance to breed, increase in gill rate and gasping, general ill health, delayed wound healing, clamped fins. I don't see any of this. My fish breed, have great appetites, don't suffer any more ill health that typical in this hobby and are unstressed as best I can judge by their coloration and general behavior. I lose fish to other reasons such as CO2 overdose jumping, aggression/predation and so forth. I don't keep inverts so I can't address those.

Furthermore I can't see how you can ever get to 120ppm NO3 if the water supply is held at EU regulated levels and assuming you do at least a 50% water change weekly. I've lived on several continents and the nitrate levels in the UK overall aren't any higher than any developed nation that has an intensive farming infrastructure, and despite the NO3/PO4 levels the quality of the water is higher than most places.

1) Lets assume your tap has 40ppm NO3.
2) Assume a 50% water change.
3) Assume a 20ppm NO3 via KNO3 addition weekly.
4) Assume zero NO3 uptake.
5) Assume zero NO3 production via nitrification.

Items 4 and 5 are necessary assumptions purely to illustrate the buildup rate as a result of dosing and water change.

So the tanks is filled with 100% tap water at 40ppm and is dosed with 20ppm NO3 so at the end of the week the the total nitrate level rises to 40pp+20ppm=60ppm at the end of week 1.

A 50% water change is performed which means that half of the 60ppm water is removed and is replaced with 40ppm water. The resultant concentration level is the average of the two: [60ppm+40ppm]/2=50ppm.

For week 2 another 20ppm is dosed to this 50ppm water so by the end of the week the NO3 level rises to 70ppm. After the water change the concentration level is [70ppm+40ppm]/2=55ppm.

For week 3 another 20ppm is dosed to this 55ppm water so by the end of the week the NO3 level rises to 75ppm. After the water change the concentration level is [75ppm+40ppm]/2=58ppm.

For week 4 another 20ppm is dosed to this 58ppm water so by the end of the week the NO3 level rises to 78ppm. After the water change the concentration level is [78ppm+40ppm]/2=59ppm.

For week 5 another 20ppm is dosed to this 59ppm water so by the end of the week the NO3 level rises to 79ppm. After the water change the concentration level is [79ppm+40ppm]/2=60ppm.

For week 6 another 20ppm is dosed to this 60ppm water so by the end of the week the NO3 level rises to 80ppm. After the water change the concentration level is [80ppm+40ppm]/2=60ppm.

Can you see that if you follow this procedure for the rest of your life you will never exceed 60ppm by the end of the water change? The peak concentration value will never exceed 80ppm. If you do more than a 50% water change then these values are reduced even further. Remember that this assumes no nitrate uptake and no nitrate production so this is purely theoretical. If the production rate exceeds the consumption rate then yes you will approach toxic levels. But if the consumption rate is higher then there is little to fear.

Now, if you are certain your tap water is 40ppm NO3 then really there is no need to dose KNO3, or at least you don't need to dose the baseline values. If you are certain your tap is high in PO4 then don't dose KH2PO4. All you really need to do is to dose K (most cheaply done via K2SO4) and traces. You are still doing EI as long as the nutrient levels in the tank are maintained higher than the uptake rate. If you start to see evidence of malnutrition then that means your assumptions were off and you can then make some adjustments. It's really no big deal. Fretting over toxic nutrient levels in my opinion is a complete waste of time and it really sucks the energy and enjoyment out of the hobby. There are a lot more toxic things in your tank to worry about like urine, feces, other organic waste and pathogens. Keep those concentration levels low and you'll be ahead of the game.


Cheers,
 

JamesC

Member
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent
As I said standard EI dosing is fine, but then again if your tap water has high nitrate do you really want to have 80ppm levels? It's the attitude on this forum that you can keep on overdosing EI levels of nitrate with no consequences that gets me. Quite often I've seen it said that it's safe to double or triple amounts which is crazy. Even doubling EI will create levels of around 100ppm nitrate plus add in tap nitrate and you can reach 140ppm. At most plants will remove about 20ppm per week so that is still 100ppm.

To me if levels at 120ppm can kill shrimp then it means that these high levels are toxic. I like to keep my nitrate levels around the 20-30 ppm mark and would never even think about advising somebody just to keep adding NO3 willy nilly.

James
 

keymaker

Member
Joined
5 Sep 2008
Messages
255
Location
Budapest, Hungary
Just out of curiosity I verified Clive's example in my calc and here's his data on chart (to make it simple, I dosed only on Mondays, this can of course be modified to dose 3 times a week or every day - a total of 20 ppm).


