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Lean dosing pros and cons

Geoffrey Rea

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The OP’s original questions:

My question is what is the benefits or limitations of switching to APT Zero or just lean dosing in general? Would my epiphytes suffer if I switched to lean dosing? Would I possibly swap one type of algae issue for another?

Initial response:

You can keep your co2 between 15-20 ppm and dose lean with high lights. This need for high light, high co2 and high fertilizer is a myth and mainly comes from EI concept. I can tell you this based on my experience and am sure you will find more people who have similar experience.

Awesome, experience. Definitely useful and most welcome.

However, the component about high light/Co2/fertiliser being a myth is self constructed then argued against. Abundantly, the advice on this site will be to run lower light (a matter of decreasing light in relation to a drop of 1pH - it’s in relationship), matching Co2 to this level of light and dose EI levels of comprehensive fertiliser in the water column.

You guys wanted to know if lean dosing is possible without algae right? With lower CO2 and high lights? The answer is YES

You guys wanted to know if you need to add more co2, fertilizer if you have a high light? The answer is NO

Cool. Have you tried this with anything other than stems? Epiphytes in general; Anubias, Bucephalandra, Java Fern, Bolbitis for example?

You’ve stated a generalised rule. Does it hold true to every example?

The OP asked whether epiphytes would suffer under ‘lean’ dosing, which isn’t yet defined. In order to understand your argument, this requires clarification.

Would this approach work with a tank full of Cryptocoryne if it is truly universal?
 

MichaelJ

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Well, most of this is semantics as far as I am concerned. If the substrate provides the fertilizer then its less meaningful, in my opinion, to talk about lean dosing, as there is nothing conceptually lean going on here... what happens when the soil depletes its nutrients? If you start out with inert substrate, how long will this approach be sustainable.... The nutrients must come from somewhere...

Anyway, this discussion sort of reminds of the Richard Feynman paint mixing anecdote in Surely You're Joking... :)

Cheers,
Michael
 
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Angus

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Well, most of this is semantics as far as I am concerned. If the substrate provides the fertilizer then its less meaningful, in my opinion, to talk about lean dosing, as there is nothing conceptually lean going on here... what happens when the soil depletes is nutrients? If you start out with inert substrate, how long will this approach be sustainable.... The nutrients must come from somewhere...

Anyway, this discussion sort of reminds of the Feynman’s paint mixing anecdote in Surely You're Joking...

Cheers,
Michael
About 6-12 months from experience with amazonia and not dosing anything at all in a low tech tank.
Anecdotal of course, which i feel is very important to add as i'm not conducting studies with controls.
 

Angus

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Well, most of this is semantics as far as I am concerned. If the substrate provides the fertilizer then its less meaningful, in my opinion, to talk about lean dosing, as there is nothing conceptually lean going on here... what happens when the soil depletes its nutrients? If you start out with inert substrate, how long will this approach be sustainable.... The nutrients must come from somewhere...

Anyway, this discussion sort of reminds of the Feynman’s paint mixing anecdote in Surely You're Joking... :)

Cheers,
Michael
Ok looking back i read this wrong michael LOL! i thought you meant how long is a nutrient rich substrate sustainable without dosing not how long is a inert substrate sustainable with EI.
Happi did say other people have done lean with inert, i would like to see their work posted here.
I have already seen the AGA on the rotala kill tank but i really couldnt bring myself to do the whole thread.
 

MichaelJ

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Happi did say other people have done lean with inert, i would like to see their work posted here.
Me too! We can learn a great deal if so... as always, claims that goes against the tide have to be held to a high standard.... or as the saying goes Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Cheers,
Michael
 

John q

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Hi @Happi , I've never thought my tanks require the full amount of ei, I dose about 75% and run low light and don't have eye watering levels of co2. Plant health is ok, but could be better.

I'd be quite happy to test your ideas, in the interests of science, even to the point of destroying one of my tanks.
What I'm struggling to get my head around is this.

