Looking for feedback on "Intro to non CO2 Excel tanks"

Tom Barr

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So in your opinion, would you suspect that soil is about as good, other issues aside, as ADA aqua soil?

At least in this case of slower growth, but still nice looking growth?
I'd suspect so.

I use Excel also, but namely as a herbicide rather than a growth/CO2 source.
I'm probably going to do a labeling experiment with 14C on 3 species of plant to see where the Carbon goes, no one has done that with aquatics and it would be ineteresting and relevant to my research.

One plant will be a weed, Hydrilla, perhaps a Milfoil and a native pondweed.
I've focused mainly on CO2 and non CO2 systems, but I suppose some more scaping and long term use of the Excel may be useful.

Then compare the biomass, and uptake of nutrients to the other two methods under the same light intensity.

I suspect that 6 month stage with the potting soil was a turning point for many of the plant species. I think the bacteria ran out of food and stopped cycling the nutrients as well.

Spots are rare but very significant.
The plant knows somethings not right if you see that.

I'd suspect it was more likely due to NO3, than with K or PO4 gievn you got spots.
Plants and bacteria will mineralize N pretty quick and the 6 month time frame is about right to see plant plant differences.

Try adding a little bit of KNO3.
The other thing you might add, if you have a UV handy, try adding a tiny bit of NH4Cl. Maybe some off the shelf plant food.
The excel should kill most of the algae still while allowing the plants good NH4 sources, add only tiny amounts and do not get too sloppy and over dose.

Otherwise, try adding KNO3 at 5 ppm once a week and see.
You may also try root tabs etc. These tend to take longer to see any response.

Regards,
Tom Barr













Regards,
Tom Barr
 

SuperColey1

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Feb 17, 2007
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Heavy Fish loads

I currently use the EI method on a 29G/125Ltr tank with 73W light (based on 26G being water I judge the light as being 2.8WPG)

The Lights are 1 x Interpet 55W PC and 1 x 18W Arcadia Freshwater both with Arcadia reflectors.

I find this article quite interesting as I often suffer algae outbreaks on the leaves directly under the 55W which I suspect is due to my fishload which is:

4 x Pitbull Plec (10")
4 x Mollys (10")
5 x Danios (10")
5 x Glolights (7.5")
1 x Betta Splendens (2")

Therefore I have 1.5 x the inch per gallon rule, although my fish have no problems and act quite naturally.

My Co2 stays at 30ppm or thereabouts.

I would like to see more of these articles include details regarding dosages for high fishload tanks, as most that I see just give examples of low fishloads and therefore don't take into consideration the extra phosphate from foods/waste and also ammonia and Nitrate etc that the plants will be using.

andy
 
P

paludarium

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Tom Barr;15393 said:
I'm probably going to do a labeling experiment with 14C on 3 species of plant to see where the Carbon goes, no one has done that with aquatics and it would be ineteresting and relevant to my research.
I can't wait to see the result.
Tom Barr;15393 said:
I'd suspect it was more likely due to NO3, than with K or PO4 gievn you got spots.
Plants and bacteria will mineralize N pretty quick and the 6 month time frame is about right to see plant plant differences.
NO3 of this tank has been 0 (API and Seachem) in the past 8 weeks! Contrast to other non-CO2 tanks with high fishload, I cannot explain why my NO3 went down to 0?


And here's an update of the tank. The plants grew like weeds in past 2 weeks, while the water temperature raised from 23 C to 25 C.
P1040483.jpg
2007033101.jpg
 

Tom Barr

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I honestly do not trust any NO3 test kit, especially either of those brands without calibration for NO3.

I just ran a set of calibration solutions against the API for a Marine tank client, I threw it out. They now use a Lamotte and have a set of known standards.

I've also been showing others for many years the problems with NO3 test kits.
I see no mention of NO3 calibration so I can only assume it was not done, 99.9% of all cases with hobbyists it's not and even then, it's not done correctly.

The API read 20ppm, without any NO3 and with 40ppm.

Try adding 10ppm of NO3 via KNO3 and wait and see.
Obviously there is some NO3 in there, and perhaps a fair amount in soil you added.

As soil ages, it gets mineralized, namely from an organic form of N to NH4 to NO3.
You generally will have very little in the water column after awhile unless you add it.

So you very well might not have any in the water column but why would that help?
If you we stopped adding any ferts, is that good?
No.

Having NH4, not NO3 in the water column is the problem.
Again, a very low level is fine. Just not a lot like in the start up phases.

But why is low NO3 all that great?
If you assume so, you need to add it to show this and make sure that other factors do not influence your results.


