Does Excel (Glut) work? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Does Excel (Glut) work?

I've been reading hundreds of articles and all seem consistent - CO2 is good, makes plants grow 10x faster, Excel is a substitute and plants grow 2-3x faster. Different numbers in different places.

I have yet to read anywhere that says "we tried this in controlled conditions and it happened".

Intrigued by the thread here about root feeders and running an experiment, I am wondering if anyone has actually done the same for Excel/Glut? Note I am not asking so much about the difference between real Excel and Metricide, but rather just does it really work? How much of this is internet wisdom from hearing the echo of the very first postings.

My question is not to suggest I think it does not work.

Rather... does anyone know of actual testing that was published for low tech tanks?

Has anyone tried it under controlled, side by side conditions themselves?

I do not (at the moment at least) have the facilities to try this, and I use Metricide continually with what I think are good results. But I have a shrimp tank and tuck a couple plants in there with just a bare trace of Flourish Comprehensive and nothing else, and they are growing well also. Makes you think.

Might I suggest responses of "I use it and it works" are not what I am after, rather "I did this with and without" would be most helpful. Or pointers to same.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 07:13 PM
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The closest I can come to an answer you may be looking for, is Ive had two different tanks that started out completely low tech - sparse but complete ferts, no glut, 30-ish or so par at sub. After a few months I began adding glut in the form of metricide @ 2ml:10 gal. Almost immediately there was a noticeable increase in plant growth, and overall health, or "robustness."

Ive also maintained a couple tanks with 50-60 PAR using only glut, which I feel confident saying would not be possible otherwise without some kind of algae nightmare.


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 09:03 PM
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I guess if one were to deliberately set out to do this experiment, even a cheapo version
of it a couple of 10g tanks could be made up almost identical. I'd think it would take
more than two of them. Like two @ 35 PAR, and two @ 45 PAR, and two @ 55 PAR.
In each pair one tank would have the Excel. With all plants and sub being the same.
But then the ferts would all need to be EI so you'd know there was no shortages.
Then you'd need to do 10 sets like that to get an average to eliminate the "what if
some of the plants were just in better health?" factor.
But I doubt without any incentive being there would anyone actually do all that.
I have two 10g tanks, but completely different except for the ferts in them and one
gets 2x the recommended amount of actual Excel.
But then one does have higher light so any extra plant growth could just be due to
the higher light.
I need to go to what burr740 said about the concept of how much algae would that tank have if there was no Excel in it. Because I really can't say I see any difference in the plant growth. But then neither did I do that experiment...so...

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, both. Yes, doing such an experiment with a high degree of accuracy would be time consuming as Raymond says, but doing it once in one light would at least be more informative than nothing. It's the kind of thing an aquarium club, for example, might find interesting as a project. Or a magazine for an article.

Burr740's experience of adding it to an existing tank and seeing growth take off is much closer, at least for the time just before and after you can presume all else stayed the same. On the other hand, the higher light tanks with only glut have a certain speculation that they would be an algae nightmare without. Maybe I should say informed speculation.

There are a number of reasons this is of interest. Once I get enough plant growth -- maybe I should stop dosing Excel, let things slow down. What happens when you quit -- do plants just slow down, or (like an addict going into withdrawal) do bad things happen. It's used for spot treating algae, but does it really, actually have an impact on algae at normal doses or is that mis-applied inference from spot treatment?

If you look at CO2 there's a ton of basic research out there about times and lighting and the interaction with water chemistry is very well understood. This "Liquid CO2" (which isn't of course) on the other hand is a very complex chemical with more modest impact, but is very widely used with not nearly the amount of publicized research to show its effect (and long term impact). Frankly speaking for myself, it could be doing absolutely nothing and I would have no way to know that. I suspect most of us using it just started and used it without ever doing it as a change from zero to compare. Maybe it's all placebo effect, like all the non-Celiac people not eating gluten and thinking it makes a difference and getting others to not eat gluten.

The more I searched the more surprised I was at that lack, and wondered if I was missing something.

I'm not stopping -- I still need a lot more growth before reaching "done" on my tanks, and certainly there is zero evidence out there that it does not work -- my comments above lament the lack of information, I am not trying to suggest it is nothing but flavored water!

But i wish I had time and space to set up a real test. Hey... any magazine editors listening -- think what a great article it would be. Get some author to do some testing!

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 10:09 PM
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It's an interesting topic for sure Linwood.

Something else Ive experienced from doing a few different tanks with DIY CO2 (one with over 100 PAR) They always do better as far as algae with daily glut. The difference is pretty substantial, and I now dose glut in any diy set up.

