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Moving from AIO to EI - Final check before ordering

Aetherial

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17 Feb 2021
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32
Location
The Netherlands
Hey all,

I'd like to start going to DIY route for my ferts, and after doing enough research, I think I'm ready to order everything I need.
Before I place my order, though, I'd appreciate it if someone could let me know if I've got everything right!
All of this is very new to me, so I might have just gotten it completely wrong.

Not sure if all of this information matters, but better too much than too little, I suppose:
Tank size: 68x35x51cm - 120L/100L after hardscape/substrate, etc.
Light: 2x Superfish Retro Led Bright (93,96 Par), 2x Superfish Retro Led Combi (41,04 Par)
CO2 ~30PPM

Local water report (Not sure what's important and what not, so I'll include as much as possible. Avg - Min - Max format):
pH: 7,94 - 7,75 - 8,24
Chloride: 98 - 88 - 110 mg/l
Sulfate: 7 - 6 - 8 mg/l
Sodium: 39 - 34.4 - 42.4 mg/l
Potassium: 2.56 - 2.46 - 2.63 mg/l
Silicate: 10.5 - 10.1 - 10.9 mg/l
Calcium: 50.2 - 38.5 - 72.0 mg/l
Magnesium: 9.83 - 8.38 - 11.0 mg/l
GH: 9.3 - 7.5 - 12.3 °D
Ammonia: <0.03 mg/l
Nitrite: <0.01 mg/l
Nitrate: 3.67 - 3.26 - 4.33 mg/l
Phosphate: <0.03 mg/l
Iron: 0.01 - 0.01 - 0.024 mg/l
Manganese: <0.005 mg/l
Aluminium: 20.4 - 11.9 - 27.0 µg/l
Antimony: <1 µg/l
Arsenic: <0.5 µg/l
Barium: 18.0 µg/l
Boron: 40.9 - 38.7 - 42.5 µg/l
Cadmium: <0.10 µg/l
Chromium: <0.5 µg/l
Copper: 1.78 µg/l
Mercury: 0.020 µg/l
Lead: <0.5 µg/l
Nickle: <1.0 µg/l
Selenium: <0.5 µg/l
Zinc: <2.0 µg/l
Cyanide: <2 µg/l
Fluoride: 0.07 mg/l

Planning to order:
Potassium Nitrate (KNO3)
Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4)
Potassium Sulfate (K2SO4)
Tenso Cocktail
Ascorbic Acid (E300)
Potassium Sorbate (E202)

Macro mix (3x per week 40 ML):
500 ML Bottle
480 ML Deionized water (To make the dosing a little more convenient)
14 Grams - Potassium Nitrate (KNO3)
1.8 Grams - Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4)
15 Grams - Potassium Sulfate (K2SO4)
0.5 Grams - Ascorbic Acid (E300)
0.2 Grams - Potassium Sorbate (E202)

This would result in:
Nitrate (NO3): ~20 PPM per week
Potassium (K): ~30 PPM per week
Phosphate (PO4) ~3 PPM per wek

Micro mix (3x per week 40 ML):
Not sure how to mix this.
The site I'm ordering on states the following on the Tenso Cocktail:
32 grams in a 500ml bottle - dosing 4ml on 100L water (So for me that would be 3.2 grams in a 500ml bottle - dosing 40ml on 100L water) results in the following:
Borium - 0.014 PPM
Calcium - 0.068 PPM
Copper - 0.014 PPM
Iron - 0.101 PPM
Potassium - 1.010 PPM
Magnesium - 0.520 PPM
Manganese - 0.068 PPM
Molybdenum - 0.003 PPM
Sulfate - 1.1 PPM
Zinc - 0.014 PPM

I want to aim for 0.5 PPM Iron (FE), so that would mean I'd have to add ~5.3 grams to 480ml of water instead of 3.2 grams.
The thing I'm not sure about, though, is all the other compounds in here. I have no clue if any of these would become too high if I mix 5.3 grams with 480ml of water.

If that's fine, then my mix would be:
500 ML Bottle
480 ML Deionized water (To make the dosing a little more convenient)
5.3 grams - Tenso Cocktail
0.5 Grams - Ascorbic Acid (E300)
0.2 Grams - Potassium Sorbate (E202)

This would result in:
Borium - 0.070 PPM per week
Calcium - 0.340 PPM per week
Copper - 0.070 PPM per week
Iron - 0.506 PPM per week
Potassium - 5.060 PPM per week
Magnesium - 2.605 PPM per week
Manganese - 0.340 PPM per week
Molybdenum - 0.015 PPM per week
Sulfate - 5.511 PPM per week
Zinc - 0.350 PPM per week

I think that's all for now.
If there's any other information needed, please let me know!

