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Old 05-05-2012, 06:30 PM   #1
Sachababs
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Best Seachem Flourish product?


have quite a heavily planted aquarium and at the moment am using Seachem Flourish Excel (carbon supplement) and they seem to be doing quite well. The bottle's nearly run out and I was wondering whether I should go for:
Seachem Flourish Excel (Just carbon?)
Seachem Flourish
Seachem Flourish Root Tabs
Iron/ Potassium/ Phosphorous.
Or even JBL Ferropol 24.
Thanks!
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:39 PM   #2
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Are you asking what single one you should use? Because they are generally a set. Each isn't a replacement for the others. Although there is some overlap of course.

I only use excel (actually, metricide cause it's cheaper) and dry ferts for everything else. No need to buy water.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:27 PM   #3
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Do you know how Excel is different from Flourish? I was told that Excel is just Carbon and nothing else. So tabs are not as good as Excel?
Thanks for the reply
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:46 PM   #4
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Tabs are for heavy root feeders. Liquid ferts can have problems getting to roots sometimes. In a well planted tank you will want to place the tabs near your big root feeders then liquid dose for everything else.

If you switch to flourish comp from excel you will likely notice some of your plants dying off. Light and carbon are the biggest nutrients needed for plants. If you change one of those the plants are going to react.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:52 PM   #5
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OK so keep with the excel? If I were to supplement that with one other product, what would you recommend? And how often should I dose excel? Is daily really needed?
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:20 PM   #6
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You could supplement with root tabs I suppose. Why are you looking at changing things up though? If the plants are doing ok I would leave things alone. I like to go by the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid.

I honestly couldn't tell you how often to dose with excel. I dont use any form of extra carbon. My plants dont grow all that fast but I'm ok with that.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:23 PM   #7
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Heh, I think you're probably right. To be honest it was just because the colours aren't looking as great as they used to... a bit of browning and yellowing. But I guess there's not much need for me to change...
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sachababs View Post
Do you know how Excel is different from Flourish? I was told that Excel is just Carbon and nothing else. So tabs are not as good as Excel?
Thanks for the reply
What do you mean? Flourish is a mix of nutrients and Excel is a carbon source that plants can utilize. I'm not sure what you mean by "do you know how excel is different". I'm probably just missing something, but they are different like milk and grapes are different.

The two products are completely different things. If I were going with only one product I would use the flourish, then add excel next, then root tabs, and then and products that will hit deficiencies like iron, potassium and possibly N and P. But that's just a general order that I usually have success with. I prefer to use the excel with dry ferts and hit everything I need with EI so there are no shortages.
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Old 05-06-2012, 04:29 AM   #9
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You eat protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and so on. You cannot live on just one of these. You need a blend.

Plants need about 16 elements to live. You cannot omit one of these and pretend that one of the others will do the job. It won't work any more than taking a vitamin supplement gives you the carbohydrates you need.

The elements that plants need the most of are all around them so we do not think about aquarium plants needing water (Hydrogen (H) and oxygen(O)) but they do. What happens when you stop watering your petunias? They die. Actually the oxygen is gas dissolved in the water, so the aquarium needs good water circulation so the oxygen gets replaced as it is removed.

The next most important element to plants is carbon (C). In an aquarium we supply that in any of several ways, Excel is one of those ways.

After carbon plants need Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). These are called Macros. Fish food is fairly rich in N and P, but not K. If you still have to do water changes to keep the NO3 low, then fish food is supplying the N and P the plants need. No need to dose more. But dose K. Aquarium plants seem to use a lot of K.

There are several minerals that plants need more of and some they need less of. The water supplies calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) as long as the GH is over about 3 German degrees of hardness. But most water is low in iron (Fe). Fish food does not have much, either.
So, dose GH booster if the GH is too low, and dose iron unless you know your tap water supplies it in a form the plants can use.

All the other minerals plants need in rather small amounts. These are grouped together as Micros. If the fish food is supplying the N, then assume the micros are OK, too. But if you have to dose N and P, then assume you also need to dose a micro nutrient blend, such as CSM+B or Flourish Comprehensive.

How to supply these nutrients:
If you buy a bottle of liquid fertilizer you are buying mostly water. The active ingredient may really be only a teaspoon to a tablespoon of something dissolved in the water. This may be fine for some people, but I do not care to pay for shipping water when I really want nitrogen, phosphorus and so on. I get plenty of water right out of the tap a lot cheaper. However, you can buy each of the macros and a micro-blend of fertilizers, and a carbon source in separate bottles so you can dose exactly what your tank needs in the right amounts.

Dry fertilizers are the active ingredients in the bottles. I add tap water to a large bottle, and put in a few teaspoons to a table spoon of each of the materials my plants need, in the ratio they need them. Then I dose my tanks with my DIY liquid fertilizers.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:49 AM   #10
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Thanks for your long and detailed reply Diana.
I think dry ferts are the way to go. Maybe the most important would be Carbon and Potassium to start with? I don't know about these things...
Also, it's not like I can just walk into a store and buy some potassium...
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sachababs View Post
I was told that Excel is just Carbon and nothing else.
Excel is glutaraldehyde. Google it. It is a lot more than just carbon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sachababs View Post
Thanks for your long and detailed reply Diana.
I think dry ferts are the way to go. Maybe the most important would be Carbon and Potassium to start with?
Carbon is available in CO2 or supposedly Excel. You can't buy a carbon-specific dry or liquid fert.