So from that I personally believe that daily use is <can be> highly effective keeping algae at bay.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 01:17 AM
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Nothing scientific, but it sure makes a difference in my tank.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 03:27 AM
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Several weeks ago I was pretty sick with some virus, for about 3 weeks. During most of that time I totally ignored my aquarium. The plants didn't just slow down or stop growing, they also started looking very ratty, and one rotted at the base and floated to the top of the tank. I think if you grew your plants with 2 ml per 10 gallons of Excel, then stopped so they wouldn't grow too big, you would see similar results - not at all satisfactory. It is generally the best idea to let only the light intensity determine how fast the plants grow, not try to regulate that with any of the nutrients.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Several weeks ago I was pretty sick with some virus, for about 3 weeks. During most of that time I totally ignored my aquarium. The plants didn't just slow down or stop growing, they also started looking very ratty, and one rotted at the base and floated to the top of the tank. I think if you grew your plants with 2 ml per 10 gallons of Excel, then stopped so they wouldn't grow too big, you would see similar results - not at all satisfactory. It is generally the best idea to let only the light intensity determine how fast the plants grow, not try to regulate that with any of the nutrients.
Yes, i look at it as an algae control. Not a plant nutrient.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 11:01 AM
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i have a bottle of excel at home. yet i use it only in my CO2 injected tank, not in my low techs. its because it is an algaecide and nothing more.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Ichy and dzega that's fascinating. I had thought of it as an algecide only in spot quantities. Goes to my point about wishing there was more quantitative data on how well it really works.

At high does I assume it somehow directly kills algae, but how at recommended "fertilizer" doses does it reduce algae? Is it acting to let the plants grow faster and so out-compete algae? Or is it directly killing algae in low doses as well? (And why doesn't algae benefit from it in low doses to grow since they are photosynthesizing organisms as well?)

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 02:37 PM
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Plants have substantially more complicated metabolic systems than algae do. It's not surprising that the two groups differ.

This data sheet says that it's toxic to algae (Which algae? I don't know, but it would be foolish to assume all of them.) at 0.9 mg/L, and has highly conflicting results for toxicity to daphnia for acute vs chronic (somehow the acute dosage is lower than the chronic, which makes no sense.)

A better one, from Dow / Union Carbide, traced the metabolism of glutaraldehyde (pentanedial) using carbon-14 markers. They discovered that in aerobic conditions it is first metabolized to glutaric acid (pentanedioic acid) and from there through a series of intermediates to carbon dioxide. It is indeed a carbon source for plants. This paper also cites more sensible toxicity data for algae (again, no species) and daphnia, at 2.5 and 9 mg/L LD50 respectively.

Also, I found this amusing. It's a very similar post from 2009.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Also, I found this amusing. It's a very similar post from 2009.
There are no original thoughts any more I guess.

I see near the end a similar conclusion that basically says "too hard for a hobbyist to contribute to". I confess I'm not ready to, but a very similar test to the "heavy root feeders" would be interesting. If it gave no apparent benefit or even ambiguous apparent benefit I would say that's a significant data point. After all, the selling point (for most) is to expect a clear growth benefit. If you can't see it....

On the other hand, if you get mixed results - some grow faster, some don't... well, it sets the stage to ask whether it benefits some plants more than others.

Data is data. Maybe a trial run does not put all questions to bed, but it does narrow down the universe of possible effects.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-22-2015, 03:19 PM
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It seems like a pretty simple experiment would be to set up a low tech tank, maybe 30-35 par, heavily planted, ample ferts, 50% weekly water changes. Let it run for a couple months, and if all is well, start glut and see what happens.

Of course the light level could possibly hinder the plant growing benefits. but I bet you could see a difference.


I think what raymond said earlier would be the minimum way to get reliable results. Have 3 pairs of tanks. One pair at 30 par, one at 45, one at 60. In each pair have the same plants, good ferts, wc's, etc. Use glut in one and no glut the other.


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-25-2015, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linwood View Post
Ichy and dzega that's fascinating. I had thought of it as an algecide only in spot quantities. Goes to my point about wishing there was more quantitative data on how well it really works.

At high does I assume it somehow directly kills algae, but how at recommended "fertilizer" doses does it reduce algae? Is it acting to let the plants grow faster and so out-compete algae? Or is it directly killing algae in low doses as well? (And why doesn't algae benefit from it in low doses to grow since they are photosynthesizing organisms as well?)
it is an algaecide. it kills algae and (maybe) that way promotes plant growth. not the other way around.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutaraldehyde

daily regular dose works, but most folks double it. most popular use in high tech tanks is to keep BBA at bay.
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