Subject: Re: Increasing KH

     You are getting ahead of yourself a little bit. Trying to get a
tank stable before you put anything it is going to get frustrating. One
reason you might be getting a rise in hardness is from the type of
substrate you are using. From the label on the bag leads me to think
that this type of filter sand might be used for ion exchange filters.
In ion echange situations you basically swap calcium ions for sodium
ions, so to speak. What is probably happening you are loosing calcium
carbonate, found in crushed coral, and getting something else back. All
of the alkaline earths can affect hardness, magnesium and calcium fit
here if memory serves me correctly. You need these in you water in
small amounts because when the plants give off carbon dioxide this
lowers the ph and reduces kh. Having a little bit of buffering, from
calcium carbonate will help keep the tank from having a ph crash. In my
plant tank (30 gal), I add 1/2 tsp of Rift Lake Cichlid Salts once a
month. This adds calcium, magnesium, and other trace elements to
control buffering. These elements are used by the plants for good
growth. My suggestion is to start out plants like Hygrophila, 
Anacharis, and Hornwort. Then start testing your water. Remember this
will be a new tank and unless you are going to use water form an
established tank, you still have the nitrogen cycle to go through. Just
be patient. Good luck and let me know what happens, I'll try to help
out if I can.

c/o sharon (shetaz)
happy tanking