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Re: [APD] EI dosing (Thomas Barr)

Hi! Tom,

Thanks for your detailed reply. My comments are in bold. Looking forward to
your reply.

Message: 1

Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 22:09:30 -0800 (PST)

From: Thomas Barr <tcbiii at yahoo_com>

Subject: Re: [APD] EI dosing

To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com

>4. CO2- Pressurised @ 3 bubbles/sec diffused through the filter

Now, if you added enough plants to start with and have good CO2 ppm, you
would have little issue. How accurate is the pH test kit you have? Does it
test between .2pH unit or .5 pH units?


Well I have almost 95% of my tank planted so there is no question of low
biomass. Not only that I have taken special care to ensure that the plants
that I have are all healthy. Not only this they were doing quite well till
such time I started dosing PMDD and BBA came into existence.

The pH kit is quite accurate and I calibrate it regularly with calibration
solution. It is also used by a very experienced aquarists in Bangalore and
he is also satisfied with its accuracy. It's a digital meter with increments
of 0.1 unit.


You need to add more CO2, that much I can tell you, does not matter what
dosing you do, you'll get algae with lots of light(you would do better with
1/2 that amount) and poor CO2....... every time.


My tap water pH is about 8 and tank water pH is 6.5 with variations of
0.1unit over 24 hrs. Now as far as my knowledge goes, for a planted
tank pH of
6.5 is the ideal one. If I add any more CO2 the pH will go further down and
the whole tank will collapse.


>6. Ferts (Macro) - Dosing 5 mls of KNO3 (stock sol. of 250 mls with 6

>teaspoons of KNO3) & 1 mls of KH2PO4 (stock sol. of 250 mls with 3

>of KH2PO4) on every alternate days.

This is not the EI routine I gave you.

For a 20 gal:


I know this is not the EI routine that you advised me. I started as per your
dosage schedule and then after about 15 days the situation seemed to be
going out of hand in terms of algae outbreak. Thus, had to slow down on the


Add 1/4 teaspoon KNO3, 2-3x a week

Add 1/16th teaspoon KH2PO4 2-3x a week

Traces: add 5 mls 2-3x a week

What is your GH?

Acording to Chuck Gadd's calculator, each ml of the KNO3 solution will give
you 1.21 ppm x 5 mls x 4 x a week = 24ppm

KH2PO4 = .69 ppm per mls x 4x a week = 2.76ppm

If you are actually dosing this amount, and doing weekly 50% water changes
with tap that has neither, there is simply no possible way to get beyond
48ppm and 5.5ppm of PO4 ........ever. And that assumes zero uptake by


I am also equally baffled about this as you are.


So your test kits are inaccurate(which is a very common problem). You
assumed they are correct, and they are not. You also assumed the dosing of
the ferts is wrong, it's not, the CO2 and total plant biomass you started
with likely was the issue.


I agree my Test kits are not top of the line but then I had prepared stock
solutions using Chuck Gadd's calculator to know exactly how much Nitrate &
Phosphate are there in 1 PPM of solution. Subsequently I tested them using
the kit and the results were within a 10% margin error. So I guess more or
less I can take the readings to be correct.

Does not matter what dosing routine you use, you mess up and not add enough
plants from the start and have poor CO2 dosing + very high light(108w/20
gal), you will faill and have algae every time.


As mentioned earlier the tank has quite high biomass (95%+) thus the
question of not having enough bio-mass doesn't arise.

>After about 15 days of dosing I had major trouble in the form of diatom

>algae & hair algae outbreak. The plants also stopped growing and the

>balance seemed to have gone for a toss.

If they stopped growing it was NOT due to a lack of any NO3, K, PO4, trace
etc (GH perhaps but not likely with a KH of 5), rather, a lack of CO2.


As far as I am concerned, the plants started having a major algae outbreak
as soon as I started dosing. And all this while I did have a pressurised CO2
system and enough lights.


>Subsequently, I got hold of Nitrate & Phosphate Test Kits manufactured by

>Aquarium Pharmaceuticals and was amazed to find the Nitrate & Phosphate

>levels. Nitrate was 120 PPM & Phosphate was 20 PPM.

Well, that assumes of course that you have accurate test kits(very very
unlikely) and you have been adding 200+ ppm of NO3 and 30-40ppm PO4 EVERY
week. Mathmatically, these levels are impossible if you are doing weekly 50%
water changes and following EI. They can only max out at 2x the total dosed
for the week and that assumes no uptake at all. See above, if you do larger
than 50% then the levels will descend lower to become closer to match your
weekly total dosing.


This exactly is what has happened. How it has happened I am also not sure.

>Immediately did a 90% water change and stopped dosing completely. Have not

>dosed anything for the past 10 days and the Nitrate & Phosphate levels have

>come down to more acceptable levels. Nitrate is between 5 to 10 PPM

>Phosphate is still high at about 1 to 2 PPM.

These are not high levels if we assume they are correct levels.

Do you think the algae was any more "limited" by these levels vs the higher

How big are you fish? *My Orandas are about 2.5 inches.

Are they fed a great deal? *Feeding is only once a day and that too so much
that they are able to finish off within a couple of minutes.


That's the only other thing left.

Or the test kits and your CO2 dosing.

>Am doing 50% water change once

>every 3 days and keeping a tab on the Nitrate & Phosphate levels.

>And yes I did test my tap water and there are no traces of Nitrate &


>Has somebody else too experienced such results with EI?



Yes, and any method not followed correctly by addressing the CO2,+ adding
high light. I add many others dose the same amounts weekly to our tank yet
no algae, now what other things might we be doing(assuming we add the same
amount and frequency of KNO3 etc) that might influence growth other than the
dosing routines?

CO2, light(easy to rule that one out, but it's a bit high and this can make
it tougher to balance things). GH also, but to a much lesser degree.

So poor CO2 is one of the best ways to get algae. About 90% of every algae
related issue is CO2 related. always check that and even if things look
funny, add more anyway. Just do not gas the fish, so do this
slowly/gradually and when you are around to tend the tank and make sure
things are doing well.

EI rules out the nutrients for you, the CO2 is now the thing you need to
work on.

Prune, pick, preen the algae off, then correct the issue.


I have already pruned whatever was possible and removed algae as much as
could be done. Now the only thing that I cannot play around is the level of
CO2 as the pH is already at 6.5 and I can't afford to have it drop any
further. Moreover since there is lot of peraling happening so I guess the
level of CO2 in the tank is ok.


Tom Barr

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