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Old 11-12-2014, 12:35 PM   #1
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TDS total dissolved solids for african cichlids

I have a 180 gallon setup with african cichlids ph 7.6 gh15 kh12 fish look great have been eating and doing well. My question is what's normal TDS ppm for Africans I know it must be a little higher then the average fish due to minerals and things in there natural environment. Just curious as I don't want these to high. And have it cause pressure on my fish. Anyone ?? I'm guessing anywhere from 100-400 reg tropical fish then 400-800 Africans but that's just a guess
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:07 PM   #2
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I can give you a link if it helps...... Correct pH for African Cichlids would like to see some pictures, it's a 130 gallons more than mine...........
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:17 PM   #3
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TDS doesn't matter in freshwater IMO...

The only thing that matter is the GH/KH, and if water contains nitrates or phosphates.

If your KH is low, keep it low, if it's high, keep it high. Also, don't mess with the PH.
Freshwater fishs prefer stable bad parameters than fluctuating in-range parameters.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mrvincent View Post
TDS doesn't matter in freshwater IMO...

The only thing that matter is the GH/KH, and if water contains nitrates or phosphates.

Freshwater fishs prefer stable bad parameters than fluctuating in-range parameters.
I couldn't disagree with this more.

My full thoughts on this topic are here in this post.

It is long though so if you don't feel like reading it than consider this point. Passing hard water through an ion-exchange water softener will produce water that is 0 GH but still has fairly high TDS. Fish that come from soft water will struggle in this water but fish originating from harder waters will not. The only logical conclusion I can draw from this is that TDS is more important than GH. Alternatively, I suppose it could be some 3rd measurement that matters. What we can say is that it is not GH.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:50 PM   #5
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I have already read that article and I'm not so sure on there measurements for the TDS most tap water has more TDS then that you would have to use R/O water to start with to achieve such low TDS numbers by the time u add the salts,calcium, magnesium to achieve hard water your at least 200 ppm TDS just to start with. Then over time it goes up so how would u achieve such a low TDS? With all the minerals that make the water hard and alkaline in the lake that seems unlikely to me I don't see how it's possible to achieve such a low number... But I'm no chemist either! I just know what I have experienced in the hobby. The use of R/O in a african cichlid tank sounds crazy but If there numbers are correct that might be the only way to achieve such a low TDS. I wish I knew for sure what these numbers where exactly so I can try to achieve the right parameters I don't want the water to have problems with osmoregulation from to much TDS but at the same time I want the ph,Gh,Kh to be stable and have hard alkaline water for my fish. It's all been an experiment in the making. So far my fish have been acting normal. My TDS is 500ppm ph 7.6-8.4 gh12 kh12 Tap water is 275 ppm TDS not currently using R/O water but who knows where this will bring me. 40 gallons of water with 1 tbsp of BS and 1 tsp ES. BS brings up the Kh and ph but the water has memory I guess u could say. The tap puts out 7.6 and the ph will try to stay at 7.6 so by adding backing soda you are raising the Kh mainly the ph might go up a little but will fall back to the 7.6 (memory) .. At least that's been my experience with doing this. It's scary to play with the water chemistry when your fish lives are in your hands. I have a lot invested and didn't come to this decision easily. But I feel if I want my fish to live a full long life then I need to try to bring there natural habitat into my tank. So that's what I'm trying to do and so far it's going just as I want except the TDS is a little high I think. I am not sure what the lake Malawi and Tanganyika cichlids kidneys can handle as far as osmoregulation. But time will tell I'm going to keep picking away at the TDS with frequent water changes like everyday 25% until I get down to 300-400ppm TDS. I have read a ton of articles and forums but nobody seems to just spell it out for u. What is the TDS,Gh,Kh,Ph I will post more as I figure it out. Hopefully the fish survive my attempts at nature
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:54 PM   #6
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During a waterchange I added a bit RODI water to lower TDS and the fishs went crazy. (I got a PH swing).

If you want to mess with TDS, then you'll have to keep it stable for each waterchanges. Fishs don't like params flukes...
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:00 PM   #7
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I would speculate that most freshwater aquarists don't even have a TDS meter so there probably isn't going to be a lot of good data on it.

Speaking as someone who uses reconsituted RODI water regularly I would never go that far for any hard water fish. Remember, it just has to be close, not perfect.
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:01 PM   #8
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I have one, I'm a saltwater aquarist too... 15-20 bucks a good TDS meter. Worth it to test RODI efficiency.

Tap TDS: 180 in the spring, 80-100ppm in fall/winter.
RODI TDS: <1ppm (or undetectable).
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:13 PM   #9
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I know but if I can get really close why not lol. And who knows maybe it's time people started talking about the use of a TDS meter. The TDS in an aquarium is a big deal. It's important to have the right balance for certain species because kidneys and other functions in there body's are not all the same soft water fish can live in hard water better then hard water fish live in soft water do to osmoregulation. But my question is what's to much as far as TDS in the aquarium with african cichlids from Malawi and Tanganyika. So far 500 ppm seems to be tolerable but not recommended. I seem to maintain anywhere from 350-550 ppm doing weekly water changes of 25% with tap water that's 275 ppm after dosing with BS and ES. Click image for larger version

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Old 11-12-2014, 04:29 PM   #10
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I totally agree that TDS is important and I also have meters.

