Are you using tap water, RO, distilled?
What is your ro waters tds? I use flval mineral and my tds is about 120 with a gh of 5.
I add 36 drops per 1 gallon and get my GH to 5, maybe a tad lower. I'm not sure how many ml's 36 drops is.My ro water is 3 tds. It takes about 7ml per 5 gallons to get 5gh. My tds is roughly 120. I have used about 5 bottles in the last 2 years, and it has always been the same. I use a hm tds meter.
For your reference, 2 G of my RO with probably 2-3 ml of Fluval mineral stuff gets TDS from < 10 to about 150 and GH would be aroun 5. If you need much more than that something is wrong.
If you previously use Kent's RO right, then that explains the high TDS and low GH since it contains salt. Do a simple experiment if you want, get like 1L of RO water in a container, test TDS/GH, should both close to 0 (otherwise either your RO or your test kit is not right). Then add a teaspoon of salt or two, test TDS and GH again. You will find TDS goes way up but GH not so much. That's why you have high TDS low GH with Kent's RO right, it contains salt, not as much calcium or other 2+ ions to increase GH. Also, RO right increases KH (as the manufacture's product description). That's why I looked into it but decided not to use it. Of course, others may be using it happily with great result, I'm not saying it doesn't work, just not to my liking.
If it reads 40 outside of air, it should just give you a reading +40 from what TDS you have. it shouldn't be exponential. Either way, even if it is a cheap asian TDS meter does it allow you to calibrate the meter? If so then buy some cheap NaCl solution on amazon.com ~200TDS or lower, don't buy the 900TDS reference solutions.Unfortunately, Im at work at the moment but this morning I did some toying around. When I took the meter out of the tank it is no longer reading zero (when I first purchased it out of water air it read ~2), It now reads 40, then when shaken off ~17. Could this miss-calibration be that exponential? In beginning to think it has to be the meter, my nitrate levers are negotiable. I mean over the past week I probably cycled out all the original water, in addition to light vac-ing).
I do not have spare RO water to test ATM
I have a master test kit, in addition to GH/KH. Everything seems fine.
But I do not have the "Calibration fluid" the TDS says it needs, it is a rather cheep asian import. And a "continuous read probe" which I was nervous about.....
I am not dosing anything besides Fluval shrimp supplement.