re: raising pH

     >Someone else may want to champion different numbers, but I wouldn't 
     >be surprised to see a pH of 8.0 and a hardness of 150ppm in this tank 
     >after 6 months.  This is appropriate for marine tanks or for African 
     >lake cichlids, for example.  This is not appropriate for a planted 
     >tank with soft-water fish like tetras.
     Sorry, but plants and tetras do just fine at a hardness of 150 ppm 
     (and higher).  The pH at this hardness would be around 7.5.  African 
     cichlids can do well at 150 ppm, but 300-500 ppm is much closer to 
     their native environment.  The amount of dissolved salts in a marine 
     aquarium is about 36,000 ppm, with a hardness of around 2,000 ppm.
     I agree, however, that the aquarium shop yutzes gave bad advice.  One 
     nice thing about this forum is that bad advice can be challenged and