At what point is Excel no longer viable? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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At what point is Excel no longer viable?

Excel is truly great in a number of situations, but I am wondering if there is a point (WPG, tank size, dosing levels, cost [obviously], etc) when it is no longer viable as an alternative to real CO2.

I understand the basic chemistry of the stuff, I can see how the glutaraldehyde isomer works as a carbon source, I'm just pondering if at some point pressurized CO2 becomes "better" for the plants.


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Last edited by danakin; 03-04-2009 at 08:47 PM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 04:47 PM
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Pressurized co2 is always more beneficial to plants than excel. Excel is better than nothing and in some cases does more than DIY if you don't/can't get proper levels.

This is of course only considering the plants and not cost/space/time in setting up and getting pressurized systems.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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While I don't doubt that, I want to know why that is, and where the break point is between the two choices.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 01:18 PM
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This may help to answer part of your question. It comes from Seachem's FAQ's: http://www.seachem.com/support/FAQs/FlourishExcel.html

Q: Is Flourish Excel a replacement for CO2 in a planted aquarium?

A: Yes and no. It provides the same benefit as CO2, i.e. it provides the plants with a source of carbon for growth just as CO2 provides them with carbon. However CO2 by itself will give you quantitatively more growth than Excel by itself, although Excel does provide a substantial amount in comparison. If CO2 is a 10, Excel is a 6-7. Using both together provides additional benefit. One of the advantages of the Excel is no up front equipment costs and complexity of valves, hoses and regulators, etc.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-05-2009, 01:27 PM
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don't forget, excel also has those nifty algaecidal properties, and supposedly aids in making iron more available in your tank. (that second one I read, and can't back up myself, but I've seen it several places)

use both together for a less troubled existence :-)

(unless this thread was about cost, in which case using both together probably isn't such a good idea)


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
don't forget, excel also has those nifty algaecidal properties, and supposedly aids in making iron more available in your tank. (that second one I read, and can't back up myself, but I've seen it several places)
It also causes some very thin wispy plants to melt, and if you accidently overdose you can kill your fish, or more easily shrimp. I think anything over 55 gallons it becomes much less effective, and the amount you would have to use makes it less attractive.

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and where the break point is between the two choices
There is no way to know that, not anything practical. You can not even accurately measure its effectiveness

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-16-2009, 03:42 AM
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CO2 also stabilizes PH levels in the tank. Excel,,, not. Once the initial equipment is purchased a 20 lb. cylinder recharge costs me $25.44 and lasts ?????? I've been feeding two 75 gallon tanks since last May w/o high pressure drop to date. So nearly a year already.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-16-2009, 03:10 PM
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Well, you can measure the effectiveness, but it's not something the aquarist might do unless they are really into it.

If you are honestly into it, PM, and I can tell you how it'll likely cost you a few hundred $ for the equipment, but it's far from impossible.

Still, the point here is really why not use CO2 gas?
It works very well even at very low ligth(you get more growth using CO2 than Excel at ANY light level).

Excel is simpler to use, I think that is the best solution for some and the trade off they like. Many are very intimidated by CO2 gas, and try to avoid using it like the Plague.

Learn how to use it and learn it well.
That is more important and will give you a lot more gains in the hobby than any other nutrient.

Excel and CO2 are both safe when used correcty, but many simply do not give either the respect they both deserve and kill their fish due to outright carelessness. Neither of these things directly kill fish or harm them when used correctly, aquarists do that

I've yet to have met a single person that's killed their fish/shrimp with KNO3, KH2PO4, but many will belly ache endlessly about how bad, hard, how algae is induced etc by NO3, PO4, or anohter myth about K+ stunts their plants, then brush off CO2 like it's nothing.

Excel is not a bad thing to use here and there to get the CO2 dialed in or for smaller tanks ..........as mentioned already.

Nor is it a bad solution for say a 20 gal lower light tank all by itself.
Slower growth is the goal or many, so low light + Excel works well, and you can do a semi low tech tank and also still do large frewquent water changes if you wish, for a pure on CO2/no carbon enrichment, most do not do water changes except perhaps once every few months.

So there's the trade offs to really consider. There's no cut off point really, some use it with CO2 at high light, but using Excel alone at high light is pointless, you are wasting the light energy, if you want faster growth(which is why you have higher light right????!!!), then add CO2 gas, not more light.

All more light means is that you have more CO2 and nutrient demand and faster rates of growth. Most folks honestly do not want that.

You do not get better colors, better growth, you just get faster growth at higher light. More is not better in other words.

CO2 is the key player here, so work on that.
Lower light-> buy a gas CO2 system first. Then see. If the growht rates are too slow, add ADA AS+ good water column dosing, frequent water changes.

If that is still too slow, then, lastly................consider more light.
An aquarist is likely very impatient if this is the case and will make many mistakes so I do not have high hopes if they go that route.
Most simple assume more light is better for planted tanks, and do not consider CO2 as important, when in fact, it's much more in general.



Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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