EI Method advice needed

Joined
4 Jan 2010
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Location
Sidcup, United Kingdom
I have finally decided to try the stock solution EI Method. But have some further questions. I have listed below my water parameters and EI dosing plan.

Tank Specification:-

Juwel Rio 125 (33 US Gallons) with 2 x 28w T5 bulbs (on for 9 hours), CO2 and a nutrient rich substrate.

Tap Water Parameters:-

PH 7.2
KH 13 dKH 232.7 ppm
GH 19 dGH 304.1 ppm
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 10-20 ppm
Prosphate 2-3 ppm
Copper 0 ppm
Iron 0 ppm

EI Dosing Plan

I have bought Potasium Nitrate, Potassium Phosphate (Monobasic) and Chelated Trace Mix of (Boron 1.06%, Copper 0.23%, Iron 8.2%, Manganese 1.82%, Molybdenum 0.15%, Zinc 1.16%)

Solutions

Macro Solution
33g Potassium Nitrate
7.2g Potassium Phosphate
in 250ml Water

Micro Solution
10g Chelated Trace Mix
in 250 ml Water

Dosage

5ml of Macro solution per 50 litres of water
2.5ml of Trace solution per 50 litres of water

Schedule

Sunday 50% water change. Add Macros (KNO3, KH2PO4)
Monday Add Micro
Tuesday Add Macros (KNO3, KH2PO4)
Wednesday Add Micro
Thursday Add Macros (KNO3, KH2PO4)
Friday Add Micro
Saturday Rest day

After looking at various websites I have learnt that the ideal targets are:-

CO2 range 25-30 ppm
NO3 range Nitrate 5-30 ppm
K+ range potassium 10-30 ppm
PO4 range phosphate 1.0-3.0 ppm
Fe 0.2-0.5ppm or higher

Looking at my water parameters, I already have a high nitrate and phosphate level in my tap water. I was planning to cut by half the dry powders I add to the stock solution. I will also have quite a high fish load so they will produce nitrates and phosphate. Would you suggest not adding the macro solution and just adding Trace elements based on my tap water parameters?

Are phosphates dangerous for fish? I have also been told that my water may have minimal magnesium in it so to add Epsom salts. I have no way of telling the magnesium content in my tap water, my water board do not even seem to know. So would it be dangerous to fish and shrimp to add epsom salts?

I take it its going to be a bit of trial and error, I understand that it is dependant on a number of factors eg lighting, fish load, filter media, plant stocking level.

But if you have any further advice or notice anything I should change please to tell me before I embark on my EI method journey. :D
 

CeeJay

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Surrey UK
Hi tommyleestaples

You certainly seem to have done your research, which is nice to see :D
tommyleestaples said:
Would you suggest not adding the macro solution and just adding Trace elements based on my tap water parameters?
Personally I would start with the EI levels and tweak it downwards over the coming months but hey, that's just me, after many years of staring at algae, I'm now paranoid about making sure there are more than enough ferts available :lol:. Just remember to leave sufficient time (3-4 weeks) between adjustments to see the effect it has on your plants.
tommyleestaples said:
Are phosphates dangerous for fish?
No, unless you go to really really high with the dosage. I'm currently running 2 x EI levels of PO4 which got rid of my GSA, so that's the way it's staying :D .
tommyleestaples said:
So would it be dangerous to fish and shrimp to add epsom salts?
No, I used to dose 15 tsp per month in a 40 gallon when I started and gradually backed that off as there seems to be enough in my tap water. My fish and shrimp were fine. The shrimps were even breeding :D.

You certainly seem to be OK with your dosing regime so you can rest assured your macros and micros will not harm your livestock even if dosed to more than double the EI levels, so you will be fine.
I used to stress about 0.2 grams of this and 0.4 grams of that but gave up with the scales as it was too much faffing about. Now I'm a teaspoon convert :lol: .
Take the plunge. In 6 months time you'll be wondering what all the fuss was about :D .
As you may have already worked out, the key to successful EI is no shortages.
Good luck and keep us posted.
 
Joined
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Messages
91
Location
Sidcup, United Kingdom
Thanks CeeJay for a great reply. I think I have done too much research to be honest, my head feels like it wants to explode. The hard thing is that everyone has their own opinions and experiences and their are so many variable factors eg fish load, water parameters, stock of plants etc.

I think I am just going to give it a go and see how I get on. My only concern is that as my tank will eventually have quite a high fish load and quite a few plants (not a jungle though) wont the excess nitrate, phosphates etc encourage algae?
 

