TPN+ or EI?

zed

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I was about to order dry powder ferts, but then started to wonder what the advantage is (if any) over using TPN+.

I've read that TPN+ may be a little light on potassium phosphate.

I'm not sure now whether I should go down the basic EI (dry ferts) route or TPN+ supplemented by Potassium Phosphate.

The tank I'm setting up is my first 'hi-tech' planted tank and is 300litres.

Which should I go for, and why?

Thanks
 

Graeme Edwards

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Ive only every used the TPN range of firts, and have found no need to supplement plant growth with any other products such as PP. I have grown very demanding plants with high requirements with no problems. Save you cash and stick to one or the other. For me its liquid dosing, I like an easy life.

Cheers.
 

zed

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I hear what you're saying; an easy life with my tank is what I'd like too. Apart from ease of use, is there any other advantage of going down the TPN+ route?

I guess it would be more cost-effective using EI/dry ferts for a larger tank?

Thanks again
 

Graeme Edwards

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Theres no doubt EI is cheap, but using the Tropica range is relatively faultless, its so easy and it works 100%, no special calculations, or trying to figure out what might be causing your plants this and that problem.

If your relatively new to the hobby. I would go with the TPN. Work out the daily dosing and go from there. It will work for you im sure!
:)
 

zed

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You are making the TPN range sound very, very tempting! I'm sat here with another internet explorer page open on the aqua essentials website with the dry ferts added to my basket - should I remove them and add the TPN, or should I sleep on it and decide in the morning :?:

Decisions!

Would I just use the TPN+, or do I need to use other products with it?

Thanks.
 

scottturnbull

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I'm not sure how relevant this is with TPN, but one advantage liquid fertilisers have over dry salts is that some include vitamins and growth regulators, which can be difficult and expensive to mix yourself. ADA Green Gain has cytokinin, for instance, which costs about 60 pounds for 5 grams.
 

zed

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Thanks for the input Scott.

The more questions I ask and the more reading I do, the more I keep on changing my mind.

I think I need to just get this tank set up now, otherwise it'll never get set up ;)
 

howardish

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In my opinion id say dry ferts. Try to work out how long a bottle of TPN+ lasts, and then comparative amounts of dry ferts you could get for that money. Once the ferts are mixed in with water and you have the dosing plan written down it is literally as easy as 1, 2, 3.

I use them on my 300 litre, spent about £30 on the ferts to start with and i haven't even mixed up a 2nd mix yet, and im over a month down the line, iv still got almost a kilo worth of each one left.

As like i say once it is mixed up all you have to do is remember to add it to the tank each day, i just do this when i turn the lights on so i never forget, just part of the routine.

I couldn't recommend it enough.

Thanks, Howard
 

LondonDragon

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All depends on the size of your tank and your wallet haha
If you have a tank 100 liters of less then using TPN+ and Easycarbo is not going to break the bank that much, but dry salts are much cheaper in comparisson. If you have a large tank then TPN+ could be expensive but if you have a large wallet then no problem :p or if you are lucky enough like George and get most of your stuff free :p
I purchased 500g of each dry salt two years ago for my Rio 125 I still have plenty left lol
 

zed

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Okay, I'm going to give the dry ferts a try. The cost isn't really the issue, more the effectiveness of the method. I kinda like the DIY aspect of EI and dry ferts, and can get my nephew (11) involved who is keen on chemstry at school. That will keep him from pulling my PC to bits when he gets bored :D

Thanks for the suggestions guys.

p.s. Paulo, I was reading your journal today at work, when I should have been working. What a tank!! Beautiful tank and pics. I've been thinking about getting a digital SLR and your journal pics have pursuaded me to buy one!

viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1152
 

ceg4048

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scottturnbull said:
I'm not sure how relevant this is with TPN, but one advantage liquid fertilisers have over dry salts is that some include vitamins and growth regulators, which can be difficult and expensive to mix yourself. ADA Green Gain has cytokinin, for instance, which costs about 60 pounds for 5 grams.
Yeah, unfortunately, the addition of which has absolutely zero benefit to plants as they are pretty efficient at fabricating their own hormones from the basic amino acids as long as they get fed the proper levels of NO3 - which is about 5 million times cheaper. :wideyed:

Another classic misconception which should also be clarified is that EI is a concept. It is not a product. EI is accomplished with any product that provides NPK and Trace elements. So one can execute EI with TPN+ or Seachem liquids or with any product that provides nutritional value, including ADA liquids. The reason EI is most closely associated with dry powders is primarily due to cost.

As Graeme points out, an all-in-one product such as TPN+ is very easy to use as no pre-mixing is necessary, however, this ease should not be associated with guaranteed success. There are plenty of people using TPN+ who fail miserably and that is because you still have to figure out how much dosage to use for your particular tank. If you have high lighting and low tap water nutrient levels (or are using RO) you will have to make an adjustment. Dosing per bottle recommendations may not yield the correct dosage level. So TPN+ may not necessarily be dosing nirvana.

As discussed in the EI dosing article commercial liquids are several orders of magnitude more expensive than dry powders so that is something to consider if you're on a budget or are a cheapskate like myself. A densely planted highly lit 300L tank can consume a lot of nutrients and so the larger the tank the more the economic advantage of dry powders.