James, as far as I'm concerned it's good to know that you can add 100ppm levels of NO3 without causing algae. That's what I want to hear. For me, that does not mean that Clive is suggesting that I should in fact dose those levels. I go for your (EI) range - 20-30 ppm will do just fine. But if the shrimp will not be harmed it's ok to overdose accidentally or forced by certain facts, like high NO3 in the tap water and using a commercial solution like TPN+ which needs to be dosed heavily to get other nutrients then NO3 in. This will inevitably lead to NO3 overdose in my case, there's nothing I can do about it except switch to dry ferts and flush the TPN+. :) I'm not gonna do that, and I'm not gonna dose lightly because that will mean PO4 or other nutrient shortage.

(Btw I'm switching to dry ferts next week, I managed to get the good HEDDTA chelated micro from Sweden. :) )
 

Henrik

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2008
Messages
67
Location
Chester, Cheshire
(Btw I'm switching to dry ferts next week, I managed to get the good HEDDTA chelated micro from Sweden. )
Interesting - is there something wrong with the Aqua Essential trace mix (I was about to order it)?

Can someone help me out with some info on magnesium - my water company says that this is only a trace element in my water, yet on keymaker's dosing calculator the default is set to 20...Is my situation unusual in the sense that my magnesium is very low? Or is the magnesium level somehow related to water hardness? What about Calcium - is this of any interest - it features in the calculator but I have not really picked up anything about it?
 

JamesC

Member
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent
Nothing wrong with AE traces. They use EDTA as the chelator which is a weak chelator and not one of the best ones to use for aquatic plants. I've started using DTPA which is a bit stronger but have been looking for HEEDTA as the iron chelator. Unfortunately it seems almost impossible to get here in the UK unless someone knows different. HEEDTA is what Tropica use.

Magnesium levels in some parts of the country are pretty low. This can be found out by looking at your water report or testing for it. Adding an extra 10ppm weekly should be alright. Magnesium and Calcium are what make up GH.

James
 

GreenNeedle

Member
Joined
19 Jul 2007
Messages
2,720
Location
Lincoln UK
Why would anyone want to double or triple Nitrate levels anyway?

If 20ppm added weekly is the most plants are going to uptake and then another 20ppm is added (through the 40ppm within the 50% change) then what is the point of doubling tripling unless you were short dosing in the first place?

I'm lost with that one. I only dose 2ppm daily with 10% water change weekly (if I can be bothered to do water changes) and the only problems I ever have is with poor CO2 occasionally.

It is correct that UK is higher than America. apparently in the US it strictly has to be less than 10ppm and they are trying to reduce the limit to nominal above 1!!!

Maybe it proves nitrates are also brain food for humans ;) ;)

AC
 

JamesC

Member
Joined
3 Jul 2007
Messages
1,276
Location
Bexley, Kent
Henrik said:
Magnesium and Calcium are what make up GH.
So does the GH increase if I dose Magnesium Sulphate?
Yes it does, but adding 10ppm will only raise it a very small amount. Should have mentioned earlier that if your GH is very low you should add both calcium and magnesium rather than magnesium by itself. Something like Seachem Equilibrium or GH booster add both Ca and Mg.

James
 

ceg4048

Expert/Global Moderator
Staff member
Joined
11 Jul 2007
Messages
8,989
Location
Chicago, USA
keymaker said:
it's good to know that you can add 100ppm levels of NO3 without causing algae. That's what I want to hear. For me, that does not mean that Clive is suggesting that I should in fact dose those levels. I go for your (EI) range - 20-30 ppm will do just fine.
Yep, this is exactly my point. The paranoia about nutrients that exists on Planet Earth is what gets me. Nitrates get blamed for everything that goes wrong in someone's tank, whether it's algae or toxicity. The effect is that it blinds people to real causal factors, stifles imagination and undermines rational troubleshooting. What I observe is a direct relationship between the level fear of nutrients and the level of algae in that persons tank.

Now, just because 120ppm NO3 is toxic to shrimp does that mean that it's necessarily toxic to all fish at that level? I don't think so. It depends on the fish. Some, like salmon are extremely sensitive but others like guppies are not. Generally, larger fish have a lower toxicity threshold than smaller fish. It's very species dependent.

