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test kit questions

I have a newly planted 150g tank, f/w, will have schooling fish and oto's.
The pH is 6.8-7.0.  I have one airstone and a magnum 350 on it.  Now I start
to get murky.  The plants and fish work together, creating as well as they
can a symbiotic relationship in an unnatural setting.  I have read
everywhere that test kits are needed (especially by beginners to plants such
as myself!)  I have an ammonia and pH and nitrite kit.  My son has a small
tank whose nitrites are very high.  What do we do now?  Just water changes,
or is there a balance that is off balance that needs correcting?
How bout for the fish and plant tank of mine?  Do I really need a CO2 kit,
dissolved oxygen kit, hardness (GH & KH) kit, iron kit, etc.  Is there a
readily available book out there that would explain things to me better than
these kits (which cost an arm and a leg?)  I'm rather clueless as to my next
step, any clarification would be really helpful.  
Thanks, Kes-Nicole Stargard