Adding Excel will take care of the Carbon.
Adding flourish will adress the traces.
So GH and PO4, K are what's left.

Adding some GH booster/PO4 will take care of that and then you can isolate and add KNO3.

You do not need that much, try dose 2x week, 5ppm of NO3 via KNO3.
This will help the growth and health of the plants.

Plants will switch to water column and back to root and back to water column uptake given time. The transition periods can cause some die back and change.
Using the excel kills the algae so all you see is namely poor plant health for a little while until, they adapt.

Plants cannot run away, they have to make do and adapt with what they have.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Crazymidwesterner

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Feb 3, 2007
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I have a 75 gallon tank. I use excel and add 3 capfuls daily (2x the suggested dosage). When I do my 50%-60% weekly water change should I double that suggested dosage also? I assumed the regular dosage was all we were doubling but upon closer reading I see that may have been a wrong assumption.

Should I add 15 capfuls (75mL) of excel when I change my water, and 3 capfuls (15mL) after that?
 

Tom Barr

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Do not get too carried away, Excel will certainly kill fish and it can melt a few species of plant as well.

Start slow and go up but always do so slowly with this one.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Mooner

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Jun 9, 2006
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Excel dosing

After WC >40 I use the directed amount on bottle=

5ml per 10 gal

On a daily basis I use 1.5 times the recomended daily amount=

1ml per 10 gal x 1.5= 1.5 ml per 10 gal

Plants respond well and fish show no signs of stress. Also do WC once a month and light ferts. Works for me, good luck with yours:)

Chris
 

underwurlde

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Dec 26, 2006
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An initial request for Newbi friendliness was requested.
IMO, Some parts of this article are, some are not:
So a 20 gal using excel would get:
2 w/gal light
Dose 1/8 teaspoon KNO3 1-2x a week
KH2PO4, 1/16th, 1-2x a week
Traces, 2mls 2x a week
SeaChem EQ 1/8th once a week
50% weekly water change
Dose 1.5-2x the rec dosing for Excel.

What I am finding frustrating, is unravelling the actual, all important, dosing Regime.
Take the example above that I have quoted from page one.
KH2PO4, 1/16th, 1-2x a week: 1/16th of what?
SeaChem EQ 1/8th once a week: 1/8th of what?

I thought dosed ONCE a week. If using Excel, Water change once a month. Too many options & variants makes people confused.

If I were a newbie, btw, I would have stopped reading the instant I read things like 'KH2PO4'...

Substrate:
What other options are there?
Don't just state get product A & B etc. HOW DEEP, HOW TO PREPARE etc.

If you want a true newbie perspective to all thsi, see here:
Planning My New Tank... - Tropical Fish Forums
(You'll note the underlying worries now about the lack of water changes).

Hope this helps some

Andy
 

montyII

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Apr 18, 2007
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As a newbie, my feedback for the article is that it's extremely useful and informative!
I'd been looking around for some info on how to fertilise with a low light, no CO2 setup for ages.
In fact I've just started dosing exactly as laid out in the article, and I can already see improvement in my plants, so thanks!

I do, however, have one question: Is it worth upping my lighting from the 1.5wpg I have now to the suggested max of 2wpg?
I currently run 2X 30w T8s, a Power-Glo and an Aqua-Glo in my 40gal tank, and I have mostly low-light plants.
I was thinking I could add a 20in, 18w reflector to bring it up to 2wpg. Would this be worth it if I want to grow some more demanding plants?

Thanks.
Nick
 

rocorn

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Oct 7, 2010
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On the subject of lighting a low tech/Excel aquarium, does the 2 wpg formula still work for T5 lighting? I have a Juwel rio 125 tank that I am currently running very happily following the EI method, I am thinking of rescaping soon and quite like the idea of setting up an excel tank, lighting is 2X28 watt T5 tubes with reflectors, (Juwel describe them as 'High light'), just wondering if this is too much for non Co2 setup, if so i could possibly use floating plants to reduce lighting. I have already set up a small 8 us gall test tank based on Tom's water column fertilisation/Excel method, plants are doing very well, but lighting is only 15 watts T8, so much less intense. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Sorry if I have posted this in the wrong area. Very clear article by the way!
 
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Tom Barr

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I tend to use about 1-1.5 w/gal of T5, but.....these are larger deeper tanks than many have.
24" deep etc.

For non CO2, you likely will be better off using 1-1.3 w/gal on T5, T8's are good option as well, there, 1.5 w/gal works well with a decent reflector.
Excel can be used in either case. If so... then monthly water changes can be done and would be helpful.