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Advance Dosing

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  • Advance Dosing

    Since the last major maintenance "turnaround" on this hi-light/hi-tech tank about three months ago, I have been adding Advance according to label directions (with a considerable uninterrupted UVC exposure). This is 210 gallons, heavily planted, including two very large and very productive swordplants, and dense thickets of watersprite and egeria. The animal load would probably be considered high, but I find that I add a lot of macronutrients frequently. I test daily for NO3, PO4, Fe, and every other day or so for kH and GH. CO2 is pressurized and controlled at least at 60 ppm. The pH is kept at circa 6.6.

    If PO4 falls below 1.5 ppm, I add. If NO3 falls below 5 ppm, I add. The GH booster is Mg (and K) rich, and I keep a bag of crushed shell/coral (aragonite substrate) in one filter loop. I try to avoid bicarb additive and anything else with sodium other than trace (the kH is almost wholly true CO3). The kH and GH both hang around 8 to 10 degrees. Ca:Mg is about 2:1. I also try to keep Fe at 1 ppm, but I am still grappling with dosing rates and it always tests considerably lower. I believe the plants are gobbling iron and trace, and I am being too cautious about dosing.

    For good karma I also put in 20 mL of Excel every morning.

    Light is the throttle in this ecosystem. The philosophy here is to un-restrain all limiting factors. Algae is well under control and plants and fish are healthy. When the jungle is really cooking, we are seeing O2 peaks hitting over 100% saturation every afternoon. By lights-on the next morning, O2 is seldom below 50%, and the ORP has normalized above 400 (gluconate, chelators, and gluteraldehyde depress the reading when added, so give "false" redox for a couple of hours (Iron, Flourish and Excel really screw with my curves).

    Always willing to try something new that is not obviously snake-oil, I am using Advance. I have no scientific basis for any statement as to its efficacy because I have not conducted this as a rigorous experimental trial (the average aquarist has no resources for such a thing). Going strictly on general impressions, I believe this has had beneficial effects.

    Given the background, I wonder if the dosing is right. The usual proviso in label directions for things like this (plant foods, etc) is that the dose can be increased for dense or high-speed systems. Apart from the non-specific "daily or as required for plant growth," the Advance directions do not mention this. Is it possible to overdose this product? So I am wondering if SeaChem has any suggestion concerning a dose alteration for this system.

    Any comments are welcome. Thanks for your patience.

  • #2

    Not to worry - you're definitely not buying snake oil with Advance. We did significant testing on this product before it was released, but we haven't published any kind of study. That said, the effects of phytohormones on the growth of plants is very well documented - I'd recommend taking a look through some of the scholarly articles on the subject, as they're actually really fascinating reading!

    We don't really recommend dosing more than the recommended amount on a daily basis - most fish keepers are actually finding that they need to dose LESS rather than more, as they are having to trim much more frequently than before. Outside of gross overdoses, the only real downside to overdosing the Advance is that the leftover nutrients sit around unused in the water, and opportunistic bacteria can take advantage of the free meal (if you do an unnecessary overdose, you might get a bacteria bloom). I'd recommend to start with the standard dose per day for the first few weeks (explosive growth starts around 2 weeks) and then moderate your doses after that point according to the level of growth you find that you want.



    • #3
      Thanks for the reply, RT. Where "scholarly articles" are concerned, can you make any suggestions? Learning the science is one of the things I get from this hobby.

      If I ever suspected that Advance was snakeoil, I would not have even tried it. I think that it has been useful - certainly not detrimental. I have been dosing the "standard dose" for three months - 50 mL every day in this tank.

      Explosive growth is what we are aiming for since, at the light levels I am using, it suppresses the algae, and the local fish shop gets the frequent harvest, which stands me in good stead there.

      The plant mass in there is very large, and I go through a lot of CO2. Thus, my concern was that, with all other factors dialed up to eleven, the standard dose might be insufficient.

      Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing the references.


      • #4
        We do not have any specific recommendations to cite here on our forum, however any article that is from a research site or from a .edu site is a great choice. I found a good one recently by doing a google search for plant Phytohormones. The one I liked was from the American Society of Plant Biologists.

        Are you dosing the standard dose daily? Also, I did not see mention of a potassium source. Do you dose with Flourish Potassium at all? This is a great nutrient to fuel growth as it facilitates processes such as protein synthesis, osmosis, and stomata operation- especially in leafy sword plant varieties.


