What Is Excel? Anyone Watch That Aquarium Coop Video?

  1. W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    So I've been playing on YouTube and was listening while driving to one of cory's videos. Apparently, the main ingredient is a compound that mutates genes. This is why it is so good at killing algae, a single cell organism. If you alter how that cell works, the algae ceases to function. This is why it's so good as an algaecide. The organic carbon part is where we all get misled. Everything in your tank is organic carbon. Excel doesnt actually work like a liquid co2, as many of us have been misled to believe. The reason it helps promote plant growth is the algae can steal nutrients, so it's a vague, misleading marketing term. All of this is paraphrased from cory, citing a scientist he knows that used to use the main ingredient in research.(Scientist was also baffled people use it, as he had to fully suit up like a CDC doctor studying Ebola in a lab in order to use the stuff.)

    A lot of us get misled by this product, just wanted to help pass this info along. I love seachem and what they do for our hobby as well as their marine wildlife projects, but cant really enjoy this particular marketing gimmick. Wish they would just call it an algaecide.
     
  2. 75g Discus Tank

    75g Discus Tank Fishlore VIP Member

    Wow! Cool information!

    I never knew that...
     
  3. bitseriously

    bitseriously Well Known Member Member

    Let’s not confuse efficacy with side-effects.
    There may be lots of carbon-based molecules in our tanks, but almost none of it is available to plants for photosynthesis. So if Excel - or any other gluteraldehyde product - introduces carbon in a form that is available for plants to use in photosynthesis, then it does what it says. Ie supports increased photosynthesis and plant growth.
    It’s performance as a source of carbon is, I believe, independent of its algaecidal properties. U could test this by adding Excel to an algae-free tank: if plant growth is boosted, the two are separate.
    Side effects, such as genetic mutations (‘cause that’s not a small amount of shade to be throwing), is a separate matter.
    For the record, I have excel but don’t use it at this time. I like seachem as a company, and like their products and support, but I’m commenting more to continue the discussion than as an advocate.
     


  4. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    I, as well as many others, have experimented as you said. Granted, it's hardly scientific in our tanks, but everyone seems to see the same thing. No noticeable increase in growth in tanks without visible algae. I also have it, but dont use it as it's really rough on my bloodfin tetras. Killed a few before I figured it's out. I'm much more into spot treating with peroxide these days, although I have tufts of bba on floating driftwood now that I leave alone since I think it looks cool
     
  5. -Mak-

    -Mak- Well Known Member Member

    Which video was this? It sounds very interesting.
    While I have no doubt that excel helps in part due to killing algae, I also believe it does what it claims, which is adding a substitute for carbon compounds.
    From seachem's website:
    "The reason plants need CO2 is to produce longer chain carbon compounds also known as photosynthetic intermediates. Photosynthetic intermediates includes compounds such as ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate, and 2-carboxy-3-keto-D-arabinitol 1,5 bisphosphate. Although the names are complicated, the structures are quite simple (5 carbon chains). Flourish Excel™ does not contain these specific compounds per se, but one that is quite similar. By dosing with Flourish Excel™ you bypass the involvement of CO2 and introduce the already finished, structurally similar compounds. It is in its structural similarity that Flourish Excel™ is able to be utilized in the carbon chain building process of photosynthesis. Simple chemical or enzymatic steps can easily convert it to any one to any one of the above named compounds (or a variety of others)."

    I've also read on another forum that Excel is not exactly glutaraldehyde but an isomer of it (same atoms, different structural arrangement of the molecule) though there isn't a way to confirm it since seachem doesn't share the exact details.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    Just found it. 54:30 into the video is where they spotlight excel. Let's not forget the end of the video is a plug for their own fert lines, but it still seems like he knows what hes talking about... mostly.
     
  7. bitseriously

    bitseriously Well Known Member Member

    @Wraithen can you link the video ur talking about? I always like his discussions, haven’t seen this one. If not, no worries. :)
     
  8. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    Lol.

    Thought I linked it the first time
     
  9. bitseriously

    bitseriously Well Known Member Member

    I had a chance to watch the video (wow is it ever a long) and I have to say I think you did a great job of summarizing what Cory said in the section about excel.
    However I still go back to my original position, i.e. whether it works to promote plant growth is not necessarily tied to its algicide all properties. It’s pretty obvious that that’s what Cory thinks is going on, and I also clearly hear your agreement on that, but I don’t think the general consensus is as uniform as you paint it.
    I think we can agree that Excel does have algicidal properties, and it can be one of many tools to combat algae in any tank.
    However when we consider how many things affect the rate of growth in a planted tank, I can think of a number of situations where the continued dosing of excel would not yield increased plant growth. These would relate to levels of light and nutrients. Simple example: if there were a critical shortage of potassium (just picking that as one example) no amount of excel will yield increased plant growth. In other words, maybe it does work, but something else is constraining the health of your plants.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    W

    Wraithen Well Known Member Member

    I dont disagree necessarily. I wish there was a non seachem lab study. I highly doubt the carbon compounds even begin to mimick anything like actual co2. While it is possible that there is another limiting factor for the plants, I've read a few threads that point out no change, and once co2 is injected, the plants grow a little better than before. That tells me it doesnt do much if anything, but just adding injected co2 could have changed the dynamics in the tank, let alone the fact that it is the preferred carbon source for plants.