EI DOSING USING DRY SALTS

Phil Edwards

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Rob,

Rather than dose in the morning prior to a water change, try dosing directly after your water change. When getting a tank ready for competition I usually to a WC Mon, Wed, Fri and dose right after emptying. The extra circulation/agitation from refilling helps dissolve and distribute the chemicals better than the filter alone. Dosing right after a WC also maximizes the uptake time, ensuring I'm maximum getting nutrient uptake before the next WC.


et al,

Here are some numbers and a little math to help estimate your initial dosing concentrations when using dry chemicals. I've also found a gram scale sensitive to the first decimal place (0.1) to be useful because not all suppliers sell the same density/grain size substance. Using the scale find the average mass of 5 (or more) teaspoons to get the approximate amount you'll be dosing per teaspoon. Don't go crazy leveling it unless that's how you always dose. Get measurements of what you actually use for a tsp (be it perfectly level, tap-leveled, rounded, or heaping) when scooping out a tsp day in and day out.

Example: I want to use anhydrous CaCl2 in my 60 gallon tank. The material I get is a very fine powder and 1 tsp is approximately 4 grams. That helps me estimate how many tsp it'll take to reach a desired target concentration. I've found this to be a very useful method (if a little more time/math intensive) for tanks 180 USG or greater where one is adding large amounts of of a substance.

That being said, it does help the user to get a more accurate idea of how much you're putting in which is especially nice when trying to get help on forums. :)

% ion in 100% pure salt (rounded to the nearest whole %)-

KNO3: 61% NO3, 39% K
KH2PO4: 70% PO4, 29% K
MgSO4*7H20 (Hydrated Epsom Salts); 10% Mg
CaCl2 (anhydrous): 36% Ca

1 gram of each substance will increase concentrations of X ion in 10 USG/37.85 Liters by % mg/L (ppm) assuming 100% purity. For example, 1 gram of KNO3 will increase NO3 by approximately 61 mg/L and K by approximately 39 mg/L in 10 USG/37.85 Liters.

Using the Ca example above. I want to reach 20 mg/L Ca in 60 USG/227 Liters.

1 gram = 360 mg Ca so 1 gram CaCl2 in 227 Liters = 1.58 mg/L Ca.
20 mg/L (target) / 1.58 mg/L/gram CaCl2 [in 60 USG] = 12.66 grams CaCl2 powder.
12 grams / 4 grams per tsp = 3 tsp to get 20 (ish) mg/L Ca.

The actual level will be slightly lower because the material I'm using is only 98% pure, but the concentration is still more than high enough to be non-limiting.
 

ian_m

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Is it okay to dose with adding any CO2?
Yes, but your plants will not be able to make use of all the extra fertiliser as they do not have enough CO2 and (hopefully) you are not supplying them with huge amounts of light. If no CO2 and lower "non high tech" light levels you could try 1/3 (or less) EI dosing, no need waste the 2/3's the plants won't need.

EI dosing was worked out to supply more than sufficient nutrients with maximal CO2 and light at 5Watts per US gallon. Less light, less CO2 therefor less nutrients required.
 

BigDaddy

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Its roughly 2WPG on for 10hrs a day with a 2hr siesta period half way through

CO2 is something I know very little about and seems an expensive initial setup
 

ian_m

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2WPG is high tech (and 10hours !!!), so you will need CO2 source along with EI dosing or else you will be shortly farming algae rather than growing plants. CO2 may be supplied gas or liquid carbon.

The plants need all three light, CO2 and nutrients in "sufficient" amounts. Normally we EI dose (ie more than required), maximal CO2 and control growth via setting the amount of light.

You need to reread the beginning of this thread again and either CO2 or seriously reduce the amount of light.

My mate changed his "olde" compact fluorescent aquarium light (less than 1W / gallon) to nice T5 light (about 2W / gallon) and promptly killed all his plants, transforming them into a melted mass of algae. He was completely unaware brighter lights would drive the plants harder requiring an external carbon source, he just assumed fish poo and fish food waste would be enough. Now got some foil over the T5 tubes (to reduce light level) and is adding fertilisers and some liquid carbon, and plants do appear to be surviving, though last time I looked algae was still present and growing, just not as much as when lights were not covered.
 

