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Switched to EI - What went wrong

Waqar

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Hi all,

I have a 54litres tank with a 15w T8 bulb and Fluval stratum substrate. I use tap water, which is quite hard in my area.

In the beginning, I was only dosing 1 daily drop of JBL Ferropol 24, and had good plant growth for Java fern, hygros, crypts and anubias. I did not dose any macros.

Then I switched to the EI method, and started dosing KNO3 and KH2O4 for macros, and Seachem equilibrium for micros. The new routine failed. Most of my plants got stunted but my Java fern died completely.

Can anyone advice what about the new change might have created this problem?
 

rebel

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Any photos to show before and after pics?

As a rule of thumb, if an approach is working, I wouldn't try to change it up too much.

Without co2, EI methods are not really required. EI will of colourise work but you'd need to be very careful of water changes and perhaps even starting at 1/5 of recommended dosing.

Without co2 injection, EI should really be reserved for experienced aquarists.
 

Waqar

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Hi rebel,

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos. I started with dosing EI only once a week, based on the fact that my setup was low tech. I also started adding liquid co2.

Still, it is hard to understand what went wrong. Could it me that the chemicals are reacting in some way? Should I go back to the old regime of no macro dosing, and only dose daily ferropol 24?
 
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rebel

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Did you say liquid co2? That can cause plants to melt. Can you elaborate on details?
 

darren636

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1/4 ei is probably more than enough,
Try to split the dosage into daily additions.
 

EnderUK

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As per Tom’s recommendations, dose the following once a week or once in two weeks for a 20 gallon tank. If you have a different sized tank, calculate the required fert dose accordingly.

  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Seachem Equilibrium (for traces and Calcium + Magnesium). (1.42 ppm Ca, 0.42 ppm Mg, 3.43 ppm K and 0.02 ppm Fe)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate) (5.27 ppm NO3 and 3.32 ppm K)
  • 1/32 Teaspoon of KH2PO4 (Potassium Mono Phosphate) (1.61 ppm PO4 and 0.66 ppm K)
 

Waqar

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Did you say liquid co2? That can cause plants to melt. Can you elaborate on details?

Hi Rebel - I have Fluval stratum for substrate. My water is quite hard, and ph levels are about 7.8.

At first, I was only dosing Feropol 24, with no macro dosing and no liquid Co2, and the plants were doing fine. .

Then I switched to adding 2/3rd dosage (because I have 15g) of the following routine:

  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Seachem Equilibrium (for traces and Calcium + Magnesium). (1.42 ppm Ca, 0.42 ppm Mg, 3.43 ppm K and 0.02 ppm Fe)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate) (5.27 ppm NO3 and 3.32 ppm K)
  • 1/32 Teaspoon of KH2PO4 (Potassium Mono Phosphate) (1.61 ppm PO4 and 0.66 ppm K)
The plants did not like the new routine. The hygros and crypts got stunted, while the java fern leaves turned yellow and died. I then went to a LFS (maidenhead aquatics), and a salesman told me this could be due to lack of Co2. He have me liquid Co2, which I now add daily, but things are still quite bad.

So right now, I am stuck and perplexed on what to do next.
 

ian_m

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Your Fe & other salts in Equlibrium are reacting with phosphate.

Please dose EI with macro & micro and alternate days, rather than inventing some form of fertilisation that is clearly not working.
 

EnderUK

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The plants did not like the new routine. The hygros and crypts got stunted, while the java fern leaves turned yellow and died. I then went to a LFS (maidenhead aquatics), and a salesman told me this could be due to lack of Co2. He have me liquid Co2, which I now add daily, but things are still quite bad.

So right now, I am stuck and perplexed on what to do next.

Great way to sell you something, next he'll sell you a whole CO2 kit. The liquid CO2 won't do any harm but if you want to use it then welcome to a high tech tank. You will now have to up your Dosage a little. I would start with the following.

A 20 gallon tank using excel should get:
1/8 teaspoon of KNO3, 1-2x a week
1/16 teaspoon of KH2PO4, 1-2x a week
2mls of Seachem Flourish, 2x a week (Traces)
SeaChem Equilibrium 1/8th once a week (Immediately after weekly water change)
50% weekly water change
Dose 1-1.5x the recommended dose for Excel (1 ml for every 10 gallons on a daily basis and 5ml for every 10 gallon after 40% or more water changes) (liquid Carbon).

Your Fe & other salts in Equlibrium are reacting with phosphate.

Please dose EI with macro & micro and alternate days, rather than inventing some form of fertilisation that is clearly not working.

Ian, don't think he's invented the low tech EI routine, think that might of been Tom Barr ;) The amount of Iron and KH2PO4 you dose in a low tech tank is almost pointless. I throw them both in at the same time in my low tech, no issues.
 

rebel

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Did the plants ever grow? One has to consider the extreme tap water conditions?
 

Waqar

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Ian, don't think he's invented the low tech EI routine, think that might of been Tom Barr ;) .

EnderUK - That is correct. I got those dosage from Tom Barr. I even increased them after introducing liquid Co2. However, as Ian suggested I think the culprit might be FE reacting with the phosphates.

I just read at http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/traces.htm, that at hard water, unchelated iron reacts with phosphates to create unusable FE (III). So, assuming this is the problem what should I do? I already dose the seachem a day after dosing the macros.

Did the plants ever grow? One has to consider the extreme tap water conditions?

They did not.
 

flygja

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According to Seachem's website, Equilibrium doesn't contain chelated iron, so it might react with phosphates. Better to dose the micros on separate days then. You can actually easily test this, though I've only read it but never actually tried it. Put some KH2PO4 and some Equilibrium in some preferable RO water and wait. If the water turns brown or you see solids forming, then the iron is reacting with the phosphates.
 

rebel

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While I don't doubt that some precipitation could occur with iron and phosphate etc, I don't think that's the ops problem. His plants were growing fine before he started dosing ? .
 

dw1305

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Waqar

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While I don't doubt that some precipitation could occur with iron and phosphate etc, I don't think that's the ops problem. His plants were growing fine before he started dosing ? .

Hi rebel - then what do you think is the problem? Many people are using this method succesfully, but it is not working for me.


Hi all,That is true. You can add iron in a chelated form, <"FeEDTA"> is the cheapest option.

If you have really hard water you could use one of the <"alternative chelators"> designed for harder water.

cheers Darrel

If I stop dosing Seachem, and replace it with chelated iron, won't I need to separately dose other micronutrients?
 
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rebel

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Hi Waqar, not sure what's going on. Can you so a big reset, 80% daily water changes for one week and go back to your old routine. It would be interesting to see that the plants recover when this occurs.

Next step is to make sure that your EI powders are genuine. Not something like sodium chloride.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
If I stop dosing Seachem, and replace it with chelated iron, won't I need to separately dose other micronutrients?
You can still dose the Seachem Equilibrium, but it isn't a complete micronutrient solution, it is only supplying iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn).

It is unlikely, but your plants could be suffering from a lack of zinc (Zn), cobalt (Co), Boron (B) etc.

I would buy a micro-element mix like <"this one"> from a sponsor (other sponsors are available).

cheers Darrel
 

Waqar

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Hi Waqar, not sure what's going on. Can you so a big reset, 80% daily water changes for one week and go back to your old routine. It would be interesting to see that the plants recover when this occurs.

Next step is to make sure that your EI powders are genuine. Not something like sodium chloride.

The old routine involved adding a daily drop of JBL Ferropol 24, which adds micro traces. I never did any macro dosing. But I might just go back to it.

I think the poweders are genuine. I got them from the nutrient company, a reputable online shop.
 
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