I suppose it's fine to play it safe but what are we learning by doing that? If a percentage who dosed high nitrate levels were experiencing toxicity syndrome I'd be a lot more cautious but we're not seeing it, either in the short term or the long term. As I said, my tanks have been deliberately hypereutrophic for almost a decade, the fish suffer no ill effects, algae has been minimal and the quality of plant health has been phenomenal, so that's the basis of my confidence.

SuperColey1 said:
Why would anyone want to double or triple Nitrate levels anyway?
Andy some day, when your tank size approaches 10X what you have now, and when you are using 1/2 kilowatt of lighting over plants more finicky than crypts and ferns, then ask me that question again, OK? ;)

Cheers,
 

GreenNeedle

Member
Joined
19 Jul 2007
Messages
2,720
Location
Lincoln UK
ceg4048 said:
keymaker said:
SuperColey1 said:
Why would anyone want to double or triple Nitrate levels anyway?
Andy some day, when your tank size approaches 10X what you have now, and when you are using 1/2 kilowatt of lighting over plants more finicky than crypts and ferns, then ask me that question again, OK? ;)
Cheers,
Why would anyone want that much light? surely a couple of T5HO with their better efficiency would do the trick ;)

And why would anyone want plants more finicky than crypts and ferns? Everything else is rubbish ;) :lol:

What do you mean by finicky anyway? I think anything would grow in mine as long as my CO2 was right without having to increase dosing. Not going to try though as I want to concentrate on getting this scape grown.

AC
 

ceg4048

Expert/Global Moderator
Staff member
Joined
11 Jul 2007
Messages
8,989
Location
Chicago, USA
SuperColey1 said:
Why would anyone want that much light? surely a couple of T5HO with their better efficiency would do the trick ;)
Those are T5s...Like Star Trek Voyager I'm exploring the edges of the known galaxy in the Delta Quadrant where I often encounter Borg activity....
SuperColey1 said:
And why would anyone want plants more finicky than crypts and ferns? Everything else is rubbish ;) ;lol;
Relax, you will be assimilated and your unique distinctiveness will be added to our own... :lol:
SuperColey1 said:
What do you mean by finicky anyway? I think anything would grow in mine as long as my CO2 was right without having to increase dosing. Not going to try though as I want to concentrate on getting this scape grown.
Probably so but the the rules of engagement are a little different in big high light, high biomass tanks. CO2 and nutrient delivery are less efficient in big spaces, so often one is forced to use higher dosages to compensate for the inefficiency. The less popular versions of Ludwigia such as ovalis, glandulosa and the verticillated versions struggle even under standard dosing and with less than absolutely perfect flow. Getting perfect flow in large spaces is not easy and so it's easier to dose higher quantities. Carpet plants struggle as well under these conditions. For example, to completely eliminate GSA requires about 10ppm PO4 weekly dosing under this configuration. In most forums you'll find loads of posts where folks panic if they think they are above 2ppm PO4 (Amazingly no one has yet demonstrated mass fish death from PO4- plenty of deaths from overfeeding though) Life is easy in a nano, not so easy with a hippo tank...

Cheers,
 

plantbrain

Expert
Joined
2 Aug 2007
Messages
1,946
I think one of the tenents folks using this more daily approach are looking for it tighter control, sort of goes without saying..........

So.......with that notion in mind........

You start high, non limiting in other words.............then you reduce slowly.............like change one thing every 2-3 weeks stepwise by a small amounts(reduce it slowly).
Once you see any slowing, or negative reponse, you back up to the next highest ppm/dose.

This will give you the min non limiting amount without a test kit.
Takes time, but you also have issues like changes, species, CO2 etc that will after you figure all this out.

So how much buffer do you want to have good wiggle room?
Seems you get more of that with lower moderate light.

So..........if you want tighter control with less issues, that has to be part of the balance/plan.
Some seem to want to skirt that part.

You cannot do that and discuss fairly the nutrients.........CO2/light have to be included with the context.
Some might want to skip this part, cry bloody murder about nutrients, claim all sorts of things...........
and often they do.............not ever address the other 2 players here......throw tangents out again and again, never answer the direct questions etc

All while claiming key furry fuzzy words like "balance", "nature" "Ecology", yet have little understanding of what those things mean. This is the same old story, older than the hills.



Regards,
Tom Barr
 

GreenNeedle

Member
Joined
19 Jul 2007
Messages
2,720
Location
Lincoln UK
Tom you misundestand us I think ;)

We are not saying excess nutrients are bad nor cause algae. more a case of why dose 3 x what is already excess if it can get close to the levels that 'could' be harmful wether that had level was know or not. If 10-20ppm per week is EI then why dose 30-60ppm?

