Glutarldehyde instead of Excel? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Glutarldehyde instead of Excel?

I've read on a bunch of websites that people use glutaraldehyde instead of excel as a carbon source for plants since glutaraldehyde is what makes up excel. It's alot cheaper that excel, but I'm not sure it's safe. It might not be the same concenration as excel. Does anybody have any experience with it?

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post #2 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 06:26 PM
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You would have to dilute the glutaraldehyde with water, comparable to what products like Seachem's Excel or API's CO2 Booster do. The only ingredients in both are glutaraldehyde and water; Seachem term the chemical polycycloglutaracetal but this appears to be their form of glutaraldehyde.

The problem though is the glutaraldehyde. This is a very toxic chemical that is used in hospitals to sterilize medical instruments, in anti-freeze, in embalming fluid (it kills bacteria), in ship ballasts to kill bacteria, etc. It is dangerous to humans if it gets on your skim, or the fumes are inhaled, as this data sheet indicates:

Some plants will be killed if Excel or CO2 Booster are used even at recommended strengths. If it is overdosed, plants, bacteria and fish can be seriously affected and even killed.

The manufacturers of both products may say they are safe with fish, but any chemical substance that carries such hazards is not something I care to use.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 06:43 PM
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byron is right, but there are many note worthy aquarists that do use glutaraldehyde with water with no adverse effects, some even use double or triple doses. i personally dont use and will not use such a product just giving some insight is all.i feel that a x4-x7 growth rtate increase just isnt worth it not to mention it would also come along with having to find a new light/fert balance.
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post #4 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick replies. I personally don't want to mess with it either if it's that dangerous. I'd rather work with excel, since it sounds (relatively) safe. I'll just use it until I can get a co2 system. Just another thing on my never-ending wish list...

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post #5 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 07:21 PM
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Many tanks do just fine without those additives, even Excel carries a lot of risks as Byron stated. The majority of plants get on just fine with just Flourish Comp, and that poses no danger to fish like Excel does.

Even CO2 can kill fish if overdosed or if it runs at night.

I wanted CO2 as well when I first started my planted tank but I've found mine does just fine without it, honestly.
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 08:41 PM
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I use undiluted metricide 14 at double the dose in a 1 gallon~ doesn't affect anything in my tanks, even the shrimps. But then again I'm not really sure if there is a long term adverse effect. I mean if a human were in a place with high radiation levels for a day they'd be completely fine, but if they lived there, the effects may not be felt for another 40 years anyway or something... just an analogy.

Every inch of my tank is covered by plants (top middle bottom), so I'd like to think that the plants use the metrcide faster than it can harm the live stock. I mean the ferts we dump in our tank aren't really that great for fish health either but the plants absorb it fast enough so there is no build up. That's also the reason why I always dose ferts and metricide first thing in the morning~

I think you should dose according to how heavily planted your tank is. Ask people with similar plant stocking about their dosage and what works for them ^___^
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm definatley going to need some kind of co2. I just got a double tube t5ho fixture online. I'm about to take the plunge into high-light plants! (Holds breath) I know it's gonna be algae city without a good balance, so I've got to wait until I find a good solution. I'll use excel until I can get pressurized co2. I might get some metrocide to experiment with in a little fishless bowl I have in my window to see if it actually helps.

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post #8 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 09:37 PM
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just because you have high lights doesnt mean you need co2, i have a whole writeup on this under the plant section :algae fight method" a tank with a fishload will have plenty of avilable carbon soruces and not need a outside source

heres the link to it
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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That's really cool. It'd be great to not have to spend even more money if it's not necessary. My fish loads at the max, so they're probably cranking out enough co2.

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post #10 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 10:24 PM
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the fish dont actually crank out co2 its the breakdown of their waste that creates the co2. along with the source of ammonia that is converted to ammonium
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