TDS 1000+! Tap water 97, please help! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy TDS 1000+! Tap water 97, please help!

Heya everyone!

In my never ending quest to learn and become a better aquarist, I've come with another question.

In short:
Bought a TDS meter because i'm having devastating hair algae issues, and realize my overall water quality may be to blame. When I tested it on my 15g tank, it was 1090! My smaller, dedicated shrimp tank (sakura cherry shrimp) is around 670.

I thought it might be my tap, so I tested my tap water and it was a solid 97.

Here's my 15g stats:
  • 20 -30% water changes every week
  • Eheim canister filter (has carbon, just added purigen too)
  • Pressurized co2 via glass diffuser : 2BPS
  • KH: 9
  • GH: 11
  • PH: 7.6+ (tap is 7.6+ also)
  • Ammonia: 0

Stock:
  • 10 amano shrimp
  • 1 betta


What I think it might be:
  • My substrate being too deep. Its 3" deep - Fluval Stratum. I always have bubbles coming up whenever i siphon the substrate, i heard thats a sign the substrate isnt being aerated enough. I added MTS but they dont seem to be doing much.
  • The biofilm on the surface. I'll be getting Seachem Pristine today to hopefully get rid of it, but I heard thats also a result of too many organics.
  • My algae issue: I've been getting massive amounts (it comes back overnight) of hair algae that ill be dropping H202 on in the near future.

Can anyone verify or give me any ideas? I figured doing water changes each week would keep these things to a minimum, but perhaps i'm wrong. I'd really like to keep blue velvet shrimp in my tank in the future, so any assistance in managing this would be extremely helpful!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 06:05 PM
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How heavily do you dose dechlorinator and ferts? How much are you feeding? Also, what decor is in the tank? Stones, rotting wood, bad plastic plants, etc. can leach a lot into the water column. With huge hair algae issues, you might be overdosing ferts by quite a bit or overfeeding.

I had a couple of thoughts that make no sense with 2 tanks testing that way, but maybe it's still worth mentioning. TDS pens use electrical conductivity to determine TDS, so it could be voltage leak by devices in the tank (like a heater). But in 2 tanks - not likely. Also, a 15 gallon isn't big enough for evaporation replaced by tap to cause issues (especially given your weekly water changes), but that is a common problem with larger tanks.

I don't think the substrate depth is an issue, but the MTS stirring things up could release ammonia and other things back into the water column.

Biofilm is usually indicates excess nutrients (proteins included), but are more a visual representation of that, not a cause.

Algae usually consumes excess nutrients, so if anything, I would think that would lower your TDS. I've not had huge explosions of algae before (knock on wood), so I can't speak from experience on that.

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Last edited by natemcnutty; 12-08-2016 at 06:07 PM. Reason: Decor! I forgot decor!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 06:44 PM
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Well it's easy to measure your tds, take some water out and that way you get a true reading of tds.
Now in my 30litre nano planted shrimp tank my tds goes up every day. My tap water is 175ish however I do 50% water changes weekly and use RO water to top up so that brings the tds down. Now my main issue is the landscape Rock I use has a white Line mineral going through it and that causes leaching hence the rise in tds daily.
I keep CRS no problem in these water parameters.

Main questions are what hardscaoe o you have?
What substrate are you using?

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses so far!

A bit on my feeding:

I feed my betta 2 pellets a day when hes at the surface of the tank, so they dont find their way to the bottom. The shrimp survive off the algae only, and very occasionally ill throw some thera + sinking food (1-2 pellets) for them to eat.

I had what i thought to be seiryu stones in for a while and it threw my GH up past 17, so i removed it a month or two ago. I also have a piece of driftwood with java fern, anubias, and moss attached that i've had for about 3-4 years now. I heard that co2 can cause stones to leak excess minerals into the water, so i figured that's what the issue was, there. Additionally, I have 2 indian almond leaves that have been in there for 2-3 weeks now.

