One of the reasons I do not recommend the liquid tests for novices is the number of ways to mess up the results. I may agree that long term testers who know what to expect from the results may be able to get more accurate results with the liquid tests. But when a person is newer, there are just lots of ways to mess up so that the results can be totally meaningless.
Holding the bottle totally vertical to get the right size drops, counting the drops and making sure they all get into the test vial, shaking before use, using a consistent light source and timing can all be blamed when the reading doesn't come out as expected. But that leaves the newer person with no idea of what to expect in very difficult situation of not knowing he is being mislead by his testing.
I feel there are times when getting slightly less precise readings from strips can get you a far closer answer than a test which is difficult to do correctly. Most should admit that the test is a "best guess" in either case when you are judging colors on a chart.
How to hold the tube to read the colors? Everybody seems to have their own favorite way as the directions often don't say.
Well the thing is im not NEW ive had fish tanks for 20 years now.. The pupose of this post was to ask what the proper way of reading the test is... Hold it against a white background on the chart itll read 1 step higher then when you hold it an inch away.. So if it reads 10ppm an inch away itll read 20 against, if it reads 20 an inch away itll read 40 against..
I use sunlight as its the best light to get the color...
It is the biological oxidation of ammonia to nitrites and finally nitrates that fishes don't enjoy.
With KNO3 as dry mineral salt,there is no biological oxidation of ammonia first so increase in nitrate reading due to addition of KNO3 is of no concern for many/most.
I will agree that in fish only tanks, where the biological oxidation of fish waste,fish food takes place , no plant's to help take up the waste,that high nitrate levels are indication of over feeding,over stocking,under filtration,and or poor maint and these should be rectified for the health of the fishes.
Studies indicate that hundred's of ppm of nitrates over prolonged periods are needed before fishes begin to show negative effect's but if tank's are run properly,,these hundred's of ppm are not a problem/can't be.
Adding the dry fertz DOES however increase TDS along with everything else we add to the tank from fish food's,med's,conditioner's,buffer's,etc so maybe for some sensitive species of fishes/shrimp's some reservation may be consideration. IMHO
Clearly you don't have Discus or rams.. Those fish cant handle houndreds of PPM of nitrates and honestly.. neither can regular fish... I've had fish get diseases easier once the nitrates get around 80-100ppm and you leave it like that.
As for rams, any higher then 40-60 and they don't live very long, and with discus.. they stop eating and get sick and hide once the nitrates get above 20 for long periods.. I Keep my nitrates at 5-20 depending on how much the water changes removed.. I tend to do 70% water changes every 4-5 days and by then my nitrates look like they are at 20, after the change they are a very pale orange which looks like 5-10 on the chart
As for ferts I don't use dry ferts I use Liquid, I dose Iron, Pottasium, and flourish every week and I dose excel once a day..
This is my tank btw well one of them I have 8 planted tanks