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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read and read. I can buy dry ferts from Tom Barr no problem. The 55 & 60 have 80% water changes a week, the 20 & 4 30%. I just need someone or one's to help me with a schedule until I know what what I am doing. Chemist I am not. Plants of yes 2 greenhouses full. I just don't want a mess on my hands with algae & poor water quality. I can add DIY co2 to tanks. I pride myself in excellent water quality that is the most important factor in keeping a healthy tank.

I really would appreciate any help.
Thank You Karen

All of these tanks have 2 filters, so water quality is near perfect.
55G & 60 Cube Container plant & Anubius 130W CF
20G Planted 96W CF No Algae use Flourish Excel I feel like this tank need more nutrients even thought everything is very healthy.
4G Nano just started DIY CO2 18W CF
 

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I just switched to EI after using PMDD for a long time. When I first setup my tanks they had high levels of natural phosphates, but as they matured the plants began to consume all available phosphates. In only a couple weeks, EI has already shown a huge difference in one tank, and progress in the others.

There are likely other factors. I use RO water and haven't been dosing GH/KH boosters with any consistency. I would add baking soda when CO2 seemed low because it would increase the pH and cause my CO2 system to come on. So I'm trying to be more consistent with that and aim for 4 degrees on both scales.

The tank in the photo is also a grow-out tank for a school of discus fry so I do near-daily 50% water changes and as a result dose GH booster, baking soda, and all the fertilizers immediately following.

My theory for why it's doing so much better is because of the Potassium Sulfate in the GH booster. While Barr states that therer should be plenty of Potassium in the Potassium Nitrate for most tanks, tanks with high bio/fish loads will require more. Others report an increase in growth after adding additional potassium. An article I read made the interesting point that when one nutrient limitation is solved by adding more, a different nutrient becomes the limiting factor. I assume there is a point where all levels exceed what is necessary but remain in balance with one another, which is the goal of EI. So I'm going to switch to dosing Potassium Sulfate as part of my EI routine and dose Magnesium and Calcium with water changes. I'm going to use Calcium Chloride instead of Calcium Sulfate as it's supposed to dissolve easier. Calcium Sulfate dissolves, but for several hours looks like a blizzard hit the aquarium.

I am waiting on a gram scale I ordered to figure out the proper dosing for the calcium chloride which I'm hoping to convert to measuring spoon numbers as I don't see myself weighing the chemicals regularly. I've been dosing barr's GH booster, but the reported dosage doesn't seem to work quite right for me. I'm dosing way less than I should be into water with basically no existing GH and yet it seems to come out where I want. I do know that the GH booster product used to contain 5 ingredients and was modeled after a commercial product and was dosed according to that. But the current version contains only three ingredients so those dosing numbers may not be correct at all. (Also, Tom Barr had nothing to do with the product, it's named for him because it was based on an article he wrote on the subject.)

So anyway... that's where I am... I too have done a lot of reading, and still have lots of questions, but have a general idea of where I'm going to go with it and hope it's correct when I get there!

Michael
 

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For some reason, the forum doesn't display the full urls that people post as text, inserting a ... in place of part of the address. You can right-click to copy the address, but some people don't know that and highlight the text and copy/paste. This creates a broken link like that one. Unfortunately, the poster will need to point us to the real one as I'm not familiar with that link.
 

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Karen I would be happy to sit down with you and explain my EI dosing techniques.
Call me at home and wel will get together or if there is a meeting weekend after next, I will bring my materials with me to show you I do it. I'm sure there will be at least 5 other opinions offered.

