When it comes to parameters, I never a chased a specific number, and to some extent, I let my live stock dictate the parameters.
I was running NO3 2-4, PO4 0.03, Alk 9dKH, Ca ~440-480, Mg ~1350-1400 or there abouts. Ideally a reef is at 11dKH Alk, but my live stock didn't like it, so I kept it at 9dKH.
SW parameters are a general guide, because it's nearly impossible to be specific, and like FW, Saltwater fish and corals will survive in a range of parameters, except temperature. Temperature plays a huge part.
As for test kits, they're all detailed in my beginner's guide (Part 3), but in a nutshell Salifert pH/Alk, Red Sea NO3/Ca/Mg, Hanna PO4, Refractometer for salinity
Temp spot on at 78. Nitrates at 10. They never go up or down. My fuge is literally overgrown with Chaeto (been trying to give some away). Nitrates and the big 3 is all I ever test for. I only test for ammonia and nitrites, if there is a problem.
In my Sump I keep carbon, skimmer and a ton of Chaeto. The Chaeto helps to reduce nitrates and phosphates. I also do a 25% total water volume (tank and Sump) change weekly.
Feeding is twice daily. Mornings is flakes only, evenings is flakes, mysis shrimp (frozen) and garlic pellets. I also hang NorI in the tank 3-4 times a week for the tang. If you have any question,please don’t hesitate to ask.