EI DOSING USING DRY SALTS

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by ceg4048, 23 Mar 2008.

  1. sari

    sari Member

    Joined:
    24 Sep 2008
    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Basingstoke, U.K.
    Fantastic article! I have found EI confusing thus far and thought it was quite complicated. But this article proved that it doesn't have to be and I even think I will be able to tackle it once I get my tank to hi tech level. 5 stars and blue peter badge to you! :lol:
     
  2. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    Joined:
    2 Aug 2007
    Messages:
    1,949
    Heck, I made it simple, then folks started in about this and that.

    You dose often to prevent anything from running out, you do large water changes to prevent anything from building up.
    That's it pretty much and estimate from there.

    Not hard, not complex, no need for the rest, but some folks want to know every detail :rolleyes:
    Hardly my idea either, I just argued in favor of the method and the low risk associated with it.
    I ran into myths and wind bags on mailing list for years.

    So I try to reinforce what I know, have found and answer why, not just "how", that's easy ;)


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2008
    Messages:
    6,492
    Location:
    newark notts.
    whats wrong with wanting to know the details?
     
  4. Aeropars

    Aeropars Member

    Joined:
    9 Jul 2007
    Messages:
    789
    Location:
    Leicester
    Some things you really dont want to know details of ;)
     
  5. Simon D

    Simon D Member

    Joined:
    22 Sep 2008
    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Hi Ceg,

    I've just started EI doing and noticed a remarkable change in the structure of my plants within days, I must admit this has been in combination with relatively new CO2 injection (albeit via an aerosole type administration, just temporary until my reg/solinoid arrives).

    I've been runnng the CO2 for about 6 weeks and am quite religious about ensuring that the CO2 goes in before lights on etc.. I was using API Leaf Zone "aquarium plant food" but found the combination poor with regard to plant growth and the quality of the plants. Thanks to your EI tutorial, I can see that the plants (most notably Echinodorus Paniculatus [sp?]) are greener and have lost that tissue paper look. Sorry I can't be more technical but I'm sure you will understand what I'm getting at! What I'm trying to say is that the CO2 and off the shelf fert was inefficient.

    I've one question regarding the EI dosing ingredients, I'm using KPO4 and reading back on your journal you stipulate KH2PO4 instead. Will this make a difference? What is the benefit of KH2PO4 over KPO4?

    Kind regards

    Simon
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    11 Jul 2007
    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Simon,
    Yes, I know exactly what you mean. As far as can tell API Leaf Zone is just a trace element mix with Potassium (K). It's not that this product is necessarily inferior, it's just a problem of marketing. It cannot supply Nitrogen (N) or Potassium (P) which are thousands of time more vital than trace elements. Remember that EI does not prohibit using any decent trace element mix - that's just an issue of cost. Leaf Zone is much more expensive that the humble chelated trace element powder you can find at any garden shop or hydroponics supplier. Any soluble form of PO4 is OK. Most of the Potassium is supplied by the KNO3 anyway so this is not a big deal. In fact there are many Phosphate salts that can be used but KH2PO4 is the best combination of cost, effectiveness, availability and non-toxicity.

    Cheer,
     
  7. Papillo

    Papillo Newly Registered

    Joined:
    15 Jun 2008
    Messages:
    14
    I may have missed this somewhere in this discussion, but my local tapwater report says that nitrate levels average 23 ppm. Given that I carry out weekly 50% water changes should I still be dosing KNO3? I query this because I followed the EI method for several months and plant growth was excellent, however my Rams developed hole-in the-head. When I tested the nitrate level the results suggested a level between 40 and 80 ppm. I appreciate your views on hobby test kits but high nitrate is thought to be one cause of HITH and when I stopped dosing KNO3 my Rams recovered and the plants continued to flourish.
    Secondly, I have some Chempak dry trace element mix which I bought from a local garden centre, this contains approx. 250 times as much Cu and Zn in relation to the other elements like Iron, Magnesium and Manganese compared to Seachem's Flourish. Should I be worried about this in relation to either plant growth or the health of my shrimps?
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    11 Jul 2007
    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, nitrate has even been implicated in problems such as world hunger and even the Argentine economic collapse of 1999 as well so it doesn't surprise me that HITH is on the list. Meanwhile, as a point of reference, I have kept lots of rams and have never experienced HITH. My rams have bred repeatedly in my tanks and so have my other fish which have all been in tip top health. Biochemistry is a very complicated science. Unless you had a controlled experiment where you held a sample of the affected fish in NO3 rich water and compared their recovery with fish in lower NO3 water it's difficult to draw any direct correlation. So you really don't know if the fish would have recovered anyway or whether their rate of recovery would have been any different. You also can't say whether the fish would have developed HITH had you not been dosing the KNO3 in the first place either. All this is completely circumstantial evidence placed on top of unreliable test kit readings.

