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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a planted 55gal with 2wpg of light. The plants are nothing crazy, sword, val, pygmy chain, java moss, and a bunch of other things in there, but those are the main ones.

Anyway, I've been playing around with paramaters (adding/reducing light, fert times, diy co2..etc) to try and get some algae under control. I've been using flourish fertilizer. I just read the back of the bottle, and it seems like its a micronutrient fert. They also make a product called flourish excel which seems to be a macronutrient fert. Note: I could be wrong about the names of the ferts though, please feel free to correct me.

My question is: Should I be using the excell in place of what im using, or in addition to? Or do I not need it?

What does everyone else on here do?

My goal is to have a nice healthy low tech planted tank, so im looking at 2wpg with no co2, lots of plant growth and algae that is held in check by my cleanup crew.
 

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Flourish Excel is not a fertilizer. It is a CO2 substitute for plants. If you have DIY CO2 then you don't need Excel. However, the plus side of Excel is the side effect. It is also a minor Algaecide. It will kill certain types of Algae when over dosing. Just be careful though as this will kill inverts also like shrimp if you have any. I don't have CO2 in my 29g tank and I'm using Flourish and Flourish Excel and have had great results. The plants are growing fast.
 

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My idea of low tech, is to do nothing for the plants. I don't have CO2, I don't feed fertilizer. I have sand, and the fish provide the fertilizer. The growth isn't as rapid, or lush as some high tech tanks, but I'm happy with it.





 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I should ammend my tank page, im trying to get some good pics first though.

I dropped my light from 3 to 2 wpg. I also stopped the CO2, but I dont know if that was ever doing anything. So I may try a bottle of excell and see how that goes. Any recommendation on dosing? twice a week or so? Im assuming I should keep up my flourish dosing as I have been.

I would love for my fish to provide the fertilizer to the tank, but I have nitrates below 5ppm. So at this point, it looks like my fish are not providing enough fertilizer for my plants, and I was thinking I would need to suppliment it. Once the fish are a little bigger, then I may be able to cut the ferts back and let the fish handle that work.

Thanks for your comments and your help. This all stems from an algae outbreak that I had a few weeks back. In trying to diagnose and solve the problem, I dropped the light in the tank from 3 to 2wpg, stopped the co2, and reduced the ferts. Im just trying to get a handle on how to control all of this in the tank going forward.
 

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Don't put excel in a tank with Vallisneria in it. I made this mistake myself. I bought some vals at the fish club auction and dosed them with some excel. They weren't looking super great so I increased the dosage and they kept looking worse. It turns out that Excel melts vals. So either remove them or don't dose the Excel. Flourish is fine for them. :)

If you're not using enriched substrate, it's also suggest to use some sort of fertilizer tab/pellet that can be inserted into the substrate under the plants. This allows the plant's root system access to the nutrients but not the algae. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
wow, thanks for the tip on the excell.

I like the val, so its not going anywhere

I guess ill just keep doing what im doing.

(the substrate is eco-complete)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've been researching the excel/val conundrum.

it seems that people were having bad experiences with val when overdosing excel to get rid of algae. Is it still toxic if its used at the normal dose? What about half doses? Or should I just stay away from it.
 

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I was using recommended doses and about 1/3 of it died within a week and a half. You could try it, it certainly helps my java ferns in another tank, but there was your warning. :p

I think the theory is that since the val derives it's carbon from carbonate sources such as bicarbonate, the excel somehow blocks or impedes the Val's ability to use carbonate sources, and it also can't use the excel as a carbon source.

Eco-complete cichlid substrate, or eco-complete planted? It may be a good idea to add ferts to the roots anyway, but I'm certainly a far cry from a plant expert, hopefully someone will chime in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
eco-complete planted

It was also recommended to add some root tabs. I put a couple in there about 2 weeks ago. I should add a few more soon.

Ill skip the excel, I dont want to kill the val off. Good to know.
 

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One of the rules of planted tanks seems to be there are no rules. Not really but sure seems that way.

Yes Excel does melt Vals but not always. I had Jungle Vals and was dosing Excel 6mL per 40 gal per day, recommended would be 4mL, anyway I was pulling 4 to 5 foot leaves out of the tank every week but the Excel did turn the Vals golden brown. It didn't touch my Italian Vals or Corkscrew Vals but they didn't grow much either. It made a mess of Hornwort and stopped Anacharis dead in it's tracks but didn't kill it.

As for algae that dosage killed the BBA on my outflow pipes and heater holders but didn't touch the stuff on the edges of leaves.

I have co2 and SAE's now so I put the Excel away.
 
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