Thanks for the reply Rivercat.
I did a 50% water change last night and cleaned the eheim canister, replacing all the pads with new ones. The old pads were a couple years old, I clean the the canister every two to three months, rinsing the media lightly so as not to disturb / kill off bacteria.
Tested nitrates this morning, I'm reading both the Seachem and API tests at 10 ppm
. My wife is reading the seachem at 7.5 and the API at 40. Depending on how you hold the test tube to the light, you can read the API anywhere from 10 to 40 ppm
. That's what started this thread, my frustration of not being able to get readings that I have any confidence in.
phosphate is 1.0 ppm
Lighting is 4 54 watt T5HO tubes suspended 3 1/2 inches above the water surface, 3 6500K Daylight Fulhams and 1 blue actinic. I've cut back from 10-12 hrs daily to 6-8 hrs in the past week.
I'm definitely gaining on the algae issue, I had a very dark green film algae, pealed off like a softened paint film. After treating five days with Maracyn and spending hours picking / sucking it out It's completely gone. What's left is a black film on the plant leaves (not increasing any more, yet not going away) and the typical green algae that grows on the glass. I added an internal ultra violet light two weeks ago that helped eliminate the suspended particles.
Plants are showing slow growth, I'm trying to take this one step at a time. Now that I have light periods adjusted down, and seem to be getting the algae under control, I want to figure out the best fert plan to keep my nitrates and nutrients balanced. I've not added anything for the last week and a half, but think I really need to restart ferts soon. I have Aquafertz Total Liquid Concentrate, total substrate pellets (both came with my scaping plan); and also have the dry ferts that I can mix up. Not decided which direction I need to go. I emailed the Aquafertz supplier asking for a spec sheet of what is contained in it, haven't gotten any response yet. No response may tip me to the dry ferts methods, at least I'll know what I'm adding.
I guess I've rambled long enough, Thanks again for the reply and any further suggestions you have.