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By Panman
Posts:  900
Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
On a wild hair, I got out some old aquarium test strip to test my water. The TDS reading was about the same that I see on my meter. What was interesting to me was the carbonate reading. My TDS is pretty high, it is 72, but the carbonate reading, which I think is closely tied to calcium, is pretty low. What do think of the benefit of test strips over a meter?
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By Matt
Posts:  21734
Joined:  Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:28 pm
Interesting. I am not familiar with these test strips but yes, I think they could be more informative than a standard TDS reading. I think that the minerals most CPs are sensitive to are calcium and magnesium. Though, I have only read that and seen it posted around the web at various places. I've never seen any sort of scientific study done to prove this. However, I have seen plenty of photos of plants killed by using tap water in the midwest where the mineral content is high coming from ground water (well water). And most of the geology of the midwest US is limestone, which is composed of calcium carbonate and is very soft, leeching calcium into the water.

Perhaps you could do some sort of experiment?
By Supercazzola
Posts:  52
Joined:  Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
I have a very hard time in my other hobbies when folks use test equipment that actually require other (better calibrated) test equipment to check to make sure the cheaper ones are working. Not suggesting that to be the case with your strips or your TDS meter.

Honestly, I use my 15 dollar TDS meter from china as just that, a $15 Chinese tool. If I really want good readings, I’d invest in a lab quality one. That being said, all I care about is understanding if something changes. So where my 19 ppm is actually 19 or 10 or 30, isn’t important as long as it keeps showing 19. If it jumps to 25 all of a sudden, I have to worry.

Same with my touch less head thermometer. It consistently shows me about 3 degrees cooler than I actually am, but it does it consistently. When I did have a fever, it reflected a change / increase, but again, it was about 3 degrees too low.
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By Panman
Posts:  900
Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
I agree with everything you have to say. My question was if it would be better to be measuring carbonate hardness versus general hardness. Back in the day before we had or could afford TDS meters, CP growers were all about the Ph of the water. That is why I am thinking that carbonate hardness might be a better measure of water suitability than TDS.
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