flourish vs flourish excel

Flourish vs Flourish Excel: Make Your Aqua Pals Happy!

The aquatic plants require certain kinds of nutrients to survive and stay healthy. For this, you require an aquarium fertilizer to boost the plants’ improvement. However, we understand choosing a fertilizer can be very tricky for anyone.

So, which one are you going for if it comes to flourish vs flourish excel?

Flourish is suitable for all plants as it offers trance minerals. However, this shouldn’t be used in a tank that has a higher pH level. On the other hand, excel isn’t suitable for mosses or ferns. Otherwise, if you can use it properly then there shouldn’t be any threat to other marine lives.

We understand you’re not here for a mere sneak peek. That’s why we’ll now take you through an explicit discussion. Keep moving with us! 

Is Flourish and Flourish Excel the Same?

Source: https://aquamovement.com/

No, flourish and flourish excel isn’t the exact thing. 

On one hand, excel provides carbon, and on the other, flourish provides trace minerals. When you apply excel, you’re depending on water fluctuations and fish litter to meet all your fishes’ demands. However, when you simply use flourish, you’re counting on atmospheric CO2 to provide with carbon, and the CO2 your fish respire as well.

We now understand there are some crucial differences between these two fertilizers. So let’s take a look at the quick comparison illustrated below.

Quick Comparison 

If you don’t know we already had a heated debate on two different fertilizers. And we noticed some significant differences in terms of usage, effect, and shelf life. Thus, in order to pick one between flourish and excel, you’d need to know about these variations thoroughly. So here’s a short comparison between the latter two for your instant knowledge.

Hope you got a clear idea about the primary differences to choose between flourish and flourish excel.

However, we’ve illustrated a comparative graph for you as well. Have a look at it-

Now let’s get into the details!

Where Can You Use This? 

Although Seachem offers, you actually don’t need to buy different bottles of flourish with different volumes. Because it’s an all-in-one plant fertilizer for a freshwater aquarium. However, the product is just convenient for tanks that retain a lower than seven pH level. Because high levels of this fertilizer can harm the marine life in the tank.

The Seachem Flourish, however, is perfectly compatible with the fishes and aquatic plants. When you talk about all-in-one fertilizers like this the argument between thrive and easy green comes right in.

On the other hand, Excel is used as an algaecide as well. It’s the best technique for numerous people to wipe out Black Beard Algae (BBA). You just need to use the full-day dosage directly on the area of algae by a pipette.

Speaking of the pipette, here are some recommendations for you to conveniently apply the fertilizer doses. These products will help you to use your dosage precisely with the help of a digit display. These are also lightweight and easy to handle.

However, sometimes you can misread the number in a hurry. So having an approximate dosage knowledge will be beneficial for you.

Now let’s get back to the argument again. You see, unlike flourish, excel isn’t suitable for all kinds of plants. It’s mostly complained about Excel that it has distressed or killed shrimp in the fish tank. 

However, most people’s problems with Excel might be because of inaccurate dosing. It’s crucial not to count on ‘capfuls’ or other similar types of standards when using in a smaller fish tank. That’s why you should buy a syringe or pipette.

Source: https://theaquariumguide.com/

Oh also remember that this product isn’t applicable for particular plants. Specially mosses, Vallisneria (Val), and ferns

By using excel on these plants you might kill them. So in case, your aquarium contains plants in these groups, stop using Excel or continue gradually and carefully.

Winner: Flourish

What’s the Dosing Instruction?

Well, the flourish is available in many different sizes. And while this is beneficial for the old consumers, it can be a bit difficult for a new user. Each of the bottles has varied directions and measurements.

Moreover, the treatment frequencies differ with each size. Sometimes it says 2.5 ml for every 50 gallons two times a week or extra if required. At other times it says ‘6 ml per 40 gallons every week’.

This can be pretty confusing for a beginner, and the concentrations of the nutrients are quite low to prevent overdosing. So you might need more fertilizer than the required recommendation.

Therefore, this product is best suited for someone familiar with its features. Because it could be a little difficult for the new consumer to grasp the details in the beginning. 

However, here’s a video you can watch to have an initial idea about safe fertilizer usage in fish tanks.

Here’s the dosing instruction table for flourish is given below. Have a look at it to prevent under-dosing or overdosing your aquarium plants and fish.

