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EI or PMDD

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Discussion Starter #1
I am contemplating/learning the different fert regimes/approaches and I am curious what the folks involved in DFWAPC use. Any specifics you could give would be greatly appreciated IE: tank size, % water changes and frequency, tap or RO, watts per/G, duration of lighting. I realize approaches vary but I would appreciate learning what each of you do.

Kim
 

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EI will keep your plants growing like crazy, but dare to neglect the tank for a few weeks. You will learn that the tank is actually not stable at all. But it grows amazing plants.

PPS is a blanket approach and it works very well in already established tanks.

When I have a planted tank (I don't remember when was the last real one I had, haha) I basically gradually, over the course of several weeks, add more and more fertilizers. I start with very small doses and increase them to a point that I deterimine by observing the plants. That way I always have a feel exactly what to adjust if you need. If you have the patience and stay consistent increasing the dosages you end up with an extremely stable tank. You you can leave the tank with no maintenance whatsoever for weeks on end and nothing will go bad. I can let the water evaporate 30% and still have no algae, that is what consider "neglect".

The fertilizers are added in the order described below. The first dose of any fertilizer is just a pinch. Every dose is added during a water change. Water changes and dosing are done about every 4-th day. Every consecutive dose is the same as the previous + about 30% more. You watch the plants and when they start to grow well you level off the dosages - that's the "maintenance dose" that you keep adding forever.

Week 1, 2, 3 - K only
Week 4,5 - K, Mg, Ca
Week 6, 7 - K, Mg, Ca, N
Week 6, 7 - K, Mg, Ca, N, P
Week 8 and up - K, Mg, Ca, N, P, Fe/Traces

Of course one needs to use common sense. Obviously Fe/Traces are added in amounts much smaller than say N or Mg/Ca. Also the order of adding ferts is not written in stone - if the plant leaves are yellow in Week 3 then maybe they need Fe/Traces. If that doesn't help then obviously N and P are the next to add. Also - if you know for sure your tap water has tons of Ca then of course you don't need to add it. And so on.

In the first 4 to 6 months every planted tank is still in the process of establishing itself. That means that it may look amazingly healhty, but if you let it be without care it will develop issues. After these first 4-6 months the tank becomes extremely stable. It's hard to mess it up.

It all takes patience and if you have it you are going to run the tank, not let the tank running you.

--Nikolay
 

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I do EI in all my tanks 15g and up. Anything below that I've gone back to PMDD as it's hard keep a tank that small stable even without microscopic measurements.

I used PMDD for a long time and the switch to EI was dramatic. I had some crypts that were always curled... which apparently was due to a nutrient deficiency. And I can grow baby tears for the first time ever!

Regardless of which you go with, be sure to find out your water hardness and boost it to at least 4. General Hardness contains Calcium and Magnesium which are as important to plant growth as the things we add with fertilizer.
 

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I voted EI. I have 3 pressurized CO2 tanks I use EI and do 50% or more water changes every week. I do have the luxury of having all tanks in one room and have a sink and python water changer system.

I have 7 other planted tanks. 3 of them I dose rarely by looking at the plants and maybe a monthly 20% water change. The other 4 tanks I use Excel and a modified EI and do 40% water changes once every 2 weeks.
 

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I use something in between - something more closer to EI, but measure-before-add. My tank's too big to flush once a week.

I maintain NO3 (w/KNO3) in the 5-15 ppm range. I'll measure a couple times a week and when it gets to 5ppm, I'll throw in 10PPM of KNO3, same sized spoon of K2SO4, and 1ppm of PO4.

Traces get put in 1-2 time a week.

It's working well - Tonight, I'm going to harvest a garbage-can full of various rotalas, dwarf swords, vals, etc...

- Jeff
 

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Seriously, I just do what Mike tells me to do!!!!!
And Thank You all for your help on this subject.
So EI it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the input! I placed an order at GLA for their fert package micros & macros plus MgSO4 (I realize i could get epsom salts at the pharm but I figured why not). Orlando is incredibly nice and fast just like everyone said.

I have Seachem on hand in the interim (already had it - so don't rag on me). I love the results I'm seeing in your tanks with EI but I must admit I'm tending toward the stability of PPS-Pro. I forsee weeks where staying on a schedule of weekly 50% water change could be difficulty. Also, coming from a family of water conservators (engineers, biologists, geologists) living in drought ridden Texas.

Has anyone every jumpstarted a tank with EI and then transitioned to PPS or other?

Kim

I'm going to try to start a tank journal in the next few days.:rolleyes:
 

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PMDD 'cause I got 1 lb of premixed yesterday from Aquarium fertilizer. With a 3 yrs old daughter and 10 months old twin boys I am surprised I can still keep my fish and plants alive :) All I had to do is add water, and that's about the amount of free time I have on hand.

Oops, didn't realize this is Dallas club. Sorry about that, saw the link in the main page. In my mind I guess I am still a Texan, moved from Plano very recently.
 

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I voted "Other", but I guess I'm EI based.

I've used the fertilator to help with preparation of 2 solutions made from RO/DI and dry ferts.
This way, I just add the same fixed amount of each solution (about 5mL) to my 46g tank every morning. By the end of the week, I've added about half of what is generally called for by the EI regimen. I do my water changes every other week.

I use these same solutions on my 5g tanks, but only ~1/10th as much.

This way, I don't have to measure several dry things after trying to remember what day it is (difficult before sunrise).
 

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I use PPS pro. They work really great on my tank with discus. Plants growing great but not fast like the EI dosing...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks to everyone for all their posts. I received my ferts from GLA and will be picking up a scale at Harbor Freight then mixing pps-pro solutions in Hydrogen peroxide bottles (thanks supersmirky). I am still tempted by the fast growth of EI but will have to try that with another tank or other time. Yes another tank is on the horizon as the forum has fed my MTS but who knew it would happen so fast.

So on a new PT when did you start your fert regime? How did you know when? I have read alot and it seems that on average it is 2-3 months before serious dosing happens.

Kim
 
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