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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a fluval spec v I'm trying to keep caridina shrimp in, specifically blue bolts, however I'm concerned with the TDS readings I'm getting. Daily they are going up by apx 25ppm. There are no fish in the tank, but I've had an Amano, and variety of snails in there for the past few weeks. It is a newly planted tank and I'm running co2.


Background-Tank has been set up for over 4 years, I was keeping some chili rasboras (and algae) until the last one passed about 6 weeks ago and I decided to give the tank a good scrub to remove all the algae and rinse the substrate (eco-complete). I of course saved the biomedia and sponges before rinsing the tank. I have both an rodi system and well water that I just recently got tested, rodi is 0ppm TDS, well 15ppm (mostly comprising of silicates). I have multiple successful reef tanks and quit a bit of experience (over 10 years) in the saltwater hobby, but unlike many others I didn't start with freshwater/planted tanks and I always struggle when I attempt them. I mention this because I am quit familiar with water chemistry and tank cycling and what not, but I feel I am missing something.


I have been using rodi water remineralized with salty shrimp gh+ to 120ppm TDS eversince refilling the tank after cleaning, and been doing water changes with both 0 TDS water and slightly remineralized water to try and keep the tds down but the following day it is back up again. I've stopped water changes for a few days to see if it will balance out and it has gotten up past 250 TDS. I've added purigen, and matrix to try and get more of a bacteria colony going in hopes of adding a few small fish soon. I also just bought a new TDS meter but it's reading the same as the last one. I also have an auto top off system that replaces evaporation with rodi water (in hopes to prevent TDS creep).


Can't for the life of me figure this out.


Tank Parameters

Temp 70

Ph 6.4

Kh 3

Gh 5-6 (seems to rise also, but when changing water that corrects it)

Nitrate undetectable

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 0

 

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So is that Salty Shrimp kh/Gh or just Gh?

And I'm not sure if you are doing full RO water changes?

If just Salty Gh than substrate/decor is possibly adding carbonates to your system. Hence the tds, gh creep.

Or possibly a mislabeled Salty Shrimp? Not the first time I've seen an issue with Salty Shrimp quality control.

Edit Sorry just saw that you are indeed running co2 so your ph/kh makes sense


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is in fact salty shrimp gh only. I was not aware of issues with salty shrimp, thanks for that info!

I also believe it must be something leaching within the tank, since doing water tests on the remineralized water comes out to near perfect.

I have removed all rocks from the tank thinking maybe something from the last setup got absorbed and is leaching back out (they were lava rocks). I put them in a bucket of rodi water and the tds went up a few ppm over the course of a few days...but nothing major. All that's left in the tank currently is some type of driftwood (tree structure) that's new, preboiled before using, and the substrate (aged eco-complete) . To remove these would require disturbing all tediously planted carpeting plants and the moss tree. Which I'm hoping to avoid and be told it's something simple I'm overlooking and a quick fix 'fingers crossed, not likely'.

Regarding the substrate, is it possible decaying matter just got in there and is leaching out, even though its not being disturbed? And for this long? It was rinsed in well water, in hopes of preserving the live bacteria, maybe I instead caused a die off of benificial bacteria? I would think I would have ammonia registering on one of the 3 tests I've done if that were the case.

25ppm daily for weeks now just seems like a heck of alot in such a small tank with not much in it.

I appricitate the help!



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I just wanted to chime in since I've kept shrimp for a while using Salty Shrimp products. A good practice is to add a little bit at a time and add more the next day or even the day after. In my experience the TDS will always creep up as it dissolves. Temp, substrate, etc can all affect the TDS reading until it dissolves completely and stabilizes. In new setups (or existed if you're careful) you can use co2 like you have been to expedite the process since it drops the PH and makes the water more acidic helping to dissolve the additives. I made the mistake early on where I would add enough minerals to hit my target TDS only it to skyrocket the next day. Hope this helps a little.
 

