Fairly new to intensely planted tanks. Had some early moderate success and am stalling a bit. This caused me to start testing my water. I have a 29 gal tank with a few SA Cichlids and some tetras. I can do easy keeper plants like hygro and bacopa and chain sword. I have also had plants melt to almost nothing in days: rotala, ambulia. Light is via 3-13 w cfl. Ph is somewhere between 8.5 and 9, gh is between 4 and 8, alk is off the chart at over 300 ppm on the test strips and 45 on the nutrition test kit. I bought the kits to verify the strips because the numbers seemed so odd to me. I dose excel daily and alternate flourish and flourish with iron weekly with wc. No co2 but have the stuff on hand for the pop bottle setup.
I've tried searching the forum but my parameters seem...unique. I know something is off the way some plants just melt but am not sure where to start. Would appreciate any input in layman's terms. TIA.