In terms of ingredients, testing Flourish Excel would only be a case of trust and verify, in that the chemical components are already listed on the label "contains: polycycloglutaracetal". Perhaps cS means testing the efficaciousness of polycycloglutaracetal with regard to providing carbon to growing plants would be an interesting challenge to those hidden chemists amongst us. Perhaps those chemists aren't allowed to use their mass spectrometers for such frivolous use?
ADA fertilizer ingredients are proprietary, in that they are not listed on the label (only implied, as in "Brighty K" suggesting a potassium component), which is a means of copyright protection to ensure income for the maker.
Is it just a case of varying ratios of the already known important fertilizer ingredients such as NPK for the birth, maturity, and senility phases of aquatic plant life? or are there some other less well-known and less available chemical compounds which are of use in the maintaining plant growth during the various stages (such as Niko's current posting on root hormones used in Bonsai and terrestrial plants which relates to compounds that are used to encourage root growth)? Other compounds used in plant tissue culture might well be of use - but relatively unknown to hobbyists.
It's easy to lay ones hands on KNO3, KCL, K2SO4 etc. But when it comes to more complex items which we can't buy, perhaps it is then that a company with financial and research resources such as ADA can bring to market an additional component focused on fertilizing for a specific growth phase. Maybe ADA just uses the "usual" ingredients and brands the mixtures. Maybe they also make some additions.
Do fertilizers just amount to NPK + TE + Fe? Does the compound in which the important elements are delivered matter? Does the balance of secondary elements in those compounds (such as Cl and S) make any difference? There are a few permutations which have been explored already and some more work to do.
Unless Japanese hobbyists are secretly importing Green Light Stump Remover and Fleet Enema, it seems pretty certain that the stepped ADA fertilizer line works in conjunction with the substrate.
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