    HITH and other diseases are clearly caused directly by a pathogen, however there is clearly a possibility that at some threshold NO3 level the fish are made more susceptible to the pathogen(s). The problem is that people have simply assumed causality without direct evidence or proper investigation. If I can keep rams without ever experiencing HITH and while consistently maintaining high NO3 levels this should be an indication that there is some other causal factor involved.

    If NO3 is a causal factor in HITH it would also need to be repeatable, so that subsequently, resumption of NO3 dosing should then result in a greater occurrence in HITH. Few hobbyist have the time or inclination to carry out exhaustive and controlled tests so it's very convenient to draw a correlation between events in the tank. The data also must have statistical relevance. This would mean that on average, people who dose EI should have a higher occurrence of HITH than those who don't and I doubt that's the case although I have no global data to show that, I have only my own pre/post EI experiences and that of my fellows to go on.

    If you can delete the KNO3 and still maintain good plant health then sure, why not delete it's addition? That saves you money, makes dosing easier and perhaps gives you peace of mind. I've used the Chempak chelated trace element mix and haven't had any problems. I don't keep inverts but those that do have not reported any problems with the use of this product. If you feel uneasy about the Zn/Cu levels in this then try using the AE trace mix or stay with Flourish, TPN or any of the other commercial traces. KNO3 is also the main source of K so you'd want to ensure proper K dosing levels. Again, check the K content of the commercial products or dose K2SO4.

    Cheers,
     
  9. Papillo

    Papillo Newly Registered

    Joined:
    15 Jun 2008
    Messages:
    14
    I am certainly not going to dispute the somewhat arbitary nature of the association between HITH and nitrate levels as this disease has been linked to a whole range of factors none of which have in any way been proved. My question really was should we really be adding fertilisers to water where we don't know the starting levels? This is what I had been doing, probably unnecesarrily. You are right that hobby test kits are notoriously unreliable and even water authority reports only give an average value and a range (the nitrate in my tap water ranges from 9.5-33.1 ppm) and as you say the exact levels do not matter as long as there is always sufficient of each nutrient for our plants needs. Nevertheless, shouldn't we at least take into account the approximate starting levels before adding chemicals?
    I am reassured that others have been using the Chempak trace element mix without problems. I thought this probably would be OK, after all they are only TRACE amounts but I wasn't sure at what level copper becomes toxic to invertebrates. When deciding the level of trace element mix to add, which component/s would you base this on? Iron?
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    11 Jul 2007
    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, Iron should always be used as a proxy for the other elements simply because trace mixes are predominantly Fe. Only a few mixes actually include Mg but this can easily be dosed via Epsom Salts, or if it is determined that the tap has sufficient Mg then one need not worry.

    As discussed exhaustively in the thread EI daily methods or PMDD + PO4 it's always good to know what the starting values of your tap water are so that you can make adjustments to the dosing, from a cost and convenience standpoint, but the levels we dose, when combined with the levels that are known to be in tap water do not really approach the toxic thresholds. If they did we would see a lot more fatalities directly traceable to these compounds. As I stated in my opening remarks of the article, too many view these compounds as dangerous chemicals. I view them as no more toxic than the food that you feed to the fish. In fact, I consider the foods more toxic because they are converted into ammonia which is 1000X more toxic than any of these simple salts. Your fish are much more likely to die from CO2 overdose than nitrate or from ammonia induced shock from overfeeding than from phosphate, or from your heater malfunctioning than from the Cu from trace mix. All one has to do is to review the fatality data from non-planted tanks and compare that with risk factors associated with NO3. Pet shops stay in business in large part due to fatalities associated with poor fish husbandry by both novices and experts alike. Basically, although NO3 toxicity studies have been performed and threshold values established, the empirical evidence from decades of dosing has not shown that there is any higher risk than that posed by other chemicals that folks frequently add to their tanks, like the Hydrochloric or Sulphuric acids commonly found in Ph buffers for example.

