High TDS - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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High TDS

I've been having problems with my bettas falling ill, usually to fin rot, sometimes nothing apparent, and often dying. I've been ripping my hair out trying to solve the problem. Oftentimes they'll recover with medication, only to fall ill again within a month. Some haven't been affected at all, but most have, both jarred males and females in community tanks. They're getting excellent care, and the water is changed every 2-3 days. All other potential problems have been ruled out, so I've turned to my water.

I've just (almost) installed a RO/DI filter. Every possible thing that could have gone wrong with installation HAS gone wrong, and it leaked like a sieve. I'm to the point where once I fit the canisters with thread tape and figure out why the float valve doesn't go together the way it should, I'll be set.

So today I finally had enough RO/DI water to test it. It tests at 1 TDS. I'd rather it was 0, but for the moment, I'll take what I can get. Got curious and tested the tap water. Then the jar water.

RO/DI = 1
Tap = 539
1 Gallon Jar (which admittedly has salt, Prime, & IAL added): 2230

I'm thinking I may have found my problem. Also, after running maybe 70 gallons, the DI filter is almost exhausted. Even with a high tap TDS, it doesn't seem like that should have happened. I'm guessing the membrane is bad?

Any thoughts, advice, etc. is so welcome right now. I know I'm stubborn, but I'm almost amazed at myself that I'm still going after 9 months of dealing with (almost) every fish problem under the sun. The first time I started keeping fish, almost 20 years ago, I also had much trouble, but that ended up being caused by something else.

Last edited by Butterfly Bettas; 12-17-2017 at 10:54 PM. Reason: Added jar size
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 09:53 PM
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How big is the "jar" for the Betta ?
Replace all the water from the jar and slowly adjust the fish to the new water, like drip acclimation. Otherwise you will have problems with osmotic shock.

What do you mean the DI filter is exhausted ? How can you tell ? What value do you get from RO only ?

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't tried the RO only yet. The DI media has changed color to brown. It's almost completely changed. I'm assuming (perhaps wrongly) that this means it's exhausted, but I can't find anything on their website that states that. I'm going to call them tomorrow. I have a lot of questions and "suggestions" for them. :-)

The jars are 1 gallon. I was breeding (or trying to), so that's how they're still set up. I will start drip acclimating them, thanks!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 10:37 PM
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Fish salt - if that's what you mean will up TDS loads! I don't know anything about Betta's but why are you adding salt? Is that a routine thing or just to treat the illness?

If you have the space, it's much easier to keep bigger tanks stable - as the water evaporates the salt, for example, will become more concentrated upping the TDS.

You might try testing a jar just before a water change and just after. That will give you a rough idea of what the increase is between water changes.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Salt is often used for bettas, both for treatment and for general health.

I do have many tanks, but those aren't for the males (who need to be kept individually, lest they fight).

TDS is 2230 before 50% water change, and 1760 after. However, I've cut the salt dosage in the replacement water, so that makes sense that it's going down. The jars are water changed every 2-3 days and covered, so water evaporation isn't an issue. It's not the stability I'm worried about (and the fish were falling ill before I started adding salt, so the TDS would have been lower then), but the fact that the TDS is just generally high. It's already high just coming out of the tap at 539. That's why I'm switching to RO. I've read where high TDS can negatively affect the health of fish, especially if the species originated in different water parameters.

Any thoughts on the DI exhausting so quickly? Is it the 539 TDS tap water, or more likely a bad membrane? I've done some research, and the consensus seems to be bad membrane. Should RO/DI water be at 0, or is 1 an acceptable level? Also, is 539 on the higher side like I suspect?

Last edited by Butterfly Bettas; 12-17-2017 at 11:53 PM. Reason: Added detail
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 11:33 PM
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IMO <5 TDS is fine for RO. Many consider 10 TDS time to change filters/membrane. Saltwater might be a little more strict on their water quality. Regardless...2230 seems insane. But that's coming from someone that has tank water that's a tiny bit over TDS 200.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
IMO <5 TDS is fine for RO. Many consider 10 TDS time to change filters/membrane. Saltwater might be a little more strict on their water quality. Regardless...2230 seems insane. But that's coming from someone that has tank water that's a tiny bit over TDS 200.
TDS meters measure electrical conductivity between two probes so adding salt increases the electrical conductivity of the water and thus increases the reading on the TDS meter.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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That's good to know - thanks!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 11:22 AM
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Yep, you won't be able to have salt and a low TDS.

Going from high TDS to low TDS can cause osmotic regulation issues, and that's quite a drop from 2230 to 1760 so it might be worth changing smaller portions each day temporarily as you bring it down, particularly as you add in RO too, just to make the change more gradual.

Just double checking, but you know you need to add remineraliser or cut the RO with tap to add some hardness etc. back in?

Tape water can have all sorts in, you don't know what the 539 TDS is made up of - it's likely to be hard water (mine is TDS 415 and GH18+) but the TDS could also be a result of things like nitrate. I'd go with a remineraliser so that you can completely rule out your tap water as the issue - or split the fish half and half and see if you get a difference between that and cut with tap.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I do have the stuff to add back in to the RO water. I'll be doing that and testing it today.

Our water is liquid rock, with a pH of 8.0+. It really is something. IAL (Indian Almond Leaf or catappa leaves) tonic does soften it, but the pH doesn't go down, and I don't use chemicals to bring it down.

Thanks!
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