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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been regularly dosing my low tech planted tank (no CO2) with fertilizers twice weekly, and Excel daily for the last 2 years. Several times when going away for vacation for perhaps 4 days I've had to miss the daily Excel dosing - but obviously all the other ferts remain in the water column. More than once I've noticed a fairly dramatic growth spurt of nearly all my plants during those few days without Excel. This seems completely counter-intuitive to me and I was wondering if anyone else has noticed something similar or has any explanation.

Thanks!
 

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Hi jbjonas,

Short answer is 'yes'. I have had growth increase with certain species when I reduced my dosing from 1X Initial dose and 2X Daily dose (six days a week) to 1X Initial dose and 1X Daily Dose (three days a week). I don't know for sure if it was excessive dosing that was holding back growth on some species or not but I backed off on excessive dosing on all of my tanks unless I have a major algae outbreak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks @Seattle_Aquarist

I've never given the suggested initial dose. I noticed these growth spurts even when regularly giving 1X the recommended daily dose and then giving nothing for 4 days...

I will probably continue giving the 1X daily dose because it helps a lot with algae mitigation. Maybe I'll try dosing daily at 1/2X and see.

I still have to wonder why it might possibly be "excessive" enough at the recommended dose to inhibit plant growth... Anyone else seen this or have theories?
 

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Hi @jbjonas,

I have a theory; in order for roots to uptake certain nutrients microbes interact with the minerals to make them 'more available' to the roots. Since Excel (aka glutaradehyde) is a germicide it may be effecting the population of microbes and decreasing the amount of available nutrients to the roots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting theory @Seattle_Aquarist. I can't say I'm knowledgeable enough about that to have an opinion. Perhaps there is no definitive answer, and once again being able to adjust dosing based on subjective observations of the plant's response is more important than any objective measurement and the science behind it. I'm learning to accept that, as this 'theme' recurs with many of the issues I come across and ask about... :)

It does help to know that at least someone else has seen similar results when lowering Excel dosing though. Thanks again!
 

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Could just be a slight bias because you're not looking at your tank for several days. Try taking a picture of your tank every day and should see fairly strong growth between day 1 and day 5.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Could just be a slight bias because you're not looking at your tank for several days. Try taking a picture of your tank every day and should see fairly strong growth between day 1 and day 5.
I'm not sure I understand what you're suggesting @JusticeBeaver. There is no question that a growth spurt is clear (bright green and larger new leaves that are were not there beforehand), but as I said, I'm on vacation during the days that it occurs - so no way to take daily pictures.
 

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I'm not sure I understand what you're suggesting @JusticeBeaver. There is no question that a growth spurt is clear (bright green and larger new leaves that are were not there beforehand), but as I said, I'm on vacation during the days that it occurs - so no way to take daily pictures.

I think the implication is that because you are away for X number of days the growth seems more pronounced when you get back. Its difficult to notice the subtle day to day changes but is much easier to notice larger changes on say a weekly or monthly basis. Its sort of like if you have a small child in your house growing up with you. Day to day its near impossible to notice any changes. But if you have say a baby cousin you see only 3 or 4 times a year its very easy to see the growth difference when you have long absences in between.
 
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I've been regularly dosing my low tech planted tank (no CO2) with fertilizers twice weekly, and Excel daily for the last 2 years. Several times when going away for vacation for perhaps 4 days I've had to miss the daily Excel dosing - but obviously all the other ferts remain in the water column. More than once I've noticed a fairly dramatic growth spurt of nearly all my plants during those few days without Excel. This seems completely counter-intuitive to me and I was wondering if anyone else has noticed something similar or has any explanation.

Thanks!
Need to add a few more things
1)Did you change light period when gone?
2)someone else feed the fish (assuming fish) and adding more food than usual..
3)Open curtains for ambient lights..

sorry some little things can effect stuff..
not saying what you saw is not real.. just adding variables..

That said when I did Excel for "carbon" it was usually every other day..Sadly this period didn't last long b4 real CO2 so no observable effects..
Dosing 10ml glut in a 55 didn't seem to slow anything down. On the contrary, the lack of algae usually increase "perceived" growth but more of a special case and certainly not proven..
sure did look better..

got to agree, that unless one takes measurements, judging increased growth is near impossible..

Try running an experiment while you are home..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I appreciate the suggestions everybody has made. There are certainly a lot of possible variables to consider, but I'm fairly certain I can rule out all the ones suggested here. The only notable difference is the missed Excel doses. Perhaps it's still a subjective measure, but I have no doubt that there was a growth spurt each time when I return from being away; the difference is so stark that I can clearly say there's no bias from not seeing the daily differences, or "baby cousin" situation going on.

I realize there is only one way to figure out if there is really a difference caused only by missing the Excel dosing: to try the same exact changes while I'm not on vacation while taking daily pictures to record the plant growth. One of these days I will try that and post my results here. Thanks again!
 

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No idea one way or the other as to why but maybe something reasonable easy would help you verify that you do have a growth spurt and not just losing it?
I don't see daily pictures as needed but perhaps a more possible set of pictures timed at the same amount of time? If you are gone for four days, a picture before you leave and one after four days, then as you do leave take a picture and four days later when you come back, take another. As growth is often a "progressive" type thing, we might expect the second set to be somewhat larger than the first set but still somewhat close if there is not a spurt in growth.
If the location and home setting would allow, setting a camera on a tripod and leaving it would help to cut the variables induced by moving camera angles.
 
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