When I first transitioned from low tech to high tech I waited about 4 weeks before increasing the lights or ferts (I was dosing 25% ei). In this period I could clearly see improvement in plant growth, however I also started seeing deficiencies appearing, I guessed these deficiencies were iron or magnesium related but couldn't be sure so increased the full ferts dosing to 50%, and slowly but surely the deficiencies seemed to disappear.

Fast forward 4 months and the light intensity is probably 30% higher than it was and ei dosing is 75% but with added phosphate, this was done to combat green spot algae, which seems to have worked.

If I now reduce this dosage and having personally experienced the above problems (rather than being programed to believe it by others) I suspect these problems will return.

Maybe the problem lies with ratios, you mention this above.

So my burning question is what levels of each nutrient works, what levels should be targeted.

Again I'd be quite happy to follow any recipe and document the results.

Cheers.
 
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Geoffrey Rea

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Happi did say other people have done lean with inert, i would like to see their work posted here.

Hugo Kamashi gravel, ADA Brighty K, ADA Brighty mineral and RO remineralised to 5dKH using JBL Aquadur.

12th January:

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A clean up, but carrying on:

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12th February:

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CRASH 💥

Everything melted. This little setup is still producing questions.

@Happi , more than eager to discuss the concept of ‘lean’ dosing. Will reiterate, define what you’re referring to as it is important so we can have a civil dialogue about the evidence we put forward.

Your stems are gorgeous, no doubt. This little test makes no sense in my mind. It shouldn’t have lasted a month, but it did. Worth the chat…
 

Happi

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The OP’s original questions:



Initial response:



Awesome, experience. Definitely useful and most welcome.

However, the component about high light/Co2/fertiliser being a myth is self constructed then argued against. Abundantly, the advice on this site will be to run lower light (a matter of decreasing light in relation to a drop of 1pH - it’s in relationship), matching Co2 to this level of light and dose EI levels of comprehensive fertiliser in the water column.





Cool. Have you tried this with anything other than stems? Epiphytes in general; Anubias, Bucephalandra, Java Fern, Bolbitis for example?

You’ve stated a generalised rule. Does it hold true to every example?

The OP asked whether epiphytes would suffer under ‘lean’ dosing, which isn’t yet defined. In order to understand your argument, this requires clarification.

Would this approach work with a tank full of Cryptocoryne if it is truly universal?
If OP tried this lean approach with improper chemicals/fertilizer such as basic Kno3, kh2po4, csm+b approach, it will not work correctly. For example if OP tried this lean approach with fertilizer like Tropica, it will certainly work. As explained earlier it definitely does matter if you were to use KNO3 alone vs Urea or NH4NO3. It also matters what ratio and which chemicals are being used. We don't need to go much further, just take a look at plants grown under tropica, I believe they grow all kinds of plants including the one listed above. if not, you will find someone does under lean dosing.

If somone truly want to explore lean dosing then they should start looking at how tropica dose their tanks, what ratio and what chemicals they use, you will get most of your answers there. It's also important to consider looking at Marchner ratio. But Tropica ratio would be more appropriate, dosing about 1-3 ppm N weekly depending on your setup, you might have to use little extra micros from tropica fertilizer if your water is rich in minerals or very hard. If you were to dose 1-3 ppm N from KNo3 or 0.1 ppm Fe from CSM+B, it will not produce the same result and this is where most lean doser fail because they are not doing it right to begin with.

I dont think I need to explain to everyone about how to dose lean, because I already mentioned it several time unless you want me to hold your hand and dose the tank for you.

Good luck
 

Happi

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@Geoffrey Rea if you are dosing 30 ppm Potassium and very little Nitrogen, you are still not dosing lean, like I said please consider the ratio, read what I have written above. You can try the tropica and dose 1 ppm N weekly in that little tank and report back in a month or two, first thing that will dispear would be that algae on the glass. Break down the 1 ppm N into 3 to parts. Long as you would keep this routine on this tank with your water changes and trimming, I don't see why it should fail.
Good luck
 
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Geoffrey Rea

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If OP tried this lean approach with improper chemicals/fertilizer such as basic Kno3, kh2po4, csm+b approach, it will not work correctly.