Cheers
 

ian_m

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Eastleigh
1. Ignore your water report, almost everyone that deviates from EI dosing as thought they were "saving chemicals" by using their water report values, end up with issues. Usually magnesium deficiency. Just dose EI, any excess due to being present in your water doesn't matter.

2. Not sure why you are adding Ascorbic Acid and Potassium Sorbate into Macro. Macro won't grow mould as they are completely inorganic salts, so doesn't need any preservative. Potassium nitrate is used as a preservative for meats, so it will suppress and mould.

3. Why you adding Potassium Sulfate ?

4. Where is you magnesium (normally super cheap magnesium sulphate, Epsom Salts) coming from ? Deviating from EI dosing, by not dosing magnesium sulphate causes major plant issues.

5. Most commercial micro mixes already have preservative in, so no need to add Ascorbic Acid and Potassium Sorbate. I think CSM-B always did. Single element chelates normally do not contain preservatives.

6. Weighing ingredients is not necessary and is a complete faff and waste of time. Tea spoons is much better and easier and quicker. I got 6 long handled tea spoons for £2 and leave one on each ingredient bag. Per 500ml of cooled boiled water, 2 tea spoons of potassium nitrate, 1 of potassium phosphate and 6 of magnesium sulphate. Done. Easy peasy. Mix in a jug and pour into dosing bottles (or peristaltic dosing pump container) job done in minutes. Dose 10ml per 50l tank volume 3 times a week, easy & done. When plants take off, increase EI dose by using heaped tea spoon to the mix. Done.
 

Aetherial

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The Netherlands
1. Ignore your water report, almost everyone that deviates from EI dosing as thought they were "saving chemicals" by using their water report values, end up with issues. Usually magnesium deficiency. Just dose EI, any excess due to being present in your water doesn't matter.
My initial calculations in the post where done without taking the water report into consideration. I just posted it in case it would be useful.
2. Not sure why you are adding Ascorbic Acid and Potassium Sorbate into Macro. Macro won't grow mould as they are completely inorganic salts, so doesn't need any preservative. Potassium nitrate is used as a preservative for meats, so it will suppress and mould.
I guess I must have misread the information about that then. I'll forget about them.
3. Why you adding Potassium Sulfate ?
Without it, I ended up at ~15 PPM per week for the Potassium, rather than the recommended 30 PPM. Am I missing something here?
4. Where is you magnesium (normally super cheap magnesium sulphate, Epsom Salts) coming from ? Deviating from EI dosing, by not dosing magnesium sulphate causes major plant issues.
Good question. I've completely missed that. I'll add Magnesium Sulfate to the list!
5. Most commercial micro mixes already have preservative in, so no need to add Ascorbic Acid and Potassium Sorbate. I think CSM-B always did. Single element chelates normally do not contain preservatives.
I can't find find anything about whether or not this mix has preservatives in it. Here's a link to the store I'm ordering from (You might have to right click>translate to English, I don't see a language option on the site):
6. Weighing ingredients is not necessary and is a complete faff and waste of time. Tea spoons is much better and easier and quicker. I got 6 long handled tea spoons for £2 and leave one on each ingredient bag. Per 500ml of cooled boiled water, 2 tea spoons of potassium nitrate, 1 of potassium phosphate and 6 of magnesium sulphate. Done. Easy peasy. Mix in a jug and pour into dosing bottles (or peristaltic dosing pump container) job done in minutes. Dose 10ml per 50l tank volume 3 times a week, easy & done. When plants take off, increase EI dose by using heaped tea spoon to the mix. Done.
That sounds easy enough.
So, if I understand it correctly, I'd order:
Potassium Nitrate
Potassium Phosphate
Magnesium Sulfate
Tenso Cocktail

Mix 500 ml of water with 2 tea spoons of Potassium Nitrate, 1 tea spoon of Potassium Phosphate, 6 tea spoons of Magnesium Sulfate.
That would give me a Macro mix for 2 months if I dose 20ml on my 100l tank 3 times a week.

Then mix the Tenso Cocktail after I figure out the right amount and dose that on the other 3 days.

One thing I forgot to mention in the first post:
I currently do a 50% water change every 3 days (i.e. monday, friday, tuesday, saturday, etc.)
Do I just dose the same amount as usual after the water change?

Cheers
 

Zeus.

Fertz Calc Meister
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Yorkshire,UK
Macro mix (3x per week 40 ML):
500 ML Bottle
480 ML Deionized water (To make the dosing a little more convenient)
14 Grams - Potassium Nitrate (KNO3)
1.8 Grams - Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4)
15 Grams - Potassium Sulfate (K2SO4)
0.5 Grams - Ascorbic Acid (E300)
0.2 Grams - Potassium Sorbate (E202)

This would result in:
Nitrate (NO3): ~20 PPM per week
Potassium (K): ~30 PPM per week
Phosphate (PO4) ~3 PPM per wek
1615979703057.png

We dont have Tenso Cocktail on the IFC calculator- yet ;) (will post screenshot when I've added it)
 

Zeus.

