Bought a new API master test kit because mine was older than the hills. Expiration dates are good.
I have really, really soft water. Like melting snow soft. It's a shallow dug well in my basement. I was getting the odd waffling that low calcium brings and was waiting until my retirement check landed to buy more. Had a bag of organic garden lime to hold things at bay a bit. Color was good on the plants and they were growing fast in spite of the Ca/Mg shortage. The garden lime helps but it's pretty slow dissolving.
Noticed the deficiency getting worse so I broke down and bought some Equilibrium at the lfs. Took silly amounts of it to get GH up to 3. Waited a day and threw another spoonful in because the plants were hungry. I'm now at a GH of 4.
pH is maybe 6.6 or 6.8
pH on a cup of water from the tap, left out all night is unreadable. Just the slightest tinge of yellow.
Nitrate test developed into a deep red. This shocked me. I had just done a better than 50% water change and hadn't added anything beyond the Equilibrium. Tested again got the same. So didn't put any KNO3 in. Next morning the plants all looked pale, color fading. Test again. Again red, red, red. Yes I did shake and smack and shake the #2 bottle again and again.
Test some water straight from the tap, deep red. Water from aged cup is dark red too.
The tiny, pale new growth and fading older leaves made me suspicious so I added KNO3 like I've done for years. If anything I'm stingy because I don't have a good measuring spoon. That was only last night but it seems like a blush of color is appearing on the newest growth.
Disbelief made me just check again, dark red.
Tank is 75 gallons.
light is an odyssea quad T5HO so it has more than enough light for the plants I grow.
None of the livestock show stress. Tank doesn't have a lot of fish. I have no nearby neighbors. It is possible this time of year that a little surface water got into my well but it would be surface water that just rained down or melted in an area that hasn't seen livestock in 100 yrs. If the test showed me 5ppm I might have believed it. Off the charts is something else.
Getting the same thing in my guppy tank only less pronounced. 29g with a lot more fish (guppies doing guppy things).
Am I correct in thinking my Nitrate test kit is garbage?
Ignore the calcium waffles. Got that covered.
I see algae sprouting that wasn't really there a couple of days ago too. Ugh!