A friend and I have started with one growbed and a 250-300 gallon tank with goldfish. We have had all sorts of problems with PH being too high and we've tried a lot of different things to fix it including changing out the rocks we used. We finally decided yesterday that it has to be the hard well water here in New Mexico and are researching reverse osmosis systems. I've been reading the discussions here and wonder about tapping into her whole house filter system as another option. (and possibly cheaper.) Are there things out there that would take care of the sodium and other things that are in the soft water that would hurt the fish/plants? Or would it be better to just bite the bullet and buy the reverse osmosis filter and get it installed?
8.5ish sometimes higher.
Here in Arizona we have high 8.2 pH water coming out of the hose in the city system too.
Most of the local APs treat their city water with a little pool acid (muratic acid) while letting the chlorine gas off overnight. I have a larger in-ground system and just treat the sump with 4 oz of PA diluted into a 5 gallon bucket then metered into the sump as the hose and pump is running to mix everything and have a gradual introduction. Any method works.
Many people use pH Down for the hydroponic store. It has citric acid in it and that is hard on the plants, so go with the PA. I get mine at the grocery store, $9 at Safeway yesterday.
don't think you should use the softened water, the plants may not like the salt, the fish should be okay however.