ok guys, here's an update:
covered for four days, uncovered it, algae was pretty much all gone, water was clearer than ever before. awesome.
a week and half later, starts to get cloudy again.
I put in some nitrates to get it to 10, then I put in about .22 phosphate to see if doing so would promote the plants to take in more nitrates, but nothing happened., then a week later the cloudy water comes back.
what is inhibiting the uptake of nitrates??? I've got my traces, i've got my phosphates, and co2 and light, and potassium. What else could it be?... I added a bunch more plants so I'm at least moderately planted now.
could it be magnesium?? I only add .25 ml of my plantex and magnesium sulfate mixture, so maybe that's not providing enough?? or could it be calcium???
thanks guys, it's just frustrating because with allt he plants growing in there, the nitrates should be going down some, if not more... but I test everyday and the nitrates won't go down. I'm pretty sure it's not the test kit(it's an AP nitrate kit), but I ordered the red sea nitrate and phosphate kit from big al's so I should have it by next week.
anyways, do you have any ideas?