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[APD] EI with heavy fish loading

I use EI on client tanks with huge fish loads.

I think some hacks seems to assume, incorrectly, that EI cannot
be used with large fish loads. Well.....think about it, what do
folks with large fish loads do anyways to mitigate the waste?

Water changes.

The large water changes do the same thing to mitigate the
fertilizer build up...... will also do the same for the fish

The effective range of EI is about 40ppm NO3 cap.
I'm not aware of any adverse effects from PO4 at the 5-20ppm
range, so I'm not going to address PO4 build up as it's almost
impossible to get above that range with EI and any fish loading.

What does fish waste start out as? Organic N and NH4. Not NO3.
What kills fish at lower levels and is toxic to plants and all
critters at higher levels? Which requires bacteria to process it
and break it down and thereby reduces O2 levels in the tanks
along with the high fish loading?

High fish loads are not good for the fish due to low O2, higher
NH4. They are also not good for the bacteria that like higher
ppms of O2 to process waste rapidly and effectively.

I've seen some extremely packed tanks with plants, the most
packed tank I think is Alan's. He used automated water changes,
30% a day, he has no algae and feeds lots of food to massive
fish and fish loads.

EI is not written in stone, if folks want to reduce the dosing
down, they can. If they want to do water changes 2 x a week due
to high fish loading and dose the ferts only after the WC's, no
issue there either. If they do 80% weekly WC's, no issue again.

Some common sense added will go a long way here.
More fish, you can get away with dosing less. But topping off
with regular EI does not hurt fish nor plants when done with
good CO2, plant biomass and good maintenance.

The assumption that gets folks in trouble and in trouble with me
is when they say it's "bad to have excess ferts/do EI with the
fish loads.

"How can you dose without regards to the fish load?"
The same way I can dose without regards to the test kits.

Water changes.
You add too many fish in a small glass box and then blame algae,
dead fish on someone other than yourself?


Unless you are specific about **which ferts**, NH4 are in
excess, the notion of excess and it's effect on O2 is really

EI does not suggest NH4 dosing, fish can supply the balanced
amount of that if desired. 

In high loaded Discus tanks, we cut the EI dosing by 1/2, but
this was a really packed tank, 2w/gal, CO2 etc.
1 adult fish per 10 gal and well fed along with other
cories/tetras etc.

I've been doing basic EI for over 2 years on a large tank with
1500 fish and about 8.5 inches per gallon.

Wild rare SA fish, the wimpy kind that supposely die if you look
at them wrong.

While some folks might have issues and try to relate it to EI, I
can repeatedly falsify the same test when I do it using EI.

And I've done this test dozens of times over several years with
all sorts of tap water.

EI is easy and it's good if you have the good habit to do the
water changes.

If you are smart, you also do semi automatic water changes or go
100% automated.

Then you feed fish, fertilize plants and garden, which is most
folk's goal to begin with, not testing, chemistry, algae
control, and other problems/barriers that are generally self
imposed. There are many ways to skin a cattail. 
But each way has a trade off........

Tom Barr


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