Just trying to explain why you may be having problems finding good information on it.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:29 PM   #11
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Yeah there isn't much info with the TDS meter in freshwater. They are not terribly priced. I think any serious aquarist should have one. Certainly if you don't do weekly water changes cause they build up like nitrates and before u know it you are doing 3x 25% water changes in a day just to relieve the fish from the osmotic pressure. Even after 75% water change it will still be a little elevated. So it's best to have a TDS meter to stay ahead of it. And save the fish from all them water changes throughout the day. I do weekly PWC and still have a little high TDS reading nitrates are only about 10ppm. Normally I would just do weekly water changes because nitrates would be 20ppm or more. But now I'm watching both TDS and nitrates although there will be min nitrates because of all the water changes to bring the TDS down..🐠. This hobby is just awesome how complexed it really is.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:38 PM   #12
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Is it complex LF or do we make it complex..........
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:41 PM   #13
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Is it complex LF or do we make it complex..........
I think it is complex and we often oversimplify it. I sometimes think it is the oversimplification that gets us in trouble.

On the other hand, trying to explain to someone all the possible variables if they have no background is completely overwhelming so we have to have a way to dumb it down so it is understandable.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:14 PM   #14
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Is it complex LF or do we make it complex..........

I think it can be as complexed as u make it. I want to learn so I'm slowly understanding the the fish world. And people don't seem to talk much about water chemistry when they buy a fish or 3 at the pet stores they just put it in the tank without knowing that the tank needs to be cycled and there fish die and some survive. They don't know why so they just get more fish. Well I'm that guy or I was a few years ago. Now I'm actually taking the time to go beyond the established tank and have a thriving Tank where the fish are at home. And in return it's been a lot of reading and talking to people but apparently some are great to talk with and very informative and others just talk 💩 it's just what they heard or something they don't have a clue. Well I am trying to replicate nature as best possible. With little money and no knowledge it should be interesting to see what happens that's for sure. There is a lot to learn about the fish itself and how it works with the water chemistry. Everybody is trying to keep it a secret or something. Just to get u to buy pricey lake salts and buffers. But really it's cheaper to use Baking soda and Epsom salt and if need be just replace the fish. I have 2 large tanks and they get about 40 gallon PWC each a week that adds up quick when you dose using those store bought stuff. So I am keeping it cheap and simple and with a little help I'll be having some beautiful fish. That live long lives. Some times the only way to learn is to do it.

Show me a fish that don't eat and I'll show you a sick fish!!
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:44 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=dalto;3090259]I think it is complex and we often oversimplify it. I sometimes think it is the oversimplification that gets us in trouble.

On the other hand, trying to explain to someone all the possible variables if they have no background is completely overwhelming so we have to have a way to dumb it down so it is understandable. Yes, sir even dumb people have fish. And dumb people even care about there fish. But some people don't want u to learn unless u have a degree!
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Old 11-13-2014, 06:48 AM   #16
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Good post Lf, I have read a lot about fish keeping in my time, but I have leaned a lot by coming on forums like this and getting a cross section of good advice......
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Old 11-13-2014, 08:53 AM   #17
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I still don't consider TDS in freshwater is so much important, I only consider GH and KH (including the cycle, NH3, NO2, NO3, PO4 param)... It can be interesting to initially test the tap for TDS, GH, KH and NO3 (before buying the first aquarium).

If your tap water is >600ppm TDS and loaded of nitrates I will probably consider using my RODI unit and remineralize with Seachem Equilibrum... A DS (dissolved solid) can be anything... Salt, calcium, cooper, bacteria, chlorine, nitrate, phosphate, ammonia?, carbonates like calcium carbonate or bicarbonates like sodium bicarbonate, or dioxide carbon, potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, heavy metals, or any impurity in the tap.
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Old 11-13-2014, 11:55 AM   #18
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TDS can be a killer of new fish added to a tank also it can and will affect osmotic pressure. This can be very bad for the fish if TDS is to high or to low. So I disagree with that. IMHO I think TDS should measured on a regular basis. If u want to maintain a healthy aquarium. Gill problems and kidney failure will result of TDS is allowed to get to high or to low. Just my opinion.
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Old 11-13-2014, 01:04 PM   #19
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I have just been reading this TDS , what does it mean and why should i test? | The Aquarium Solution my main worry is, all living things get used to a certain Quality and may have a stronger immune system through it, surly if we make things "absolute", will that weaken it, if I take a fish that has spent it's life in perfect conditions and put it in an acceptable normal filtered tank would it survive......the above link is for doing tds......
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Old 11-13-2014, 01:05 PM   #20
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TDS can be a killer of new fish added to a tank also it can and will affect osmotic pressure. This can be very bad for the fish if TDS is to high or to low. So I disagree with that. IMHO I think TDS should measured on a regular basis. If u want to maintain a healthy aquarium. Gill problems and kidney failure will result of TDS is allowed to get to high or to low. Just my opinion.
What is too high and too low ? Variations are from 80ppm to 180ppm in the spring in my house. GH5° KH2°. Tank water is at 500 ppm before a monthly WC... (ferts?, dechlorinator?, BBs?)
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