Little Shop of Horrors - How EI frightened the gardener

ceg4048

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plantbrain said:
...So what would occur or would folks predict if he added say some KNO3/KH2PO4 to this system? Algae? Or more weeds/aquatic plants?
Oooh...Oooh...(raises hand...raises hand :wave: ) The correct answer is....More weeds! :clap: :clap:

plantbrain said:
What is dw1305's goal here also? More work and trimming of the plants? Probably not.
So adding ferts is only worthwhile if the plants are really strongly limited and growing poorly.
Which unfortunately describes most ponds - even the ones I see at garden centers, while their proprietors rabidly try to remove NO3. Tsk..tsk..tsk...
You're right though, it depends on the goal. I was pulling out at least 20 kg or so of weeds per week which became tedious. After lowering the dosages it became more manageable.

plantbrain said:
The key is to pack the pond with plants and allow them to fill in and weedy out the algae while this process takes over.
Many add lots of plants in the spring, then weed good till the plants grow in, this is true for ponds as well as most terrestrial gardens in seasonal climates.
And this sounds exactly like your standard procedure for aquarium startup. No surprises there! :clap:

plantbrain said:
Another product is sodium percarbonate if you want to clean off the stones, very cheap and easy to use. Raises the Kh though. The powder drops on the rocks and dissolves H2O2 and kills the algae and sloughs off the rock. Works really well for this, will not harm plants though, I've tossed it on many species without any effect.
Yes I remember you mentioning this some time ago. I had completely forgotten about it as I tried to source it in UK and couldn't find an inexpensive source. A definite alternative to Excel if it could be had on the cheap. Thanks!

Cheers,
 

mlgt

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Lovely pics of the pond :)

Im hoping to build something of the same size in a years time :)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Tom wrote
What is dw1305's goal here also? More work and trimming of the plants? Probably not.
Yes that is right, my aim was exactly the opposite - a pond that I could leave to it's own devices for as long as possible.

I wanted to create an "early successional" habitat, so basically a nutrient poor, sparse habitat with plenty of bare spaces. These are a habitat that has almost disappeared from lowland Britain, mainly due to eutrophication, and the very nature of them means that the organisms that inhabit them are mobile and able to exploit new ponds as they "form". All permanent ponds have a fairly limited life span so it needs processes to create new ones all the time. I aim to let this one mature for several years (that is let "seral succession" occur) before I "re-set" it, with a major clean out.

Ideally I wanted a pond with more than one basin, so some areas would dry during the summer, allowing the organic matter to oxidise away and maintaining them as seasonally wet depressions, but it just wasn't a realistic aim in a small garden.

Here is the pond almost exactly 2 years ago during it's "green phase", just after I'd installed the new liner, it had had some water in it for the previous 18months, but it was never water tight. You can't really see them, but the pond had an extraordinary Daphnia bloom at this time, presumably caused by the explosion of the phytoplankton.

pond1web-1.jpg



cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Another couple, this is more of a view. The garden in the foreground is planted in the gravel (it was additional car parking when we moved in). I didn't improve the soil, and I don't water it. Plants need to either establish themselves or be planted before March, or they tend not to survive the first summer. It is a bit "lush" at the moment, but I expect a dry summer will thin out a lot of the herbaceous plants.

pond_view_towards_no14.jpg


Here is the back garden, same arrangement, limited intervention, no pesticides and no added nutrients.

looking_towards_shed.jpg


It is the same ethos as the tanks, I don't want "all singing and all dancing", I want stability. The secret is finding the organisms for the conditions, rather than trying to change the conditions to suit the organisms.

cheers Darrel
 
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Hey Darrel, that's a fabulous looking pond - and garden. Gotta agree on finding the right plants for your conditions, rather than fighting. But it can take some time - after decades of gardening in inner London, I still struggle to accept that I can grow a completely different range of plants up here in cool, wet, nutrient-poor Cumbria.

