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I had an interesting idea. Could I use a TDS Meter to determine wether or not a partial water change each week is even needed? Other than removing solid matter, and being that nitrates, phosphates, etc are not a bad thing, why change the water unless it is really dirty? Maybe my head is in the wrong place and I dont really mind doing water changes but I didnt know if anyone had tried an experiment like that before. Stupid idea?
 

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I had an interesting idea. Could I use a TDS Meter to determine wether or not a partial water change each week is even needed? Other than removing solid matter, and being that nitrates, phosphates, etc are not a bad thing, why change the water unless it is really dirty? Maybe my head is in the wrong place and I dont really mind doing water changes but I didnt know if anyone had tried an experiment like that before. Stupid idea?
Many have suggested it.
You cannot tell what ppm of what nutrient is moving around.

You may end up with lots of NO3, K+, no PO4 and no Fe.
Or the reverse...........

So without testing and getting a good back ground, hard to say, in general, I think with a typically dosing routine, you can get away with a few weeks, but I do not need a TDS meter to watch my plants.........and know when it's a good time to do a water change.

You cannot over do water changes, daily 50% works very well.
But that's more work than most wanna do.

2-4x a month is more normal, since I like to clean things up and trim about that same frequency.

After a cleaning, trim etc, I do a good size water change, takes me about the same time to do 25% vs 50%. Takes the same motivation to do 25% as 50% also.

Make that easier(WC's), you can automated them, you cannot automated measuring the parameters. You could use a TDS meter to automatically flush the tank based on a TDS/Conductivity when it gets to a certain level.
I have 5 good size planted tanks, takes me 2 hours a week to tend them and do water changes.

Changes do more than just flush and drain water, they stir dead spots, they provide more/good CO2, easier access to trimming, cleaning and pruning, remove all the detritus, removes the muck that reduces O2 after cleaning, uprooting etc, then brings fresh O2 back in. Also keeps the tank and tap pretty close as far as TDS, rather than stretching things for a long time, then needing to do a good size water change can shock fish, same is true in a fish only tank.

You can also hard plumb the tank to drain and fill with a turn of a valve, makes life far easier and then you are more likely to clean, keep on top of things, and clean the filters more often etc. Water change is an excuse for other maintenance that needs to be/should be/could be done.

I work while it drains and fills.

I think if you set the TDS meter to change the water automatically at a rather slight change, that might be pretty good since it would occur fairly frequently.

But it's not that big of a labor saving device for water changes really.
I think experience and eyes are better, simply watching and observing plants rather than messing with too many techy items has always shown to be better in scaping and in generla care/stability.
I'd focus there.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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