BigDaddy

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Okay I'll reduce light until I can get hold of some liquid carbon and as for algae I've not seen any and had the tank running for about 8months
 

ian_m

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So maybe your light isn't 2W/G and/or isn't as powerful as you think. Of course if not a fluorescent tube and/or cheap LED certainly won't be as many W/G as calculated.

I would go with the plant health and lack of algae as an indicator that things are OK.

Adding liquid carbon will help the plants, but will melt certain plants if not careful.
 

Jason Blake

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Hi,

This thread has been a very in depth and informative read. I think I have now understood the basics. From what I have understood EI's basis is to provide non limiting nutrients to plants and it does that by supplying the nutrients in an "abundance". Abundant nutrients ARE NOT going to encourage algae blooms, that is more a problem with CO2 and light rather than anything else.

I have noted a lot of talk about reducing does and creating a bespoke EI for each individual tank. I was just wondering if overall this is absolutely necessary. From what I have read and understood, the biggest problems aquarists face using EI is under dosing, in relation to their CO2 and lighting levels and that overdosing is almost always never a problem. So why are people trying to reduce components of the regime? Is just to stop waste and to save money? Is there any other advantage, that I have not understood?

It is just that I have worked out, that for my 60 litre aquarium, full EI dosing is only cost me £1.19 every 3 months according to Fluidsensoronline dosing calculator and prices. So in my case it seems hardly worth messing around with the formula for such a small amount. I understand that for much larger aquariums, especially a 400 gallon tank the need to cut back and save money would be of greater importance. It is just from what I have understood overdosing is not dangerous and is not going to land me in trouble in anyway so leaving the formula set to full dose is going to be ok and not prove to be negative?

I have had a look at the water report for the supply to my house. It says that my water is "very hard" and that it contains 2.54 mg/l of magnesium on average, so I am assuming that it will be unecessary to add Magnesium Sulphate to my regime?

The last question I have is concerning EDTA Chelators in my TNC Trace mix. I seem to remember Ceg saying something about hard water with high carbonate hardness and I think he said high PH (I can't find the post now to quote) can cause EDTA chelation to detriorate and break down. Should I be looking for a Trace Mix that uses a different chelator?

Below is an extract from my water report:

Hardness: Very Hard (Calcium = 135.2 mg/l Calcium Carbonate = 338 mg/l Degrees Clark = 23.525 Degrees French = 33.8 Degrees German = 19.198 )

Conductivity = Average 639 Max 655 Min 617 Microsiemens. (I seem to remember that the post mentioned something about TDS and I thinks is what this measurement relates to, I could be wrong!)

This aquarium is not setup as yet and I have not got my own test results, although I get the strong hint that they are considered satans spawn anyway, and that I would be far better off without them!

I apologise if I am asking something that has already been asked. I woiuld really appreciate constructive advice.

Thanks.
 

Edvet

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EI is about abundance indeed (and the large waterchanges to keep it "in check").
So i wouldn't worrie about the exact dosing, plenty is plenty. (Even in my 400 gallon i broadly measure it, and it is still cheap something like 10€/ month;)).
It doesn't look like you need Mg.:)
Whith this water you can still get most of the plants you would like, not sure what you would want to do with the fish. Even though most bred fish will be able to cope with it, i would still prefer to look to fish wich come from hard water biotopes (livebearers, middle America's, rift lakes). Just do some research before deciding
 

ian_m

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Just dose as say AquariumPlantFood.co.uk states in their EI kits and everything will be fine.

I have very very hard water (24 Clark) and still dose MgSO4 as its cheap.
 

Jason Blake

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Hi Darrel,

Thanks for the information. So if I am reading that right, basically try the normal EDTA and if it doesn't precipitate out of solution, bingo everything is ok. If it does precipitate then that is not too much of a problem either as this precipitate will not contain every single atom of iron and there is a high chance that there will still be enough iron in solution for the plant requirements. If in the unlikely event I see Iron deficiency in my plants then would be the time to think about using EDDHA.

Is that the jist of it?

I am also assuming that the precipitate is more an annoyance than a danger to my aquarium?