However, you have to dose your plants every day if you use Excel. One drawback of this fertilizer is that it’s not durable. It has a brief half-life of about 12 hours which is very less than regular Flourish. This suggests that, contrary to Flourish, it’ll last in your fish tank no longer than a day and hence you need to dose your plants daily. 

Also, you should put the daily dose of Excel into your aquarium prior to the “light on” stage begins. This will be in the dawn for maximum people.  

Also, make sure you’re multiplying the fertilizer that you’re putting to the water column alongside the CO2 by using excel. Because if these two components’ levels don’t match, then it can cause algae. Besides, you might need to adjust your light intensity or time to be in sync with the CO2 that you’ve provided through excel. 

So, there are basically two dosing procedures for Excel: 

  • The important one is your everyday dosing. It suggests that you need to dose at a ratio of 5ml (1 capful) per 200 liters of water.  
  • The next one is you need to use 5ml (1 capful) per 40 liters after a massive (more than 40 percent) water change.  

However, the usage of ‘capful’ measurement for Excel is tough for new aquarists. Therefore, you can dose by using drops as the measurement in a Fluval Spec V.

Here’s a table for you with the dose instructions recommended by Seachem. Have a look at it to know better:

Water Volume(Gallons)Water Volume(Liters)Excel dose (ml)Excel dose (Drops)
Recommended Dose Ratio52.832005100
Spec V Aquarium 5.6021.200.5311
Spec III Aquarium 3.5013.250.337
Estimated Number of Drops in an ml=20
Standard dose ratio (gallons of water/ML of Seachem Excel)=10.57

You can dose 10 drops of excel in your 5-gallon aquarium daily in the morning. This is very simple and quick and the outcome with the plant growth and control in a large growth will surely make your day!

Here’s another table below for the dosing needed after a massive water change:

Water Volume(Gallons)Water Volume(Liters)Excel dose (ml)Excel dose (Drops)
Recommended Dose Ratio10.57405100
Spec V Aquarium 5.6021.202.6553
Spec III Aquarium 3.5013.251.6633
Estimated Number of Drops in an ml=20
Standard dose ratio (gallons of water/ML of Seachem Excel)=2.11

Do you wanna know the logic for this heftier dose recommendation? It looks like a massive water change will reduce huge amounts of remaining Excel and CO2. This high dosage is a step to compensate for what is reduced. 

In short, if you compare the dosage work of flourish to excel’s then flourish usage is less complicated and durable.

Winner: Flourish

How Long Does it Take to Work?

If you try Flourish continually, the refined formula will heighten the mineral absorption and help the plants to be healthy enough to prevent infections. After its application, in the initial 10-15 days, you’ll catch sight of some positive transformations in your plants.

This formula stimulates the root growth underneath the surface. The initial application period will bring forth sufficient growth in the stems and leaves of the aquatic plants.

The product is designed to decrease the amount of iron in the water. At the same time, it also increases and maintains the volume of ferrous iron in the planted tank. Ferrous iron is an element that is crucial for the plants’ survival.

Moreover, it’s easier for the plants to absorb than the standard iron. The fertilizer is entirely safe for all kinds of plants, aquatic organisms, and fish.

Nonetheless, if your tank is getting filled with unnecessary aquatic organisms then the fertilizers will be more ineffective. Therefore, you should clear the sludges and other waste from your tank occasionally. In this case, you can get Dr. Tim’s Aquatics KOI-Pure Waste-Away Sludge Busting Organisms. This waste-away is fully eco-friendly and helped me to instantly clean all the sludges.

Source: spec-tanks.com

Now if we compare, Excel’s functions are entirely different from regular flourish. Moreover, there are some boundaries to how productive the Flourish Excel (substitute of carbon source) is. Because plants are way more productive in consuming gaseous CO2 put into the water.  

The chemical form, which is Excel, is more difficult for plants to use. So plant improvement will be less than conventional CO2 or Flourish. Therefore, it’ll take much more time with Excel compared to Flourish to notice any change or growth in the plants. 

Winner: Flourish

Does it Have Organic Carbon?

Even though the regular flourish doesn’t contain any nitrogen, potassium, or phosphorus, it does have an essential ingredient. That is organic carbon, which is something that all plants, and especially aquatic plants need.

Organic carbon can usually be found in carbon dioxide. Still, if your planted tank does not have enough carbon dioxide, then this element can be beneficial for your plants.