And I MUST make a pond this winter! :thumbup:
 

BioLogic

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I am amazed at how little people actually understand plants and how they grow. Pond, plants, plants not growing well, chuck in herds of fertillizer because plants love the stuff, watch the weedy things grow, struggle with algae and all manner of undesirable things, pond a nightmare, algaecide, pond clean, and then back to square one! DO NOT PASS BEGIN!

Let us examine some fundamentals here. Tom correct me if I'm wrong but EI is based on a constant exchange of water as would happen in a natural lotic (flowing) ecosystem. In a lentic (standing water) ecosystem that level of input would lead to eutrophication - and the consequent outbreak of algae and proliferation of weedy taxa. A very important principle here is "range of tolerance". All organisms have a range of tolerance - the upper and lower ends of which are stressful. Obviously an assemblage of organisms, in this case plants, is determined by environmental filters. So the in an ecosystem the things that are dominant (in terms of biomass and/or abundance) are those that are best suited to the conditions whereas those that are at either end of their range of tolerance are not doing so well and declining. Change the disturbance or stress regime and the dynamic changes again. What we do in an aquarium is create an environment and populate it with organisms that are comfortable in that range of parameters. Then we introduce a disturbance regime that favours aforementioned organisms and lastly we shortcut the nutrient cycles and add nutrition for the inhabitants. However as stated earlier, we need to manage these inputs in some way otherwise we pollute the system. Hence water changes. If we don't do that the conditions will be outside of the range of tolerance for most of the things in that space.

Back to our pond scenario. Unless you are going to constantly add fresh water and dilute the nutrient load you will favour certain plants over others. Fact. I can see that the Typha and Nymphaea are having a jolly good time - because they are gross feeder and have long since outgrown their pots - they are looking for food and they now have it. If you want a pond full of Typha then carry on. Soon enough you'll haver a pond that looks like any polluted waterway - choked with Typha and other weeds. My advice? Re-pot your plants!!!!!

Cheers

Robin
 

ceg4048

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Hi Robin,
Thanks for your comments. I think there is a disconnect though because my point was all about how someone who knows nothing of ponds simply applied the principles of EI on a pond that was suffering all sorts of algae problems and poor growth performance, and was able to reverse the trend in a very short time. The weeds that were in the pond were there when I first got there. I added no other plants, strictly what was there and was almost dead. I chucked in a load of fertilizer, which very few pond people do, I did not use any algecide and the algae disappeared completely from the pond. If I wanted diversity in the pond I would have spent the money and would have bought loads of other plants. That was not my objective. The few plants that I did buy were actually aquarium species which I grew as marginals in the pond, then got bored with that and transferred them to the aquarium, where they grew submersed as expected. So I never returned to square one. My total yield was somewhere on the order of a quarter ton of biomass.

BioLogic said:
Let us examine some fundamentals here...
Yes! Lets! ;)
BioLogic said:
correct me if I'm wrong but EI is based on a constant exchange of water as would happen in a natural lotic (flowing) ecosystem. In a lentic (standing water) ecosystem that level of input would lead to eutrophication - and the consequent outbreak of algae and proliferation of weedy taxa.
No, sorry, this is completely wrong. It could easily be argued that EI generates eutrophication in the tank. Furthermore EI provides strong evidence that eutrophication in a tank, and in some[ water systems, is not correlated with algal blooms. The blooms are more associated with the level of lighting, malnutrition and in some cases, Ammonification.

