In the last few years automated dosing of the major elements through dosing pumps using several channels has become widespread, almost commonplace among average reefers. Having dedicated dosing channels for calcium, buffer & magnesium is a great way to keep these parameters in check and your corals growing fast.
But what about the other stuff, the aminos, trace elements and carbon sources? For these other additives it’s not quite as crucial to automatically add them to the tank water every day. So over the years I’ve developed a different approach to adding these essentials which is fast, easy and convenient.
Although it doesn’t take very long to open a bottle, pour out a little bit into a measuring vessel and dose it to the tank. But multiply this for each thing you want to dose and every day you want to dose it and it’s not the most convenient of daily aquarium chores.
So to streamline my dosing regimen I’ve used various pump bottles through the years to manually dose AcroPower, Trace Elements, NO3PO4X and Flourish Excel (for the freshwater tank). I used cheap pump bottles of all different sorts, with variable output for each pump, but recently I decided to upgrade all of these to better bottles, and especially better pump heads.
The metal pump head of these bottles is a much smoother press and they should be more consistent in their dosing over time. A 10ml graduated cylinder was used to calibrate how much fluid comes out with each press, the kind that comes with dosing pumps for calibration.
For minor trace elements it’s really not critical to get super precise dosing but at least a ballpark figure, which for these pump bottles turned out to be 2ml for three presses. If I want to get really precise I can pump the additives into the graduated cylinder itself.
This approach to dosing the accessory additives has worked so well for me because it makes short work of administering Amino Acids, a carbon source and trace elements to a range of tank sizes without all the fuss of having dedicated dosing systems for each one. For smaller tanks with lighter mineral demands this is also a great way to manually dose calcium, buffer & magnesium. In the future I will look at some smaller pump bottles for dosing the important trace elements like iodine, zinc, manganese but for now, using these pump bottles has been a great compliment to conventional dosing techniques.