Long-term overdosing of Excel = Excel resistant BBA! (UPDATE: hypothesis disproven)
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:48 AM   #1
ghotifish
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Long-term overdosing of Excel = Excel resistant BBA! (UPDATE: hypothesis disproven)


I've been dosing Flourish Excel 1ml/5gal (2x recommended maintenance dose) into my CO2-injected tank daily for 3 years for Algae control purposes. Early on, it seemed to negatively impact the BBA, but nowadays the algae doesn't seem limited by it at all. As an experiment, I overdosed 1ml/gal (10x overdose) 1 time (none for the rest of the week) and the BBA showed no change. I've read lots of accounts of people seeing their BBA turn red and die after a single 2x-5x overdose. But mine shows no reaction at 10x. I'm thinking that I may have evolved an Excel resistant strain of BBA in my tank!

Has anyone ever experienced this?

At what Excel concentrations do you usually notice a effect on BBA in your tank?

How much Excel is too much to dose?

Thanks!

Last edited by ghotifish; 12-25-2011 at 03:51 PM.. Reason: New info
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:49 AM   #2
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why you put excel if you have co2 on?
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:53 AM   #3
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For Algae control purposes. In addition to providing carbon, it is also an algaecide.

(Although the people at Seachem make it clear that they cannot officially advertise it as such without Government approval. It's like an off-label use of a medication.)
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:44 AM   #4
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i wouldnt use it over dosed for more the a week
its expensive
it has a negative effect on bacteria populations
it has a negative effect on some plants
cant be good for fish, shrimp
possible resistance of bba over time
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:11 AM   #5
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Ya... After the big dose my downoi melted away entirely, my rotala lost leaves, and my bacopa looks a bit off. No adverse effects to the fauna noted. I've never read anything, before now, about Excel killing bacteria, but I makes sense. Gluteraldehyde is a disinfectant after all.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:56 PM   #6
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Is this a case of an aquariumist just being bored? I always feel that if it's not broke, don't fix it.

As for my excel dosage, on my 10 gallon tank I do 1 thread twice a week only. I don't have injection co2 though and my plants aren't growing rapid (they're fast enough I'm not in a rush to have to trim them). My CRS are breeding and are the focus... I read a few articles about people observing their shrimps reactions and that excel does cause them to act "worst".
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:59 PM   #7
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It's entirely possible. The lesson is excel is not a cure all, maybe once in a while would be most effective.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:08 PM   #8
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Algae is alive thanks to excess of the nutrients it needs. Test your water before a water change, change water more often or more every time. Filter manteinance more frequently, maybe need more efficient method. How much fish you have, how do you feed them, how often water changes and what is on your tap water? And describe your light method, equipment and distances.

IMO: The art is not in adding more stuff, it's in keeping all inputs to the minimum with your tank thriving.

I hope we can help you keep your hands off the tank as much as possible, which is mastering it. I try hard but it's tempting to mess with it.

My tank has showed me that you can bring this example to your life and apply it successfully!
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:42 PM   #9
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I add lots of ferts to this tank and have not visible algae anywhere. 30-45ppm NO3, 10-15ppm of PO4, 1-2 ppm Fe added weekly.



BBA has never entered this tank.
My 180 has it, but only a very very minor amount and only on 1/2 dead leaves after a trim. Maybe a little got on the wood a couple of times.......water change and as spray bottle of Excel, it's dead and does not come back. You can do the same for algae non living scape materials.
H2O2 is cheaper and more available and can work the same.

I've had BBA enter in a dozens of tanks over the decades. Before excel was marketed etc.

CO2(filters clogged?, tank empty, disc clogged, too much off gassing, poor measurement fooling you into thinking you have enough), trimming it off, good focus on the plants,

Limiting nutrients did not help. We specifically tried this in 4 different tanks using both P and N over 6 months. BBA still was there in all 4 cases.
Light also, you can find BBA growing in very dark sections.

Excel will help but it's a dose response.
Plants have a higher tolerance than most algae, so only the upper ranges of dosing, eg, 2-3ppm for sustained periods will help, 1-3 weeks etc of daily dosing to this concentration, not the labeled dosing suggestion.

SAE's, and shrimps do seem to really be effective at keeping minor algae issues at bay, but simply good ferts/CO2/light is the key and always has been.

The rest is horticulture, care, staying on top of things, attacking the problem before it gets out of hand, high plant density/coverage, keeping CO2 running correctly, cleaning filters, good frequent water changes, pruning, perhaps spraying the non living material with Excel during a water change etc.

Prevention is worth a pound of cure.

If you do get algae, then expect to do FAR MORE work to get rid of it, than say my 120 Gal tank which has never had any algae issues. Once you get the plants growing nicely, you can prune your way off of most algae issues.
Often takes a lot of manual removal. Pisses you off however if it just keeps coming back though.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:51 AM   #10
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Thanks Fusiongt and mistergreen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fusiongt View Post
Is this a case of an aquariumist just being bored? I always feel that if it's not broke, don't fix it.
I agree in general, but I do consider persistent BBA "broken". I'm really into the aquascape that I've been working on and I don't want to have to have to tear it all apart to treat a BBA outbreak. Last time it got bad I had to remove everything and start over!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
It's entirely possible. The lesson is excel is not a cure all, maybe once in a while would be most effective.
I agree. I think that I'm done dosing Excel for now. I just don't see the point.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:16 AM   #11
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In my one of my algae experiments on the BBA thread I have floating around here, I found that excel doesn't always kill BBA. I tested this for days and the algae didn't die at levels not safe for the aquarium. I finally decided to try another bottle of excel and the bba died immediately. The bottle I used first was a brand new bottle, and the second one was months old. H2O2 killed it everytime.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:25 AM   #12
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Thanks Pejerrey. I promise that I'll stop messing with the tank as soon as it is absolutely perfect!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pejerrey View Post
Algae is alive thanks to excess of the nutrients it needs. Test your water before a water change, change water more often or more every time. Filter manteinance more frequently, maybe need more efficient method. How much fish you have, how do you feed them, how often water changes and what is on your tap water? And describe your light method, equipment and distances.
Last week, to address the recent BBA bloom, I cleaned the filter, did an extra mid-week 50% water change, cut down on the amount of fish food, trimmed out many of the bba-affected leaves, AND did the large Excel dose.

