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I've read a lot of mixed reviews on Flourish Excel. There are stories on this harming plants, causing them to melt or burn. Are there any legitimate concerns here? I know Tom Barr has mentioned using Excel, noting the expected growth rate multiplyer of Non-CO2 vs Excel, so there has to be some degree of safety for someone like Tom to mention it.

On a side note, has anyone had experience with API CO2 Booster? Just left Petsmart and noticed this brand, but outside of one or two threads I've found, there doesn't seem to be as much praise for this vs Excel.
 

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Some plant like Anacharis does not like Excel. Majority of the plants are fine with it.

Seachem. Flourish Excel FAQ
Anacharis is a particularly sensitive species (known to be sensitive to high temperature, trace copper, formaldehyde etc.). It is also sensitive to Flourish Excel. If you have Anacharis in an aquarium in which you are dosing Flourish Excel we recommend using Flourish Excel every other day rather than daily.
I use Excel on top of compressed CO2 for the algaecide property.
 

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A few plants are sensitive to gluteraldehyde, which is the active ingredient in most "CO2 boosters"

The ones I know about are vals, anacharis, certain crypts (although Ive never seen a negative effect on wendtii sp's) Vals tend to melt initially then come right back. Most plants have no problem with it.

API is the same thing, so is Metricide. The latter is considerably cheaper, can find it on amazon.
 

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If you buy metricide, you can dilute it to match the aquarium products, or dose it straight, but adjust the dosage so you are not over dosing.

Read the label on Seachem Flourish Excel. There is a loading dose, for initial use or after a water change, and a smaller dose.
Vals are fine with the smaller dose, but not with the loading dose.
 

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I have used Flourish Excel for a few years and never had a problem with it. Granted i have only had java fern, jungle val, water wisteria, and ludwigia repens but all did very well in that tank. Jungle Val melted right away but then came back in a few days. Overall i like it.
 

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I used Excel and never saw an issues with crypts or vals. Then again my crypts or vals never melted back even after changing tanks twice. I now use Metricide 14 diluted to Excel strength in my old Excel bottles. If you go this route toss the activator in the trash, you don't need it.
 

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Excel is glut, but they don't want you to know that really, just like melefix is a dilute solution of tea tree oil or Pimafix is a dilute solution of Bay oil (like the spice).

Every terrible thing I've read about glut ignores the fact that we buy extremely dilute solutions (even as metricide14) and sounds like it's written by the food babe.
 

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I think most of us have found that the best dosage schedule for Excel is 2 ml per 10 gallons of water, dosed every day, without ever dosing the Seachem recommended 5 ml per 10 gallons of water "starting dosage". I use "Metricide 14 day" instead of Excel, and dose about 6-7 ml in about 56 gallons of water, daily. My vals do ok with that, but do shed a few leaves if I go any higher in dosage. I get my Metricide in one gallon bottles from Amazon.
 

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I'm don't have Vals or anacharis, so I dose the starting dosage of Excel daily -- about 5 ml per 10 gallons. I've been able to grow a beautiful carpet of HC at that dose without pressurized CO2.

I've had such good results with Excel that I'm wary of switching to Metricide... but it is a lot cheaper, so I may give it a go.
 

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I have used both Excel and Metricide 14 for many years and have not had a problem with melting of any plants including vals and crypts. I don't grow anacharis, so cannot comment on that. I regularly dose the starting dose of 5 ml per 10 gallons of water after large water changes, and have double dosed on occasion. I wonder if the compostion of the water affects a plant's ability to cope with glut. I have fairly hard water with a GH of 13 and KH of 11, ph 8 (without pressurized CO2).
 

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I have used both Excel and Metricide 14 for many years and have not had a problem with melting of any plants including vals and crypts. I don't grow anacharis, so cannot comment on that. I regularly dose the starting dose of 5 ml per 10 gallons of water after large water changes, and have double dosed on occasion. I wonder if the compostion of the water affects a plant's ability to cope with glut. I have fairly hard water with a GH of 13 and KH of 11, ph 8 (without pressurized CO2).
When API did their demonstration test to compare their product with Seachem's Excel, they used identical aquariums, one with Excel, dosed per Seachem's recommendations, and one with their product dosed with their instructions, which don't include the 5 ml per 10 gallon starting dosage. After a month, as I recall, they measured the difference in plant mass between the two aquariums. Their product produced the most plant mass. They also showed photos of the tanks at various times during the tests. The Excel tank had a big loss of plant mass, per the photos, early in the test, after which the plants recovered. The API product tank didn't have that early mass loss. The apparent growth rates once the Excel starting mass loss was over, were visually identical. That is what proved to me that the starting Excel dosage was a very bad idea.

The first time I used Excel, I followed the instructions, and my vals and a few other plants died back, but eventually recovered. Since then, when I use it, I don't do that starting dose, and none of my plants have been affected. My usage of Metricide now was free of plant damage for a year, but then I started losing some leaves from vals. I dropped my dosage back to about 1 1/4 ml per 10 gallons of water, and the leaf loss has stopped. When I increase it to much more than that I lose leaves again. So, I dose 7 ml per 56 gallons of water now. (I don't dilute the Metricide 14 day, so the effective dosage is higher than this.)
 

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When API did their demonstration test to compare their product with Seachem's Excel, they used identical aquariums, one with Excel, dosed per Seachem's recommendations, and one with their product dosed with their instructions, which don't include the 5 ml per 10 gallon starting dosage. After a month, as I recall, they measured the difference in plant mass between the two aquariums. Their product produced the most plant mass. They also showed photos of the tanks at various times during the tests. The Excel tank had a big loss of plant mass, per the photos, early in the test, after which the plants recovered. The API product tank didn't have that early mass loss. The apparent growth rates once the Excel starting mass loss was over, were visually identical. That is what proved to me that the starting Excel dosage was a very bad idea.

The first time I used Excel, I followed the instructions, and my vals and a few other plants died back, but eventually recovered. Since then, when I use it, I don't do that starting dose, and none of my plants have been affected. My usage of Metricide now was free of plant damage for a year, but then I started losing some leaves from vals. I dropped my dosage back to about 1 1/4 ml per 10 gallons of water, and the leaf loss has stopped. When I increase it to much more than that I lose leaves again. So, I dose 7 ml per 56 gallons of water now. (I don't dilute the Metricide 14 day, so the effective dosage is higher than this.)
Interesting. I do the starting dose daily... I may cut back for a couple weeks and see whether I notice a difference in either direction.
 
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