Thanks again
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
So if I am reading that right, basically try the normal EDTA and if it doesn't precipitate out of solution, bingo everything is ok. If it does precipitate then that is not too much of a problem either as this precipitate will not contain every single atom of iron and there is a high chance that there will still be enough iron in solution for the plant requirements. If in the unlikely event I see Iron deficiency in my plants then would be the time to think about using EDDHA. Is that the jist of it?
Yes.
I am also assuming that the precipitate is more an annoyance than a danger to my aquarium?
Yes.

cheers Darrel
 

ian_m

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I am also assuming that the precipitate is more an annoyance than a danger to my aquarium?
Ignore it, even it happens, which I doubt, these graphs are for storage of chelated solutions. Once in the tank, possible precipitation is something not to worry about. Never seen this being mentioned as an issue.

Oh did I say, just dose as say AquariumPlantFood.co.uk states in their EI kits and everything will be fine.

Don't mix and store macro and micro solutions, as your will get insoluble iron phosphate forming.

Oh did I say, just dose as say AquariumPlantFood.co.uk states in their EI kits and everything will be fine.
 

13r0wn7

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I currently only have one dosage pump and I have macro and micro in the same container with ascorbic acid to stop the reaction. Although my plants are showing signs of iron deficiency. How effective is the ascorbic? Cheers


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ian_m

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Although my plants are showing signs of iron deficiency
Are you sure it is iron deficiency ? It is quite hard to get iron deficient plants in an aquarium, especially if you are dosing micros and are feeding your fish. Symptoms of carbon deficiency ie poor CO2 can also look like iron deficiency.

I assume you have added an anti-mould to your micro (potassium sorbate ?) and kept it away from light as mould and light can cause the chelated iron to break down and precipitate out of solution.
 

13r0wn7

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I don't believe its co2 deficiency! Even though its 99.9% the case! Well... all I use is a 5L tub with the package from APF and add the ascorbic acid Approx 1/4 spoon per 500ml. The container is in a dark corner so no light is present...


Sent from my 20270 using Tapatalk
be711fb7934d02b4f09f1924b1433908.jpg


Looking inside it does not look great! What would that be the mould?
Has the ascorbic acid not done the job?
 

Andy D

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27 Apr 2013
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Hi,

This thread has been a very in depth and informative read. I think I have now understood the basics. From what I have understood EI's basis is to provide non limiting nutrients to plants and it does that by supplying the nutrients in an "abundance". Abundant nutrients ARE NOT going to encourage algae blooms, that is more a problem with CO2 and light rather than anything else.

I have noted a lot of talk about reducing does and creating a bespoke EI for each individual tank. I was just wondering if overall this is absolutely necessary. From what I have read and understood, the biggest problems aquarists face using EI is under dosing, in relation to their CO2 and lighting levels and that overdosing is almost always never a problem. So why are people trying to reduce components of the regime? Is just to stop waste and to save money? Is there any other advantage, that I have not understood?

It is just that I have worked out, that for my 60 litre aquarium, full EI dosing is only cost me £1.19 every 3 months according to Fluidsensoronline dosing calculator and prices. So in my case it seems hardly worth messing around with the formula for such a small amount. I understand that for much larger aquariums, especially a 400 gallon tank the need to cut back and save money would be of greater importance. It is just from what I have understood overdosing is not dangerous and is not going to land me in trouble in anyway so leaving the formula set to full dose is going to be ok and not prove to be negative?

I have had a look at the water report for the supply to my house. It says that my water is "very hard" and that it contains 2.54 mg/l of magnesium on average, so I am assuming that it will be unecessary to add Magnesium Sulphate to my regime?
This did make me chuckle. You nailed how EI works and cost wise it is not worth messing with the formula then went and asked about leaving the magnesium out.

:D
 

ian_m

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Looking inside it does not look great! What would that be the mould?
Has the ascorbic acid not done the job?
Looks like gone mouldy.

The ascorbic acid is to keep the solution acidic so as to keep the chelated iron chelated and potassium sorbate needed to prevent the mixture going mouldy.

The original source of the DIY all in one came from here.
http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/allinone.htm
 
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