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I use 2 dosing plans and both work extremely well. I rarely test my water, but I do 50% water changes weekly.

I have a dwarf cichlid fry aquarium grow out aquarium that doubles as a plant grow out aquarium too. It does not have CO2. I use a Seachem dosing calculator that I wrote a few years ago.
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...ng/45119-seachem-dosing-calculator-chart.html

All my other aquariums have CO2. I use the following dosing regimen version of EI. It uses a GH Booster instead of adding potassium sulfate which is included in the GH Booster. I use Seachem's Equilibrium for the GH Booster and Tropica's Plant Nutrition liquid for the trace product.
http://www.barrreport.com/estimative-index/2819-ei-light-those-less-techy-folks.html

Both of these dosing regimens work great for me and, like I said, I rarely test my aquarium or tap water.

Lamotte makes great test kits, but they are a bit pricey. I use Seachem's Phosphorus and their Nitrite/Nitrate test kits. They come with reference solutions.

Should you decide to use test kits; it's best that you calibrate them for 2 or 3 reference points. The following link has a procedure to make reference solutions.
http://www.plantgeek.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10830
 
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