quatermass, do you know if a carbon 13 / proton NMR has been analyzed for Excel to see which chemical glutaraldehyde or Succinic dialdehyde, is in it for sure?
Also, have any lab tests been performed on Excel to determine what is in it for sure?
Seachem is required by law to publish a Material Safety Data Sheet on products like Excel. Google it. You'll find that gluteraldehyde is in it.
I had a low light tank. No CO2, no fertilizers. Lots of blue green algae if I didn't change the water all that often. Think it was enough major nutrients from the fish, but a shortage of micronutrients.
This tank was the ultimate low light tank. Tall, extra narrow 15 gallon tank (It was square on top) lit with a 8 watt T5 lamp, horrible reflector, and ultra lame magnetic ballast.
I have a small bottle of Excel to play around with. I have a 55 gallon tank with insane light levels (5 T5 HO tubes with a good reflector, something on the order of 20,000 lumens sent into the tank.)
I have some hair algae, annoying but not taking over. Recently turned on CO2 injection in this tank. Wondering if Excel will clear it out. Think the CO2 injection will take care of it long term though.
Well, its been a while since we've known about this effect, it came up at the convention quite a bit. Here's a problem I do see - a lot of folks are now using this as a preventative measure. The same people who would give me crap if I told them I was using copper or some other algaecide. :) Let's face it, the effect isn't due to the other plants doing better, it is a very selective algaecide.
I am "addicted" to this product as well; if I stop dosing excel, BBA makes a return in a matter of few weeks. What do we do when a nasty red algae shows up which doesn't respond to this stuff? Are we actively selecting for algae in the hobby which do not respond to this treatment? Its clearly not a natural product, and can probably contribute to extra dissolved organics in the water which can't be good in the long run. It goes against the Occam's razor of plant growing - we should only be putting things into our tank which benefits plants (hence my preference for TMG over Flourish as many of you know :) ). How many issues are we covering up in our tanks by relying so heavily on it?
So, who's with me on trying to kick their Excel addiction? :) And how the heck do we get rid of BBA without it?
PS. Please don't bother telling me to increase my CO2 to get rid of BBA.
I find if i dose excel once a week at water change at suggested dosing, and have my army of amano's, bba never gets going. I think i would feel the same as jeff if i had to dose it more then once a week.
I have 1 amano every 2 gallons of water capacity, and it seems the recommended dosing of excel once a week is enough to keep any bba soft enough for the amanos to eat.
I think im staying on the junk;)
Or you could just up your co2:):)
Jeff, just increase your CO2! ;-)
As much as I suggest using Excel to people with certain problems, we must still maintain the goal of achieving an algae free tank without the use of any kind of algaecide. You are correct, if your only use for Excel is to limit algae growth then you mustn't stop working on your tank's overall balance and stability.
BBA certainly used to be a problem commonly resolved by proper CO2 management, at least that was the solution many of us had found effective some time back. But as the hobby evolved in recent years, so has our fertilization protocols, and most likely so have the causes of such problems.
When BBA was a problem for me and CO2 the solution, my fertilization was far different than it is today. Today I dose more PO4 to reduce green/black spot algae... I add more traces than ever before... I have a lot more light... Things are not the same as they were back then, the solution may be just as different. I rely on SAEs quite a lot in some tanks, I didn't even know what an SAE or Amano shrimp was back then :-)
For sure, my "Ford" tanks of a few years back were certainly cleaner than the "Ferraris" I have today. I can grow a wider variety of plants today, and faster, but when I look back at some of my older photos I sometimes wonder if I have improved in recent years or not... I miss some of my older, more relaxed tanks!
careful doing this with anacharis
I overdosed the Excel, double strength, once. The day after, all my rodophyte algae had died (great). Everything looked good except my anacharis, it seemed to have lost its green brilliance. I thought maybe the fine bit of algae turning red (dead) on the leaves might have dulled the green a bit (color theory says green and red make a neutral tan), so I decided to ignore it. Ooops. I should have taken it out and put it in my other tanks. Most of the strands had started to disintegrate.
I'm irritated but not devastated, it's a cheap plant.
Any ideas on why it killed the anacharis but not anything else?
Anacharis, vals, riccia, and fissidens are especially sensitive to Excel. It's even stated on the SeaChem website.
The reason? I'm not quite sure.
BBA can also be controlled by adjusting your KH to a greater degree than the GH (eg. 2 dGH to 3 dKH). This will convert CO2 to HCO3- which BBA can not utilize.
I think Excel kills algae because it can absorb it but not assimilate it as a nutrient and it blocks the uptake of other nutrients. Algae is a simpler, more primitive form of plant structure than higher order plants.
I am not a scientist but my wife was pursing a PHD in Limnology. Diane Walstad hit upon the explanation in her book.
Algae get it's nutrients from the water. Stemmed plants get it's nutrients from the water and from the gravel bed or soil.
Diane's solution to algae growth is to limit free floating iron. This will force stemmed plants to get it's iron from the gravel or soil. Since algae are not rooted in the gravel, then their only source is free floating iron. If you limit it then algae will die.
Excel on seachem website states that it reduces free floating iron and that is the reason why algae and floating plants are affected.
I am currently battling Black or Brown hair algae myself. I trying not to use excel because I want to correct the problem with a natural method. I am going to do what Diane outlined in her book and add more floating plants like frogbit and elodea. Once I get a C02 test kit, I will probably increase C02 as well. Hopefully it will work.
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