Does TDS really matter for Freshwater? help, please!

noemismith

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Freshwater aquarium: newly cycle 20 g planted, substrate: Fluval Bio Stratum on the bottom, gravel, and sand on top
about 2 weeks ago I got 3 pea puffers and 4 snails.
All my parameters were showing well even now it does, but a week ago we got a new TDS meter.
The puffer and snails were fine since we got them, but recently testing the TDS we found it to be on the 400!! I also got 3 Amano shrimps and more tiny snails, the tank is a planted tank of 20 gallons, i have to admit it may not be fully cycled I have used “tank stared bio culture” since I set up this tank on Sept 2nd
So by now, we are using RO water with and without “shrimp mineral GH/KH ” to do water changes in this 20g tank, we did a 20% water change with remineralized RO Water, and the TDS only went down to 390, so the next day we did another water change using “straight RO water” at 10% Water change reducing the TSD to 300 but just for a couple of days, now is all back to 437 and going up each day.
So at this point, we don't know what to do!?? As we were reading that high TDS is harmful to fish and shrimp.
Everything on the tank seems to be doing well the puffers are kind of picky eaters I had to buy them live daphnia to eat, the shrimps are molting and snails eating all algae and biofilm they can find.
Weird thing I also have nano tanks: 1g, 3g, 5g and a 10g ...all of them shown on the 200- 260 max
Hopefully, we can get some advice here, thanks
 

GaryE

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The TDS is a bit high, and it seems there is something in the tank adding to it. But snails will love it, and the pea puffers can handle it. It isn't optimal but isn't a crisis. I would aim for stability first, and adjust with that in mind.
 
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noemismith

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The TDS is a bit high, and it seems there is something in the tank adding to it. But snails will love it, and the pea puffers can handle it. It isn't optimal but isn't a crisis. I would aim for stability first, and adjust with that in mind.
Thanks! Should I do daily water changes with straight RO water then? I don't know what else to do in order to reduce the TDS?
everything Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates show as O and GH/KH is actually kind of low.
 
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noemismith

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The problem with TDS meters is they include/ read everything that is dissolved in the water. If the pH, GH and KH are stable and within the optimum range for the fishes being kept, then you don't need to worry about TDS.
Thank you! I even stop using fertilizer for the plants!
I have the strips test only I think the API should be more accurate? so I'm willing to pay for those and be more sure nothing else is going on here
 

Byron

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My first comment is that I have never worried about or bothered with TDS levels. I have zero GH/KH which was my primary concern with respect to fish species suited, and I also know that every substance I add to the tank will increase the TDS, from water conditioner to plant additives to fish food. One reason I do not advise the addition of unnecessary additives for anything that is not a major problem for the fish.

One reason I do not recommend Prime is due to the high TDS. This came up on another forum some years ago, and more than one member said they tossed out the Prime afterwards. The point here is that it does indeed matter what we dump in the water.

I have an article I wrote in 2012 that is on @AbbeysDad blog, here:
 
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noemismith

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My first comment is that I have never worried about or bothered with TDS levels. I have zero GH/KH which was my primary concern with respect to fish species suited, and I also know that every substance I add to the tank will increase the TDS, from water conditioner to plant additives to fish food. One reason I do not advise the addition of unnecessary additives for anything that is not a major problem for the fish.

One reason I do not recommend Prime is due to the high TDS. This came up on another forum some years ago, and more than one member said they tossed out the Prime afterwards. The point here is that it does indeed matter what we dump in the water.

I have an article I wrote in 2012 that is on @AbbeysDad blog, here:
Prime? Are you talking about the Fluval Bio Stratum? I keep doing research and asking around seemed like I need to raise my PH to help beneficial bacterial grow, this is quite a new tank and having it with 6.5 PH is not helping
 

Colin_T

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Prime is a water conditioner/ dechlorinator.

What fish do you keep?
If you have fish that like acid water, then a pH of 6.5 is fine. If you have fish that like a higher pH, then add some shells, limestone rocks, or dead coral rubble to the tank or filter. They are made from calcium carbonate and will raise the pH. Add a small amount and monitor the pH over a couple of weeks. If it is still too low, add a bit more and monitor. Continue adding and monitoring until you get the desired pH.
 

Byron

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I understand the reasoning for the pH and cycling issue, but I do not agree with raising the pH just to somehow benefit cycling, then having to do whatever to get it back down for the fish to be healthy.

If the pH naturally remains in the 6 range, or lower, the fact that it may hinder or if low enough prohibit "cycling" does not matter one iota. If the water parameters are stable and the GH/KH/pH are low, fish from such waters will be right at home and thrive. I have never "cycled" an aquarium in over 30 years. I have live plants, including always some substantial floating species, and I have zero GH/KH water and pH at or below 6. Tests have always shown zero ammonia, zero nitrite in new tanks and established tanks. I wold never keep fish requiring harder water or a basic (above 7) pH as they are just not suited to my water. This is far more important than "cycling."
 
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noemismith

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Prime is a water conditioner/ dechlorinator.

What fish do you keep?
If you have fish that like acid water, then a pH of 6.5 is fine. If you have fish that like a higher pH, then add some shells, limestone rocks, or dead coral rubble to the tank or filter. They are made from calcium carbonate and will raise the pH. Add a small amount and monitor the pH over a couple of weeks. If it is still too low, add a bit more and monitor. Continue adding and monitoring until you get the desired pH.
ahh!! I use RO water, cause my tap water is extremely hard and PH is over 8 here where I live and was affecting some Neocaridina Shrimp I have, So I don't really use dechlorination, but I add shrimp mineral GH/KH to the RO
For this 20g tank, I have 3 juvenile pea puffers, 3 Amano shrimps, several nerites and ramshorn snails, and a lot of plants even so the TDS keep rising to 400, they all seem to be doing well.
 
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noemismith

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I understand the reasoning for the pH and cycling issue, but I do not agree with raising the pH just to somehow benefit cycling, then having to do whatever to get it back down for the fish to be healthy.

If the pH naturally remains in the 6 range, or lower, the fact that it may hinder or if low enough prohibit "cycling" does not matter one iota. If the water parameters are stable and the GH/KH/pH are low, fish from such waters will be right at home and thrive. I have never "cycled" an aquarium in over 30 years. I have live plants, including always some substantial floating species, and I have zero GH/KH water and pH at or below 6. Tests have always shown zero ammonia, zero nitrite in new tanks and established tanks. I wold never keep fish requiring harder water or a basic (above 7) pH as they are just not suited to my water. This is far more important than "cycling."
I don't think my Amano shrimps in this tank will make it with zero GH/KH :( other than that I have 3 pea puffers that supposedly won't be making it in over 250 TDS and snails.. my tank was over 400 TDS this morning... they all seem to be doing well though..
 

Byron

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I don't think my Amano shrimps in this tank will make it with zero GH/KH :( other than that I have 3 pea puffers that supposedly won't be making it in over 250 TDS and snails.. my tank was over 400 TDS this morning... they all seem to be doing well though..

That is a very different issue...providing water the fish require, or alternatively selecting only fish that suit your water. It is the low mineral content that will be problematic, not the TDS.
 

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