EI DOSING USING DRY SALTS

REDSTEVEO

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Hi Clive,

I have recently mixed up a few liters of EI Solution and have been sorting through what I have got left of my dry powders.

This is what I have got left:

KSO4 - Potassium Sulphate = 150 g
Epsom Salts - MGSO4 = 200 G
Sodium Bicarbonate - Na HCO3 =200 g
KH2PO4 - Monopotassium Phosphate = 425 g
K2CO3 - Potassium Carbonate = 200 g
K2SO4 - Potassium Sulphate = 250 g
KNO3 - Potassium Nitrate = zero g
MGSO4 - Magnesium Sulphate zero g
CSM + B = 150 g

Before I restock, I have two questions if you don't mind and I apologise if you have answered this previously.

First of all, from those above what is unnecessary i.e. pointless adding to the mix? Or to put it another way what is essential to the mix?

Secondly is there any significant difference or benefit between mixing these in to a liquid solution and adding it, and just adding it in as dry powder by the spoonful. Or is it purely down to convenience of not having to mix the solution. The main reason I ask is not because I can't be bothered making the mix, it is because whenever I have added the powder dry it does seem to sit around for a while on the substrate and the leaves of the plants.

Cheers as ever your advice is appreciated. ;)

Steve
 

Gary Nelson

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I have a question too.... ive done my EI mix with water, I add 20ml of macro and 20ml of trace on alternate days - would it still work if I was to add 10ml of each every day or would this through a spanner in the works? :rolleyes:
 

Gary Nelson

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davem said:
Gary Nelson said:
I have a question too.... ive done my EI mix with water, I add 20ml of macro and 20ml of trace on alternate days - would it still work if I was to add 10ml of each every day or would this through a spanner in the works? :rolleyes:

Halfway down this thread I think Clive answers your question:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=22489&p=231109&hilit=macro+micro#p231109

Cheers Dave - thanks for pointing that page out to me, thats answered my question :thumbup:
 

ceg4048

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Hi Steve,
The question of essential v non-essential is always fraught with danger because it really depends on the initial condition of your water.

If I'm living in an agricultural zone and if I'm using the municipal water supply then the odds are good that the water is laden with at least N and P plus some traces. I might easily conclude therefore that KNO3 and KH2PO4 is non essential, especially if I have a high fish stock or if I feed a lot. I could probably get away with not dosing these and perhaps just add some KSO4 just to make sure I'm adding enough K, some Epsom Salt just to cover Mg and perhaps a bit of CSM to cover the rest of traces.

Suppose I'm using London municipal supply? It would be almost a given that I wouldn't need to add and Bicarbonate or Carbonate product, because that water is fairly high in carbonate content.

What about if I'm living in the far North. Yorkshire perhaps. I hear the water there is pretty soft, so in that case, for sure I'd need to add some of the carbonate salts and some Epsom Salt as well as NPK.

What if I lived in any of these places and eschewed the idea of municipal water in favor of RO? In that case everything is essential. I'd need to re-mineralize with the carbonate salts, Epsom Salt and there would be no room for error in any of the NPK salts or traces. I'd have to find some Calcium as well no doubt.

EI does not take into account anything but what is considered essential in terms of the top 10 elements, NPK + traces, and that is what we have chiseled in a stone tablet brought down from the mountaintop. It is our responsibility to determine, based on the type of water we're using what other adjuncts are necessary. It seems callous, but there are so many combinations, I've only listed a few above, that it would be very complicated to encompass everything. EI doesn't tell you how much Carbon to add either, right? Algae is predominantly cause by a lack of NPK and/or Carbon. That's where most of the ponderous difficulties occur, so we make sure that there are no excuses by fixing those. Traces are the next in line, and while shortages of these don't result in algae, the next most difficult performance problems occur with these deficiencies, so we make sure to fix that. Next item in the performance curve is Magnesium and Calcium so we fix those but they are nowhere near as important as the top 10, and most people have enough in their tap. At the very bottom of the list is the alkalinity issue, and really, very few plants have issues with alkalinity - yet, the guy/gal growing a tankful of Tonina would violently object to that statement right? So do most people really need to spend money on carbonate/bicarbonate? Only those few using pure RO of who live in soft water areas.

So the way to determine essential/non-essential is to first look at your water report, and second, to start with the basic EI scheme and to gradually withdraw each of the components in order to determine what you can get away with in your particular case. My pantry is always stocked to the gill with KNO3, KH2PO4 and CSM. Are you kidding me? There's never a doubt. I don't care where I'm living or what my water report says, we're dealing with Top 10, people, and certainly 3 of the Top 4. I'm a lot more lenient with the bottom of the list. If my water report say it's high in Mg and Calcium then I normally don't bother buying these, and usually, if the tap is high in GH then it's usually also high in alkalinity so that renders the carbonate salts moot as well. If you're dosing EI levels of KNO3 then KSO4 is completely pointless because KNO3 is 40% K. I never like to use Sodium Bicarbonate because Sodium is really bad news.

