Switching from Liquid ferts to Dry...

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by ulster exile, 19 Feb 2008.

  1. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    353
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    ...is there a right way to do this, or is it just a case of doing it?

    My tank is about 200l, I have just over 2WPG lighting (on 11 hours a day), inject CO2 using a FE and using a drop checker believe I have it stable (the DC is green). Substrate is plain gravel. Plants are mainly cryptocoryne wendtii, h. corymbosa, h. salicifolia (I think) and sagittaria subulata.

    I currently use Seachem's full range of liquid ferts (along with JBL The 7 balls in the gravel) and am dosing twice weekly. Since I changed all the light tubes a few weeks ago the plants have been pearling consistently (although the crypts are pearling more than the hygro's which, given the speed of growth I expect from the hygro's, I find odd).

    Water change is an approx 50% change once weekly.

    Q1. I would like to switch to EI using dry ferts, but I'm not sure if there is a right way or a wrong way to do this?

    Q.2 Also, I keep expecting to hear a squeek as I walk, but I'm wondering if I can incorporate my remaining liquid ferts into this since I'm running out of some, but not others.

    Q3. I vaguely remember reading a comment of Tom barr's somewhere that one of the keys to success if finding a routine that suits you and sticking to it. Well, I'm a lazy cow. Honestly. I don't want to daily dose - I just don't think it will happen (hence the reason for dosing my liquids twice weekly) Can I adjust the dosing likewise? Similarly, would it be practicable to say halve the doses and do a 50% change twice fortnightly, or do I need a swift kick up the behind for just suggesting it?

    Sorry for all the Q's!
     
  2. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    I wouldn't think there is a particular way of doing it, the ferts in both should ultimately be the same thing so if it were me I'd just swap them straight over.

    Guess to be on the safe side you could do it gradually over a couple of week?

    Sam
     
  3. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    353
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Well as you indicated, I haven't come across any guidance on how to do a switchover, so presume there isn't a definitive method. What concerns me, if I mix and match dry and liquid, is how do I compare the both (apples and oranges :lol: ) I'm sure I must be missing something about this :oops:
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Chrisi,
    Here is the "reference" way to do it for a 200L:

    3X per week 5/8 teaspoon KNO3
    3X per week 1/8 teaspoon KH2PO4
    2X per week (on alternate days) 1/4 teaspoon CSM+B or 11ml TPN

    This does mean though that you are dosing something at least 5 out of 7 days a week. :arghh:

    Without knowing exactly what the equivalent contents are in the bottles, it's hard to determine how to incorporate. Traces in a bottle are easy to incorporate of course because you'd just dose the Bottle Traces in lieu of the CSM+B. I don't see any reason why you can seamlessly do the same for the other ferts until each bottle is empty. I never have used the Seachem range so I don't know exactly which products are what and what is in each bottle.

    I hesitate to give you a swift kick because it may be a reasonable proposal. After all, the EI dosing scheme was developed on the basis of max lighting (I believe it was over 5WPG T5) and therefore max nutrient uptake. EI is not nearly as rigid as so many make it out to be. If the uptake rate of your tank is much lower than max then there is no real reason to dose max. The problem is that we have no idea of what the actual uptake rate is in anyone's tank. For example, the idea is to maintain a weekly target NO3 concentration of 20ppm because the tank probably won't consume 20ppm per week. It could be that your tank only consumes 8-9ppm per week so that dosing 10ppm per week does the trick. But how do you know what you tank's consumption is? By using a test kit? I don't think so. What happens if you are consuming 11 ppm per week, then you are running a deficit. There a re so many variables. Suppose you have enriched substrate? Suppose your tap water is high in nitrate? Then an 11ppm consumption rate is not that critical and therefore not a big deal.

    I'd say it's worth a try but that you would have to transition gradually and look for signs of deficiency. You may arrive at a point where you only dose twice weekly but that each dose actually has to be slightly higher than half in order to tide the tank over to the next dose. Another added complication is that you can't dose CSM+B until with a few hours of KH2PO4 otherwise the POr and Fe combine to form an insoluble precipitate. You might get around that by using TPN, combined with KNO3 and KH2PO4 and dose the following 2X per week:

    7/8 teaspoon KNO3
    1/4 teaspoon KH2PO4
    17ml TPN

    All I did here was to combine 1 weeks worth of dosing and divide the total weekly teaspoons by 2 (more or less.)

    This seems theoretically feasible. My only objection would be going more than a week without a water change but, um.. isn't twice fortnightly the same as weekly? I'm confused on this.:oops:

    Cheers,
     
  5. milla

    milla Member

    Messages:
    241
    Location:
    Leeds
    Unless your liquid ferts have NPK added like TPN+ you can use the liquids instead of the trace mix till you run out alongside the NPK powders.
     
  6. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    353
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    First of all thanks for the responses (not forgetting yours Sam as I forgot to say Ta). I'm glad you picked up on my deliberate mistake ( ;) ) - I meant once fortnightly when I wrote that.

    Ok, to clarify for anybody who doesn't use Seachem - I have bottles everywhere... on top of those for Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosporous, I also have Excel, Flourish, Trace and Iron. As for figuring out the equivalent dosage in the bottles, well I am happy to follow a guide, but I am not confident enough to go further than that at the moment.

