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Old 06-22-2013, 09:27 PM   #1
Padded Wall
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High TDS, Low Everything Else?


I have a puzzling problem.

My TDS meter reads 222 in my unstocked CRS tank, but after testing everything I have no ammonia, no nitrites and no nitrates (somehow? I don't know how this is possible seeing as I've been using New Amazonia and the tank has been cycling and I've only done like 2 or 3 water changes), I have 0-1 kh and 5 gh. Something doesn't add up. I have DIY co2. Could that be what's raising the TDS so much? I plan on removing that when I get my shrimp but I just was using it to boost plant growth. I also used pure RO water for this tank.

If anyone has any idea on why the TDS are so high, please let me know.

Oh and if anyone can explain why my ammonia nitrites and nitrates are non-existent that could be helpful, too. I thought that aquasoil leeched ammonia which helped the tank cycle. It's been running for a month so I thought I would have a good stack of nitrates by now... Maybe the plants are eating them? I did have ammonia, nitrites and nitrates on previous tests, although it was never very much.

What do I need to do for this tank before I can finally get my shrimp in it?
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:32 PM   #2
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Tds comes from very few sources:

Source water, GH additives, leeching substrate/stone/wood and faulty meters.

If you have volcanic/dragon stone your TDS could be coming from there.

If your source water is only RO, then you could have issues with the membrane needing replacement in that unit. If it is tap, then you are at the mercy of local pipes ( San Diego is 450-680 out of tap).

As far as your cycle goes, either you have fully processed all waste, or you have not had enough released/enough bacteria to start/continue a full cycle. Most times it's the latter. Add a small amount of flake food to ensure that the cycle truly begins before fully stocking. It should take 1.5-2 months to fully establish a functioning ecosystem.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:55 AM   #3
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TDS is not only related to GH/KH, any kind of fertilizer or salt you add, TDS will go up. it will also go up slowly when substrate leach anything in the water.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:02 AM   #4
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I haven't added anything but Fluval Shrimp Mineral Supplement. Do you think a few water changes will keep it down? Does aquasoil usually make the TDS go up this much? I don't think it's the RO water as I bought it in a jug at the grocery store. It wasn't filled by one of those machines. It was already filled and sealed when I bought it.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padded Wall View Post
I haven't added anything but Fluval Shrimp Mineral Supplement. Do you think a few water changes will keep it down? Does aquasoil usually make the TDS go up this much? I don't think it's the RO water as I bought it in a jug at the grocery store. It wasn't filled by one of those machines. It was already filled and sealed when I bought it.
like i said calcium and magnesium will raise the TDS, Fluval Shrimp Mineral contain both and meant for increasing the TDS for shrimps.
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:51 PM   #6
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TDS meters measure the electrical conductivity of the water. Almost all of this is from ions, that is, charged particles in the water.
This can be almost everything: Salts (not just sodium chloride), minerals, organic materials... so TDS is a reasonable way to measure all the 'stuff' in the water.

You simply do not have all the tests you need to figure out what is raising the TDS.
You may not need more tests. Just go with it. When the GH is right for the livestock, and the KH stabilizes the pH in the right range, then the minerals are probably right for the livestock.
As suggested above: The plants are probably removing most of the nitrogen in all its forms, so the tank is cycled in this sense, and is ready for stocking.

Here is something you can try:
Test each of these separately.
1) Tap water, no additives.
2a,b,c...) Tap water with just ONE additive: Dechlor, shrimp minerals, each of the plant fertilizers...
3) Make up some new water for a water change with all the additives in the right ratio.
If number 3 does not match the tank then there is something in the tank contributing to the water chemistry.
4a,b,c...) Take each item out of the tank and test it separately in a jar of water. Rock, driftwood, a handful of substrate... A slow reacting item might take a week or two to show up.


Here is an example of TDS not matching (limited) tests:
I buy fish from several stores.
I set up quarantine tanks to match the water the fish are in at the store.
When I buy new fish I test the water in the bag.
One store had the following values:
GH and KH around 10-12 degrees. (About double or more of my tap water)
TDS in the low thousands. Not kidding. TDS around 1100-1200ppm.
So I got out my API Pond Salt Test. YUP! The store is salting their water for FRESH water fish. A lot!
I could have quarantined my new fish in my BRACKISH water tank! (It is a very low end brackish tank, but still....!)
So I set up the Q-tank with GH and KH about 12 degrees and started adding salt (sodium chloride) until the TDS matched the bag.
It took a month of small water changes to get the fish acclimated to the water in my display tanks.

Side issue: Why sell specialized minerals for shrimp tanks? How do they know what minerals you need to supplement what might already be in the water? Or are they assuming you are starting with pure RO, no other minerals added?
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:27 PM   #7
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I think they're assuming you start with pure RO water, like I did. It also says it's just a GH booster, and I think it's more along the lines of if your gh is lower than x, you can just raise it to x with this.

Should I still do the tests with tap water if I'm using RO water? I'm using the 5 gallon jugs from a local grocery store. On another note: If my tap water's tds is 14 out of the tap do you think I even need RO?

I'm not using any ferts, either.

That's an interesting story about those fish you bought. I wonder why they had their fish in brackish water...

Thanks for the in depth response.
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