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So how is your kh at 3?

That's actually the first thing that popped out to me. If you are only adding gh to your ro water and even with well water at 15 tds. You should not be at 3 kh?

Very strange.

Lava rock is pretty porous so it's quite conceivable that it will pull some nutrients and then release in ro water.



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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just wanted to chime in since I've kept shrimp for a while using Salty Shrimp products. A good practice is to add a little bit at a time and add more the next day or even the day after. In my experience the TDS will always creep up as it dissolves. Temp, substrate, etc can all affect the TDS reading until it dissolves completely and stabilizes. In new setups (or existed if you're careful) you can use co2 like you have been to expedite the process since it drops the PH and makes the water more acidic helping to dissolve the additives. I made the mistake early on where I would add enough minerals to hit my target TDS only it to skyrocket the next day. Hope this helps a little.
Definetly good advice, I have noticed the TDS go up a bit if I let it sit for a day or two after mixing in the salty shrimp. Instead of mixing it at my 'target' Ive been mixing it around 100ppm. Especially since my TDS creep/leach issue is bringing it up as well.

Are there any known issues with salty shrimp and co2?

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I personally have not experienced any issues with Salty Shrimp products and co2. I have a grow-out/propagation tank for my plants that I run co2 in and add the minerals since I throw all my cull shrimp in there and both plants and shrimp are healthy.

Also another good practice, I usually have a 5 gallon bucket of pre-mixed water at whatever TDS for water changes later. That way you don't have to go through the whole process of chasing TDS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So how is your kh at 3?

That's actually the first thing that popped out to me. If you are only adding gh to your ro water and even with well water at 15 tds. You should not be at 3 kh?

Very strange.

Lava rock is pretty porous so it's quite conceivable that it will pull some nutrients and then release in ro water.



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Great question... That I do not have an answer for, but would like one!

My target kh is 1-2

I don't know much about co2 (at all really) and the relationship with kh in my particular situation seeing as all of the research I've been doing seems to point to something (calcium based) being affected by the co2/pH causing it to leach and that's where I get lost because none of those situations apply to me or any products I'm using. I was thinking at one point the TDS increase must be calcium carbonate due to the rise in kh/gh, but how would I test this?

It is also a concern because if that is the issue I don't want a false positive of my tank TDS being in the right range, but comprised of entirely the wrong minerals for keeping shrimp. Hence why I stopped just adding 0 TDS rodi water and instead do larger water changes with the salty shrimp product.


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Great question... That I do not have an answer for, but would like one!

My target kh is 1-2

I don't know much about co2 (at all really) and the relationship with kh in my particular situation seeing as all of the research I've been doing seems to point to something (calcium based) being affected by the co2/pH causing it to leach and that's where I get lost because none of those situations apply to me or any products I'm using. I was thinking at one point the TDS increase must be calcium carbonate due to the rise in kh/gh, but how would I test this?

It is also a concern because if that is the issue I don't want a false positive of my tank TDS being in the right range, but comprised of entirely the wrong minerals for keeping shrimp. Hence why I stopped just adding 0 TDS rodi water and instead do larger water changes with the salty shrimp product.


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So how are you targeting 1-2 kh?

And I would like to clarify, I wasn't saying don't use Salty Shrimp. Just rule out that it's not a mislabeled kh/gh product. I have seen threads where the particular Salty Shrimp product was not as it seemed.

If anything, kh will lower in the presence of an acid. Not raise. But then if you have something in your tank that can leach, with that lower ph it will definitely.

Maybe google eco complete raise ph? I know I had a weird experience with a tank with eco complete in it.

One test you could do would be to take a small sample of substrate (not just from surface) out and place it in straight ro water. Bring the pH down with a small amount of vinegar, maybe to 6ph. Then test kh after a day or so.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So how are you targeting 1-2 kh?