        • #5
          As stated, this is a 210 gallon tank and I have been adding 50 mL Advance daily for three months. My GH booster includes Mg and K sulphates, and the NO3 and PO4 macros are K salts. I test for K periodically and always have a minimum of 40 ppm. ALL macro, micro, and trace are dosed at levels assuring luxury uptake. There are NO nutrient deficiencies in this ecosystem.

          I use a lot of SeaChem products: I have 8 liters of Matrix in the biofilters. I use test kits for Fe, NO3, PO4 (all are good reliable tests). I use Excel, Advance, Flourish, Trace, Discus Trace, and I keep the various buffers on hand. I don't regularly use carbon or other chemical filtration media.

          Sorry, but I mix my own ferts, although I have nothing whatever against SeaChem Potassium, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, or Iron, all of which I have used before and would certainly recommend to anyone.


          • #6
            Thankyou, AH, for the tip to the ASPB paper (I believe you are referring to "Introduction to Phytohormones" by Mary E. Williams). I went Googling and also found "The Plant Hormones: Their Nature, Occurence, and Functions" by Peter J. Davies. Both of these are accessible to lay persons with some scientific background. Short and sweet coverage of the subject for hobbyists is here:


            I also checked into the functions of other Advance label ingredients. These particular amino acids and vit C are key players in plant metabolic pathways, and mannitol is a "coping mechanism" for both abiotic and biotic stressors. Presumably you put these, and the inorganic nutrients, in the bottle to make sure of the presence of building elements necessary to the growth enhancement capability.

            Apart from the nutrient, all substances involved are endogenous, and a healthy, well-nourished plant is able to produce all it's own hormones and catalytic intermediates. But all these substances are water soluble and readily transportable across cell walls. So, if they are present, and with no nutrient limiting, they will stimulate growth, etc beyond the plant's baseline metabolism. The label claims for this product are borne out in theory, and I really do think results in my tank show it. As I said, I have not conducted a rigorous trial to prove efficacy. You have to faithfully dose for a time, and other conditions must be in line as well. But this is not a scientific analysis, and I have no answer for the skeptic.

            Back to my original question. The fact that regular dosing is instructed implies that the ingredients are consumed, i.e. for one reason or another, they disappear into the ecosystem, hence they must be renewed by periodic supplementation. I assume, to oversimplify the matter, that all components are subsumed in plant metabolism, each at a rate determined by the physiology of the plant (and thus also by environmental factors). So the dosing rate of the product is, in principle, indexed to the ecosystem's reaction speed, [I]unless there is a particular reason why this should not be so.[/I] Does a low-light, low-tech, slow-growth "au naturele" setup and the high-light, high-tech nutrient-supercharged jungle require the same dose of Advance, whereon the label instructions call for dosing by tank gallonage?

            Now the critic at this point will ask "Why do you care about this if you are getting results you believe in?" It's a fair question, if devoid of scientific curiosity. I have to think that I might get still better results if there is a better way to use the product. It would reinforce confidence in the claims favoring the product if its efficacy could be more clearly drawn. In any case, I like to think I'm using the product to the best effect possible, otherwise, why use it at all?

            Once again, thanks for your patience.


            • #7

              Please let me know if this does not answer your question on dosing, but the dosage is based on an appropriate amount of phytohormones to be given to a system that is moderately planted to be taken in by plants. Any leftover nutrient will break down and be filtered out fairly quickly, thus allowing for a daily dose. Dosage amounts and frequency can be adjusted in most systems. For instance, if you have a 20 gallon tank and the plant load is low and you only have a few plants you can reduce the amount of supplements added to count for the decrease of lack of plants. If you have a 20 gallon heavily planted tank, you can increase dosing of most supplements to account for the increased load of plants. The dosage instructions listed are based on our extensive in house experiments and testing and is the dosage found to be most effective for a moderately planted tank.

              Further, the Flourish Advance will not do harm when dosage is increased in a heavily planted system, but as it is an organic supplement that also contains nutrient sources for energy, just keep an eye out for signs of an influx of problem algae if dosed in an abundance more than plants can successfully utilize. This can be especially true when complex lighting and other nutrient additions are present. In a planted system it is all about balance. That said, you can increase nutrients, light load, etc in the system at intervals as long as you continue to maintain that balance.

              I hope this is helpful to add in to the other details discussed above. Have a great afternoon!


              • #8
                Thanks, AH. Yes, this is helpful. I am inclined to increase the dose by 50% (75 mL per 200 gal). In a few weeks I will post observations.


                • #9
                  Glad I could help. Definitely let us know what types of results you observe from this change. We will look forward to hearing back!