1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Switch to Estimative Index

Discussion in 'Aquarium & Aquascaping Journals' started by GrandGoose, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    This journal is about the process through which a noob like me achieved better results, by listening to good advice from experient people from BarrReport.com, but mostly by adopting the Estimative Index as a dosing routine. All the obstacles in the way were slowly solved by the solid foundation laid out by the method itself and by the research made to create it. I don’t know if a noob diary is interesting to read, I hope it is, by showing that progress can be made, despite how bad things are. Your feedback is very welcome.

    From this perspective, my journal is maybe a collection of the bad things I did, and attempts to overcome it (for the German speakers: nicht nachmachen). Here is the structure I will follow for this journal, to keep it clear:

    1. Background Notes
      Where I am coming from
      Previous experience

    2. Tank Setup
      My first tank here in Germany
      Materials used
      Initial attempts
      Photo Log

    3. Estimative Index Switch
      My switch to Estimative Index
      Photo Log

    From that point on, the journal flows normally as any other journal thread.
     
    Keith and Jason King like this.
  2. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    1. Background Notes

    I am a Brazilian guy, born in Recife in 1980. As you can imagine, access to good information and products, in Northeastern Brazil, mid 90's, was really limited. I had my first tank in ‘92 (60l, undergravel filter and an air pump) and my first planted in ‘99 (240l, Canister). I kept it until 2005 and then had a big break to focus on other stuff (work mostly).

    During this time, ‘99 to ‘05, I tried all that I could to get a nice planted tank. I was never successful in keeping a lush environment, although I enjoyed learning and trying new things, and keeping simple plants: microform pteropus, anubias, vallisnerias, brazilian hygrophilas, etc..

    I was not aware of PMDD at that time, but I felt its influence: everybody believed excess nutrients (or even any at all) in the water column was the source of all evil. I have no idea how much money I poured into phosphate, nitrate, silicate, you-name-it removers. At the same time, I never met anyone trying to grow exclusively plants, most people used to care only about fishes, either Amazon fishes (really common for us there) or Malawi/Tanganyika cichlids (Cyphotilapia Frontosa and the likes).

    Long story short version: lighting was always too much. CO2, if present, was never stable or in a reasonable concentration. No fertilisation routine, and substrate was mostly bare, with the exception of dirt tanks (did it twice). I never got things right to produce the beautiful scapes I had in my mind.
     
    Keith and Jason King like this.
  3. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    2. Tank Setup

    My wife knew I liked aquariums, but since we got married in 2010, she never witnessed me taking care of one. She thought it would be interesting, I guess. She brought me to a Futterhaus store and said: go for it.

    On April 2015 I bought this:


    I thought that because this time I was using ‘the real stuff’, from big name companies, I would achieve success ("laterite, dirt soil, worm castings, etc. is a thing of the past"). Needless to say, it did not go well, it was a repetition from before. Better results in general, but on a scale from 1-10, I moved from 2 to 4, when I was hoping for 7 or 8.

    Clearly, the problem was not in the equipment or material per se, but in my knowledge/abilities/limitations.

    Here follows a brief description of April 2015 to July 2016:
    • Bi weekly 50% water changes, 12h light cycle. Bio CO2 with a ‘bubble flipper’.
    • Plants do grow, but not great, despite a lot of fertiliser in soil.
    • Add more light. 1 bulb 13w T5.
    • Get some GSA. Some plants looked bad, remove them. Buy anothers.
    • Test water. Buy a Canister Filter to replace that huge black box I had inside of the tank.
    • Add nitrate/phosphate remover to Canister.
    • Get more GSA. Get brown algae.
    • Some plants die. Buy anothers. Get frustrated.
    • Add iron. Test more. Add more light. 2x24w T5 instead of the 13w.
    • Add pressurised CO2 but rely on poor diffusion and drop checker.
    • Test more. Some plants die. Buy others.
    • Cycle continues...

