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EI Newbie, totally confused lol

ojustaboo

Member
Joined
15 Mar 2011
Messages
201
Hi all

Have read through the stickies and loads of other posts and the more I read, the more confused I get (nothing new there).

190Lt corner tank. Pressurised CO2

I asked the waterboard what my GH is and they tell me that my water is hard and It's 16.1 degrees German.

My tap water PH (after 24hrs) is 7.5

I'm grasping the concept but am confused over the different terms and suggestions. For instance, in Clives Tutorial it suggests no added ferts for 2 days before water change but on the Excel dosing calc, it shows ferts added every day.

Then if I understand correctly, there's different chemicals I can get the same nutrients from, for example Nitrate from, either Potassium or Ammonium Nitrate. Does it make any difference which I go for or (as is probably the case) am I completely misunderstanding something?

Adding different powders to the tank for 5 days then resting for 2 days seems simple enough to me, but which powders and in which quantity (even after using a couple of calcs) has sent my brain into meltdown.


If I understand Clives tutorial correctly, I should be looking to add the following each week.
Nitrate (NO3) 20ppm per week.
Potassium (K) 30ppm per week.
Phosphate (PO4) 3ppm per week
Magnesium (Mg) 10ppm per week
Iron (Fe) 0.5ppm per week

He also suggests to achieve this on a 20 US gallon tank, I would do

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

190Ltrs works out at around 50 US gallons so in theory, simply adding 2.5 times what he suggests I should be there?

How I would measure 2.5 x 3/16 teaspoon of KN03 is something I will worry about when I work out if I'm thinking correctly :)

That seems relatively straight forward but then it gets confusing.
What he's adding Sunday to Thursday doesn't exactly match up with the list above that that I thought I should be adding weekly. For example, we have CSM+B

To further confuse me :) I look at the Excel dosing spreadsheet and it gives doses for every day (no 2 day rest) and in addition to the above, also includes
Trace Element Mix
Potassium Sulphate K2S04
Calcium Sulphate
and it also mentions Ammonium.

Finally there's the question of my GH. Is 16.1 German above 3 GH (is it 16.1 GH) or do I need GH booster

Many many thanks for your time and help

Joe
 

Bobtastic

Member
Joined
13 May 2009
Messages
745
Location
Manchester, UK
I must admit that I find all the information on EI very confusing, least of all calculating the correct amounts for my tank specifically. I've taken to using http://www.fluidsensoronline.com/'s online EI Calculator. This basically allows you to put in either your takes volume or the dimensions of your tank and then tells you how much in either "spoons" or grams you have to add of the different salts. It goes on further to tell you how to make a macro mixes solution (and micro for that matter). So that you can does in ml if you prefer.

As I understand the calculator is based on Clive's article, so should work for you.

I think the difference in the types of salts is to help with availability. Basically there are a few different sources of Nitrogen or Potassium but some are better than others (u get more of what you want for a lower weight), so if you can't get on source of Nitrogen you can use something else, but you may have to use more of the alternative to get the same amount of the required ferts (unfortunately the examples escape me...). I would just stick with the suggested salts as they are easily obtainable from the sponsors.

With regard to the rest days, you are aiming to get to a point where, working with an assumed volume and bio-mass you are reaching a point that all of the required ferts become unlimited and you're "estimating" how much you need to of each you need to add by that point. I gets there is no reason that you can't just divide the overall weekly require amounts by 7 instead of 5 but that may mean they you are not getting to the "unlimited" value fast enough and you may see deficiencies in your plants...

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules with any of methods in planted tanks you have to look at your plants and tailor the available to suit their demands.
 

ceg4048

Expert/Global Moderator
UKAPS Team
Joined
11 Jul 2007
Messages
9,249
Location
Chicago, USA
ojustaboo said:
..Have read through the stickies and loads of other posts and the more I read, the more confused I get...

...I'm grasping the concept but am confused over the different terms and suggestions. For instance, in Clives Tutorial it suggests no added ferts for 2 days before water change but on the Excel dosing calc, it shows ferts added every day...
Hi Joe,
One of the reasons you're getting confused is because you are reading different sources of information, each of which have a slightly different point of view and a different agenda, or emphasis. When you try to merge information from different sources, unless you understand every nuance of these agendas the data will always seem conflicting.
To illustrate this point, humor me for a few moments and compare these two recipes for Lamb Stew;
Traditional Stew Allrecipes.com
Basques Stew SimplyRecipes.com

In each of these recipes, different amounts of meat, different combination of vegetables as well as different methods of cooking are used. If you were an alien who landed from a different planet and tried to determine a representative Lamb Stew which would you suppose is the correct one? How would you reconcile the differences between the two?

The answer is that there is no correct recipe for Lamb Stew. The correctness is solely a function of whether it fills the belly of the person who eats it and whether that person enjoyed eating it. That in turn, will depend on the person eating the stew. Furthermore, there is no relevance in having the two recipes agree. The first recipe has the agenda of reproducing a typical stew from bygone years, while the agenda of the second recipe is related to producing a spiciness in the stew. You cannot therefore, reconcile the first with the second.

At the end of the day, a bowl of either stew will fill the belly of the consumer equally and will be more or less equally nutritious. One stew will have more protein while the other will have a bit more vegetable matter, but this really doesn't matter for the purpose for which the stew is being prepared and consumed.

So you need to pick one recipe and follow it, not try to corroborate one recipe with the other or compare one set of instructions with the other. Just as in the comparison of the stew recipes, there is little relevance in comparison of the EI recipes. When your understanding of plant nutrition and plant husbandry is at a sufficient level, it is at that point at you will then understand the "WHY" of one recipe versus another.

ojustaboo said:
I asked the waterboard what my GH is and they tell me that my water is hard and It's 16.1 degrees German...

..there's the question of my GH. Is 16.1 German above 3 GH (is it 16.1 GH) or do I need GH booster
There are a few different standard units of General Hardness and it can be measured in a variety of ways:
1 German Degree is the equivalent of having about 18 ppm of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) dissolved in your water. Calcium Carbonate is the chalky deposit you may see on the coils of your kettle, or the white deposit you may see on the kitchen sink or bathrooms wet surfaces.

3 GH is therefore the equivalent of having about 54ppm of CaCO3 dissolved in your water.
16 GH is therefore the equivalent of having 288ppm of CaCO3 dissolved in your water.

This does not mean that you actually have 288ppm of CaCO3 in the water though, but some of the chemical effects, and some of the electrolytic effects of the components that are dissolved are the same as having that much CaCO3 dissolved, hence the term "equivalent".

ojustaboo said:
...My tap water PH (after 24hrs) is 7.5...
Good to know for future reference, but ultimately, at this time, it's also irrelevant. None of your procedures are affected by this value.

ojustaboo said:
Then if I understand correctly, there's different chemicals I can get the same nutrients from, for example Nitrate from, either Potassium or Ammonium Nitrate. Does it make any difference which I go for or (as is probably the case) am I completely misunderstanding something?
The chemicals you use make a difference. The magnitude of that difference depends on the chemicals. In some instances, the differences are minor-to-midling. In other instances, such as with ammonium salts, if you don't know what you are doing, the differences can be life and death. Use the products specified in the recipe you have chosen for now until you get a firm grip. Have a look at the thread==> Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) Purchased from Internet

ojustaboo said:
Adding different powders to the tank for 5 days then resting for 2 days seems simple enough to me, but which powders and in which quantity (even after using a couple of calcs) has sent my brain into meltdown.

If I understand Clives tutorial correctly, I should be looking to add the following each week.
Nitrate (NO3) 20ppm per week.
Potassium (K) 30ppm per week.
Phosphate (PO4) 3ppm per week
Magnesium (Mg) 10ppm per week
Iron (Fe) 0.5ppm per week

He also suggests to achieve this on a 20 US gallon tank, I would do

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

190Ltrs works out at around 50 US gallons so in theory, simply adding 2.5 times what he suggests I should be there?
Correct! I detect no brain melt particles at all.

ojustaboo said:
How I would measure 2.5 x 3/16 teaspoon of KN03 is something I will worry about when I work out if I'm thinking correctly :)
I reckon you might have missed the following part of the Tutorial:
Code:
Many of the calculated teaspoon values, especially for small tanks, are ridiculously small, such as 1/32 of a teaspoon for example. This is clearly a ridiculous portion to attempt to measure. The way around this is to make up either a 1 month's worth water solution or a dry mixture and apportion the doses.

NPK (Nitrogen+Phosphorus+Potassium) Mixture for 20 Gallon Tank
1 month = 4 Weeks
3 doses of NPK per week
Therefore there are 12 doses of NPK per month.
Multiply a single dose teaspoon value by 12 => [3/16 tsp KNO3]*12 = 2 ¼ tsp KNO3
[1/16 tsp KH2PO4]*12 = ¾ tsp KH2PO4
[1/2 tsp MgSO4]*12 = 6 tsp MgSO4
Add these to 600ml of tap or distilled water

Now this mixture must serve 12 doses so each dose is 600ml/12 = 50ml
This makes life easier because you need only dose 50ml of this NPK solution 3 times per week.

Always separate the CSM+B from the NPK because it has a tendency to react with the phosphate. You can dose the CSM+B as a powder or if it more convenient add 8 * 1/16 tsp => ½ teaspoon to 200 ml of water and dose 25 ml two times per week.
Naturally, the mixture scales in the same way. If the tank is twice as large than you would add twice as much powder to you 600ml of water and so on.

ojustaboo said:
...That seems relatively straight forward but then it gets confusing.
What he's adding Sunday to Thursday doesn't exactly match up with the list above that that I thought I should be adding weekly. For example, we have CSM+B...
The CSM+B is added twice a week. This is fairly straightforward.

ojustaboo said:
To further confuse me :) I look at the Excel dosing spreadsheet and it gives doses for every day (no 2 day rest) and in addition to the above, also includes
Trace Element Mix
Potassium Sulphate K2S04
Calcium Sulphate
and it also mentions Ammonium.
Remember the analogy of the Lamb Stew;
Trace Element Mix is equivalent to CSM+B.
My recipe (really, Barr's recipe) uses neither K2SO4, nor CaSO4, nor Ammonium salts.
It uses only KNO3, KH2PO4, CSM+B and MgSO4 - that's all. The agenda in this recipe is to have a dosing system whose hallmark is simplicity. Other items are added only as needed.

If you're into brain melt you might want to check these related threads:
Chucks calculator vs Nutri-calc
Why no K2SO4 & K2CO3?
Lack of Potassium?
EI daily methods or PMDD + PO4
A few qs about GH BOOSTER
EI Dosing, what now?

Cheers,
 

ojustaboo

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Mar 2011
Messages
201
Many thanks, I cant thank you both enough.

Things are becoming a lot clearer now :)

I'm going to follow your recipe Clive and see how things go :)

Will purchase KNO3, KH2PO4, CSM+B and MgSO4 from one of the sites sponsors.

One thing I still cant get my head around (not that it matters from the point of view of me ordering what I need, more for information), your tutorial says to add the following per week

Nitrate (NO3) 20ppm per week.
Potassium (K) 30ppm per week.
Phosphate (PO4) 3ppm per week
Magnesium (Mg) 10ppm per week
Iron (Fe) 0.5ppm per week

How do those chemicals tie up to KNO3, MgS04 and KH2PO4 please?

I presume that KNO3 is the K from Potassium and the NO3 from the Nitrate?
That being the case, the PO4 is the Phosphate I presume KH2 is simply the other part of the chemical that I get the Phosphate from? Same with Magnesium, Mg is the Magnesium, S04 is the other part that makes up the chemical I get the magnesium from?

Now I've typed that, it seems to be obvious. I've just had a look at one of our sponsors and see for example that MgSO4 is Magnesium Sulphate so I presume the SO4 is the sulphate bit. So I think I've answered my own question, but I'll leave it typed, just in case I'm missing something obvious or I need correcting :)

Again thanks for the superb advice/help

Joe
 

niru

Member
Joined
13 Sep 2010
Messages
323
Location
Basel, Switzerland
While we are brewing some concoctions, can I order 2 lamb stews?? WOuld love to taste both :D

-niru
 

ceg4048

Expert/Global Moderator
UKAPS Team
Joined
11 Jul 2007
Messages
9,249
Location
Chicago, USA
niru said:
While we are brewing some concoctions, can I order 2 lamb stews?? WOuld love to taste both :D
:lol: I just hope our Irish members weren't offended because I failed give a shout out to their lamb recipe...I must remember next week to somehow work in corned beef hash...mmm.

ojustaboo said:
I presume that KNO3 is the K from Potassium and the NO3 from the Nitrate?
That being the case, the PO4 is the Phosphate I presume KH2 is simply the other part of the chemical that I get the Phosphate from? Same with Magnesium, Mg is the Magnesium, S04 is the other part that makes up the chemical I get the magnesium from?
Yes, your deduction is on the right track. SO4 is Sulfate and is comprised of Sulfur and Oxygen in a 1:4 ratio.
NO3 is Nitrate and is comprised of Nitrogen and Oxygen in a 1:3 ratio.
PO4 is Phosphate and is comprised of Phosphorous and Oxygen in a 1:4 ratio.

Elements in nature combine to form substances and are joined together at the atomic level by magnetism in the same way as those magnets that stick to your fridge. There are South Poles and North Poles in the atomic kingdom. Poles that are alike repel each other but opposite poles attract and bond. When the bonds form the substance is transformed from one characteristic to another.

Because water is itself a magnet there is a tendency, when these products make contact with water, for the H2O magnet to disrupt, and to interfere with the existing magnetic bonds and then to form new bonds and therefore, new substances. This is what we perceive as "dissolving". The pattern of life and many of the effects we observe is all about magnets, disruption and new substances.

Check out the thread viewtopic.php?f=11&t=11726 for a description of what some of these substances do.

Cheers,
 
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