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EI DOSING USING DRY SALTS

Ady34

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ceg4048 said:
it's more appropriate to think that Hygrophila competes against HC for nutrients and CO2. Algae eats the loser.
...unless of course you provide enough for both... ;).....
...or can some plants actually use available c02 faster and more effectively and consequently starve other species?
i know this was just an analogy you used there Clive, but do plants monopolise? Or is it down then to control, ie trimming to keep a balance?
Cheers,
Ady.
 

ceg4048

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Hi Ady,
Yes, absolutely. Certain plants will monopolize because they are more talented in their ability to gather CO2 and nutrients faster than others as well as having the ability to assimilate the nutrients and convert the nutrient energy into mass more quickly than other plants. This is exactly why some species are considered invasive species, because they outcompete other plants easily, especially if they are introduced into another environment where the natural controls that usually keep them in check are not present. They then choke out the other native species entirely. Hydrilla, Elodea, Egeria are examples of highly talented species that choke canals and other waterways, muscling out native species. In your tank "fast growing stems" such as H. zosterfolia or some Hygrophilas will dominate the tank unless the hobbyist takes preventative action.

Just think about any track and field event such as a long distance run. At the beginning all the contestants appear to be equal, but the longer the race goes on, it becomes obvious which contestants are more talented than the others. The same is true of all plants and animals, and I think people forget that, blindly assuming that all plants are equal. There is a vast range of talent, so you have to provide conditions that cater to the least talented plant in the tank. As you have deduced, the more talented specimens will then tend to dominate when you do that, so they have to be pruned to be kept under control.

Here's an example of a plant that simply became a weed. P. steletta, which is difficult to get established, soon figures out the ropes and becomes a hooligan, smothering everything in it's path.
8395193064_114f258a1e_z.jpg


Cheers,
 

Ady34

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Thanks Clive,
its all a balancing act then to ensure enough for all!!
Cheerio,
Ady.
 

sWozzAres

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hotweldfire said:
Yes I have wondered about this too and think I posted a similar question somewhere (in one of my journals I think). I understand Clive's post about poor plant health feeding algae because of the breakdown of plant matter providing food for the algae. However, given that algae uses nutrients, lights and CO2 why can't both plants and algae thrive in the same environment?

The EI approach appears to be based on the assumption that if you provide optimum conditions for healthy plant growth then the plants will outcompete the algae. Why?

There is no "outcompeting" as such, more like tipping the scales.

Essentially there is one big difference between your plants and algae. Plants grow, algae reproduces. This means algae has to go through a phase of producing a spore and having it germinate. This is a simple or complicated process, depending on the algae but for the most part they all have one thing in common - in order for the spore to germinate, it has to settle somewhere by attaching and have light.

If your plants are healthy, no spore can settle on the leaf surface and attach in order to germinate. This massively reduces the surface area in a tank available to algae, leaving only decor and glass. Spores will end up being sucked out by regular water changes before they get a chance to attach anywhere - simple probability. If your plants aren't healthy, not only are they sites for spore settlement but they also leach nutrients that ends up as algae food.

By giving the plants what they need - nutrients, it denies the algae what it needs - real estate.

Now it becomes easier to "keep on top of things", which means taking out more algae spores than are being produced. EI with regular WC produces tanks with healthy plants and low spore count. :thumbup:
 

hotweldfire

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OK, I have re-read this whole thread and I think I understand. I think I have been making a major mistake as I had very fixed in my head the notion of competition between plants and algae. If I understand correctly it might be more appropriate to think of algae as a parasite. One that is typically only successful if the host is unhealthy?

So, is it reasonable to say that if you provide optimum conditions for plant growth you're unlikely to get algae unless you're also creating a source of ammonia in the tank? Because algae will uptake the ammonia much faster than plants can?
 

ceg4048

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Hi mate,
You can think of algae as either being parasitic or predatory. Either way produces the right mindset so that you interpret the events occurring in the tank in terms of plant health instead of thinking in terms of eradication. Parasites or predators are always smart enough to know that their best chance of success is to attack the weaker or most unwary specimens of their prey. They seldom attack prey which demonstrate strength or alertness. So then this becomes the objective. To institute a policy by which the plants becomes healthy enough and thereby strong enough so that algae or other stresses in the environment cannot have a significant impact. EI, or any dosing program for that matter, is therefore not about killing algae. Plants that are healthy readily resist stress, and that's why we're able to grow them in various water conditions that vary so widely from their original habitat, whether that be hardness, pH, KH, temperature extremes and so forth, as well as resisting algal attacks. When a plant is starving due to nutrient deficiency it becomes susceptible to all these stresses because it will lack the resources to make the internal chemical adjustments to protect itself. This is exactly the same, for example, if you suffer scurvy as a direct result of a Vitamin C deficiency. Scurvy cannot attack you if you have an infinite availability of Vitamin C.

Your idea of ammonia consumption, again is just another version of plants competing with algae. The relative uptake rates are not relevant in this sense. Spores may sample the long term rate of change of ammonia and may use this as a trigger to bloom, but steady state ammonia levels don't have the same affect, so dosing programs which use ammonia do not automatically trigger blooms. Bloom triggers are a lot more complicated than just whether there is ammonia. The source of leakage from the plants may also be used in the triggering mechanism, so that the content of the leakage products from a healthy plant will differ from the leakage products from an unhealthy one. A full description of the triggering mechanism is not really clear right now, but, on a macroscopic level, the health of the plant is a key factor, so that's the best thing to concentrate on. It's the only real thing that we can exercise some degree of control over.

