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Algea and PMDD
No need to trust your nitrate test - mix up a known concentration and test
it to see if it is accurate.
I am in a similar situation - hair algae to beat the band. I am trying the
same approach - add NO3 to try to make the tank phosphate limited. I have
been using a PMDD formulation containing 20 mg KNO3 per cc, adding 2-3cc per
day to a 55 gallon tank. I have the added problem of 2 ppm PO4 in my tap
water. After 2 weeks my PO4 is down to less than 0.5ppm but measureable NO3
is still 0. The plants look better, but there is still algae growing. So
tomorrow I start adding additional KNO3 and will see what happens.