    Cheers,
     
  11. Papillo

    Papillo Newly Registered

    Joined:
    15 Jun 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Ceg,

    Thanks, the thread you provided the link for answered my questions. I wasn't disputing the general principles of the EI method, certainly since I started concentrating on achieving healthy plant growth the health and longevity of my fish has improved in step and the recent incidence of HITH was very much an exception. Nevertheless, it does at least appear that my nitrate levels had risen to levels higher than they perhaps needed to be and that I can safely reduce the dosing of this nutrient. I will try omitting the first dose entirely and reducing the second two doses by half and see what effect this has on my plant growth over the next few weeks. In my previous setups I have been using a version of the PMDD quite succesfully but my new setup has higher light (3w/US gallon) and more stem plants and so I thought I would experiment with adding nitrate and phosphate also - It's just a question of hitting the right range that ensures the plants never run out without going OTT - although I accept that it is unlikely that I will ever reach levels that are truly toxic for the fish.
     
  12. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Joined:
    19 Feb 2008
    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    Hi,

    while i know trace & NPK cannot be mixed together in one bottle, is it ok to dose them both on the same day?

    Also i have a 240l tank, i have worked it out that if i mix 30g Trace to 500ml of water, i should dose 15ml x 3 a week.

    Is this correct?

    Thanks, Aaron
     
  13. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    11 Jul 2007
    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, they can be dosed on the same day. It's not really the end of the world because when they are in the tank the concentrations are much lower than in the bottle.

    Scaled from the reference tank a 240L tank (60gal) needs 3X the reference dosage so thats 3/16 teaspoons multiplied by 8X per month, based on the standard scheme. So that's 1.5 teaspoons added to 200ml water and standard dosing of 25ml twice a week. At roughly 6 grams per teaspoon that's 9 grams to 200ml. For 500 ml of water multiply by 2.5 so thats 23 grams in 500ml. Dosed 3X per week instead of twice you'd need 40 ml per dose. Increasing the concentration by 30/23=1.3 means that the dosage volume can be decreased by 1.3, so 40ml/1.3=> 30ml 3X per week. This is 100% larger than your numbers so I might have screwed something up to be so radically off. I don't know how you did your calculations.

    Cheers,
     
  14. samc

    samc Member

    Joined:
    28 Oct 2008
    Messages:
    1,381
    ceg just out of interest what happens if you do mix npk and trace?
     
  15. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    11 Jul 2007
    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Sam,
    Typically the Iron (Fe) in the traces and the PO4 can combine to form insoluble precipitates effectively removing each them from the solution.

    Cheers,
     
  16. samc

    samc Member

    Joined:
    28 Oct 2008
    Messages:
    1,381
    got it ceg! iv just read the article properly for the first time and i must says its really helpful and clear :D this will deffinatly help me from now on. thanks alot
     
  17. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    Joined:
    2 Aug 2007
    Messages:
    1,949
    As a general guideline, not as waring of toxicity, EI suggest 30ppm or so, you do not want to go much beyond say 40ppm and if so, then modify the dosing routine.

    Tap water NO3, fish waste can add to the NO3 as well.

    If you are in that target range, then modify the dose accordingly.
    While you might hit 60ppm, 70ppm etc, there's no need to go that high either.

    There's also no rule suggesting not modifying it and not testing, you certainly may if you want and not waste the KNO3, but it's(dry ferts) so cheap, most do not bother since they hate test kits so much.

    But a little testing can tweak things for folks if they chose.

    The only issue arises is when folks claim you must test, or that 40ppm is "bad", "toxic", " will cause algae" etc.
    That's BS.

    We can and have tested it and shown that's BS.
    But that also does not mean you should never test or use common sense, that's why there's a range listed in the article I wrote.

    Test kits, water changes, etc can be used to modify and adjust the ranges targeted.
    EI just suggests a method that does not require them, it does not say you should not use them, subtle but a big difference.

    The larger issue that EI addresses, and the main purpose is non limiting nutrients, and that "Excess" or non limiting nutrients for plants, does not cause, induce, or exacerbate algae.

