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I have read that over time, as the carbonate ions are used up, the buffering capacity will drop and larger pH changes will be noted. Also have been told that the plants will give symptoms that there is something wrong. In my research on plants I have found that the most important elements needed are Co2, nitrates, and potassium. Thus I think test for ph, Co2, and nitrates are useful. Potassium deficiencies can be seen on the plants. Have read that equilibrium can cause excess of potassium, thus perhaps potassium test useful.

When your ferts run out you could save money by buying dry ferts.
Can be bought at http://www.aquariumfertilizers.com/Store.php

Many experienced aquariumest, as Hoppycalif, don't test unless something is going wrong.
 
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