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Old 10-09-2020, 07:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with plant ID

Originally Posted by ukamikazu View Post
.. I'd really advise against using Excel or similar products unless you're combating really tough, bad algae and even then, only as the nuclear option. I can tell you from experience, Excel is a tough addiction to break......
I'm very interested in what you mean by "addiction", and why you are so strongly anti-Excel. I have always seen it as something that can be very useful, but also something that is generally not necessary. Sometimes I use it, but not often.
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Old 10-09-2020, 07:44 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help with plant ID

I never stated I was anti-glutaraldehyde but I can state clearly and for the record that I am pro-careful-and-judicious-use-of-glutaraldehyde. To what degree one is careful and judicious is up to the individual and their specific circumstances. It is my personal opinion after years of use that glutaraldehyde really excels (pardon the pun) at its intended purpose, cleaning and sterilization.

When it comes to addiction, say caffeine, nicotine or other alkaloids that tend to make you momentarily happy, there are two aspects: Chemical and Psychological. Chemical dependency is your brain demanding a substance because it feels good. This part is easy to beat with good support. The really hard part is psychological dependence. Knowing that it's there for whenever life gets a bit too hard, when there is a threat of future pain. It becomes the security blanket, or if you remember the Michael Keaton movie Mr. Mom, the Woobie.

For me, Excel was that woobie. CO2 presence seems suspect? Just top it off with a little Excel. No pretty pearling? Some Excel will fix that! A little spot of algae? No problem for Excel! I avoid it and discourage its use because, for me personally, it was a silver bullet, a crutch. It solved the medium and short term problems but tended to discourage me from doing failure and root cause analysis and correcting the actual cultural problems I was personally responsible for. It was a quick and easy solution in a convenient bottle that could be measured out.

Yes, real psychological dependency, I am ashamed to admit but Diana Walstad rescued me from that. Actually trying to understand limnology and be a real husbander of plants & animals and do things the right way, the simple way, the ethical & humane way is what broke the spell. Well, that and the fact I'm a penny pincher & lazy. The stuff's not cheap!

Can it help grow plants? Absolutely! Is it a good long term solution for some hobbyists? I guess so. Is it completely without risk, especially in a natural planted tank? Absolutely not. What are those risks? I can only speak subjectively and qualitatively on that and I am aware that anecdote is not the plural of data. It just seems wrong to introduce a strong reducing agent into something meant to replicate natural processes as closely as possible, robust though they seem to be.

I still keep a bottle. I use it to sanitize my equipment and hospital tank or to kill off the fuzz on a piece of wood I'm trying to waterlog. I even had a minor breakdown recently where I couldn't find fish locally because of the pandemic to stock my newest tank and broke down long enough to consider pouring in a capful, just in case. No, I'll keep Walstad tanks as simply and responsibly as possible. This is only my personal testimony.
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