Need some help please.
I have a 55g medium/heavy planted tank. I don't have CO2 yet and have been dosing excel. I have approx 3WPG (Coralife 2X65W 6700 + NO 40W). Only inhabitants are a large amount of Cherries, 11 bees, 7 Amanos, 3 ottos.
I started my EI dosing regime 3/11/07 geared toward the 20-40g setup. I wanted my aquatic creatures to get used to all this before I stepped it up. So I was dosing:
1/4 tsp KNO3
1/16 tsp KH2PO4
+/- 5 ml trace/fe
I noticed throughout that week faster growth, especially with my hygros. They were somewhat stunted for quite a while since I wasn't really dosing anything but some trace/fe occasionally before than. In that first week, they started to take off again.
I then tested my tank water 3/17/07:
pH= 7.5 ish
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0
I surmized that the nitrates were being used up by the plants/bacteria and that I needed to step up a level in the EI Dosing regime. So for week #2 (3/18 to 3/24) I started EI dosing for the 40 to 60g regime.
1/2 tsp KNO3
1/8 tsp KH2PO4
+/- 10ml Trace/fe
I then tested my tank water 3/24/07:
BTW, I use the API Master test kit.
Observation: My plants even grew faster and once again the hygro just flourished. I'd say 2X more than the 1st week of dosing. I was concerned though because I thought I would at least get a "positive" reading for nitrates (#ppm). So then I started to think something might be wrong with my nitrate test kit. To test this, I took a sample of RO water and mixed some KNO3 in it, then tested a sample of this solution. I got a reading of 10 to 20 ppm (the color was inbetween these two readings). So I acheived a "positive" reading with this nitrate kit.
Question: My chemistry is REALLY rusty. Can anyone tell me how I can make a "test" solution that will give me a "positive/known" reading of let's say 30ppm of Nitrate??? This way I can calibrate my Nitrate test kit.
Question: This would depend on the above answer, but should I increase my KNO3 dosing?
I know this is alot of info here, but I could use some help here. Thanks!