CeeJay

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Joined
3 May 2009
Messages
945
Location
Surrey UK
Hi tomyleestaples
tommyleestaples said:
I think I have done too much research to be honest, my head feels like it wants to explode.
I was the same in my early days :lol:
tommyleestaples said:
I think I am just going to give it a go and see how I get on.
That's the way I'd do it.
tommyleestaples said:
wont the excess nitrate, phosphates etc encourage algae?
Most certainly not :D .
But what you do have to be careful of is Ammonia. Ammonia + light = algae. Fact.
Once the algae blooms because of the Ammonia spike, your excess Nitrates and Phosphates will feed the algae and it may appear that the Nitrates and Phosphates caused it, but they didn't, they just fed it when it arrived.
This is the main reason we keep our tanks clean. Anything that causes Ammonia should set alarm bells ringing in your head. This can include an undetected dead fish or shrimp behind the plants etc, dead or dying leaves and any other waste matter. Too much light is a contributing factor too.
So if you remove any dead fish immediately you spot them (if you are unfortunate enough), trim any dead or dying leaves as soon as you spot them, keep the filters well maintained, and don't go mad with the lighting, you will be OK.
High fish load will be OK if you maintain your tank in good order. You will even get free plant food from the fish poo, so you can cut down on the KNO3 eventually :D .
So from the above you can see that the plants utilize the fish waste, therefore no Ammonia = no algae.
I suppose you can consider your plants as an additional form of free filtration, so the more plants the merrier :D
 

a1Matt

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Bromley
tommyleestaples said:
Thanks CeeJay for a great reply. I think I have done too much research to be honest, my head feels like it wants to explode. The hard thing is that everyone has their own opinions and experiences and their are so many variable factors eg fish load, water parameters, stock of plants etc.
My opinion is.... exactly what CeeJay says. Really excellent advice :thumbup:
 
Joined
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Location
Sidcup, United Kingdom
Thanks guys excellent advice. My lighting is 2 x 28w T5's how long would you recommended having them on for start with 6 hours then increase? Or should I just leave them on for 9 hours from the start like I eventually want.
 

a1Matt

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tommyleestaples said:
Thanks guys excellent advice. My lighting is 2 x 28w T5's how long would you recommended having them on for start with 6 hours then increase? Or should I just leave them on for 9 hours from the start like I eventually want.
Very good question. 6 hours is a very good idea. I would go for this. Wait a few weeks before increasing, then increase slowly (say 7 hours for a week, then 8 hours the next week, etc).
 

a1Matt

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tommyleestaples said:
Thanks, I was also thinking about adding shrimp and algae eating fish eg Otocinclus and Amano Shrimp after about a month. In order to eat any algae that does develop.
Assuming your tank has finished cycling after a month then adding fish/shrimp is fine.
I'd think about hat fish you want in there long term and check compatibility with the Oto's and shrimp.
 

a1Matt

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It has been a long time since I have cycled a tank, so best doublecheck, but the gist of it is you want to have enough bacteria present to breakdown any ammonia into nitrite. then nitrite into nitrate.

If test kits show 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite you are good to add livestock.

If you know someone with tank they can seed your filter with some dirt from theirs to speed up the process.

Cardinals are fine tankmates, best to check on the rainbows as I have never had them, but suspect they are OK with Oto's and fully grown amano shrimps.
 
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I have had a 90 litre tank with 6 Amano Shrimps, 10 Cardinal tetras, 3 Rainbow Fish (1 Bosemani, 1 Red and 1 Lake Kutubu), 1 Altum Angel and 1 male Betta.

I know people say that some of the above shouldnt be mixed but they were absolutly fine. Untill my heater packed up one day and I came in and the fish were frozen. I was so angry. So as I was enjoying the hobby so much I decided to buy a bigger tank and to it properly and not rush into anything.
 
Joined
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Location
Sidcup, United Kingdom
Its a very addictive hobby lol. My tank is at my office which i spend 6 days a week at from 9.00am to 6.00pm so I really get to appreciate it as I see it everyday.

Just noticed a1Matt your profile says your from Bromley I live in Sidcup, DA15 but my tank is in Mottingham, SE9 so not far from you. Small world.
 

a1Matt

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There is no set schedule to the meetups, in fact it is the first one I have ever organised, well organised seems a bit strong, lets say instigated :lol:

If it is popular we could maybe do a LFS crawl every month to 6 weeks or so. Pick a different area each time. See how things go. Am happy to have a meet around my house some time as well; with the agenda of getting some of the members here with good cameras to take some nice pics of my tank :shifty: A bit of plant and kit swapping and some food and drink as well of course.
 
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