    I think I did so many wrong things that it gets hard to count them.
    No fertiliser in the water but lots of light (4 24W T5HO bulbs ~4000 lumens). No stable/enough CO2. Over reliance in cheap test kits, including all sorts of tests: drop test, strip tests, etc. Wrong focus on "fighting algae" instead of growing plants.

    At least then I knew these things did not work, why they did not work, and this knowledge helped me later in my switch to EI.

    These are some of the photos from the aquarium in 2015 and 2016. The aquarium is not in this state anymore. I do not have photos from the start point in April, but from September on. It is mostly a collection of the issues I had, and some comments about it

    XDmiXDG.
    syvODCl.
    7T9gcHG.
    QYmP4Yy.
    V2QnyLM.
    KG0m0o1.
    Q1ht4Eg.
     
    Keith and Jason King like this.
  4. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    3. EI Switch

    The turning point was in October ‘16, when a friend, who never had a planted tank, said: “I am starting a tank and I want an HC carpet, etc…”. We bought the plants together. And he did it, a beautiful carpet in 4 weeks. His HC was doing great, and mine sucked big time. Smaller and smaller leaves, stems reaching higher and higher. I checked some videos from Dennis Wong on youtube saying that the main reason for HC not growing well was due to low CO2. But I was shoving way more CO2, almost gassing my fishes to death, what am I missing? My friend was the turning point.

    I sat down with him and went step by step checking everything he did: “how do you do the Water Change?”. I was veeeery through in my search. The only real difference was the fertilizer. At the time I thought “Estimative Index” was a brand. He was using, according to him, this “Aqua Rebell stuff, based on Estimative Index”. I tried and bought it, followed the instructions from Aqua Rebell, something like EI PMDD style. I noticed some results. But no so great. Then I decided to read the Flowgrow.de page about EI, in german (and my german sucks), "what the heck is Estimative Index?"

    Mind Blown.

    Really. WOW. So many myths were out of the way. I spent the next two weeks reading and reading. Also, I sat down with a friend who is a chemist and I had a quick recap on chemistry, calculating molar mass, interactions, preparing solutions, precautions and so on. And after 3 weeks my HC carpet was there. To be able to trim HC feels like a privilege to me.

    So, my goals changed drastically. Now I am back to my passion: gardening. My questions changed too:
    • “What else can I grow?”
    • “I want some red stuff!”
    • “What about layers, fore-, mid- and background?”
    • “Pruning techniques?”
    • “What scapes whould I like to create?”
    • “How to deal with the existing algae?”

    I decided to avoid touching the substrate until I felt I know what I am doing. I thought that I should focus on growing plants for now, the rest is secondary. Maybe in September I might restart, maybe a bigger tank, but now is learning time.

    If I can grow my Aquarium plants the same way I do with my Bonsai, I would be satisfied for now. With my Bonsai I focus on shape, pruning, wiring, letting it rest, then shaping again. It is all about gardening. Fertilization is just a step. The growth is obvious. Of course I know this is a stretch, nobody thinks about CO2 availability to terrestrial plants, but the point to me is: The focus is on growing plants, on its health, its shape, and so on. For the moment that is what I would like to focus on.

    So, on to the tank itself. My initial focus was to let light drive the growth rate (4x 24w T5 during 9 hours). It is a lot of light, I know, and it meant that I should provide everything else to the max, short of “too wasteful”:

    • 75% weekly water change
    • Bi-Weekly filter cleaning (pre-filter section)
    • CO2 1.5 pH drop in roughly an hour and a half, Sera 1000 CO2 Reactor and JBL inline Atomizer. 100% CO2 dissolution
    • Glutaraldehyde, just to be on the safe side, plus it might help with the existing algae.
    • N 10ppm, P 3.5ppm, K 10ppm 3x per week. Tried inducing a Nitrogen deficiency to get redder colors, 3ppm of NO3, and it worked great, with a slower growth. Since I want the fast growth for now, I'm back to 10ppm NO3.
    • 0.3ppm Fe-EDTA/DTPA plus traces 3x per week. Tried Fe Gluconate, Citrate, Ascorbate, but saw no improvement, I think these chelators do not work with my high kH/gH.
    • Checked my water report and Ca is in check, I only add a bit of MgSO4 to be on the safe side, bringing Mg to 10ppm
    • I have lots of circulation from the Eheim 2075 Filter (actual measured flow of 500l/h) and an Eheim Surface skimmer (which is a great help during trimming).
    These pictures show the progress from the switch to EI in December 2016 until early March 2017.