Mike
 

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20G Planted 96W CF No Algae use Flourish Excel I feel like this tank need more nutrients even thought everything is very healthy.
I can tell you from experience, that Flourish Excel does not contain any fertilizer and if you dose that exclusively you will end up with plants that look like this:
http://aquaticobsession.blogspot.com/2008/01/learning-hard-way.html

EI is the way to go. Here is a good summary:
http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1294389

I also found Rex's site useful, both for his info on fertilization, but also on algae causes, etc.
http://www.rexgrigg.com/ferts.htm

Here is a calculator for figuring out how much baking soda to dose to raise kH if necessary.
http://www.dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/CalKH.asp

Here is a calculator to see what you're adding to the tank with various components and dosages:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/fertilator.php
 

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I mainly use Excel to combat algae. I'm not sure how well it works as a CO2 alternative. Some say it works well, others disagree. But it has an off-label use as an algaecide due to a surgical disinfectant it contains. Some dose the normal amount, some dose 2-3X that. I've had mixed results with it. First, some plants including Valisneria and Anacharis do not like it at all and will melt from it. If you're doing it in combination with a blackout, be sure to turn off your CO2 and perhaps add an airstone. I killed all my angel fish and almost all my butterfly goodeids in this way. Other fish in those same tanks were seemingly unaffected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Reading and Learning.
I need to order Ferts. So is this a good starter from AF should I order anything in addition to this? I have to start somewhere.

Plantex CSM+B
Potassium Nitrate KN03
Monopotassium Phosphate KH2P04
Potassium Sulphate K2S04 (optional)


Mike would love any help. This weekend I am still working of the garage siding, trying to get finished. After that I am good on Saturday's.
MacFan the chart is really a neat tool can see how this would come in handy. I am going to get toegether a chart of all the tanks for info on the tanks in general to help on dosing. IF there is a form of sorts out there that would be great.
Thank's for all the help. Just let me know on the order.
 

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I'm attaching a PDF file of the dosing plan I've created for my menagerie of tanks at home. It's on its 4th version and in its current form is only about a week old so I can't vouch for the accuracy of the dosing calculations, but so far so good. I have dosed EI for maybe 3 weeks so far. The main change in this version was a switch from Barr's GH booster to calcium chloride and magnesium sulfate for GH which dissolves with little effort and avoids the snowstorm I was seeing before (not bad, just undesirable.) The only reason I dose GH and KH is because I'm using only RO water so it starts out at zero for both. The other change was to add in my smaller tanks as the effect of EI on the large tanks has been positive so far, and my dosing of PMDD on those tanks was somewhat haphazard. With the exception of the GH/KH additives, the numbers are straight off the EI details online, only my tanks without CO2 are lower dosages. For a while I was dosing 150% of the recommended CSM+B dose, but went back to the proper dose and am adding in iron chelate as I grow a lot of red plants and this really makes them shine.

A clarification, where I have (!) next to a dose, you shouldn't dose the items marked with that within a color group at the same time. In the case of CSM+B/Iron and Mono Potassium Phosphate, it can cause the iron to precipitate out of solution and make it unavailable to your plants. In the case of calcium chloride and magnesium phosphate, you will end up with calcium carbonate which is very difficult to dissolve. So I dose one, wait a bit, then dose the other. In the case of CSM+B, we generally dose those on opposite days.

For water changes, I dispense my RO water into a 55g drum and then pump it to the tanks as needed. Because of this, I can only change about 50g of water at a time, so can't do a 50% water change on my largest tanks. So that's why I've scheduled multiple smaller changes throughout the week. The 60g tank presently has a colony of Discus fry so I'm doing near-daily water changes and using automatic feeders to boost their growth rate. A 50% daily water change obviously would cut way down on the fertilizer levels so I used a spreadsheet to figure out the numbers that kept things at the levels I wanted in that scenario.

For pictures of some of my red plants about a week after starting EI, as well as some older photos of my discus fry, check out my fish blog linked from my footer. If you're in the dallas area on a weekend and want to stop by and check out my tanks or ask questions, let me know. I also host plant club meetings here every couple months. I'm planning to host a plant club christmas party this December.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My Ferts arrived today. I thought traffic cooperating since is the weekend before Christmas would go look for some sort of bottles that have a squirt or drip ability and then that is where I will need some help. How do you all mix and store you solutions? I bought the list post earlier.
Merry Christmas
Karen
 

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I dose PPS pro however, I mix them into hydrogen peroxide bottles as they block out all the light. I then just store them in the fridge
 

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I dose dry chemicals, but Harbor Freight (couple stores around here) sells a 6 or 8 pack of dropper style bottles for like $4. Container Store probably has something you could use too, but it won't be cheap. I'm sure Walmart or Target has ketchup bottles which would work. Or check out AceMart which is a restaurant supply store open to the public. They have lots of interesting bottles for dispensing condiments.

