Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 08-28-2014, 05:53 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Masha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 996
TDS meters - worth getting?

I've been reading up on TDS and looking at some of the TDS meters one can get.

For somebody with two smallish freshwater tanks, is this something that's worth getting? My reason for looking into this is because over here where I am, it's not possible to buy the all in one API testkit. I've got to buy a separate kit for every substance - ammonia, ph, nitrate, etc - and they are incredibly expensive because of the exchange rate.

I don't intend to replace for example, the nitrate test, but I would like some other less expensive way to keep an eye on my water levels, not always have to do a nitrate test.

Would a TDS meter be worthwhile for this? For general "is my tank healthy" checks?
__________________

__________________
Masha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2014, 10:53 AM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 1,159
TDS, as in total dissolved solids? Are you altering your tap water to match a specific GH value? Or is your tap water GH variable?

Unless the TDS meter can specifically give you a nitrate reading (and the name implies that it doesn't), it's not going to give you any useful nitrate-related information.

I generally recommend GH test kits, especially if you have no idea what your tap water's GH is and if you're looking to add more fish.
__________________

__________________
PNWaquarist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2014, 10:59 AM   #3
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Masha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 996
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNWaquarist View Post
TDS, as in total dissolved solids? Are you altering your tap water to match a specific GH value? Or is your tap water GH variable?

Unless the TDS meter can specifically give you a nitrate reading (and the name implies that it doesn't), it's not going to give you any useful nitrate-related information.

I generally recommend GH test kits, especially if you have no idea what your tap water's GH is and if you're looking to add more fish.
Yes, as in total dissolved solids.
I believe most TDS meters wont give a specific nitrate reading and I'm not really looking for that - I'm asking really, whether having a TDS reading is helpful by itself, without knowing what the nitrate levels are. In other words, I'm not looking for something that can replace nitrate readings, but asking whether knowing what the TDS levels are, is helpful in itself.

I'm not having nitrate problems - never gets higher than 12.5 at the very most which I think is OK?

I'm not altering my tap water to match a specific GH value. I don't know what the GH or KH levels of my tapwater is. But I'm not looking to add more fish either.
__________________
Masha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2014, 11:00 AM   #4
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Masha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 996
Whoops, I see I double posted this question, I did not realise that happened. There's another copy of it over in "General discussion" sorry about that.
__________________
Masha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2014, 11:20 AM   #5
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 1,159
I don't believe that TDS meters will give any really useful information pertaining to an established tank.
__________________
PNWaquarist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2014, 05:54 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: West Yorkshire, England
Posts: 1,295
Hi. I have and use a TDS meter in my freshwater tank.
By monitoring the TDS and the nitrates (separate test required) I can decide on the need for a water change. The rise in TDS usually coincides with the rise in nitrates but is not a substitute for testing nitrates which has a much greater bearing on when and how much water I change. But it's easier to check TDS daily with the meter rather than do a nitrate test daily (over kill I think).
Would I recommend a TDS meter as an ESSENTIAL for a freshwater tank - no, but it is a convenient tool in your testing arsenal.


Sent from my iPhone using Aquarium Advice
__________________
ScotJudd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2014, 07:21 PM   #7
AA Member
Community Moderator
 
Delapool's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 16,348
I've also wondered on these. Do you have to calibrate them at all?
__________________
Delapool is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2014, 12:46 AM   #8
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Mebbid's Avatar

POTM Champion
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Michigan USA
Posts: 12,625
Have you checked amazon for a test kit? They can usually be bought dirt cheap on there and it would completely negate having to buy them singly.

After that, I wouldn't honestly bother with a TDS meter. There are many many other compounds in the water other than just nitrogen in its various forms that will be read by a TDS meter. Even your tap water will usually vary quite a bit from week to week.
__________________
"The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations." -Occam's razor
Mebbid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2014, 12:54 AM   #9
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Masha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 996
Thanks for this answers.
I will check Amazon, but usually the shipping cost is the problem.

Sent from my GT-I9190 using Aquarium Advice mobile app
__________________
Masha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2014, 03:21 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Cape Coral, Florida
Posts: 537
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotJudd View Post
Hi. I have and use a TDS meter in my freshwater tank.
By monitoring the TDS and the nitrates (separate test required) I can decide on the need for a water change. The rise in TDS usually coincides with the rise in nitrates but is not a substitute for testing nitrates which has a much greater bearing on when and how much water I change. But it's easier to check TDS daily with the meter rather than do a nitrate test daily (over kill I think).
Would I recommend a TDS meter as an ESSENTIAL for a freshwater tank - no, but it is a convenient tool in your testing arsenal.
I'm pretty new to this so apologies but I have to disagree with the premise here.

A TDS meter measures electrical conductivity (period) and uses that to infer total dissolved solids (which really means ions in the water). Those can come from almost anything. There is no specificity in a TDS meter at all. Conduction - period. While it may read in PPM, that's relevant only for specific ions (usually salt), so it may read 300 ppm and really be 150 of chemical A, or 400 of chemical B (or a mixture of the whole alphabet). You learn nothing about what is in it from the TDS meter.

The OP seems to be saying they want a TDS meter for ascertaining something about the health of the tank. I think that's a mistake. A TDS meter will give you an indication of the purity of incoming water with respect (and only with respect) to solids that dissolve so as to conduct electricity. That could be anything from salt to calcium carbonate to dozes of other things. So a TDS meter is great if you are buying (say) distilled water and want a quick check if the vendor is lying. Or buying RODI water from a LFS and want to see how well they take care of their filters.

And a TDS is really good if you have your own water filter (especially RODI, or even just RO).

But as to testing the tank itself, my suggestion is you should look for test kits that test specific problem or target areas, e.g. nitrates, GH, KH, and forget the TDS meter. It's just going to mislead you. Even the most directly connected two items (KH and GH) to a TDS meter are best tested separately, as they target very different things, yet the TDS meter lumps them together (in a pretty non-quantitative way).
__________________
Linwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2014, 03:28 PM   #11
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Masha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 996
Thanks scotjudd that's helpful

Sent from my GT-I9190 using Aquarium Advice mobile app
__________________

__________________
Masha is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
meters

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
TDS meters ScotJudd Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 1 04-20-2014 01:33 AM
TDS meters- useful for FW? Cactuspixie General Hardware/Equipment Discussion 4 09-16-2013 09:52 AM
TDS meter... TDS? stratmaster General Hardware/Equipment Discussion 2 09-25-2009 05:29 PM
TDS in....TDS out of RO well water for reef jackdp Saltwater Reef Aquaria 8 11-26-2006 09:59 AM
cheap tds meters mhedrick Archive 2 01-05-2005 12:09 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.