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Re: Seachem Excel

On Thu, 3 Jan 2002, Daphne wrote:
> I have been happy with the Seachem line (as well as their phenomenal
> customer service) so I decided to give it one more try (at a much lower
> dosage).  Algae does seem to be going away.  I am still manually removing
> some but not as much and not as often.  My new A. ulvaceous has doubled in
> size and my Christmas moss is going nuts.  Haven't seen any major
> differences in anything else other than less clumps of algae showing up on
> Flourite.  Seem to get considerably more pearling, looks like bubble wands
> all over the tank.  I haven't been using it long enough to tell any kind of
> long-term effects, just a couple of weeks.  Just my two cents.

Daphne, before I get into the rest of this stuff I should point out that
the pearling is from photosynthesis.  The liquid CO2 products provide
carbon to the plant without photosynthesis, so the pearling you saw was
not a direct effect of the "liquid CO2".

Seachem sent me a bottle of Excel a few months back.  I added it here and
there in a few trials, and decided that the best situation for using
the "liquid CO2" products was in a low light tank without CO2
supplimentation.  If you're already adding CO2 there isn't much point to
adding the liquid carbon suppliment.  It didn't work at all well in a
high-light setting.  I don't think the uptake rate was able to keep up
with the plants' demands.

I have a tank that has been set up for about 14 years.  The tank has
always been planted, but it has never well lit and I never gave it CO2.
Just the same, it was about half filled with crypts and java moss.  I
recently added a few more light-demanding plants (H. corymbosa, E.
cordifolius and L. cardinalis (dwarf)) that from past experience I was
pretty sure would not do well in this tank.  In the course of cleaning out
the tank and getting things ready I also found a little group of stunted,
grass-like plants tangled up in the java moss.  I couldn't immediately
identify them, but I replanted them front-and-center and they later turned
out to be dwarf sag.

I left the tank in this setup for about a month to see how things would
grow.  The crypts and java fern stayed as they had been for the last 14
years.  The dwarf sag took root, but didn't grow much and almost
disappeared again.  The recently-added plants all went into suspended

Then I started adding the Excel at the recommended dosage.  There were no
spectacular changes, but by the time I got to the end of the bottle there
were some clear differences.  The crypts (several species) in particular
looked much better - in fact looked better than they ever looked before,
with longer, wider, more ruffled leaves and deeper colors.  They also grew
faster and quickly expanded into areas they never colonized before.  The
sag became well-established, but remained stunted. The H. corymbosa held
in better than it ever had in previous attempts and actually looked good
by the time the bottle ran out.  The dwarf L. cardinalis grew slowly but
surely and looked very nice.  The java fern was pretty much unchanged and
the E. cordifolius didn't do much during the test that it wasn't doing
before the test.

I didn't have any algae problems.  In fact the tank had quit a bit of BBA
in it before the test, and that was mostly gone at the end of the test.
Some tufts of well-attached hair alge appeared in the tank, but didn't
become noticable until after the Excel ran out.

I concluded that Excel was really good for improving conditions in
low-light tanks.  I couldn't associate any algae problem with the Excel.  
However, some plants responded better than others, and even those that did
respond well (the crypts) didn't reach the size that the same plants could
reach with adequate light and CO2.  I doubt that any "liquid CO2"
product is an across-the-board substitute for added CO2 and good light,
but in a low light tank without CO2 my results were very pleasant.

Roger Miller