Intro To EI (estimated Index)
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Intro To EI (estimated Index)

This is a discussion on Intro To EI (estimated Index) within the Planted Tank Specific forums, part of the Aquarium Related Chat category; ...

  1. #1
    Dark Lord Owner Nicklfire's Avatar
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    Default Intro To EI (estimated Index)

    I know there are many people that do not know what this is.. or maybe they know a little bit... but arnt sure what to do.. or why you do it... Well i'm starting this thread for everyone to ask questions regarding EI dosing..

    Basically your plants need food when you getting into med-high light tanks and start addiing co2.. nutrient uptake is alot greater than lets say a low light tank where just fish poop can help plants out...

    Then all along came this guy his names tom barr, some may know him some not.. he's a legend and inspiration in our hobby, he's a scientist... pretty much and his hobby is aquariums.. he's been doing this.. for a long time.. and he came up with the concept EI (with others of course) to give plants a bit more nutrients then they need...then do a water change on a weekly basis to reset all the paramaters...

    Here's a article from tom barr a bit about what it is.. and how you exactly do it.

    Quote:
    Overview
    The Estimative Index (EI) is a straightforward method for providing nutrients for a planted tank. The idea behind EI is simply introducing an excess amount of nutrients within an aquarium, throughout the week. This excess of nutrients floods the water column and feeds the plants. This is an estimative method; measuring specific nutrient uptake rates is not necessary and no test kits are involved. EI provides a surplus of nutrients that helps to prevents plant deficiencies, and allows plant growth unhendered. Most algae releated issues are due to plant deficiencies rather than excess nutrient levels(Ammonium/NH4 + is the exception).

    Basically you add a slight excess of nutrients to prevent anything from running out, then do a large water change at the end of the week to prevent anything from building up. This allows you to maintain a range of nutrients without ever using a test kit.

    The water change generally takes about the same amount of time once you haul out the hoses etc do the water change so the time and work difference between a 25 % and 50% water change is fairly small.

    The process of which this is done is simple. Each day (or 2-3x a week, weekly for low light tanks) fertilizers are dosed, and the nutrients are absorbed by the plants. With this method being estimative, we can dose fertilizers according to general guidelines suited for our particular setup (see below for regime). At the end of the week, one performs a 50% water change to ‘reset’ the nutrient load in the entire system. And then the entire dosing regime is repeated. The hobbyists can do larger(which will afford more accuracy) or smaller water change routines, but 50% is just guide line.

    The primary fertilizers are the macro nutrients - Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), and the micro nutrients – trace elements (Plantex CSM+B, Flourish, Tropica Master Grow-TMG). Iron (Fe) can also be supplemented if necessary.

    The Estimative Index method works best for a high light and well planted aquarium. However it is not limited to higher light setups, smaller quantities of fertilizers can be dosed if low light is used. Also, the frequency may be reduced to 1-2x a week at low light(1.5-2w/gal).

    How do I use the chemicals?

    There are two ways in which you can dose the nutrients, by making a stock solution or by adding dry using a set of standard spoons. If making solutions then this is a guide to the amounts required.

    Potassium Nitrate - 40g to 500ml of water and adding 10ml per 100L of water would give you a value of 5ppm.
    Potassium Phosphate - 15g to 500ml of water and adding 5ml per 100L of water would give you a value of 1ppm.
    Potassium Sulphate - 55g to 500ml of water and adding 10ml per 100L of water would give you a value of 5ppm
    Magnesium Sulphate - 70g to 500ml of water and add 50ml once a week per 100L of water - this would give a target of 7ppm.
    Trace mix - 15g to 250ml of water will give you about the same concentration as the ‘off the shelf’ products. It is also a good idea, if you can, to add 0.5ml Normal hydrochloric acid as this helps to prevent the chelator from breaking down. Some people complain of mould growing on top of the solution - keeping it in the fridge should help prevent this and prolong it’s life.

    It is possible to add the solutions into one bottle except for the trace mix as, depending on the chelator used, the iron could react with the phosphate. Generally speaking it is a good idea to make the solutions up in separate bottles until you are comfortable with the dosing.

    nb. It is preferable to make up the solutions in RO water or Deionised water, but tap water can be used if need be.