When you plants are fed with plenty of Top 10, and if you keep the water clean with plenty of massive water changes then they can usually put up with a lot of crap, but people who don't understand the principles of EI don't get this important point. They worry about KH before they worry about Nitrogen. They think about pH more than they do PO4 - and when they do think about PO4 it's usually related to removing as much PO4 as they can with time wasting products like Rowaphos.

So really, just focus on the fundamentals, because that will get you out of 99% of the nutrient related troubles. The other components can be addressed by simple tweaking.

The liquids are a convenience. I really can't remember the last time I made up a batch of solution but I guess people are so used to the commercial bottles that it's some kind of security blanket. I would only do solutions if I were implementing an automatic dosing scheme which requires liquid for the dosing pump.

Cheers,
 

b1zbaz

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Ceg you seriously know your stuff mate I love ready your posts what do you do for a living
 

REDSTEVEO

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Thanks very much Clive for taking the time to provide such a detailed answer. I have never thought about obtaining a water report for this area of North Wales. Might be interesting reading and as you rightly pointed out if the stuff is already in the water what's the point of buying and adding more.

Bye the way, just like the previous post, I too am curious as to what you do for a living. :geek:

Best regards,

Steve
 

Ady34

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Hi again,
id like to start dosing dry salts direct to the tank.
Its 180l....rounded up to say 50 us gallons.
Ive read the thread again but am confusing myself with numbers so would like to know from someone who does it regularly roughly what amounts of the n, p, k and csm+b i should be dosing in teaspoons on the appropriate days.
Obviously if its getting down to 1/16 then im guessing its ok to accidentally add a little more as its not exact....i just want to keep it somewhere near as i dont want uneccessary rises in tds.
Thanks for any help.
Ady

Is it something around:
Days 1, 3, 5: KN03 1/4 tsp KH2P04 1/8 tsp (maybe just over) MgS04 1tsp (maybe just over)
Days 2, 4, 6: CSM+B 1/2 tsp
Day 7: rest day and 50% water change, no need to add any additional ferts to top up after water change until day 1 again. Perhaps add 3 tsp epsom salts (for the week) to ensure enough Mg and Ca for shortfalls in soft water area....or would this also be better split into 1 tsp amounts say on the 3 csm+b days?
 

ceg4048

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REDSTEVEO said:
..I have never thought about obtaining a water report for this area of North Wales. Might be interesting reading and as you rightly pointed out if the stuff is already in the water what's the point of buying and adding more.
Yeah, it's always worth having a look. The usefulness of each report differs because of reporting styles I was looking at a Dee Valley report for someone and it looks like that area has lowish-to-midling TDS, which kind of implies softer and low nutrient content water. There's a wide range in that municipal zone though. I would definitely start with the baseline dosing as well as the addition of a little Calcium and Magnesium. You can always withdraw these two later on if you want, and look for any negative effects.

REDSTEVEO said:
Bye the way, just like the previous post, I too am curious as to what you do for a living. :geek:
Oh, Well, believe it or not, I started life as a Test Engineer. Now I'm a struggling Gangsta Rapper. I do a little freelance science on the side, you know, just to pay the bills.... :shh:

Ady34 said:
..Ive read the thread again but am confusing myself with numbers so would like to know from someone who does it regularly roughly what amounts of the n, p, k and csm+b i should be dosing in teaspoons on the appropriate days.
Obviously if its getting down to 1/16 then im guessing its ok to accidentally add a little more as its not exact....i just want to keep it somewhere near as i dont want uneccessary rises in tds.
Hi Ady,
Well, again, I always try to keep it simple, and I always worry about plant health first before moving on to worrying about other parameters. If a tank is 50 gallons, I round it up to 60 gallons. That way it's exactly 3X the size of the reference 20 gallon tank and I can simply multiply the reference dosing number by 3 and round up or down to a convenient teaspoon measure.

So the reference 20G KNO3 dosing is 3/16 teaspoon thrice a week. If I multiply that by 3, I get 9/16 teaspoon right? Well, 9/16 is close enough to 1/2, so why not just round down and dose 1/2 a teaspoon thrice a week? Then, for the KH2PO4 just dose 1/4 teaspoon and do the same for the trace. That will get you started on the right track and will keep you out of trouble.

When people start talking about "unnecessary parameter changes" that's when I get off the bus, because that's how people get into trouble. They fall into a mode of thinking whereby the nutrient dosing becomes a fall guy for the things that they imagine to be problematic. Poor plant health is a bigger problem than unnecessary TDS rise. How about thinking in terms of unnecessary starvation, or unnecessary algae?

When you observe after three weeks or so that the plants are doing well, and that there are no deficiency syndromes, then it's a good time to think about lowering the TDS. If you want to be precise and systematic in how you lower TDS then a good idea it to use one of those test kit vials, you know, the small graduated cylinder? It has "ml" markings in white. Measure how many ml of powder is actually in your "eyeballed" 1/2 teaspoon for example. You can also use a scale to weigh the powder as well. Measure your TDS regularly and plot on a graph via spreadsheet the weekly TDS profile of the tank. It will go up and down as you feed, dose nutrients, add medicine, change water and do other things to the tank.

