EI for dummies..

Discussion in 'Planted Tank Equipment' started by shihr, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    ok guys, there’s been a lot of people who have asked this question and are discouraged when they see huge scientific write-ups on how to dose EI.. I know because I was there once before. I did how ever bite the bullet and read through those threads and ask A LOT of questions :p

    In this thread I’m going to be showing you what I do on a weekly basis for my EI ferts.. This is what works for me. You may have to adapt it to suit you since waters in different areas are different in hardness, etc..

    A quick intro into plant ferts and the EI method:
    Plants need 2 different types of nutrients:

    Macro nutrients (NPK)
    N- Nitrates
    P- Phosphates
    K- Potassium

    Micro (trace) nutrients
    These are the other nutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium etc.

    EI stands for Estimative Index. This method was developed by Tom Barr. Basically how it works is, the ferts that you add are more than what is required so that the plants never have a shortage of any nutrient.

    This is NB:
    50% Water changes are necessary every week to refresh the water, remove concentration of impurities and plant or fish produce. - Luis;)

    Ok so, for the noobs, easiest ingredients to get that are readily available at the stores are the following:

    N-Saltpeter (Dischem)
    P-Lenolax (Dischem)
    K-Natures-"No Salt" (Dischem in the healthy foods section)
    Traces-Trelmix (garden centers / checkers)
    Calcium and Magnesium-Dolomite pills (Dischem)

    the nice thing with these "dry ferts" is that it will last you a LONG time and they cheap to buy!

    When you have all your ingredients, go to http://www.apsa.co.za/calculate/fertiliser.php

    My tank is 324l so I enter the amounts for each nutrient and press calculate. The aim is to get the figures for each nutrient to show as green or as close as possible to the target rang. See this example below:

    Input - this is where you enter your amounts to calculate (you will see that I did not enter anything for magnesium because dolomite caters for both Ca and Mg)
    [​IMG]

    Results - this is where you check if the amounts you entered fall within the range
    [​IMG]

    Common Names of Chemical Formulae - just a table for common names of the chemicals you can use
    [​IMG]

    When you have your amounts, use a electronic scale to measure the grams or if u don’t have one use a measuring spoon (chemist should give you one for free) 5ml = approximately 5g and syringe or measuring spoon to measure the ml's

    Now get 2 bottles of 500ml. divide it into 5 parts (each part is 100mls). Add NPK and Dolomite (please read this for more information: http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/ferrous-ferric) to the one bottle and Traces to the other. Reason for this is that you shouldn’t add phosphate, Ca and Mg together with iron. Now with this mix, add some distilled/RO water (if you don’t have normal water will be fine.
    [​IMG]

    How to dose
    My schedule is
    Monday - Friday--> morning 100ml NPK+dolomite, night 100ml traces
    Saturday --> rest
    Sunday 50% water change.

    So there you have it. A simple guide to EI dosing. This method works for me but I do tend to add less dolomite (or sometimes none at all) because JHB water is quite hard. I would imagine that in Cape Town you would add the right amounts of dolomite because the water is softer.

    for more sciencey info please check Rubens write up: http://www.apsa.co.za/board/http://www.apsa.co.za/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=8 :)
     
  2. Lloydster
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    Lloydster Green fingers

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    very nice!
     
  3. GDT78
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    GDT78 Plant menace

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    Thats a mil Shihr !
     
  4. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    it really is easy and it saves you a ton of money too! :) only effort is the water changes and the fert refils!
     
    Clare likes this.
  5. GDT78
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    GDT78 Plant menace

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    So we type in any amount at each category so that the results must be displayed in green ?

    Is that right ?
     
  6. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    yes so if you type in 10 grams and you see it showing red and above the range, you lessen your amount.. easy as pie! :p
     
  7. GDT78
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    GDT78 Plant menace

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    Thank you so much,

    I should have switched over to EI ages ago.

    Are there any other substitutes for Trelmix except seachem flourish.

    I have heared you said lately that trelmix can stunt the growth of your rotala rotundiflora ?
     
  8. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    its never happened for me. think only on the rotala green and downoi it stunted the growth. works well for me with rutundifolia.

    ive lessened my dosage of trelmix and to incr the iron i use seachem iron
     
  9. GDT78
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    GDT78 Plant menace

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    Shihr,

    Dischem dont have stock on those items. Which branch of Dischem closest to our area would have stock ?
     
  10. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    hmm greenstone?
     
  11. Lloydster
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    Lloydster Green fingers

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  12. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    ya but this other stuff is readily available locally.. not every one is a online shopaholic like u lloyd :p

    also good to learn with the cheap stuff :p
     
  13. Lloydster
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    Lloydster Green fingers

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    hey...i know this ;)
    i am going to group sessions first thing monday lol :p
     
  14. Slagter
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    Slagter Aquascaper

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    Nice writeup boet!! Thanks for this... It still confuzzles the heck out of me though... Well, the calculator does. Not the dosing.
     
  15. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    well to tell u the truth, i didnt look too much into how the calc works.. i just worked out a method that works for me and stuck to it! :)
     
  16. GDT78
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    GDT78 Plant menace

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    Here is another question:

    If one uses these ingredients:

    N-Saltpeter
    P-Lenolax
    K-Natures-"No Salt"
    Traces-Trelmix
    Calcium and Magnesium-Dolomite pills

    Is it still nessassary to use Epson salt ?
     
  17. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    No unless u hav really soft water
     
  18. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    Which we don't hav in jhb
     
  19. GDT78
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    GDT78 Plant menace

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    What about Potassium Sulphate (K2SO4) ?

    Would that be required ?
     
  20. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    Potassium sulphate is phosphate which u are using lenolax
     

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