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a few more questions, plus canister w/ co2

A few days ago, Jay wrote about running co2 into his canister filter.  I thought about it, but instead I cut a python gravel vacuum down to about 8", then attached in to the output of the filter.  I put a sponge in the bottom to block the escaping bubbles and ran the airline into this.  It works pretty well, the water pushing down keeps the bubbles rolling around for a long time.

Now for the questions.
When stem plants (like pennywort) get too tall, can I clip the tops and replant them, or should I clip the bottom and replant?

Does anyone know of anything that might keep KH and Fe tests from working or do I probably just have defective test kits?  No Matter how much Fe I add, I never measure more than .1ppm.   Water hardness turns blue with one drop of reagent, right out of the tap.

thanks for the help.