Cheers,
 

mi casa

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Hi all on this very wet summers day :D I am two weeks in to me EL i got all the salts from APF.com and i am very happy with the progress but even time i dose my TNC trace with in an hour the water starts to cloud is this the norm? :rolleyes:
 

ceg4048

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Hi,
Cloudiness after dosing traces is typically associated with the breakdown of the the chelation in the trace mix. When this happens the PO4 in the water combines with the Iron or other metals from the trace mix. This combination results in a powder that is insoluble and because of that, the powder falls out of solution. This tends to happen either at pH values near 7 or above, and/or at high KH values. The chelator EDTA is less effective under these hard/alkaline conditions. Most trace mixes use EDTA as a chelator.

There are a couple of options. The easiest and least complicated is to simply ignore it if you do not detect any Iron deficiency in the new leaves. There is still plenty of Iron in solution. This might be Ok for now but may become a problem as the mass of plant tissue increases and the demand for nutrition increases.

If you don't like the cloudiness, or if you are seeing Iron deficiency, then you can use a trace mix that has a different chelator appropriate for hard alkaline conditions. These types of mixes tend to be more expensive though. The common alternate chelators used in those more expensive trace mixes are DTPA, EDDHA or HEEDTA.

A variation on this theme is to stretch the more expensive product by getting an Iron-only mix using DTPA for example, and mixing it with your TNC trace mix. The suggested combination is a 1:4 ratio of Iron-DTPA to TNC (i.e mix 1 gram of Fe-DTPA with 4 grams of TNC). What this does is lower the concentration of the EDTA mix which will produce less precipitation and will keep more in solution.

An extreme option is to use water that is less alkaline and less hard for your water changes, such as RO or distilled water. You have to really dislike the cloudiness to go that far, but it is an option nonetheless.

Cheers,
 

mi casa

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cool thank you i have the iron only salts from APF.com as well shall i mix it with that?
 

ceg4048

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Well, as I mentioned, it depends on what chelator is being used in the Iron only product. If that product also uses EDTA then it would not make sense, because EDTA is the problem. Further investigation reveals that according to the website http://www.aquariumplantfood.co.uk/fert ... 2-50g.html:
APFUK's Chelated Iron 13.2% – Cures and prevents iron deficiencies. Iron is most commonly used to treat chlorosis, a condition in which leaves produce insufficient chlorophyll. EDTA (Ethylene-Diamene-Tetra-Acid) Chelated.
Therefore this would not work.

The cheapest I've found for alternate chelated iron-only powder is at GardenDirect.co.UK:
DTPA Chelated Iron
EDDHA Chelated Iron

Cheers,
 

mi casa

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Cool thank you dude you are the man when it comes to all things plants i will get some form there :D
 

greenink

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I make up two bottles: one macro and one trace, and then dose on alternate days.

Is there any reason why it wouldn't be just as effective to add all the trace and macro solution required for a week straight after a water change? Ie just one dose a week?

Understand that you need to keep the solutions separate to stop them interacting - but once they're in the tank does it still matter?
 

ceg4048

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Hi Mike,
Dosing once a week is not really a good idea but there is no law against it. The higher the nutrient concentration the higher the uptake rate so what happens is that when you dose a really high level the plants absorb the nutrients and grow quickly. Their mass increases rapidly and the nutrient level in the tank drops rapidly, so that by the end of the week they are hungry again and may actually be experiencing deficiency. High nutrient concentration levels also result in high CO2 demand. In general therefore, the dynamics of once a week dosing are not as good as spreading the wealth out over the week. You could try it though and see how it goes. There are a lot of variables and you can get lucky sometimes.

Cheers,
 

Ady34

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think of your plants as greedy animals like a fat cat. You could feed 7 sachets of cat food on day one and the cat would trough it, but then would get hungry later in the week even though nutritionally there is plenty, wheras 1 sachet per day provides more than enough to sustain healthy living!
Sorry for piping up, just coudnt resist a little analogy!
 

Iain Sutherland

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mikeappleby said:
Right, ok. I thought EI was based on getting non-limiting amounts of nutrients in, but this makes sense. I hadn't thought that concentration would affect speed of uptake beyond a certain threshold.

Me neither mate, i always believed that the light and co2 availability would determine the uptake rate and the concentration would be relatively irrelevant with EI being in excess anyway..??
 

Ady34

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They may well be some of the variables Clive was talking about ;)
 

Iain Sutherland

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Ady34 said:
They may well be some of the variables Clive was talking about ;)

Maybe im being dim here or just not reading it right :oops: i appreciate the need for daily dosing rather than weekly but maybe i dont understand why? clives post reads that if you put all the ferts in on one day that the uptake would increase with the higher concentration, how does that work even if co2 and light remain at the original level?? Dont they only consume enough ferts that are needed to grow at the rate limited by the other factors??
As his post says that higher nutrient levels demand higher co2, but if that isnt provided then consumption would remain the same no??
or am i just confusing myself :lol:
 

spyder

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easerthegeezer said:
Ady34 said:
They may well be some of the variables Clive was talking about ;)

Maybe im being dim here or just not reading it right :oops: i appreciate the need for daily dosing rather than weekly but maybe i dont understand why? clives post reads that if you put all the ferts in on one day that the uptake would increase with the higher concentration, how does that work even if co2 and light remain at the original level?? Dont they only consume enough ferts that are needed to grow at the rate limited by the other factors??
As his post says that higher nutrient levels demand higher co2, but if that isnt provided then consumption would remain the same no??
or am i just confusing myself :lol:

I would look at it the same way tbh. If light and co2 stays constant it's hard to understand nutrient uptake increasing just because of higher concentrations.

Always learning :lol:
 
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