I'm running out of ideas!

Here are my current tank specifications. Please let me know if you can tell what I'm doing wrong!


40 gallon breeder tank

Lights: 2x 39 T5HO, 4" above tank, 7hr/day (window screen covering the half of the light that is above the hill area)

CO2: pressurized CO2, gla atomic inline diffuser, on 3 hours before the lights & off 1 hr before the lights go off, bubble rate too fast to count- aiming for light green with a hint of yellow on the drop checker throughout the entire photoperiod. Attemp to keep the CO2 just shy of gassing the fish.

Filter: Eheim 2217, 2 powerheards. Filter cleaned monthly. Airstone at night

Fertilizer: EI dosing (3x/wk: 3/8 tsp kno3, 3/32 tsp kh2po4, 3/32 tsp k2so4. Also CSM+B 3/32 tsp 3x/week) 50% water change per week. Recently, I increased from the 20-40gal recipe to the 40-60 gal recipe and Added K2SO4 after developing potassium deficiency. Improved plant growth noted immediately.

Heater: hydor inline heater 74 degrees

Substrate: ecocomplete

Fauna-- around 35 fish (usual suspects-neon and rummy nosed tetras, ottos, corys, 1 bn pleco) + 20 red cherry shrimp. Fed moderately.

Water parameters: I do not routinely test my water. I don't get consistent readings between different test strips/kits, so I'm unsure as too the exact gH, kH, and minerals. I don't test for ferts. Generally, our water is soft but not super-soft. We are using well water treated by a Na based water softener--our untreated well water is not acceptable due to extreme iron content--liquid rust.

I'm suspicious that my water may be contributing to the problem. But I'm not sure what to do about it. I don't know what I should test or how to interpret the results. I'm not sure what interventions are available to me short of switch to RO water, which I'd really rather not mess with.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:25 AM   #13
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Dosing 2x Excel for heavy BBA on my slow growing plants (anubias) and wood did nothing but turn my vals to mush. *burns $10 bill*
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:13 AM   #14
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Default Thanks Plantbrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post

My 180 has it, but only a very very minor amount and only on 1/2 dead leaves after a trim. Maybe a little got on the wood a couple of times.......water change and as spray bottle of Excel, it's dead and does not come back. You can do the same for algae non living scape materials.
H2O2 is cheaper and more available and can work the same.

I've had BBA enter in a dozens of tanks over the decades. Before excel was marketed etc.

CO2(filters clogged?, tank empty, disc clogged, too much off gassing, poor measurement fooling you into thinking you have enough), trimming it off, good focus on the plants,

Limiting nutrients did not help. We specifically tried this in 4 different tanks using both P and N over 6 months. BBA still was there in all 4 cases.
Light also, you can find BBA growing in very dark sections.

Excel will help but it's a dose response.
Plants have a higher tolerance than most algae, so only the upper ranges of dosing, eg, 2-3ppm for sustained periods will help, 1-3 weeks etc of daily dosing to this concentration, not the labeled dosing suggestion.

SAE's, and shrimps do seem to really be effective at keeping minor algae issues at bay, but simply good ferts/CO2/light is the key and always has been.

The rest is horticulture, care, staying on top of things, attacking the problem before it gets out of hand, high plant density/coverage, keeping CO2 running correctly, cleaning filters, good frequent water changes, pruning, perhaps spraying the non living material with Excel during a water change etc.

Prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Everything you are saying about prevention makes a lot of sense and is consistent with what I am attempting to do. Unfortunately, the BBA is already there. It entered the tank three years ago when we were brand new to aquascaping and it has been present to some extent ever since.

Quote:
If you do get algae, then expect to do FAR MORE work to get rid of it, than say my 120 Gal tank which has never had any algae issues. Once you get the plants growing nicely, you can prune your way off of most algae issues.
Often takes a lot of manual removal. Pisses you off however if it just keeps coming back though.
I really was hoping that there would be some way for me to avoid the constant trimming affected leaves, spot treating and scraping hardscape, picking out affected pieces of substrate, and generally being pissed off. I can handle some of this, but I doing it constantly gets depressing.

I really hope that there is something I can do to help suppress it a bit...
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sewingalot View Post
In my one of my algae experiments on the BBA thread I have floating around here, I found that excel doesn't always kill BBA. I tested this for days and the algae didn't die at levels not safe for the aquarium. I finally decided to try another bottle of excel and the bba died immediately. The bottle I used first was a brand new bottle, and the second one was months old. H2O2 killed it everytime.
i have had this happen several times and im sure its because excel batches are a not consistent in strength

i had 1 bottle that i double dosed for weeks and hardly did anything
got a different bottle and all the bba turned red in four days
that was with a break in between the different bottles
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