BioLogic said:
A very important principle here is "range of tolerance". All organisms have a range of tolerance - the upper and lower ends of which are stressful. Obviously an assemblage of organisms, in this case plants, is determined by environmental filters. So the in an ecosystem the things that are dominant (in terms of biomass and/or abundance) are those that are best suited to the conditions whereas those that are at either end of their range of tolerance are not doing so well and declining. Change the disturbance or stress regime and the dynamic changes again. What we do in an aquarium is create an environment and populate it with organisms that are comfortable in that range of parameters. Then we introduce a disturbance regime that favours aforementioned organisms and lastly we shortcut the nutrient cycles and add nutrition for the inhabitants. However as stated earlier, we need to manage these inputs in some way otherwise we pollute the system.
Well, it certainly wouldn't make sense to produce a system outside the tolerance range of the inhabitants. Managing a high tech tank means controlling that tolerance range. This includes a control of the nutrient loading, which is orders of magnitude below the level of intolerance, and managing the CO2 levels, which has a very narrow tolerance limit. All our collective experience illustrates that by a wide margin, it is the CO2 levels that do the damage if poorly controlled. EI nutrient levels do not directly produce toxic effects. Additionally, eutrophic tank water results in increased metabolism and therefore produces high levels of organic waste by the plants themselves. It is this organic waste that is the pollution in the tank, not the nutrient levels, therefore in the typical EI dosing scheme, large water changes are beneficial to both flora and fauna.

BioLogic said:
Back to our pond scenario. Unless you are going to constantly add fresh water and dilute the nutrient load you will favour certain plants over others. Fact. I can see that the Typha and Nymphaea are having a jolly good time - because they are gross feeder and have long since outgrown their pots - they are looking for food and they now have it. If you want a pond full of Typha then carry on. Soon enough you'll haver a pond that looks like any polluted waterway - choked with Typha and other weeds. My advice? Re-pot your plants!!!!!
Well, in my pond, there was no way I intended to perform water changes. This was not a big deal because the level of plant growth blocked most of the light from entering the water and so this stifled algal growth. There was zero algae in this eutrophic system.

Now, you mention favoring some plants over others. That might be true if we consider the hundreds of thousands of plants on Earth and the varied ecosystems they inhabit. But I didn't have a hundred thousand species in the pond. I only had a few, and the few that were there were not bothered at all.

I think that there is a misconception from the academic community about why people grow plants. The hobby of horticulture has to do with aesthetic appeal, not with redressing the balance of nature. The average person does not really care about what is favored and what is not. Everyone has a different idea as to what is pretty and what they want from their tank or pond. For example, I hate duckweed but many people grow it intentionally. It's a choice each hobbyist makes.

The total available number of submersible aquatic aquarium plants is somewhere around 300. This is a very small number, and of those, only a handful of them might actually require a low nutrient loading. In fact I can't really think of any, although there are some forms, such as ferns and mosses, which originate from low nutrient systems, but which actually do fine in a high nutrient regime.

As far as the tank, which is not nature, and from a horticulture perspective, there is plenty of diversity. Look at this. The tank has over 70 species of aquatic plants and this particular tank was hypereutrophic. I had no difficulty whatsoever and there was no algae. This does not look like a polluted waterway. Nutrients don't cause algae, at least, not in our tanks or ponds. The principles of EI are discussed in the Tutorials section of the forum.
8394080701_ca4312d4fd_c.jpg


Cheers,
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
Hi Robin, as you've probably found out by now some members of this forum have found, via experimentation, a method "EI" that works for them.

But we do have a range of opinions, and we don't all subscribe to exactly the same views. As you may have gathered from my earlier posts in this thread, my methods and conclusions (for both aquariums and ponds) differ some what from those of both "ceg4048" (Clive) and "Plantbrain" (Tom). It isn't necessarily a case of "right & wrong", it is just a case of a difference in interpretation. I may not always agree with them, but they have a position that they are willing to defend with both documentary evidence and a reasoned scientific argument.

I can honestly say that despite our differences in opinion, I've learned a great deal from the posters on this forum, and this has proved enormously useful to both my hobby interests and also my work.

If you've got time you might like to read a few of the older posts that have covered some of this area.
<http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=8834> & <http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=8592>

cheers Darrel
 

nayr88

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sorry i only just see this. what a beut!!!

and clive...that post even burned me!! haha

keep it up mate, your doing somethng right
 

REDSTEVEO

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Hi this is for CEG if he is still about. I want to start EI Dosing in my pond which is about 3,000 litres. I have two filters running with a combined total UV of 20 watts. One filter is a 10,000 litre Pond 1 pressure filter and the other is a 5,000 litre Biomax gravity filter. I have got a total of 14 fish which consist of 4 x 10 inch Koi Carp and 10 mixed goldfish. I have just invested in a pond vacuum and given the pond a good clean. The plants consist of a couple of water lillies in baskets and some general oxygenating plants.