    Dosing

    This is a general dosing guide that can be used with the following tank sizes. Solution volumes are calculated on making the stock solutions as above. Tank volumes are in US gallons. To convert to UK gallons multiply these figures by 0.83

    10-20 Gallons (38-76 litres)
    10ml solution or 1/8 tsp KNO3 3x a week
    5ml solution or 1/32 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
    2ml solution or 1/32 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
    2ml or 1/32 tsp traces 3x a week

    20-40 Gallons (76-152 litres)
    20ml solution or 1/4 tsp KNO3 3x a week
    12ml solution or 1/16 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
    5ml solution or 1/16 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
    5ml or 1/16 tsp traces 3x a week

    40-60 Gallons (152-227 litres)
    30ml solution or 1/2 tsp KNO3 3x a week
    18ml solution or 1/8 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
    8ml solution or 1/8 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
    10ml or 1/8 tsp traces 3x a week

    60-80 Gallons (227-303 litres)
    40ml solution or 3/4 tsp KNO3 3x a week
    25ml solution or 3/16 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
    11ml solution or 1/4 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
    15ml or 1/4 tsp traces 3x a week

    100-125 Gallons (380-473 litres)
    70ml solution or 1 1/2 tsp KNO3 3x a week
    40ml solution or 1/2 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
    16ml solution or 1/2 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
    30ml or 1/2 tsp traces 3x a week



    EI target ranges
    CO2 range 20-30 ppm
    NO3 range 5-30 ppm
    K+ range 10-30 ppm
    PO4 range 1.0-2.0 ppm
    Fe 0.2-0.5ppm or higher
    GH range 3-5 degrees ~ 50ppm or higher
    KH range 3-5

    See dosing calculators for additional dosing guides for Fe, etc.

    Where to buy fertilizers?

    So your next question might be ok well i figured it out kinda but where do i get these macro fertz. Well i got a secret for you. Rex Grigg is a guy that sells them to people living in the states and Canada and you can checkout his website right here. http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/ferts.html .

    As far as the Micro (trace) you can buy those are your local fish store, you know the usual bottles that have trace elements.. seachem flourish

    1 lb of each for Chemicals will last at least 1 year:

    Plantex CSM+B
    Potassium Nitrate KN03
    Monopotassium Phosphate KH2PO4
    Potassium Sulphate K2S04

    Special Notes:

    Providing optimal CO2 levels of at least 30 ppm are necessary for plants to prosper. If algae issue arise, remove all visible algae and infected leaves. Recheck CO2 levels, and possibly reduce and adjust the lighting period.

    Direct dry dosing into the tank is perfectly fine. Many dose straight into, or they dissolve each daily amounts in water before adding. Plantex CSM+B is often mixed into solution for liquid dosing. 1 tablespoon to 250ml water is equivalent to: 20 ml = 1/4 teaspoon of dry Plantex. This solution is stored in refrigerators to prevent mold from forming within the container. HCL can be added to prevent the mold.

    Small dosing teaspoons (smidgen, dash, pinch) can be found at Linen & Things, Bed Bath and Beyond, Wal-Mart, dollar stores, eBay and other online retailers. To identify the specific measurements of your smidgen, dash, pinch set, a 1/8 tsp should fill a ¼ tsp in 2 tries, 1/16 tsp in 4 tries, and a 1/32 tsp in 8 tries.


    Sticking to a good dosing regime will make your plants flourish, and keep you delighted! If you seek more in depth discussion about EI, there are two other articles here.

    John N and Tom Barr
    If your thinking now.. heck where do i get these from.. well many plant stores around our area carry these, members on the site may want to just post if they have some for sale. Me personally i bought some off another member here a long time ago i just cant remember.

    So Let me know any questions and i'll be glad and happy to answer, i'm sure everyone else will pipe up aswell.

    Me personally i do this and it's worked for me... ever since i've done it... My plants show no signs of nutrient deficientcy like they used to and they grow fast.
    archie and Dawna like this.

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  3. #2
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    thanks for posting ! I had forgotten the amounts !
    helped me greatly !

  4. #3
    Mr Know It all
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    in regards to:
    Trace mix - 15g to 250ml of water will give you about the same concentration as the ‘off the shelf’ products. It is also a good idea, if you can, to add 0.5ml Normal hydrochloric acid as this helps to prevent the chelator from breaking down. Some people complain of mould
    You can also use Excel, about 10ml for a 250ml solution of csm+b to prevent the mold. its much safer to handle than the muriatic acid. For those with metricide, thats about 6 mL metricide per 250ml csm+b mix.