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1 Oct 2016
Messages
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Location
Yorkshire,UK
I want to aim for 0.5 PPM Iron (FE), so that would mean I'd have to add ~5.3 grams to 480ml of water instead of 3.2 grams.
The thing I'm not sure about, though, is all the other compounds in here. I have no clue if any of these would become too high if I mix 5.3 grams with 480ml of water.

If that's fine, then my mix would be:
500 ML Bottle
480 ML Deionized water (To make the dosing a little more convenient)
5.3 grams - Tenso Cocktail
0.5 Grams - Ascorbic Acid (E300)
0.2 Grams - Potassium Sorbate (E202)

This would result in:
Borium - 0.070 PPM per week
Calcium - 0.340 PPM per week
Copper - 0.070 PPM per week
Iron - 0.506 PPM per week
Potassium - 5.060 PPM per week
Magnesium - 2.605 PPM per week
Manganese - 0.340 PPM per week
Molybdenum - 0.015 PPM per week
Sulfate - 5.511 PPM per week
Zinc - 0.350 PPM per week
so - added it to IFC calculator (not on release version)
1615984944239.png

1615985020994.png
1615985053275.png

1615985116215.png

Just check your Zn calculations as they dont match mine, but as @ian_m said - teaspoon of TENSO COCKTAIL in 500ml and ferts in abundance ;)
 

dw1305

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UKAPS Team
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Messages
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Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Iron - 0.506 PPM per week
Potassium - 5.060 PPM per week
Magnesium - 2.605 PPM per week
Manganese - 0.340 PPM per week
Molybdenum - 0.015 PPM per week
Sulfate - 5.511 PPM per week
Zinc - 0.350 PPM per week
Rather than using the TENSO cocktail as an iron (Fe) source, I'd use a separate iron chelate (FeEDTA should be OK), that means that you aren't adding a lot of excess zinc (Zn) etc.

cheers Darrel
 

Aetherial

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17 Feb 2021
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Location
The Netherlands
Appreciate it! @Zeus.
I used your calculator as well to get the results in the first post, so, glad to see I did it right!
I'll be using teaspoons instead of grams to mix everything, to keep it easy, as @ian_m suggested.

The only thing I'm still a little confused about is the Potassium Sulfate.
If I understand Ian's post correctly, I shouldn't need it, but without it, my Potassium only reaches ~15 PPM per week rather than the 30 PPM per week suggested in Clive's article.
However, I didn't see anything about Potassium Sulfate in that article either.

Hi all,

Rather than using the TENSO cocktail as an iron (Fe) source, I'd use a separate iron chelate (FeEDTA should be OK), that means that you aren't adding a lot of excess zinc (Zn) etc.

cheers Darrel
That makes sense! I'm guessing most of the other elements in the Tenso Cocktail aren't really beneficial then? Or maybe the excess of elements you don't want has a bigger impact than the benefits of the few you do want?
The only iron source on the site I'm ordering from is "Iron (Fe) 7% DTPA." Would that be okay to use? Or am I better off looking for another place here that sells FeEDTA?

Cheers!
 

dw1305

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Messages
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Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
The only iron source on the site I'm ordering from is "Iron (Fe) 7% DTPA." Would that be okay to use? Or am I better off looking for another place here that sells FeEDTA?
<"FeDTPA is fine">. It is actually a better chelator for harder water than FeEDTA.
I'm guessing most of the other elements in the Tenso Cocktail aren't really beneficial then?
It is just a matter of amounts, plants need all <"fourteen of the mineral nutrients"> but for most of the micro-elements the difference is between "some" and "none", that is why they are sometimes described as "trace elements", plants only need a trace of them.
Or maybe the excess of elements you don't want has a bigger impact than the benefits of the few you do want?
Yes that is it a lot of the micro-elements <"become toxic at higher levels"> (Zn, Cu etc). This is partially because plants are <"very effective at sequestering them"> from the environment and if they are suddenly freely available the plants accumulate them to toxic levels.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

Aetherial

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Thanks Darrel! That definitely clears up a lot.

Since "some" would be better than "none", would it be worth it to dose a quite diluted Tenso Cocktail solution in addition to a separate FeDTPA solution?
Or are the several micrograms of those elements present in my tap water already enough to be seen as "some"?

Cheers
 

ian_m

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I currently do a 50% water change every 3 days (i.e. monday, friday, tuesday, saturday, etc.)
Why so frequent water changes ? Most people 50% once a week is absolutely fine.

If keeping frequent water changes you will possibly need to increase your dose amounts to the 50% you will be throwing away in the 50% water change... :confused:
 

Aetherial

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Hi all,

That would be my recommendation. It covers you for all the elements and should mean that you don't leave the "Goldilocks zone."

cheers Darrel
Alright, perfect! I will definitely go that route then.
Thanks!