For the dry chemicals, I bought these nice flip-top storage containers from the Container Store (http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=74062&PRODID=67292) that have a square shape but a round top. I cut pieces of plexiglass that I double-stick taped to the top of the square edge of the container. This provided a straight edge inside the container to use to smooth the measuring spoons when measuring out dosages. So I flip the top open, scoop, smooth, pour in the tank and flip the top closed. One of these days I'll take pictures of the modified container and post them on my site, but I don't have any pictures at the moment.

Michael
 

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I bought some bottles from http://www.usplastics.com a few years back for this purpose. The ones I bought were similar to the Tropica bottles and had both metric and Imperial measurements on them. The closest thing I found on there now is called "Prop R Measure." I also used syringes from vet supplies and TSC for the ultra accurate measuring. However, I don't think that there is really a need for that level of accuracy for most of us though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Running up to AceMart today to get some bottles, its sort of on the way to the Main post office so after that can start mixing up some batches of ferts. I am so glad to be out and running around. Sort of missed the holiday thing, but ok.
Here is where I will need a guiding hand or hands. LOL
Happy New Years to all
Karen
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Started dosing today.

Today I added
Potassium Nitrate KN03
Monopotassium Phosphate KH2P04
Potassium Sulphate K2S04 (optional)

Tomorrow will add
Plantex CSM+B
Off on Saturday that is water change day.
Iron is probably is not an issue here due to our water and pipes. but will keep an eye on that.

Now for easier tank doing can the top 3 be mixed together for dosing per tank in a dry state?
 

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Hi Karen,

If you're asking if it's alright to make a large amount of a dry premix, then no, I probably wouldn't mix the 3 together dry and then hope to get the right ratio when dosing dry. The KH2PO4 (phosphate) is such a small amount in relation to the other 2 that you might not get the desired ratio of macros you think you are dosing. I always dose each seperately in dry form.

To break it down simpler, let's say you are dosing 1/2 tsp KNO3 (Potassium and Nitrate), 1/4 tsp K2SO4 (Potassium and Sulfate) and 1/16 tsp KH2PO4 (Potassium and Phosphate) for a 20 Gallon tank 3 times a week. Using my limited arithmatic brain cells and using teaspoons to create the mix, that would be, as an example, 1 tsp KH2PO4, 4 tsp K2SO4 and 8 tsp KNO3 mixed together in a dry mix. You would then need to dose 13/16 tsp of the mix 3 times a week but you would be assuming the mix would have all chemicals evenly distributed which probably would not be the case. Chemicals will settle/seperate based on size of the grains just like aquarium gravel of different sizes tend to settle into different layers.

Hope that helps and I got my math right.

Now if you are talking about just putting 1/2 tsp KNO3, 1/4 tsp K2SO4 and 1/16 tsp KH2PO4 into a dosing cup and pouring the dosing cup into the tank, then that will work just fine.
 

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You can mix the three together. You just don't want to mix the phosphate with the CSM. While it isn't a problem in the lower concentrations in pre-mixed stuff we buy, supposedly the iron and phosphate can react in a way that makes the iron unavailable to plants.

You might want to dose separately for a while though, just in case you find a need to add more of one component than is called for. I've found that old leaves on plants in one of my tanks get pinholes in them, which is a sign of potassium deficiency according to this site (http://www.finostrom.com.gr/images/aqua/fertilizers/map.htm). I increased what I was adding, but increased it by 50% which was apparently too much as I got brown algae so I went back to what I was dosing. The thing is, when the tank is jam packed with plants as it was when I noticed the pinholes, it would obviously require more nutrients than when I trimmed the tank way back. So I'll keep going like this for a while and see how it goes.

Michael
 
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