And I would like to clarify, I wasn't saying don't use Salty Shrimp. Just rule out that it's not a mislabeled kh/gh product. I have seen threads where the particular Salty Shrimp product was not as it seemed.

If anything, kh will lower in the presence of an acid. Not raise. But then if you have something in your tank that can leach, with that lower ph it will definitely.

Maybe google eco complete raise ph? I know I had a weird experience with a tank with eco complete in it.

One test you could do would be to take a small sample of substrate (not just from surface) out and place it in straight ro water. Bring the pH down with a small amount of vinegar, maybe to 6ph. Then test kh after a day or so.

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Sorry, I'm not 'currently' targeting KH, just meant that's where I would like my water to be once I can figure out this TDS issue.

I appricitate the help, and its nice to be able to bounce ideas off of other people when you feel like you've gone over everything it 'could' be and are at a loss.

I think my game plan is going to be to keep ruling things out one at a time until I figure it out. The only major variables that are left are the salty shrimp and the eco-complete substrate. The salty shrimp I've had a few years, although it shouldn't technically go bad or expire, if they were having issues in the past it doesn't hurt to double check I havn't gotten a bad/miss labeled batch. I know there's a few similar products on the market now, I'll look into them. And last resort, replace the substrate. I already have another tank I'm setting up in case I do have to pull substrate I don't want to cause a major destabilization event in the tank, I'll just move everything over and start fresh.

Thanks again for the help!

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Try testing the Salty Shrimp, itself. Add the relative amount that you add to your tank, to a gallon of RODI water and add enough lemon juice to drop pH to that which your tank experiences. I can't tell what is in the Salty Shrimp, but if they are using CaCO3 or MgCO3, it will take a lower pH than just RODI water to bring it out, which may be what is happening in your tank. Watch the TDS, GH and KH in that gallon for a few days to see what occurs.

Additionally, the Eco-Complete contains these carbonates, so I would expect them to be released in acidic water. It also contains other elements which will add to TDS, but not GH or Kh.

BTW: NO3 at zero is not good for your plants,. Have you also measured PO4? Are you dosing other ferts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Try testing the Salty Shrimp, itself. Add the relative amount that you add to your tank, to a gallon of RODI water and add enough lemon juice to drop pH to that which your tank experiences. I can't tell what is in the Salty Shrimp, but if they are using CaCO3 or MgCO3, it will take a lower pH than just RODI water to bring it out, which may be what is happening in your tank. Watch the TDS, GH and KH in that gallon for a few days to see what occurs.

Additionally, the Eco-Complete contains these carbonates, so I would expect them to be released in acidic water. It also contains other elements which will add to TDS, but not GH or Kh.

BTW: NO3 at zero is not good for your plants,. Have you also measured PO4? Are you dosing other ferts?
My rodi water pH is at or below 6, I have a bucket of 'aged' premixed rodi/remineralized water that is up to tank temp and it is also reading at or below 6.0 pH, all tests done on that water including TDS have been stable over the course of 3 days.

Thanks for the info on eco-complete, I was not aware of that. The eco-complete has been in the tank for years, guessing this leaching will not stop.

I am aware 0 NO3 are not good for the plants, and I am cautiously increasing the bioload in this tank to raise them (since the last setup had a very small bioload). I have added shrimp, some snails, and just yesterday one small fish to try and increase the bioload in this tank to help the plants. I do not have a PO4 test kit, but I was dosing easy green and flourish iron, but have since switched to Florin Multi (past few days). I am struggling with adding ferts for the plants while trying to get ideal parameters for the shrimp.

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Well... These guys above seem to know more than me in these cases. But in general, especially since you have no animals in there yet, just stop doing any changes. let it level out and find out where it levels out. let it run for 2 weeks, your BB will be nearly cycled by then if they all did die off as some point. By that point things should be pretty leveled off. then start with a water change like normal and keep watching the changes then.

It kinda sounds like you're trying to do too much at once....
 
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