When we were comparing eco-complete and flourite, we’ve suggested some of these fertilizers along with it. Because fertilizers like Flourish prevents the growth of excessive algae on your aquarium substrates. But be careful about overdosing as it may result in the opposite. The lack of algae will make your tank look cleaner and give it a luscious, vibrant look.

Similarly, Flourish Excel comes as a source of bioavailable natural carbon. All plants need a stream of carbon. It’s generally received from CO2. However, it might be stemmed from natural organic fuses like photosynthetic intermediates.

Winner: Tie

What’s the Shelf Life of These Fertilizers?

Well, it’s recommended to refrigerate the flourish bottle 3 months after opening. The colder temperature will prevent mold and funguses from forming in the package. However, flourish has an expiration date of 4 years from the date of manufacture. 

Furthermore, we also recommend keeping the cap tightly closed when you aren’t using the product. This is because the supplement will lose its potency every time due to exposure to oxygen.

On the other hand, flourish excel doesn’t “expire”. Once opened you can further increase the quality of the product by refrigerating, although this is not necessary. Keep in room temperature as large flux in temperatures can “degrade” quality, nonetheless it is still usable.

Winner: Excel

How Much Does it Cost?

You see, Flourish Comprehensive and Flourish Trace cost around $10.50 each for a 16.9 oz bottle. Nonetheless, similar to API Leaf Zone, they’re extremely short on the two of the fundamental macronutrients – nitrogen and phosphorus. Just in case you have a high bioload tank. 

If you don’t have any, then you can use up another $10.50 on Flourish Nitrogen and another $10.50 on Flourish Phosphorus. 

By the moment you’re finished putting in all the essential nutrients, you might be making a queue of seven containers or more. Not only is it annoying to handle numerous bottles, but each of them comes with relatively different quantity and method frequencies. 

However, flourish costs less than flourish excel. 

Let’s find out how!

One of the problems of dosing Flourish Excel daily is if it’ll be worth your money. We closely compared the cost between flourish and excel and what we learned was shocking! 

Have a glance at the overview table below:

Water Volume(Gallons)Water Volume(Liters)Flourish Annual Quantity (ml)Excel Annual Quantity (ml)Cost per Year (USD)FlourishCost per Year (USD)Flourish Excel
Does per Gallon for 1 year*$1.728$4.46
Spec V Aquarium 5.621.253.76303$9.68$25
Spec III Aquarium 3.513.233.6189$6.05$15.59
55 Gallon Aquarium 55.0208.25282,977$95.04$245.60

Let’s do some more math. Suppose you got a 5-gallon aquarium, then your spending for using excel per year would be $25. Hence, the expense seems very affordable assuming the advantages achieved. In short, it’s very affordable for small aquariums.  

However, if you got a larger tank your expense will go belly up. You see, having a 55-gallon aquarium and dosing Excel would cost you around $245 a year. Slowly, this would perhaps beat the expense of loading CO2 tanks. The expense sloping point will differ according to purposes and objectives.

Flourish excel is bought in the subsequent sizes: 

But you know you can go for the 500 ml bottle. It’s a soft point in this price range and is a reasonable deal.

Are These Safe for Children?

Source: https://blog.tetra.net/

Flourish contains 1,5-Pentanedial and may cause an allergic reaction. 

Similarly, excel might cause serious eye damage, skin irritation as well. Because it contains strong compounds like Glutaraldehyde, it might cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

So, if you or any child somehow consumes the solution and/or suffers from irritation after making contact, then you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

So, Which One Would You Pick?

With all the features, usage, and safety issues mentioned above, it depends on you. You should choose the one that would be easy to use and safe at the same time. The one that doesn’t harm your plants or fish just because you overdosed on it.

I hope we kept our promise with all the necessary information in the writing.


Can I use flourish and excel together?

Yes, you can use Flourish and excel together. Both are two different products so there aren’t any known issues or interactions. However, you should maintain safety while using excel because an overdose can be fatal.

Does flourish excel lift pH level?

No, flourish excel contains neither buffers nor minerals of any kind, so it will have no impact on pH, GH, or KH when used as recommended. Excel is a carbon source for plants, but it’s not a source of CO2. So it’ll not acidify water the same way CO2 will.

Final Words

That’s everything we had to suggest between flourish vs flourish excel.

During making your preference between these two fertilizers make sure it fits your aquarium condition. Otherwise, it’ll result in harming your plants and fish.

All the best!

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