The pond is over a metre deep and does not get a lot of sun because of the surrounding wall.

Here is what it started off like when it was being built.

101_0364.jpg


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101_0365.jpg


These are pictures from last year.

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The plants have never really done much good in the two years that I have had them so I am thinking of trying the EI using the dry powders from CHEMPAK. What I need to know if possible is the quantities of NPK and Trace mix I will need to use.

Because of the depth I can not add marginal plants unless I raise them up somehow, so I get nothing growing out of the water. I also would like to somehow fix plants to the back wall to soften it up a bit.

I am also thinking of adding shallow baskets all over the bottom of the pond with pond grasses.

Any advice from anyone would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

Steve
 

ceg4048

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Hi Steve,
Well a 3000L tank is about 75X bigger than the reference 20G, so you'd need about 5 teaspoons each of KH2PO4 and traces. You should have plenty of Nitrogen available from fish waste and food so I'd only dose about a third of the KNO3, which, to make it easy would be also 5 teaspoons instead of 15. You only need to do this once a week or so since this counts as non-CO2. Obviously you want to make sure that your Chempak mix is ammonia and urea free.

If you were totally freaked out about nutrients in the water column then you could simply do home made root tabs by wrapping the nutrients in clay balls and pushing them into the pots.

Cheers,
 

REDSTEVEO

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Thanks very much. Sadly the Chempak high nitrogen mix that I was thinking of using has got loads of Urea and Ammonia based chemicals so I don't think I will be using this product after all. :thumbdown:

I will have a browse through the dry powders in our local garden centre this week and see if I can find something suitable, unless anyone else has any suggestions. I have got some concentrated Miracle Grow Liquid but there are no details on the bottle of what is in it. :?

Thanks again,

Steve

ps just found this ont Tinternet for Miraclegro:

Ammonium phosphate :mad:
Urea :mad:
Potassium chloride
Boric acid
Copper sulfate
Iron EDTA
Magnesium EDTA
Urea phosphate :mad:
Zinc sulfate
Sodium molybdate

The percentage breakdown is as follows:
Total Nitrogen: 15%
9.2% urea nitrogen :mad:
5.8% ammonium nitrogen :mad:

Available phosphate: 30%;
Boron: .02%;
Soluble Potash: 15%;
Copper: .07%;
Iron: .15%;
Manganese: .05%;
Molybdenum: .00005%;
Zinc: .06%.
 

ceg4048

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Steve,
Check this out=>Garden Direct KNO3 Get the 25KG bag and you're set for years to come. :clap: They also do PO4 and traces for cheap.

I would be shocked if there were any garden ferts that did not have NH4/urea. Gardens don't have to worry too much about toxicity and these N forms are way cheaper than Nitrate salts, so it wouldn't makes sense for them to not use these.

Cheers,
 

REDSTEVEO

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Thanks very much, I checked it out!! Is there anything else you used on your pond like trace elements or is that going over the top.

I will probably go for the 25kg bag as you suggested and if things are not working out in the pond I can always use it in the garden. :D

Hail to the CEG or is it Clive? :oops:

Steve
 

ceg4048

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Hi Steve,
It either or both mate. ;)

Garden Direct do a trace powder as well as a potassium phosphate so just search for those on the site. I didn't have any fish so it was easy to use a standard all in one product like Miracle Grow which does contain NH4/Urea. As usual, these three powders should cover you but depending on your water supply you may need to throw in a dozen teaspoons of Epsom Salts. Everything is exactly the same as with tanks. Add the MgSO4 and see if it makes a difference.

Cheers,
 

ceg4048

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Drat!
Those were on a different server and the numbskulls went out of business. I've loaded as much as I can recall. May not be exactly the same ones, but close enough to get the general idea. Sorry.

Cheers,
 
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