    2NkJMoJ.
    k3YXlhq.
    98S9J2C.
    8XeW7Lf.
    BqIFFwq.
    M4LznRC.
     
    #4 GrandGoose, Mar 4, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  5. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    And some videos I made with my phone

    January 2017



    February 2017
     
    #5 GrandGoose, Mar 4, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  6. Jason King

    Jason King Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    1,641
    Likes Received:
    704
    Address:
    United Kingdom
    Country:
    Subscribed :)

    This is what you call a journal, it tells you the whole story, the good and the bad..

    It also shows you that after research and patience you can succeed.

    In the one year before the EI switch your tank looks very lowtech and nothing spectacular then BOOM! The EI switch images are proof that EI works, In just over two months of the switch it looks like a totally different tank and scaper.

    Weldone and thanks for posting this, Im really looking forward to the journals future posts.
     
    moss-maniac and GrandGoose like this.
  7. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    Thanks Jason.

    EI really made a lot of difference to me. And Tom's research is just unbelievable. I read those reports like I was starving for them. It hurts to thinks so many of them were lost.

    I hope to improve more and more. I guess that at some point in Q4, maybe early next year, I will start a tank from scratch, and I will finally be able to plan it properly.

    I keep having that feeling on the back of my head: "You can do better. How far can you go?"
     
    Jason King likes this.
  8. Jason King

    Jason King Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    1,641
    Likes Received:
    704
    Address:
    United Kingdom
    Country:
    Tom barr and Greg Watson aka the fert guy as he was known in the old days not only spent a lot of the Barr report subscription fees on server costs etc, it was also on analysis reports you can see in the reports, some of them way over my head.. but if your into scientific research they are amazing to read.

    (I can assure you Tom makes no money out of the Subscriptions fees..)

    Unfortunately after a number of Subscribers leaked the newsletters on very popular Aquarium forums Tom removed the reports for a short time until a better way could be found and as you know after this the reports were lost :(, in the old days it was not as easy to back things up like it is with today technology.

    Until Tom rewrites them or even better he plans on a book we will have to do with the ones I managed to recover.

    As you know the newsletters are only emailed to verified subscribers via myself to the Subscriber as requested, even this is not fool proof so I believe he will write that book one day.

    With people like Tom, Diane Walstad, the old Dutch aquarium masters, Amano etc the knowledge is endless, I certainly did not relise that an aquarium could go into such detail, your current tank proves that thanks to these guys the Knowledge pays off.
     
  9. Jason King

    Jason King Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    1,641
    Likes Received:
    704
    Address:
    United Kingdom
    Country:
    Your tank is only 2 months after you found EI, you have already gone further and the results prove that :)

    Your next one will be based on the Knowledge you have now so I'm positive we will be in for a treat :)
     
  10. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    I have a Bachelor in design, but I worked as a book designer/editor for some years. I would gladly work as graphic designer for Tom's book for free. Any day.
     
  11. Jason King

    Jason King Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    1,641
    Likes Received:
    704
    Address:
    United Kingdom
    Country:
    Thats amazing, I'll mention this to Tom in the near future it may give him the urge to start that book :) you already know what type of diagrams etc would be required.
     
    GrandGoose likes this.
  12. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    I would be sooo hyped. Stuff of dreams.
     
  13. Keith

    Keith Administrator
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    1,152
    Address:
    Australia
    Country:
    GrandGoose

    A fantastic Journal thank you for posting all that information.

