I think this is exactly how anybody should start the hobby. I know I didn't started that way, but I learned the most of the period I did this. I tried ADA style, EI, RR and I can show you my log, with daily measurements of all 3 methods. I knew exactly what my tank was using daily with each method (except for the amount I brought in by fish food, but this was constant as well). I'm setting up my new tank and will be doing this the first 3-4 months again (maybe not daily because I've learned to read my tanks a bit but you get the picture).The only way to know EXACTLY how much nutrients you need to add (using the Redfield ratio as a basis or starting point) is the measure your nutrient uptake and adjust accordingly. That's (IMHO) the best way to fertilize your tank, but of course you can't write that up in a neat sticky and have a complete newbie understand that. Only by observing your plants and measuring your nutrient levels and adjusting accordingly can you have a world class tank - dutch style or otherwise.
The problem i have with EI is specifically the fact that it uses dry ferts. I don't like adding dry ferts to my tank because they don't dissolve right away and i don't like the fact that they can then sink into the tank and (possibly) not dissolve. This makes me wonder if you don't have distribution issues (and we all know how important good water circulation is).Jeffy, what is the problem with adding dry ferts to the tank?
Salts that are dissolved are, in fact, different than salts that are not dissolved because the dissolved salts are no longer in the salt matrix (or lattice) but now surrounded by layers of water molecules in spheres of hydration. Ions are not living; hence, they are not tired. Personally, i doubt that the exact matrix matters to the plants (since the exact intramolecular structure of the ions is probably changing as it is absorbed by the plants).In the process of solubilization the ions seem to somehow act a little different than old, worn out, tired ions of the same kind. In a way that is very beneficial to the.plants.
A few comments. First of all, the solubilization of dolomitic rock is different than that of the other fertilizers in EI for the simple fact that domomitic rock is primarily Ca & Mg (i think) and EI is everything but. We really need to be sure we're talking about the same elements and not talking about nutrient deficiencies.Try putting some Dolomitic rocks in the tank and crank up the CO2. See what many plants do in the resulting opalescent broth. Then clear up the water and start adding Mg and Ca solutions in any ratio you like. Plant will not do what they did in the opalescent mess. That could be a result of the rocks' composition I had, but I could replicate similar insane growth only with stems, super clear water, and tons of light and ferts added daily.