There is no defined approach. The basic concept of ‘lean’, with or without a nutrient rich substrate is still under debate. Lean water column? Is this what is being referred to? The OP also asked for the pros and cons.

I dont think I need to explain to everyone about how to dose lean

Yes, please do. Many others have also requested for this definition to be explicitly stated so far. It hasn’t been addressed. Define what you mean so the conversation can continue constructively.

if you are dosing 30 ppm Potassium and very little Nitrogen, you are still not dosing lean

You’ve also misconstrued the example given, there was no intentionally dosed source of nitrate or phosphate. No livestock. No feeding. Standardised products. Nothing else for one month. That’s intentional. It is the extreme end, complete omission of any N or P input. Not ‘lean’.

it will not produce the same result and this is where most lean doser fail because they are not doing it right to begin with.

Then given you’re advocating a method, one that we’re all eagerly asking to be explicitly laid out, the responsibility to make ‘it’ work for others rests squarely on your shoulders. If others don’t understand what you’re getting at, you can’t surely expect them to know how to operate this method. That’s equivalent to learning to bake a cake by looking at the final picture…

We don't need to go much further, just take a look at plants grown under tropica, I believe they grow all kinds of plants including the one listed above. if not, you will find someone does under lean dosing.

Tropica have changed their formulation over time. The only Tropica formulation that is reliably known for DIY is on James’ Planted Tank for Tropica’s TPN+ that uses ammonium nitrate. Which time period are you referring to?

it definitely does matter if you were to use KNO3 alone vs Urea or NH4NO3.

Who said KNO3 vs Urea vs NH4NO3 exhibits no difference? No biologist would claim that. So who is making this claim that they’re all the same?
 

Angus

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My biggest questions are:

Does the method require a nutrient rich substrate or leeching via this substrate into the water column, whichever you prefer as a mechanism.

If you were to dose 1-3 ppm N from KNo3 or 0.1 ppm Fe from CSM+B, it will not produce the same result and this is where most lean doser fail because they are not doing it right to begin with.
What are we to dose if not our 1kg bag of KNo3 and our csm+b? :lol:
I dont think I need to explain to everyone about how to dose lean, because I already mentioned it several time unless you want me to hold your hand and dose the tank for you.

Good luck
It's not handholding, I would just like a bit more information laid out, it seems to be the same method i use in my low tech tanks anyway which is just fish waste, amazonia and CSM+B/flourish.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Does the method require a nutrient rich substrate or leeching via this substrate into the water column, whichever you prefer as a mechanism.

The crew at Florestas Submersas would be the ones to email. They have an entire lab dedicated to monitoring that setup. It is massive and uses ADA’s soil with 160 tons of water with data across time.

Would allow for an understanding at scale, across time, given it runs a mixed planting with stems in great form and colouration. It’s their job to maintain precise numbers in the water column to achieve those results. They have desired outcomes, bit troublesome if the didn’t.
 

MichaelJ

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I dont think I need to explain to everyone about how to dose lean, because I already mentioned it several time unless you want me to hold your hand and dose the tank for you.
Hi @Happi, I think you should try at least... put as much details and specifics down as you can on this one... what's the prerequisites, when it will work and when it won't etc. I for one, with my limited knowledge on this topic, would like to get my hand hold understanding this... I think we can all learn something here either way and I think you already made quite a few people think hard about this topic - and that's always how progress is made.

Happy Thanksgiving @Happi !

Cheers,
Michael
 

Happi

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Hi @Happi, I think you should try at least... put as much details and specifics down as you can on this one... what's the prerequisites, when it will work and when it won't etc. I for one, with my limited knowledge on this topic, would like to get my hand hold understanding this... I think we can all learn something here either way and I think you already made quite a few people think hard about this topic - and that's always how progress is made.

Happy Thanksgiving @Happi !

Cheers,
Michael
Even though I have already given the answer but I Will work on this in free time to explain it more in detail. I need to spend some time with the family as well. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well
 

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