Why so frequent water changes ? Most people 50% once a week is absolutely fine.

If keeping frequent water changes you will possibly need to increase your dose amounts to the 50% you will be throwing away in the 50% water change... :confused:
Basically, when I just started up my first tank last summer, I watched a lot of videos on Youtube.
One of the videos was the workshop by Josh Sim on Green Aqua's channel, and he said the reason he never has any algae problems, etc., is because he does 3 big water changes a week.
3 was too much for me so I decided on 2, and have just stuck with it since then really.
I have absolutely no problem with going to 50% once a week though! They're the least fun aspect for me, so if 50% once a week is plenty, I'm all for it.
 

Andy Pierce

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50% water changes once a week is standard for EI dosing - no need for more but don't do less. Potassium sulphate is a good add-on if you want higher potassium (for whatever reason) without wanting more of either nitrate or phosphate counterions... here's a link to my current strategy in case you want to have a look: Estimative index | Fireplace aquarium. Note that a big selling-point component of EI dosing is the 'you don't have to worry about it' factor: EI dosing is designed to be forgiving so if you want a few more water changes that's fine, if you want to use teaspoons instead of weights that's fine, if you don't want to use boiled and then cooled water (really? people do this?) that's fine. It's not that useful to try to anticipate problems that may never actually arise so if you're all worried about how many decimal places of phosphate you're going to have, take some deep breaths and try to relax and enjoy. Give it a go and if your plants and critters are happy it's all good.
 

ian_m

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use boiled and then cooled water (really? people do this?
It is to reduce the hardness of tap water used for mixing EI macro. If you have soft tap water no need to bother, but quite a lot of people have had "issues" using straight out the tap hard water with EI macro and the phosphate precipitating out as possibly calcium and/or magnesium phosphate. No need to go to the effort of using RO/DI water. I have used boiled very very hard tap water with EI for years and never seen any precipitate forming in my macro container.
 

Aetherial

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50% water changes once a week is standard for EI dosing - no need for more but don't do less. Potassium sulphate is a good add-on if you want higher potassium (for whatever reason) without wanting more of either nitrate or phosphate counterions... here's a link to my current strategy in case you want to have a look: Estimative index | Fireplace aquarium. Note that a big selling-point component of EI dosing is the 'you don't have to worry about it' factor: EI dosing is designed to be forgiving so if you want a few more water changes that's fine, if you want to use teaspoons instead of weights that's fine, if you don't want to use boiled and then cooled water (really? people do this?) that's fine. It's not that useful to try to anticipate problems that may never actually arise so if you're all worried about how many decimal places of phosphate you're going to have, take some deep breaths and try to relax and enjoy. Give it a go and if your plants and critters are happy it's all good.
I'd definitely not do less than 50% a week, even if it wouldn't make a difference. I had a look at your strategy, it was a nice read! A little different than what I'm aiming for, but as I've learned, that's why it's estimative in the first place.
 

Aetherial

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Alright, I've just ordered everything I need!
Just to make sure I won't be mixing things that shouldn't be mixed, is the following correct?

Bottle 1 (macro):
KNO3
KH2PO4
K2SO4
MgSO4

Bottle 2 (micro):
Tenso Cocktail (just adding a little of it)
FeDTPA 7%
 

Zeus.

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I do add Potassium sorbate and Ascorbic Acid to Macro, Micro and AIO mixes to help prevent Mould in bottles/pipelines. Once it lands in tank the Potassium sorbate and Ascorbic Acid added to the fert solution will make little to no difference on the tanks water parameters IMO
 

Aetherial

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I do add Potassium sorbate and Ascorbic Acid to Macro, Micro and AIO mixes to help prevent Mould in bottles/pipelines. Once it lands in tank the Potassium sorbate and Ascorbic Acid added to the fert solution will make little to no difference on the tanks water parameters IMO
I ordered some of both as well. Even if it might not be needed as @ian_m said, I don't see any downsides to adding it just in case.

Also, I know I was told to ignore my water report, but one thing does stand out to me, and that's the Magnesium.
Compared to some other threads I've been reading through, mine seems to be very high.
Magnesium: 9.83 avg - 8.38 min - 11.0 max mg/l

The average of 9.83 is very close to the 10 PPM weekly target I'm aiming for.
One other factor that makes it a little more complicated is that we have a salt-based water softener, which I bypass for water changes.
However, when bypassed, it doesn't bypass it 100%. Rather, it becomes a bit of a mix of both.

Considering all this, I'm not sure how much MgSO4 I should add now.
I don't know how much Magnesium the water softener gets rid of when bypassed, if any.
If none gets removed and I'd add the ~42 grams of MgSO4, combined with the tap water, I'd end up at ~20 PPM per week.
 
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