Again, there are plenty of things that can go wrong in the tank that are only indirectly related to the dosing method so pick a method/product, stick with it for awhile and perhaps try a different method after you get a handle on it to see if the cost/benefit suits you. Choosing between commercial vs dry ferts does not have to be a horse race winner/loser scenario. Either can be used to success or failure.

Cheers,
 

Mark Evans

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ceg4048 said:
Dosing per bottle recommendations may not yield the correct dosage level. So TPN+ may not necessarily be dosing nirvana.

very true. im actualy thinking about swaping to dry powders because of this very reason. it appearss my tanks require high dosage of tpn+ and its becoming expensive
 

George Farmer

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TPN+ works well for me. My nutrient-rich tap water helps out a lot.

I'm lucky as I get to test out Tropica's products, so I get it complimentary. If I had to pay for it, I'd likely use dry ferts in larger aquaria, due to running costs. I suspect most folk with large tanks would do the same. All-in-one solutions are easy to make up so dosing becomes just as simple, once the initial calculations and mixing is done. If maths and chemistry aren't your bag then members here are happy to help.

FYI I'm also using the Easy LIfe range now which is working out nicely, but is more complex with 5 seperate bottles.
 

Tom

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Next time I buy ferts again, I'll get ADA (powder instead of Brighty K). I know they're expensive, but I have never had good results like when I used those (and I know that's partly me not understanding the other ferts right yet). But anyway, it is so simple as well, I just had a squirt of each and it was all good.

I've never worked out TPN+ really. Can't seem to get the concentrations right. Same goes for powders.

Tom
 

Graeme Edwards

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Interesting debate.

I guess Ive been lucky. After winning the PFK aquascaping competition last year and only running smaller tanks, Ive been very happy with TPN range. Maybe if I had to run the costs of a 500lt+ tank, then I might think again.
Theres no doubts that both methods or applications work. But the choice is down to many factors.
If Im honest, I would point a new person to the hobby in the direction of TPN or a like. Purely to help them reach success and thus keeping the interest and enthusiasm in the hobby.There will be very few beginners who will be able to get their head around dry fert calculations and correct dosing, let alone Co2 levels etc. ( Im talking pure nube, which I have a lot of dealings with in my job, these people need to have it work for them, we want to keep people like this in the hobby, and in turn have a bigger impact for the rest of us. )

Like Clive has said, EI is a method not a product, and if im right, nearly all off the shelf plant fertilisers work on the EI method of fertilisation. So for some its a ballance of cost, others it is the problematic complication of calculations or its that, that interests them.

Like the art its self, its subjective :D
 

LondonDragon

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zed said:
p.s. Paulo, I was reading your journal today at work, when I should have been working. What a tank!! Beautiful tank and pics. I've been thinking about getting a digital SLR and your journal pics have pursuaded me to buy one!
Thanks for the comments regarding my tank, its been a long learning journey so far and I hardly taken off yet hehe
A digital DSLR does help a great deal, specially if you have a macro lens too, can be expensive so if I was going to buy a new kit now I would go for Canon or Nikon as you can pick up cheap lenses secondhand specially on ebay.
If you ask which is better Canon or Nikon you will have a battle for weeks from both sets of fans, so go into a shop try them in your hand and pick the one that feels best for you, they are equally great cameras.
I have a Konica-Minolta which as taken over by Sony and I always have a hard time finding decent secondhand lenses and even then they are expensive as a lot of people are after them ;)
 

Amoeba

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TPN and dry KNO3, KHPO4 and K2CO3 is in my opinion a good ballance between cost, flexibility and easyness.
You can keep dosing EI amounts of the fairly cheap salts, and just enough TPN to keep the plants growing well.
Defficiences of micro do not have as rapid impact on plants as defficiences of macro.
Also having the salts may help you fight some algaes (e.g. hair algae) where you keep dosing fairly high amonts of NPK, but stop micto for a while.
 

zed

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ceg4048 said:
Another classic misconception which should also be clarified is that EI is a concept. It is not a product. EI is accomplished with any product that provides NPK and Trace elements. So one can execute EI with TPN+ or Seachem liquids or with any product that provides nutritional value, including ADA liquids. The reason EI is most closely associated with dry powders is primarily due to cost.....

Cheers,
Clive, thanks for the clarification; the title should therefore have read "EI via TPN+ or dry ferts?"




LondonDragon said:
zed said:
p.s. Paulo, I was reading your journal today at work, when I should have been working. What a tank!! Beautiful tank and pics. I've been thinking about getting a digital SLR and your journal pics have pursuaded me to buy one!
Thanks for the comments regarding my tank, its been a long learning journey so far and I hardly taken off yet hehe
A digital DSLR does help a great deal, specially if you have a macro lens too, can be expensive so if I was going to buy a new kit now I would go for Canon or Nikon as you can pick up cheap lenses secondhand specially on ebay.
If you ask which is better Canon or Nikon you will have a battle for weeks from both sets of fans, so go into a shop try them in your hand and pick the one that feels best for you, they are equally great cameras.
I have a Konica-Minolta which as taken over by Sony and I always have a hard time finding decent secondhand lenses and even then they are expensive as a lot of people are after them ;)
Paulo, thanks for the heads-up on the Digital SLR market, some very useful info there ;)
 
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