    This is where it differs radically from PMDD, from which it derived and started. PMDD is leaner and was developed using lower light systems. Both EI and PMDD add and maintain NPK, Traces etc for plants, in that respect, they are the same.
    Paul Sears use to say to add PO4 if it got too low, he knew that it would strongly limit plant growth.
    If you added more light, then you dose more. I chose this path and realized I needed to dose a lot more to make sure things did not run out over time. Daily was not possible due to weekend work and travel. So I need to guess for 2-3days and could do large water changes.

    If you chose not to do water changes, then you can balance with test kits, PMDD also suggested this as well, but also suggested water changes also, mostly as a way to have a safety valve or if things got away from you too much. I know Paul Sears, discussed PO4 test, algae etc, and where he got some of the background for that method. Otherwise, one is not better than another, it's just a trade off. EI can go that same route if you want to use test kits, but you can do water changes to avoid them also. The trade off to maintain a ppm range, and the ppm range itself are the real issues. Both add the same ferts.

    So folks can go all test kits, or all water changes, but many do some of both.
    Which PMDD and my old article shortly there after PMDD was popular:

    http://www.barrreport.com/estimative-in ... eters.html

    I also suggest some better test kits which we knew faired well with calibration standards. How do you know about that unless you did a lot of testing? ;)

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    Joined:
    2 Aug 2007
    Messages:
    1,949
    BTW, Gerloff's paper showed 20-30ppm to be the critical concentration for the aquatic species that he considered.

    Here's the paper(cited unlike most methods, curiously lacking support for the ranges of nutrients):

    http://www.new.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_11/issue_4/0529.pdf

    If you look at the modified Hoagland's solution, it's virtually the same as PMDD, they also used bleach dips to prevent algae etc.

    1966.............

    So Paul Sears, PMDD got this from this paper, which is co authored by another aquarist on the APD:
    Paul Krombholz, who still is active on the AGA.

    Going back further:

    http://jgp.rupress.org/cgi/content/abstract/5/5/629

    1923..............
     
  19. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Joined:
    19 Feb 2008
    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    i understand your reply, until i get to here:
    all you have done is enlarged the numbers in proportion, (9g > 200ml is equal to 23g > 500ml) so therefore i should still be able to dose 25ml x2 per week (or 16ml x3 per week) to get the same results/ concentration.

    That is how i got my result, but you go on a bit further and I am not sure where you get the numbers for "30/23=1.3"

    it is probably me who messed up. I understand everything but the trace calculation threw me off abit.
    you numbers sound more realistic compared to my 15ml.
     
  20. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    11 Jul 2007
    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, that's right. The reason I did that was because it seemed that you were intending to dose only 15ml instead of the 40ml which I calculated. For 500ml and the 23 gram powder you would have needed to dose 500ml/12doses = 40 ml per dose. if you were only dosing 15 ml of this 500ml solution then the concentration of each dose would need to be made stronger.

    Well, the 25ml 2X per week was originally calculated so that in exactly one month you consume the 200ml content, but of course if you adjust the concentration for a 500ml bottle then that's equivalent to a 2.5 month supply if you continue to dose 25ml 2X per week or 16ml 3X per week. That's where you lost me. It doesn't seem logical to prepare a 2.5 month supply. It's too arbitrary. I try to keep things simple by basing everything on 4 dosing weeks to the month - 200ml for 8 doses per month for traces and 300ml for 12 doses per month for NPK. These total volumes makes it a very easy dosing quantity like 25 ml. All round numbers. You changed 3 variables: the tank size, the bottle size as well as the monthly portions from 8 to 12 which, of course is not illegal and the Pope will not excommunicate you for it, but you needed to explain more clearly whether you intended to consume the 500ml bottle in one month or not. Can you see why it gets messy? This is probably why some people completely freak out over this.

    23 grams of powder in 500ml of water is a lower concentration than 30 grams in that same volume.

    You stated in your post:
    Whereas I calculated 23 grams to add to the 500ml bottle to dose 40ml you came up with 30 grams to that same bottle which is a higher concentration. The concentration ratio between the two is 30/23, or 1.3 times stronger - that's all I was saying. If you add more powder then you can dose less volume. i still have not figured out the 15ml dosing you listed though, sorry.

    Cheers,
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice