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How to mix EI salt solution for low tech/What doesn't mix well with other chemicals?

Mihai Varban

Member
Joined
24 Sep 2018
Messages
59
Location
North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Greetings kind ladies and gentlemen of UKAPS. I return to you today after reading ceg4048's article on EI and all of the info available on the aquariumplantfood website. I have several low tech tanks as follows:
3 fluval spec Vs
2 dennerle 55l cubes
1 ciano 80L
all heavily planted and lit low to medium with floating plants, over-filtered to high heaven etc. So far I have been adding some easylife profito, easy life kalium-potassium and some easylife fosfo every week and it has been mostly fine but I'm tired of giving those people money. I have done some research and decided my next go to fert is going to be custom mixed salt solutions.

My question pertains to exactly what products from aquariumplantfood I can mix in the same solution, what products can be dosed the same day and what products interact with others?

I am buying an EI kit which comes with two bottles - one for macros, one for chelated micros.
I also intend to get Potassium Sulphate - Can I add this to one of the previous bottles or do I need to mix it separately??
Can I mix chelated iron with anything else or should I mix it in its own bottle?
IU was planning on getting Ascorbic acid which their website says "can be used to regulate the pH of water when making an All in One Fertiliser mix". Does this mean I can mix everything in one bottle if I use Ascorbic Acid?
And lastly I was contempalting using their Potassium Sorbate E202 to extend the shelf life of my mixes. Anyone have any experience?

Thank you in advance,
Mihai V
 

X3NiTH

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13 Apr 2014
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1,176
If you follow the APFUK instructions it will keep you right. If you want to add Potassium Sulphate add it to the Macro solution. If you want to make the All-In-One acidify the receiving water first with the ascorbic acid, add whichever elements you want in any order excepting the Potassium Phosphate that is best to go in last when all the other salts are fully in solution.

If you want to keep the Macro and Micro separate but want to dose the same day then dose the Micro before lights on and the Macro a couple of hours later.

:)
 

Andy Pierce

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27 Nov 2020
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114
Location
Cambridge, UK
The EI dosing is designed for those fertiliser components to be used up with the assumption of heavily planted tank, well lit with CO2 injection. If you have a low tech tank with low lighting and no CO2 you could consider reducing the dosing the EI components (maybe only dose 1/10th the recommended amount?), without actually changing up the relative amounts. Last time I got it, APFUK sends separate dry salts and empty (but labelled) bottles, so you can put whatever powers you want into the bottles - you can add potassium sulfate to your macros to get extra potassium, and in fact that's what I do. Don't add anything to the chelated trace - that's got iron in it which can precipitate if you add the wrong counterion. Pro tip: if you're adding potassium sulfate to macros you can get them to dissolve much easier if you use hot water instead of cold. I find that after everything is dissolved there is a little white "fluffiness" that very gently settles on the bottom of the macro mix container. It doesn't look like precipitate to me and it doesn't seem to hurt anything so I don't worry about it.
 

ceg4048

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Chicago, USA
Hello,
I agree with Andy. Low tech tanks, i.e., no gas and no Excel, really do not need EI levels of nutrition. So you only need to dose a fractional amount once a week or so. EI assumes the tanks has high lighting and fuel injection.

Barr's non-Co2 method is as follows:
Assuming 80-90% of the nutrients will come from the fish load, add once a week about 1/8 and 1/32 teaspoon of KNO3 and KH2PO4 respectively.
While trace mixes can be added, one can use SeaChem Equlibrium instead if desired.
It has Fe and Mn as well as Ca/K/Mg/SO4.
Add about 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gal tank once every week or two.

Cheers,
 
Last edited:

Mihai Varban

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Thread starter
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24 Sep 2018
Messages
59
Location
North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Thanks for the help guys!
Clive I lol'd when i saw you wrote the article on APFUK. It feels like I knew a celebrity from before they were famous :D
I noticed my tests reveal plenty nitrates in the water column, which is why is used to dose phosphates, traces and other stuff from easy life. It worked well. I wasn't going to use full EI dose since my plants aren't nearly as virulent, even though I do remove a kilo of floating plants (salvinia and frogbit) every couple of weeks since they grow like crazy since they can get their CO2 from the air. I intended to dose a quarter of EI or less, no nitrates in the macro mix since my tanks have it naturally (very high endler population + oversized filtration + deep substrate bed). I see you recommend 1/10th of EI dose. On what basis? Do commercially available products like ProFito, TNC Flourish ETC have a content that is roughly 1/10th of EI? And lastly Does it make a huge different spreading the dosing daily as opposed to one a week in low tech?

Thanks again for your helpfulness :D
 

ceg4048

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Clive I lol'd when i saw you wrote the article on APFUK. It feels like I knew a celebrity from before they were famous :D
LOL I'm always sneaking up on folks. I used to work for the CIA. :cool:

Yeah, people don't seem to realize that when you add CO2 the metabolism of plants increase by a maximum of about 10 fold. In a low tech environment the uptake rate is so much slower and the growth rate is so much due to the limitation of available CO2 that it simply isn't necessary to add EI levels of nutrition. I mean, the high endler population will provide the nitrogen.

The commercial mixes can only dream about having as much as 1/10th EI concentration, some are mostly water, but lets be kind and give them a mulligan.

Low tech should be low stress, low growth rates and therefore low nutrient uptake rates. Daily dosing really is over the top, but of course, if you like to daily dose then have at it mate. As usual, monitor the plants and see if they are experiencing deficiencies. If so make an adjustment upwards.

Cheers!
 

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