Now you have a baseline profile for comparison. Then, reduce the powders by some arbitrary amount, say 10% - something easy to measure consistently, either via the graduated cylinder or on the scale. Dose that value for three weeks and observe the plants. Measure the TDS and plot the it's graph. If no deficiencies are noted after three weeks then reduce the powder dosages by another arbitrary amount. Repeat the exercise until you note some deficiency, all the while continuing to generate TDS profile plots. You'll then have the data that shows you the gradual decline in TDS profile, each plot should be labeled with a name indicating the dosing level responsible for that plot.

At some point you will see the minimum dosing level required to avoid deficiency for that tank and for that lighting level. it will show you what the resulting "necessary TDS" for your dosing program is.

Cheers,
 

REDSTEVEO

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Hi Clive,

I just received a new stock of NPK and CSM from Fluidsensoronline.com based on your recent helpful advice.

I am not sure if I made a mistake on the order, I'll need to check. But I got the KNO3 and the KH2P04 I ordered, I also got a 500g tub of Mg(NO3)2 which is Magnesium Nitrate. I think what I should have received is a 500g tub of MgS04 which is Magnesium Sulphate or Epsom Salts.

The size of the crystals in the Mg(NO3)2 are quite chunky and it is not really a powder.

I don't really want to go down the route of sending the Mg(NO3)2 back especially if it was my fault. Is the Mg(NO3)2 going to be of any use, can it still be used as part of the NPK?

I hope you are gong tell me I can use this by adjusting the amount of KNO3 I add to the NPK mix but I am not sure.
Mg(NO3)2 + 2 H2SO4 = Mg(SO4)2 does this make any sense to you? I have got loads of KH2SO4 if that is any help.

As ever your advice will be appreciated.

Cheers,

Steve
 

ceg4048

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Hi Steve,
Yes, it is useful. There is no way you can use Potassium Sulfate to make Epsom Salt out of that though. The H2SO4 you list in that equation is Sulfuric Acid, which will burn a hole in your foot and then through your floor if you spill it on your shoes (See Alien, starring Sigourney Weaver), so just forget about taking that path. Both Potassium Sulfate and Magnesium Sulfate are salts. A salt only is created when an acid is mixed with a base. In fact, that's the definition of a salt. Salt is the precipitate that falls out the aqueous solution when any inorganic acid is mixed with an inorganic base. Mixing two salts together in a water solution only results in having two salts mixed together in water.

Anyway, as you mentioned, you can simply adjust the amounts that you dose KNO3. This is not a big deal:
Mg(NO3)2 in it's anhydrous (dry) form is 16% Magnesium and 84% Nitrate so one teaspoon of powder, weighing say 6 grams roughly, would be adding 1 gram Mg + 5 grams NO3. However....
more than likely you don't have the anhydrous powder. You have the "Hexahydrate" - Hexa meaning 6, and hydrate meaning water (H2O). So what makes your powder chunk up is the water, making this Mg(NO3)2·6H2O, which is about 10% Magnesium and almost 50% NO3. So a teaspoon of this chunk will yield approximately 0.5 gram Mg + 3 grams NO3. Just mash it up with a mallet (or with the heel of your good shoe) if you don't like chunks. It won't care.

Cheers,
 

REDSTEVEO

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Thanks again Clive :clap:

Your sound advice is very much appreciated.

I checked with Fluidsensoronline.com and I did make a mistake. So...I rang them to find out what I could do. Not only did they make some great suggestions of how I could use it in the garden, but guess what...talk about giving credit where credit is due, Nigel is only going to post out today to me a replacement 500g tub of Magnesium Sulphate free of charge!! :clap: :thumbup: :)

This is what I call "Outstanding Customer Service" and I would highly recommend them. If you see this Nigel, thanks a lot, I never expected that.

Clive all the best mate and thanks again.

Cheers,

Steve
 

haggerstonian

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Hi guys

I was just wondering if there is any problem in adding dry salts to
a tank that has fish in it?

cheers

e
 

ceg4048

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haggerstonian said:
I was just wondering if there is any problem in adding dry salts to
a tank that has fish in it?
Only if you don't add enough of the salts.

Cheers,
 

TarkMalbot

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Ok I just read page one but not read the 12 pages since so sorry in advance but where did CSM+B come from? I followed and understood the article until then and then I was lost.

"Sunday 50% or more Water Change then dose [3/16 teaspoon KNO3] + [1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4] + [½ teaspoon MgSO4]
Monday 1/16 teaspoon CSM+B
Tuesday - [3/16 teaspoon KNO3] + [1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4] + [½ teaspoon MgSO4]
Wednesday - 1/16 teaspoon CSM+B
Thursday - [3/16 teaspoon KNO3] + [1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4] + [½ teaspoon MgSO4]
Friday Rest
Saturday - Rest"

Also the links on the first place to buy the stuff were now dead so does anyone have a new link of where I can get this from?
 
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