Thanks for the quick response folks. I must admit, on my first post (ever) I neglected to do something that is really important - thank everyone! This site, the excellent posts by memeber, and the very active planted tank community on the web in general, have all been a HUGE help. Thank you.
What I now is humble, but it is a lovely and thriving small tank. Loaded with plants, loaded with fish, and a true joy to have. Thank you all for your posted wisdom and guidance, without which, this would have been impossible for me.
Now back to the blank iron test problem...
Malkore, I certainly cannot tell you that the UV is not stripping nutrients. But I can tell you that I let the tank run with zero changes (other than my long established maintenance schedule) for several weeks prior to the UV going in, and several weeks afterword. And for the life of my I could neither observe, nor measure, any change. But the periodic free floating algal blooms stopped - haven't seen one of those since.
As for the 4wpg, I kept upping the wattage until I got everything pearling pretty much every day. The only thing that really seems to dislike the light is the Dwarf Anubias. I would swear everything else enjoys it. But who knows...
Thanks for the good advice.
IUnknown, I didn't mention the timing on the test kit. To get a good reading, I found I had to let the color saturate for several (4-6) hours before it finally stabilized. Even then, it was a bit less than the kit showed. So I've been proceeding with more faith in the 0.1 ppm reference sample I made up, than the colors in the kit. So to test, now I'm just waiting for test sample vial to get as pink as the 0.1 reference vial. Except of course, the tank water never turns the test vial pink at all, even after 36 hours.
I took a gander that the links you provided, and they are clearly much in advance of what I'd seen to this point. Thanks a mil! I'll post a response after I've had a chance to absorb all this new information.
I should mention that I've been using TMG only because I don't trust my ability to accurately mix my own batch (or PMDD). I'd hate to kill my tank because I got the concentration wrong on something by a factor of 10, 100, or 1,000. Which looks kind of easy to do for a newbie.
Thanks for asking about the tank. It's pretty good. No algae free, but low algae. The plants are pretty healthy, thought with all of the light, some are tending heavily toward red/maroon leaves, which I love. The fish seem really low stressed too - very little darting about - and spending a lot of time out in the open.
Thanks for the great advice. I'll respond again after I have a chance to absorb all this info!
Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.