    You make an interesting point about how EI was derived - I didn't realise it would have been on max uptake and as you rightly suggest, I doubt my tank's conditions would constitute that. But if I understand you correctly, this gives me the flexibility to adjust the dosing in terms of how I do it as long as I am careful. If I am honest, I had felt that I maybe needed to adjust even the frequency of my liquid dosing as although I hadn't noticed a deficiency per se, I had noticed that the pearling trailed off before I was due my next dosing.

    I am also liking the suggestion of dosing my macros from dry and using liquid for traces ;)
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    OK, all is back to normal in the space time continuum. Whew, what a relief :D :D


    Exactly Chrisi. That's the whole concept of EI, to dose just a little bit more that your plants will ever consume. Since no ones tank is exactly like another we have to "estimate" how much we need to dose. If we estimate on the high side all is good. If we are off on the low side we get algae so it's always better to err on the high side.


    Well, I'm of the opinion that using pearling as a barometer is dangerous since there are so many factors affecting pearling, such as temperature for example. Chief among these factors is CO2 concentration. However, if you do see this pattern consistently, and if all other things are equal then, yes, it might be an indication that either frequency or quantity needs adjusting

    It'll be a LOT cheaper... :D

    Why not just start using the powders and keep the bottles as backup? CSM+B complicates life because of it's reaction with the PO4 powder so I'm migrating away from it towards TPN (which also has magnesium) even though the powder is cheaper. I also don't understand why one would need to buy Seachem Traces, which is mostly Iron, and then also have to use Seachem Iron. What's up with that?:wideyed:

    Cheers,
     
  8. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    353
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    That hadn't occurred to me, so will have to be a little bit less hasty when I decide to make adjustments.

    I think I might just do that :)

    I didn't get that either but, lemming-like, I followed the instructions I was given.

    Thanks for the advice again!
     
  9. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    353
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Ok, so I'm going to order this stuff, however, following a recommendation on this site, I checked out GardenDirect's prices but I'm a little unsure on the stuff they're offering. I have listed the Aquaessential's order along with the Garden Direct order for comparison purposes (note the double quantities on the GD list for roughly the same price).

    Would somebody mind checking out my proposed Garden Direct order to ensure I'm not ording something unusable in my tank (sorry, but all these symbols and chemical names confuse/scare me :oops: )

    Aquaessentials
    Potassium Nitrate (250g) - £4.99

    Mono Potassium Phosphate (250g) £4.99

    Trace elements Mix (250g) - £9.99

    Postage = £3.95
    Total = £23.92

    Garden Direct
    Potassium Nitrate (500g) - £5.25
    Nitrogen (N) 13% Potassium Oxide (K2O) Soluble in water 46% (K38.2%)

    Potassium Phosphate (500g) - £4.25
    Phosphorus Pentoxide (P2O5) 52% (P 22.7%) Soluble in water Potassium Oxide (K2O) 34% (k28.2%)

    Chelated Trace Elements Mix(500g) - £10.50
    Contains Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper plus unchelated Boron and Molybdenum
    Iron 3.35% Copper 1.7% Manganese 1.7% Boron 0.88% Zinc 0.88% Molybdenum 0.023%

    Postage = £4.95
    Total = £24.95
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Looks all good to me. The GD price is almost exactly half. That's where I'm gonna buy my powders from now on! Thanks for that. You may still have to find magnesium sulfate (MgSO4). Does you local Boots sell Epsom Salts?

    Cheers,
     
  11. Martin

    Martin Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    North Wales
    Nice bit of research and a very healthy saving there for us tight-wads!
     
  12. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    353
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Thanks for replying again Ceg - glad to see I hadn't missed anything particularly obvious.

    My local Boots is huuuuuge, so I'd imagine it would stock Epsom salts. I wasn't sure that I had needed to dose MgS04. My local water report says that a typical MgS04 content of the water for my area would be 1.72 per part Billion. I'm not sure what the recommended level would be for MgS04, but I imagine that this is pretty low. They also list the water as "moderately soft" too so i guess some of this GH booster may be in order (will have to check my GH again as can't remember the reading last time I looked!)

    I'll have to have another gander at that Nutricalc programme that Dan sent me the link to ages ago - i admit to not fully understanding it at the time so didn't go any further with it other than installing it!
     
  13. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    353
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Cheers Martin - figured it might help another n00b at some point!
     
  14. karl1987

    karl1987 Member

    Messages:
    39
    Ive just recently switched to dry ferts aswell just recieved them in the post today gonna mix them with water later. I was lazy though I bought mine ready mixed from Ebay, heres the link if your interested its buy 1 get 1 free at the minute - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Professional-plan ... 286.c0.m14
     
  15. JamesM

    JamesM Member

    Messages:
    1,913
    Location:
    The BIG End, South Wales
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    It's better to get the chelated trace mix. http://www.gardendirect.co.uk/chelated- ... -mix-p-887
    Ingredients are listed there. It does not contain magnesium (Mg) so depending on your water supply you may need to dose MgSO4, commonly known as Epsom Salts.

    Cheers,
     
  17. JamesM

    JamesM Member

    Messages:
    1,913
    Location:
    The BIG End, South Wales
    Cheers Clive!
     
  18. Superman

    Superman Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Really good topic, I'll hopefully be moving to dry ferts once my life is sorted out a bit more.
     

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