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Old 12-11-2012, 11:22 AM   #1
kcrunch
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Default PPM digital devices

I recently after re-establishing my tank after a tremendous loss purchased a meter and was curious to know how many people are actually using one of these meters and what kind of parameters would you consider to be to much. I am not testing as much as before and the fish look happy and colorful.

I used the meter the other day and had a reading of 870 PPM. I dont even know where to begin with this but I am not taking to much effort to the reading I will be doing a water change this week or later on today and I know the numbers should drop but what number is border line problem is my real question??
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:56 AM   #2
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TDS (total dissolved solids) meters measure conductivity and use it to calculate the parts per million of dissolved ionics (salts) in the water. They don't tell you which salts, though.

So while useful, you need a baseline. What is your tap water? Once you know the baseline, you can add a salt blend like Kent cichlid chemistry to put it where you want it.
After that, watching the TDS go higher still is mostly watching added nitrate. So if your TDS has soared, change water.

Pure water is 0
rain 1-10 ppm
my tap water (extremely soft) 30-70 ppm
Amazon river 40 ppm
Nile River 225 ppm
Lake Victoria 60-120
Lake Malawi 135-140
Lake Tanginikana 390-460
Brackish 1000-5000
Seawater 30000-40000 ppm

Last edited by emc7; 12-13-2012 at 01:41 AM. Reason: correct numbers
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:44 PM   #3
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I never tested the tap so I guess I will, maybe tonight or tomorrow and post a count.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:14 AM   #4
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I guess my tank is Brackish even though I still consider it to be fresh water and the reading was 864 PPM with the meter and my tap water was 36 PPM.

I did a water test and all my readings were great, so I guess I am not going to stress it and the fish to me seem to be happy. I guess that it is a useful tool but like the others can get you caught up in trying to make the tank perfect.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:27 AM   #5
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I wouldn't call it brackish, more like Tanganyika water. I couldn't find the true number, but I know it is up there. There is so much carbonate in that lake that empty shells grow a crust, rather than dissolve.

Be careful with large water changes (add water back really slowly) and moving fish out of the tank as sudden "conductivity" drops can be fatal. I do suggest you test the nitrate, since it can cause issues if it is "off the chart" high. But if the TDS are just carbonate and chloride and stuff, your rift lake cichlids (and more livebearers) will do fine in it.

Have you been supplementing the water or using a special substrate? What fish are you intending to have long term? Since you tap is low, you can gradually reduce TDS with water changes to suit your fish. IME, African rift lake cichlids never have a problem with harder or more alkaline water than the lakes. But there is no sense in wasting buffers/salts keeping it higher than necessary.

Ah here: http://malawicichlids.com/mw01011.htm edited my list.

Last edited by emc7; 12-13-2012 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:09 PM   #6
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The substrate is an African rift lake sand and another brown small stone type of substrate from Dr.F&S called Kon Tiki. I need another bag of the darker substrate to have and equal look in the tank. I have another full bag of rift lake sand but already have enough of the lighter color. It must be the substrate that gets the meter to show such high level bcuz I really doubt if it is the water even with the small amounts of salt I add.

I plan on Cichlids being the fish I intend to keep raising.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:52 PM   #7
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it is the rift lake sand...probably either finely crushed coral or dolomite..great stuff for the rift dwellers..
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lohachata View Post
it is the rift lake sand...probably either finely crushed coral or dolomite..great stuff for the rift dwellers..
I tried to plan things out when I started out and the sand was one of the things that I was sure that I wanted. I saw it on a site then saw it in a friend of a friends tank and was taken by the natural look of it. Turns out I made a good choice for the fish purely on a superficial basis.
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