    After a few posts it became very obvious you had a very good eye for design and balance.
    Then I knew why.

    99% of my design work has been with furniture and a little architectural and industrialist design. My interested started way back 1953/4 at school. I became naturally interested in furniture design during my Apprenticeship in Cabinet Making. Five years after I finished my 5 year Apprenticeship I became a Trade teacher naturally teaching Cabinet making to Apprentices/ secondary students for the next 26years. During those years I did many courses in design work one Diploma I would have to do a wood work hobby class for three years, what a joke when I was teaching Apprentices.

    Along came Aquariums and Aquascaping it was very easy to adapt.

    As for age I am only 80 years young later this year.

    Keith:cathug::cathug:
     
    moss-maniac and Jason King like this.
  14. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    Wow Keith,
    That is a lot of experience. You got my respect there.
    I switched from being directly creating to working as a Producer/Project Manager. Mostly video games.
    But art is in the blood of my family, and we have many illustrators, painters, musicians, architects, etc.
    But I only have 15 years of experience, and as an art producer I only have 6 years.
    I believe life teaches a lot when you are open to learning, can only wonder the level of experience you have with design.

    "I am not young enough to know everything"

    Gardening is currently my focus. I am still finding my way into aquascaping. I like the Dutch school, but I want something extra. The Dutch foundation is spotless, with its layers and colors. But I want to clash it against more contemporaneous patterns. I will post later the stuff I collected.
     
    moss-maniac, Keith and Jason King like this.
  15. Keith

    Keith Administrator
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    1,152
    Address:
    Australia
    Country:
    GrandGoose.

    Its when the word "Like" is used it leaves the named styles very open or name a design from words they have seen on Google to justify a common Aquascape.

    Like all designs its either strictly to set to a named design or its a design you have created using the materials you have or can get.

    Keith:cathug::cathug:
     
  16. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    I got a bit lost there, Keith.
    Do you mean the usage of 'Like' I made?
    Just to make it clear, I meant like as a verb, and not a comparative clause. I like, appreciate, the Dutch school.
    That being said, I would enjoy mixing some external elements to the Dutch foundation.

    Still, by no means my tank is 'like' a Dutch tank. My tank is basically a training court. Somewhere I go to learn and try new things.
    On a side note: planning some changes to the tank, facing some old friends, like Pinnatifida. let's see if I get it right this time.

    But I will create a visual map of what I would call my visual goals and share with you ;)
     
  17. Keith

    Keith Administrator
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    1,152
    Address:
    Australia
    Country:
    GrandGoose

    Maybe I should have explained it better I am referring to usually beginner Aquascapers who usually know every thing about every thing and call their shocking (to put it mildly) Tank ******* like to justify what they have done.

    Going back too many years I can vaguely remember seeing in Magazines at a LFS photo of very colourful plants only tanks and I am sure they were called Dutch tanks, the reason for that name I just cannot remember. For some reason I think it had something to do with being Fishless.

    Keith:cathug::cathug:
     
  18. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    Understood Keith.

    I have a lot respect for the Dutch school.
    The streets, terracing, plant knowledge and usage, the colors... ..oh yeah, the colors :love:
    Those are the unique selling points to me.

    Personally, it is very hard for me to keep a Nature styled tank, or an Iwagumi tank, without feeling the urge to add multilayered colors. But as I said, maybe I can find a beautiful compromise :p
     
    Jason King likes this.
  19. Keith

    Keith Administrator
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    1,152
    Address:
    Australia
    Country:
    GrandGoose

    If I am correct is it one or more Asian countries that was influenced be the Dutch have a stronger colouring contrast in their "Traditional Style/Method " of Aquascaping?

    Keith:cathug::cathug:
     
  20. GrandGoose

    GrandGoose Even goose dream. I know I do.
    V.I.P Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2017
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    45
    Address:
    Germany
    Country:
    I have no idea Keith. My knowledge in regards to aquascaping is quite small. Only recently I have been diving deeper into it.
     

Share This Page

Loading...