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Couple of beginner discoveries.

Thought I would pass these tidbits along. 

This last week,  I've been testing > 1 ppm for phosphate and trying to
figure out why it was not dropping.   Well today,    I thought,  okay letsee
how much over 1ppm it is,  so I split my water in half,  half distilled half
tank water.  Well,  nothing,  no reading whatsoever,   WHATT is this,  I was

So after a while I figured it out.    To test before,   I was essentally
putting the testube in the water and filling it that way,  (i.e. surface
water).   When I tested the 50/50 mixture,   I used a syringe to pull the
water out of the tank,  i.e. below the surface.   So I did another test 100%
tank water from below the surface,   walah,  0 reading on phosphate.
Wonder what else the tank scum has in it that doesn't show up.   What made
me start thinking was that my test didn't color immediately like it normally
does after adding phosphate,   I thought I had a 0 reading after a minute or
2 and then it seemed all of a sudden the color turned.    I surmised that
maybe whatever phosphate was in there was in solid form for a minute or two
before it dissolved and turned the color.     The test was capped the whole

The other trick I discovered/thought of.   While trying to figure out exact
dosages,  I was looking for a scale that would measure in very small
increments.   Well believe it or not I had one in the house,   Another hobby
I have is reloading all of my shot shells.   Well I just happen to have a
powder scale that will measure to 1/10 of a grain.    There are 7000 grains
in a pound,   while it is not perfect,   I was able to measure out .3 grains
of potassium phosphate which btw is a very tiny amount to dose my tank with.
I think a powder scale is around $20-30 dollars can probably be ordered
online from bass pro.   If you want one,   I can probably help you find one.

Last thing,  last week I recommened the Seatest Phosphate and Nitrate test,
I still recommend them,  however be aware that the nitrate test reads out in
nitrogen-nitrate (like the lamotte) which means you have to multiply by 4.4
to get nitrate.    I was trying to push my nitrate up to 5 ppm
nitrogen-nitrate,   I got it to 6,  got to thinking that was way too much to
add to get it up there,  finally figured out that I now had 26.4 ppm Nitrate
or 6 ppm Nitrogen-Nitrate.