Surely 10-20ppm should be the MOST that needs to be dosed and the decision to be made would be how much to reduce if necessary rather than to increase by 2x 3x increments.

I guess on a highlight tank then the starting point is higher but then does that mean dose 2, 3x? Surely the ppm within the tank is still reduced accordingly anyway?

AC
 

ceg4048

Expert/Global Moderator
Staff member
Joined
11 Jul 2007
Messages
8,989
Location
Chicago, USA
SuperColey1 said:
Tom you misundestand us I think ;)

We are not saying excess nutrients are bad nor cause algae. more a case of why dose 3 x what is already excess if it can get close to the levels that 'could' be harmful whether that had level was know or not. If 10-20ppm per week is EI then why dose 30-60ppm?

Surely 10-20ppm should be the MOST that needs to be dosed and the decision to be made would be how much to reduce if necessary rather than to increase by 2x 3x increments.

I guess on a highlight tank then the starting point is higher but then does that mean dose 2, 3x? Surely the ppm within the tank is still reduced accordingly anyway?

AC
But why are you so sure that 10-20ppm is the most one would ever need, under any possible condition? I've already explained that your tank is operating in a certain regime, i.e, a certain combination of size, flow lighting biomass, species and so forth - not to mention the fact that you have a specific goal in mind - low maintenance and slower growth which gives you the breathing room to concentrate on scaping. But what if those aren't my goals? In my regime, with my objectives, more dosing works better without ever encountering the "...could be harmful.." bit. Under your regime you are quite happy to accept a certain levels of growth rate and algae, levels which I find unacceptable.

My plants grow faster and look prettier with 30-60ppm + higher CO2 than with 10-20ppm. Why is that considered so psychotic? I still remember when everyone thought that nutrients cause algae and then some psycho decided to add more nutrients which flew in the face of convention. In fact if you look at some of the older websites like Chuck Gadd's his recommended dosage levels are lower than what we commonly accept now as being safe. Keymaker summed it up in that it's while it's unnecessary to advocate 2X or 3X it's also good to push the boundaries of your knowledge if that is in fact your goal. In the same way JamesC experimented in his thread Dosing with Ammonia and Urea

In the end James discontinued that scheme because there were clear and present dangers, but there was also a lot learned. I've tried it myself and I saw no advantages but came to the same conclusion that there are plenty of risks. I'm sure that there are those who accept the risk and continue to dose urea. I would never normally advocate it's use except in special cases, and even then I would warn of the dangers. Since I've not experienced any dangers in the 30-60ppm nitrate range, whether that be in hard or RO water, there is no reason for me to conclude that it "...could be harmful..".

Cheers,
 

GreenNeedle

Member
Joined
19 Jul 2007
Messages
2,720
Location
Lincoln UK
The answer is I'm not sure that 10-20ppm is the most one would ever need. I am taking that from what I have read from others on here and other forums that we all use. I have no idea. I add 2ppm nitrate a day and it works for me. How much is in the tap water? I don't know. How much of that ppm do the plants use? I don't know. How much is left over after my 10% water change? I don't know. What is my current ppm? I don't know. The shrimp are still alive so I guess its less than Tom's suggestion of 150ppm.

From the way you write are you saying you have 30-60ppm present or you add 30-60ppm weekly or 3x a week therefore allowing build up if it isn't used?

Do you not worry that if (for example) 30ppm was left over pre water change then 15ppm would be carried forward to the next week. Then the week after you end up with 22.5 after the water change and so on? Would that not equal incredible amounts after a year? Its a simple equation I am using and obviously doesn't include any other happenings within the tank. Is there something scientific that reduces/breaks down the nitrate over time?

Surely if someone were to keep dosing 30ppm more than their plants needed each week (and I understand that to know this we would need to know the plants uptake) then the left overs coupled with the next week's dosing would accumulate.

Under your regime you are quite happy to accept a certain levels of growth rate and algae, levels which I find unacceptable
Yes I am quite happy to accept the rates of growth I have. Any faster and there would be no room for water ;) I am not quite happy to accept certain levels of algae though. I am not happy to accept any (or at least not any amount that is visible) thus I battle with CO2 diffusion techniques and circulation issues time to time caused by the 'slow' rate of growth that I am quite happy with :lol:

AC
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
O Daily vs Weekly dosing & water changes Aquarium Fert Dosing 1
jameson_uk Daily vs Weekly Fert Dosing Aquarium Fert Dosing 5

Similar threads

Top