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Call me Skayell, not my real name, but a username since the days of the BBS* around 1986. I’m 65 yo, electrical engineer, starting to muck with plants and have found many answers at The Planted Tank just by googling. So, I decided to join both to learn more and to support the site. Read on if you want to know more about my aquarium situation, but I do have an immediate question: Does anybody have advice on how fast one can increase GH and not stress my fish? How fast for KH? Looking for an answer like x° per hour or per 6 hours or whatever. Any advice is welcome.

Since, like many others, I live in an area with restrictions and am trying to avoid close contact with most of the rest of the world, I am more into hobbies. Aquariums are both a hobby and a source of beauty that, when I just sit and watch, can lower my blood pressure and reduce my consumption of Xanax and Tums. I may be old, but I always am up for learning something new and taking on a new challenge, so I am trying a planted tank. We had a couple before, but they were very, very low tech. Although, they did okay (only okay), we made some dumb plant choices and the sand substrate wasn’t the best choice. We didn’t know enough to fertilize, and generally didn’t go about it the right way.

This time, I am starting a planted nano tank, an 11 gallon cube with an Aqueon Planted Aquarium Light, Marina 71gph hang-on-back filter (which I run with only 20 and 30 ppi foam (still room to add activated carbon, Purigen, Cuprisorb or whatever if needed.) Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are all zero. Still not all that high tech of plants yet, but I hope to get there. 6 dwarf green neons (doing fine), 6 hasbrosus corydoras (doing fine), and three RCS I didn’t manage to kill with a too low GH. The substrate is AquaVitro Humate, which sucks GH like the devil. I am all set to start adding CO2 as soon as I get my KH, GH stabilized. I do want more RCS when I get the KH, PH, CO2 chemistry all balanced—and the GH more stable.

About the only place we** have gone is our LFS. Pet stores are considered essential businesses here in NY State and our LFS is probably the safest place we could go, with the high humidity and their emphasis on the protocols. Our LFS (Eddie’s Aquarium Centre, Latham, NY) has an awesome staff, knowledgeable and ready to help, a great selection of fish and shrimp and an increasingly impressive selection of plants. At least I think their plant varieties are good, but since I’m really just beginning on planted tanks, I may not be the best judge.

*For you young folk, if you don’t know, a BBS was a little like a forum, but before there was an Internet and when we all used dial-up modems running at 1200-2400bps.
**I live with my daughter, a Civil Engineer in the Army Corps of Engineers — I’m quite proud of her as you can tell.
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