CO2 v. Excel - Benefits Lost?

PhillyB

Prolific Poster
Dec 27, 2006
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All,

Regarding CO2 v. Excel as a carbon source...

Is it correct to state that many of the benefits of CO2 as a carbon source are lost when switching to Excel? Some of the benefits I see being lost:

- Lowered O2 in the water because Excel does not have an O2 for the plant to split and add back into the water.
- Lowered bacteria because the substrate is not as oxygen rich and will not support as much growth / bacteria population.

Anything else?

John
 

tkos

Junior Poster
Sep 7, 2007
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Though in an excel only tank you can easily compensate for low O2 with increased surface agitation as excel can't be driven. Of course plants only add O2 to the water during part of the day, then they use said O2 themselves. And proper circulation will take care of the bacteria and substrate issue.
 

PhillyB

Prolific Poster
Dec 27, 2006
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Good point. I do have some additional surface agitation. Not actually breaking the water surface, but my spray bar is at the bottom pointing directly up. Fish food moves quickly from the back wall to the front, so there should be some good gas exchange there.

Posted the question initially to look at the pros and cons of excel. I am seeing the pros (from my perspective of lower maintenance), just wanted to get an idea of the less apparent cons.
 

tkos

Junior Poster
Sep 7, 2007
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I think the main con is cost. For a small tank, daily or other day dosing isn't too bad, but get a bigger tank and the cost can quickly add up. Plus it is another constant chore. CO2 systems need to be looked at occasionally but not every day. I have smaller tanks and only do minimal fertilization so I don't mind the cost and work involved in using excel. Plus I don't have the room to setup a CO2 system. I have much slower growth though.
 

VaughnH

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Jan 24, 2005
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Compared to CO2 the major con with Excel is the much slower plant growth rate. I haven't yet been able to achieve what I consider a satisfactory growth rate with just Excel for carbon. The second major con is that if you get impatient and dose more than one ml per 10 gallons you risk killing off your shrimp. The major advantage is that Excel has anti-algae effects.
 

PhillyB

Prolific Poster
Dec 27, 2006
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I have been using excel for a few months. For me, the addition of the excel has not been a problem. My tanks are 10, 20, and 29 gallons each. Cost has not been a big problem. A big $40 bottle from Big Als lasts pretty long.

The slowed growth has been a pro for me. I like the slower growth. Less trimming, pruning, and I find my results are much nicer.

My only true concern was in relation to the benefits that the tank and the fish get from the O2 production when using CO2. From the posts it seems the tank and fish health will still benefit from the abundance of plants when using excel.

Cheers,
John
 

aquabillpers

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Jan 24, 2005
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It's spring in Pennsylvania and time for my annual complaint about how much pruning my NON-CO2, NON-Excel tanks require. In fact, I've given up on two of them. When the plants get so thick that the fish don't have swimming room, I'll tear them down and start anew.

You don't need carbon enrichment to grow healthy plants and have healthy fish.

Bill
 

Henry Hatch

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Aug 31, 2006
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VaughnH;24994 said:
Compared to CO2 the major con with Excel is the much slower plant growth rate. I haven't yet been able to achieve what I consider a satisfactory growth rate with just Excel for carbon. ]

I agree. I think the growth rate with excel is pretty slow. It's better than no co2, but not by a whole lot at least in my experience.


Henry
 

naman

Prolific Poster
Nov 12, 2005
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(see pictures in original article at the very bottom:
Art Giacosa, Carbon in the Planted Aquarium)

“Our research has shown that Flourish Excel™ imparts not only a clear qualitative increase in plant health and vitality but also a clearly measurable increase in growth. Recent studies (see Figure 3) have shown growth enhancements using Flourish Excel™ that range from 200% - 500% (growth above normal growth seen without Flourish Excel™). These are only preliminary results of a currently ongoing study aimed at determining more precisely the relative growth response to Flourish Excel™ in comparison to a standard control and a CO2 based control. The anecdotal evidence to date suggests that CO2 injection will promote growth enhancements above the growth enhancements seen with Flourish Excel™ alone. However, one can still obtain a cumulative benefit by using Flourish Excel™ in conjunction with CO2 as the two work quite well together.”

naman
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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Adding Excel is good if you cannot add enough CO2 gas also(which many folks often do, whether they know it or not).

2-5x(Excel) the growth rates vs 10-25X(CO2) the growth rate.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Fishlove

Junior Poster
Jul 13, 2008
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Tom Barr;25069 said:
Adding Excel is good if you cannot add enough CO2 gas also(which many folks often do, whether they know it or not).

2-5x(Excel) the growth rates vs 10-25X(CO2) the growth rate.

Regards,
Tom Barr

Great input guys. Sometimes less is more. Some guys want to see results quick and some guys prefer a slower tempo.