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[APD] More on tailoring EI, testing and learning
One thing that EI can rapidly show you is where to test and focus your efforts.
By doing a simple method to change the variables, you can quickly find things that are significant and then measure with test kits to confirm.
This makes targeting the significant variables much easier and with considerably less work.
I do not like testing merely for a "routine" to dose.
That's a lot of work, added expense and the error associated with test kits also adds to the error.
You need to really maintain good parameters over the test time to do this properly.
Folks wonder why I figure out so many things, well, that's why. Many don't maintain the other variables nor do the purpose driven testing, rather, test merely to dose based on that for a routine.
PO4 is a very good past example of this.
No one did a purpose driven test prior, they assumed and did their "testing routines", but did not learn from their testing...........
Any error with test kits, parameter variation other than the one of interest leads to errors in their conclusions.
PO4/NO3/RO -soft water/Heating cables, substrate vs water column dosing etc...... I could go on and on.
If your goal is to learn, then focusing on one thing at a time, and really making sure the other parameters are in great shape is the best way to do that. Then you get something important out of a test kit and have really learned something specific about aquatic plants.
Knowing one thing well is better than guessing about several.
If this is done stepwise, you will learn far more.
Most folks doing testing as routine, often have error's associated with their test kits.
EI is fairly good at beating these errors' accuracies on a consistent basis.
EI can be further modified to use dilutions in water to provide even __more accuracy__ on the dosing for the macro nutrients, just like folks do with their Traces already. Test kits cannot get close to that accuracy.
Why? Because that's how folks make reference standard solutions that they use to gauge the accuracy of the test kit in the first place.
EI just adds more error back to that with only replacing 50% instead of 100% each week.
You can do more or less depending on how much error you want to live with.
EI suggest 50%(you can do more/less etc) and this gives a 2x maximum build up possible for an acceptable range of nutrients(only if no uptake by plants occurs, and less if uptake does occur).
Most methods need to be wide ranging/robust and only the major effects will be seen with general horticultural usage.
Folks worry about the small stuff, and often have issues with the big stuff.
If you are going to do this and learn, try focusing on things that will make a difference that you can see even if things are little off either way.
Test with purpose to learn, don't wait till after the fact using test kits. Do experiments on purpose rather than if you happen to "mess something up". You chase things after they happen(often the real issue is already gone by then) rather than waiting for them to occur.
You can quickly learn what the tank does with kits and testing with purpose.
Then you can ween yourself off of test kits forever as far as a routine, learn what you need to know about your individual tank's needs, be able to spot things quickly and solve issues for other folks easily.
Once weened off the test kits by doing some purposeful work with the test kits, it's simply not needed any longer unless you have a new specific question. You can learn much more using test kits for purpose driven experiementing rather than observation and dosing routines. If you add things on purpose to see and test the other variables well, then you know.
PO4 is a good example of the differences and assumptions folks made even though they tested till they were blue in the face, they never learned anything new and still had algae/poor growth.
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