I have 3 large tourmaline balls, seen here: Tourmaline Mineral Balls - Han Aquatics throughout tank.

I have cichlid stones for my betta and shrimps since they like to hide:
Deco-Replicas Stone Hide-Aways|Aquarium Decorations and Ornaments

I'm worried i might be overdosing ferts, but my plants are showing signs of deficiencies and i'm trying to figure out what might be out of wack. Dosing is honestly the most difficult part of plant keeping, since i can never seem to figure out what suites my light/co2 needs.

I dose seachem liquid ferts:

- 2.5ml trace ferts 1x a week
- 1.25ml flourish 1x a week
- 1.25 ml iron 1-2 weeks
- 2.5ml phosphorus 1x a week
- 2.5ml potassium 1x a week


I took my water out and placed it in a cup to get another reading, and it came to about the same. =(

ALSO: My dechlorinator is prime, and i usually throw 1/2 a capful in with each water change. is that too much?

Last edited by Rinfish; 12-09-2016 at 10:41 PM. Reason: Giving more info on tank items.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 10:31 PM
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Water change?
TDS build over time with no water change. If you do water changes params are usually stable.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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I do a 20-30% water change every week. =) This past water change I had 10 days in between, but this is what my TDS was after the change.

I forgot to mention, I recently purchased (and put in both tanks) Sera Shrimp mineral salt: SERA Shrimp Mineral Salt . it asks for 1 tsp per roughly 5g of water once weekly. I put enough in for 10g and then threw in 1/4 a tsp of regular aquarium salt.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 11:07 PM
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Well, there you go. Minerals and salt increase the tds.

It sounded off at first.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Should I not dose it? Or lower the dosing despite what it says? I thought it was supposed to help shrimp, but the TDS seems way unhealthy for most delicate breeds, and i'd want my blue velvet shrimp (that i'd like to get in the future) to be happy. Most places recommend a TDS of 100-200.

Bump: Second question: since the sera shrimp salt provides magnesium and potassium, should i avoid dosing that with liquid ferts?

Also, thank you for narrowing it down!

Last edited by Darkblade48; 12-10-2016 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-10-2016, 10:34 AM
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You don't need to add salts etc. Alot of people get carried away with adding to many different salts, ferts etc! To give you an idea my tank is very simple. I have a 30litre planted setup. Now I dose 1ml if easy carbo, 1ml of profito and 1ml of iron daily. I also inject Co2. That's it! I do a water change weekly a which Is around 50% mark and then top up with RO water. I honesly wouldnt take everything up with what it says! Sometimes you try make things to perfect.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-10-2016, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsankey88 View Post
You don't need to add salts etc. Alot of people get carried away with adding to many different salts, ferts etc! To give you an idea my tank is very simple. I have a 30litre planted setup. Now I dose 1ml if easy carbo, 1ml of profito and 1ml of iron daily. I also inject Co2. That's it! I do a water change weekly a which Is around 50% mark and then top up with RO water. I honesly wouldnt take everything up with what it says! Sometimes you try make things to perfect.

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I'll try it out! I don't have the ability to test specific fert levels in my water, so its always a guesstimate as to whether im overdosing or under-dosing my ferts. The stuff you linked has good reviews, so i'll have to do more research to see if it can replace some of the things i have currently. =) Do you keep shrimp in your tanks?
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-10-2016, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinfish View Post
I'll try it out! I don't have the ability to test specific fert levels in my water, so its always a guesstimate as to whether im overdosing or under-dosing my ferts. The stuff you linked has good reviews, so i'll have to do more research to see if it can replace some of the things i have currently. =) Do you keep shrimp in your tanks?
Yes I have crystal red shrimp, blue velvet shrimp and normal red cherries, I have had one death in 2 months so must be doing something right. Like I said before I only use 3 luquid ferts and injection of Co2, I've never used salts and don't think I'll start as they really dont need it

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