Dangers of Excel?

Nate McFin

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Well I have been researching Flourish Excel and I have decided I am going to stop using it. The reason- Gluteraldehyde.
One of the main ingredients in excel looks like some pretty nasty stuff!
It is used as a disinfectant,sterilant,in embalming fluid,a hardener in xray developing, biocide,germicide.
It is known to cause Asthma,skin irritations, tearing,dizziness,nausia.
It is also a sensitizer which means that at least in humans, the more you are exposed the worse the symptoms become.
Anyone else done any looking into this product? I can understand chemicals for treating illness but subjecting fish to this stuff so my plants look pretty just doesn't feel right.
I know Seachem says it doesn't harm Flora or Fauna but how could it not?
My Co2 will have to come from another source.
Thoughts?
 

Fullofit343

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If you look at a lot of aquarium products (not only for plants) a lot of them have chemicals in them that can be harmful to humans (some say they can cause cancer etc.) you just have to figure the chemicals don't effect fish the same way they do humans, if they did I don't see how it would even be legal for companies to place these chemicals in their products.
 

mathas

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There have been discussions on various message boards for a long time regarding using a homemade glutaraldehyde solution instead of paying a premium for Excel. Here are some quotes from one such thread:

I am adding 10ml of 2.5% solution to a 29 gallon aquarium every day. If I am doing the math correct, and I am pretty sure of it now, that equals 2.5mg/l added daily. I have Amano shrimp, nerite snails and dwarf cories- all seem fine. In the past, overdosing Excel generally killed Amanos and Nerites so I take that as an Ok sign. The long term effects of this on the fauna is unknown though and I am beginning to wonder how I am affecting them in the end.
I've been adjusting the doses and found that 1ml to 1 gallon of water at a water change does not seem to hurt the fish,plants or bio filter along with a 1:2 daily dose.This will slowly kill the algae.
For a more severe algae problem I can add 1:1 three days after the 1:1 at water change.
A 1:1 daily dose seems to stress the fish.Plants are fine but it will destroy the bio along with the algae.
A 1.5:1 will kill the fish.
Tom Barr says it can be pretty nasty, but it's fine if used as directed:

It can be very toxic stuff, folks have killed fish with it and melted plants when they did not follow the label.

Use as labeled.
That is my advice.
As with any other potentially-toxic chemical, I would imagine it's all about the dosage. I've never seen any proof that following the recommended Excel dosages causes problem, but there's no way to know for sure short of someone performing a valid scientific study.

I do know that I used Excel daily for about 6 months, often using slightly more than directed, and I did not have any flora or fauna loss during that period.
 

prairielilly

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Many chemicals can be pretty nasty depending on concentration and usage, but when used as intended can be beneficial. Example: bleach, ammonia, acetic acid (vinegar), hydrochloric acid, ethanol...

The list of uses in your original post sounds a lot to me like the uses of formaldehyde, which wouldn't be surprising as they're chemically related.

It's interesting though. I've recently been putting some thought into starting to use this product. Food for thought, thanks :;z
 
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Nate McFin

Nate McFin

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Fullofit343 said:
If you look at a lot of aquarium products (not only for plants) a lot of them have chemicals in them that can be harmful to humans (some say they can cause cancer etc.) you just have to figure the chemicals don't effect fish the same way they do humans, if they did I don't see how it would even be legal for companies to place these chemicals in their products.
I know what you mean. Doing some research on Ich I found Malachite green to cause cancer in California. Thankfully I live in Oregon so in theory I am safe. lol

mathas said:
As with any other potentially-toxic chemical, I would imagine it's all about the dosage. I've never seen any proof that following the recommended Excel dosages causes problem, but there's no way to know for sure short of someone performing a valid scientific study.

I do know that I used Excel daily for about 6 months, often using slightly more than directed, and I did not have any flora or fauna loss during that period.
I have been using it for awhile now and haven't noticed anything myself. I just can't imagine any scenario where it wouldn't harm the fish eventually. Either by direct harm or lowered immunity.As you said it would take a study to pove or disprove the idea. To Excels defense...my plants do look pretty good.

prairielilly said:
It's interesting though. I've recently been putting some thought into starting to use this product. Food for thought, thanks :;z
I am sure Seachem has done its testing on this stuff.( I love Seachems products BTW!)
As long as we know what it is and can make a choice based on that. People on this site seem to place an emphasis on fish health over plant health so I thought it was worth sharing.
 

prairielilly

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IMO once you start looking into chemistry/geology, you find that just about everything around us will cause cancer if the exposure time/concentration is sufficient. Malachite is a mineral I've worked with before (so is asbestos) and I don't consider my health compromised. Of course, I do take precautions...
 

sirdarksol

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Presuming the crypt I sent you is doing okay (PM me if you didn't receive it or if there are any problems), you'll want to stop using the stuff, anyway. Crypt seems to be very sensitive to Flourish Excel, and will undergo continuous crypt melt when exposed to it.

I agree with Prairielilly that concentration is important. Vitamin C, if taken in sufficient quantities, can be very harmful to the liver.
The real questions are "how easy is dosing?" and "is the chemical bound in a less-harmful form?" If dosing needs to be very precise in very small quantities, such a substance is much more dangerous to work with. Take digitalis, for instance. It is a toxin that can be helpful in treating heart issues, but a minor slip in dosage can kill you, as it's and extremely potent chemical.
If the chemical is bound in a less harmful form, it is also easier to work with. Prairielilly mentioned asbestos. One of the best surfaces to work clay on is a bound asbestos counter (like the ones used in chemistry labs). Due to a few properties of the surface, it doesn't cling to the clay like formica or metal will, it doesn't wear down as quickly as wood. Because the asbestos is bound in another substance (a kind of clay, I think) the counters are completely harmless. It's only if you were to grind down an edge that you'd release the dangerous fibers into the air (though we were discouraged form breaking the asbestos plates )
 
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Nate McFin

Nate McFin

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I did receive the plants and things are looking great. Thanks.
You are also correct about asbestos. I do water damage restoration for a living and we are always testing various materials for asbestos. Old vinyl (anything pre 1985 is what we test) is one of the main ones.
Asbestos is harmless until airborne. Once airborne it is very light and will stay in the air for a long time. When testing we use shaving cream to bind it while we cut our samples for testing.
I guess I am just reading too much into the excel stuff. I did the same when researching meds and always wanted to take the most natural non chemical approach. Thanks for the replies everyone.
 

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