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Also, it's not like I can just walk into a store and buy some potassium...
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:27 AM   #12
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Seachem actually has a dosing guide that I follow when it comes time to dose my tank on a daily basis. Pretty helpful.

Sure you need to make modifications to it when it comes to your lighting and C02 supply, but it is a good start to give you an idea of how dosing should be spread out.

http://www.seachem.com/support/PlantDoseChart.pdf
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
You eat protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and so on. You cannot live on just one of these. You need a blend.

Plants need about 16 elements to live. You cannot omit one of these and pretend that one of the others will do the job. It won't work any more than taking a vitamin supplement gives you the carbohydrates you need.

The elements that plants need the most of are all around them so we do not think about aquarium plants needing water (Hydrogen (H) and oxygen(O)) but they do. What happens when you stop watering your petunias? They die. Actually the oxygen is gas dissolved in the water, so the aquarium needs good water circulation so the oxygen gets replaced as it is removed.

The next most important element to plants is carbon (C). In an aquarium we supply that in any of several ways, Excel is one of those ways.

After carbon plants need Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). These are called Macros. Fish food is fairly rich in N and P, but not K. If you still have to do water changes to keep the NO3 low, then fish food is supplying the N and P the plants need. No need to dose more. But dose K. Aquarium plants seem to use a lot of K.

There are several minerals that plants need more of and some they need less of. The water supplies calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) as long as the GH is over about 3 German degrees of hardness. But most water is low in iron (Fe). Fish food does not have much, either.
So, dose GH booster if the GH is too low, and dose iron unless you know your tap water supplies it in a form the plants can use.

All the other minerals plants need in rather small amounts. These are grouped together as Micros. If the fish food is supplying the N, then assume the micros are OK, too. But if you have to dose N and P, then assume you also need to dose a micro nutrient blend, such as CSM+B or Flourish Comprehensive.

How to supply these nutrients:
If you buy a bottle of liquid fertilizer you are buying mostly water. The active ingredient may really be only a teaspoon to a tablespoon of something dissolved in the water. This may be fine for some people, but I do not care to pay for shipping water when I really want nitrogen, phosphorus and so on. I get plenty of water right out of the tap a lot cheaper. However, you can buy each of the macros and a micro-blend of fertilizers, and a carbon source in separate bottles so you can dose exactly what your tank needs in the right amounts.

Dry fertilizers are the active ingredients in the bottles. I add tap water to a large bottle, and put in a few teaspoons to a table spoon of each of the materials my plants need, in the ratio they need them. Then I dose my tanks with my DIY liquid fertilizers.
Where do I vote for this as useful post of the year? This is even more clear than the article linked on the articles section of the main site.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:29 AM   #14
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Gee, thanks, Archimedes!

Dry fertilizers are available in 50 lb plus bags to the aqriculture industry. It took our club (SFBAAPS) several years to use 50 lb bags each of several agricultural grade fertilizers.

Several aquarium minded folk buy these bags, then split them up for sale. Usually 1 lb quantities.
Here is one such place. Look also in the sales area here and other sites.
http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/

How to estimate how much to buy:

If you need to dose KNO3 (to get the nitrogen) and KH2PO4 (to get the phosphate) then you might be dosing enough K at the same time. Maybe, maybe not.

If your tap water GH is over 3 degrees I would skip the GH booster, unless you know your Ca or Mg was missing. GH measures both together. To find out if your water is weird this way, test the Ca. Sorry, you will have to put on a thinking cap next, it is not a straight math formula to find out how much of your GH is Ca, when you have done a Ca test. If you are going down this trail, know that there are ways to dose just Mg (Epsom salt) if that is what your water is missing, and ways to dose just Ca if that is what your water is missing (Calcium carbonate is one, there are others)

If you have a heavily stocked tank and the NO3 keeps rising, then you may not need to dose KNO3 or KH2PO4, so get some K2SO4. This is potassium without the nitrogen or phosphorus.

__________________________________________________ _______

So: Here is the shopping list (2 of them, actually):

Absolute minimum:
K2SO4
Chelated Iron
Excel

Better list, especially if you have good light:

KNO3 (if fish food does not supply enough)
KH2PO4 (If fish food does not supply enough)
K2SO4 (Get some anyway, even if you will be dosing the first 2. Excess potassium does not seem to be a problem in aquariums)

GH Booster, or specialty Ca or Mg products, only if you need them (Epsom salt can be purchased very cheap in stores near you, do not pay shipping on this)

Trace minerals. I would get some, even if fish food supplies a fair amount.
Iron: I would get a chelated iron. Even if your tap water has iron, it may not be a form plants can use.

Keep up with Excel as a source of carbon, though there are other methods. You can make a CO2 generator with yeast and sugar, and a little minimal plumbing skill (Very minimal) or you can get fancy with pressurized CO2, which does call for a bit more skill in set up, but is well worth it if you can afford the initial expense.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:30 AM   #15
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Gee, thanks, Archimedes!
And thank you again! I didn't realize you were local, I had no idea where Contra Costa was.
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