TDS and its use in Planted Tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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TDS and its use in Planted Tanks

Recently I have been using TDS to try to determine my water quality after struggling with some plant for quite some time. I have adjusted Co2, flow, ferts and light for months to no avail. I am trying to explain why my TDS is so darn high. I use a 50/50 blend of RO.DI water with dechlorinated city water with a TDS of 250ish, to come to a source water total of about 125. Before I preformed my water change yesterday the TDS was a whopping 550ppm! I did 2 50% water changes to get it down to 300ppm before adding my macros and 1/2 TSP of GH booster. After the booster it came up to 370ppm like I had expected. Now I wanted to track the TDS over time to see how the ferts are affecting it b measuring it every morning after ferts and every evening about 12 hours apart. When I measured the TDS last night it had risen 15 ppm to 385. I confirmed the same number before adding micros this morning. I did not add anything to the tank.... I only have a few fish, pleco, sae, and 2 otos. Why in the world would the TDS jump 15 ppm in about 8 hours? and what effect does TDS in general have on plant growth?
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 01:30 PM
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My 4 tanks have a TDS ranging from 350 to over 1100ppm. TDS is what I measure most often although I measure it maybe only once a month. In my case I don't do water change and just add potassium and iron.

I don't know how high quality your device is but depending how deep you place the probes will affect the reading. But even without adding anything in the tank, plants decay, they also release chemicals in the water and also do the fishes, even in small quantities. That will affect the reading. Substrate will also release stuff and so will wood if you have any.


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 01:54 PM
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Shells, limestone type rocks or aggregate, concrete hardscapes, and any calcium
based anything will all slowly dissolve adding to the overall TDS in the aquarium.
Any of these present in your tank?

Granites and quartz typically will not alter the TDS.

Plants: I have found that some plants growth has came to a halt with too high of a TDS.
In my case water sprite would not grow and became stunted over 350 TDS.
Enough water changes to stay around 225-250 and quick growth returned.
This was the only variable I changed at the time.

I use TDS as an indicator for water changes.
Over 300 and I plan for some quantity of water to change.
For me this is 4 - 8 gallons a week in a 40 gallon with a large concrete hardscape.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input, Yes I understand plant matter, fish, hardscape all affect the TDS but 15ppm over 8 hours seems like A LOT especially for a low fish load. The measurements were taken at the same depth in the tank as well. I do have Seiryu stones but they are probably only a pound in a 26 gallon tank. Shouldn't impact the water too much.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 02:52 PM
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Maybe you are using too much GH booster. I use Equilibrium and strictly RO water and found that the directions for 6dgh water gave me a tds reading of over 350. I have since cut that dose in half.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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But that does not explain the 15 ppm increase over 8 hours
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Shells, limestone type rocks or aggregate, concrete hardscapes, and any calcium
based anything will all slowly dissolve adding to the overall TDS in the aquarium.
Any of these present in your tank?

Granites and quartz typically will not alter the TDS.

Plants: I have found that some plants growth has came to a halt with too high of a TDS.
In my case water sprite would not grow and became stunted over 350 TDS.
Enough water changes to stay around 225-250 and quick growth returned.
This was the only variable I changed at the time.

I use TDS as an indicator for water changes.
Over 300 and I plan for some quantity of water to change.
For me this is 4 - 8 gallons a week in a 40 gallon with a large concrete hardscape.
Interesting, I have water sprite, water wisteria, guppy grass, Egeria densa in that 10 gal tanks that has 1100ppm TDS and must trim them all once in a while. Oh, there is also some parrot feather and java moss.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcarl_10gal View Post
But that does not explain the 15 ppm increase over 8 hours
How about when you make the measurement at the same time of the day. Things like pH may change throughout the day.


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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariostg View Post
Interesting, I have water sprite, water wisteria, guppy grass, Egeria densa in that 10 gal tanks that has 1100ppm TDS and must trim them all once in a while. Oh, there is also some parrot feather and java moss.
I only noticed this with water sprite. No other plants.
I can't explain all this mess, just what happened with mine.
Maybe since it didn't grow an inch a day I thought something was wrong?

It's tough here, we all have so many different variables.
Due to locations our water sources differ considerably.
If it's growing we are doing something right.


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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
I only noticed this with water sprite. No other plants.
I can't explain all this mess, just what happened with mine.
Maybe since it didn't grow an inch a day I thought something was wrong?

It's tough here, we all have so many different variables.
Due to locations our water sources differ considerably.
If it's growing we are doing something right.
Agreed. Well glad it doesn't grow an inch a day. Mind you that's almost what the guppy grass does.


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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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On the plant debate, a TDS out of the faucet at 800 and in the tank with 1100 would be far different from water out of the tap with a TDS of 300 and a tank TDS of 1100. The chemical makeup of the water would be quite different.

The only fluctuation in the pH over the course of the day is impacted by Co2, so from my understanding it shouldn't impact it. I checked the TDS around 11am and it was still at 385. We will see what it is at 8pm tonight.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcarl_10gal View Post
On the plant debate, a TDS out of the faucet at 800 and in the tank with 1100 would be far different from water out of the tap with a TDS of 300 and a tank TDS of 1100. The chemical makeup of the water would be quite different.

The only fluctuation in the pH over the course of the day is impacted by Co2, so from my understanding it shouldn't impact it. I checked the TDS around 11am and it was still at 385. We will see what it is at 8pm tonight.
Not sure if you are referring to anyone in particular here, but my TDS out of the faucet is around 60ppm. My tanks are about a year old. so the TDS just built up overtime.


All I was saying is that water parameters may fluctuate throught the day hence it's best to do it at the same time.


You should elaborate more on the conditions in your tank. You mentionned about GH booster, but what do you dose for ferts? Also, which plants are specifically affected? Not sure you mentionned the substrate used.


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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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No, I wasn't referring to either of you. But yeah, TDS does build up over time. I am testing the TDS at the same time as well, once at 8am then again at 8pm.

As for the tank it has ecocomplete, dosed EI, injected CO2 and high light. Specific plants are s.repens, AR mini and ludwigia sp. red has some curled leaves, macandra. Plants that are fine include, purple cabomba, pogo, bylxa
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-29-2015, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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So I didn't see the 15ppm jump in TDS overnight which is good i guess. However when I added my fert solutions this morning I expected it to increase by 22ppm by adding up all the nutrients on YANC. The TDS in the tank went up 35ppm. The solutions are mixed in 0 TDS water from my RO/DI. Is there something I am not considering for a rise of 15ppm?
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 10:10 PM
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Did you add up all the stuff that comes along for the ride? SO4 from MgSO4 for instance.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 06:05 AM
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TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids which I am sure you know. Everything you put into your fish tank is constantly dissolving a little at a time. Plants, rocks, wood, ferts, dechlorinator, food etc. Especially food. Fish process it and what they produce is dissolved solids as well.

TDS meters are mostly useful for telling you when your water needs changed and it can be a general guide as to the hardness of your water supply but once that water has entered the tank the amount of TDS has little to do with water hardness since it is impossible to say what dissolved solids you are measuring. Is it a mineral or is it nitrate?

And an increase of 5% overnight does not seem so alarming.
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