    For those without the metricide/excel, you have other options, refrigerate the csm+b mix, and/or half the amount of csm+b in your mix and double the dose. Trick is to not make enough solution to last months, you want to get it down to being used up in 3-4 weeks.
    Hammer likes this.
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    Mr Know It all 2wheelsx2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neven View Post
    in regards to:


    You can also use Excel, about 10ml for a 250ml solution of csm+b to prevent the mold. its a bit safer to handle than the muriatic acid. For those with metricide, thats about 6 mL metricide per 250ml csm+b mix.
    Edited that for ya. It's not much safer, especially if you are using Metricide, which is double strength. I wouldn't want to get either in my eye.

    MSDS on Metricide: http://www2.mooremedical.com/downloads/36050.pdf
    Last edited by 2wheelsx2; 09-04-2010 at 05:44 PM.
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    GREAT JOB PROVIDING THIS INFORMATION this is very helpful when trying to understand dry dosing... thank you very much for this post
    Mike Di Nardo
    Marine Mechanic - Galleon Richmond


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  8. #6
    Mr Know It all
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    i never implied metricide was safe to be careless with, in fact, the majority of chemicals in EI dosing are just as unsafe as metricide (or more unsafe). But you bring up a good point that MSDS's should be mentioned:

    KH2PO4
    K2SO4
    KNO3
    Muriatic Acid

    and a relink for the metricide
    Metricide The picture is missing on top, its the HMIS ratings, but its in section 11 on the msds, H1 F0 R0.
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  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by neven View Post
    i never implied metricide was safe to be careless with, in fact, the majority of chemicals in EI dosing are just as unsafe as metricide (or more unsafe). But you bring up a good point that MSDS's should be mentioned:

    KH2PO4
    K2SO4
    KNO3
    Muriatic Acid

    and a relink for the metricide
    Metricide The picture is missing on top, its the HMIS ratings, but its in section 11 on the msds, H1 F0 R0.
    Actually they(fertilizers suggested) are far far from as toxic as Excel or this product. 4ppm is the lethal dosage for many inverts, and not much more, say 4-8ppm is the lethal range for most fish.

    KNO3?
    Never met anyone yet that's overdosed and killed any fish to date.
    KH2PO4?
    I guess if you add enough to get salinity or salt stresses..........
    Same for GH booster........

    Traces are equally as high relative to the needed dosing, but not absolute ppm's.

    Still, you'd have to make Extremely gross errors.

    Folks get very loose with dosing Excel or similar generics, then kill fish in their quest to kill algae. Rather than going about things slow and focusing on the root mismanagement issue. CO2 and Excel kills more critters than ferts ever have or ever will at least 10000 fold.

    So care should be placed there, and less fear based myths placed on fert dosing.

    Also, MSDS tells you little about the chemicals effect on the fish or inverts.
    You need to look for a good article etc on that like this:

    http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pubs/fullt...5/20050003.pdf

    Now you have something a bit more applied and useful.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr

  10. #8
    Mr Know It all
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    For those mixing a single macro solution up to do multiple small tanks and don't want to drop money on a scale, i pulled these numbers from rex griggs site

    mass per tsp:
    KNO3 = 5.6 grams
    KH2PO4 = 4.8 grams
    K2SO4 = 6 grams

    using nicklfires ratios, 3:1:1 (N:P:K), taking 40 grams of nitrates and applying it to the ratio, then converting each teaspoons, i came up with these numbers
    7 1/8 tsp KNO3
    2 3/4 tsp KH2PO4
    2 1/4 tsp K2SO4
    per 500mL of Water.

    i'd say 0.7mL per gallon. using the median for each EI dose range and the nitrate solution dosage, it comes pretty close to that

    I could be wrong with these numbers, but i'll be giving it a try since with a couple small tanks its a real pain to measure dry doses without a scale.
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    Wow, thank you for the breakdown and easy to understand material. My first tank in ten yrs n wanna have plants.

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    Mr Know It all Mferko's Avatar
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    how much do you add for EI dosing for those of us using the standard off the shelf liquid ferts like seachem's liquid N, P, and K, i just ordered a 500mL bottle of each for my ebi
    (oh and how much iron too? its this one http://www.petsandponds.com/en/aquar...p17559999.html and i have some rosa nervis hygro that i would like to be its reddest)

 

 
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