Did our first water testing yesterday, the full gambit master and the GH and KH. Pretty much what I expected, pH 7.8 and GH and KH are off the chart... something like 21 and 22 drops which, If the scale continues, one drop is one degree of hardness.
Ammonia, nitrate and nitrates are all zero... should be as there is really nothing in there to mess with them yet.
Now for the great debate. Get fish that work in this water or figure out how best to lower the levels and keep it consistent.
My first choice would be to go with hard water fish, I like the idea of not having to mess with the water. I don't expect a great wide range of fish but, seeing as we are up in tank size it does widen the range a little bit. Neither one of us is fond of live bearers though. I haven't scanned all the fish (although its a good thing I'm still on holidays) but there are some cichlids and a few catfish... not certain if any loaches are suitable.
Second is to cut the water with reverse osmosis to bring into line. Trouble would be in figuring out the ratios. I expect just starting at a 50% water change with straight RO water to get a baseline. It would be too easy if it ended up being good at 50% but I don't know how the hardness and pH will change. I assume that RO is pH 7 and hardness near zero... but that's just a guess. Somewhere around $3 per 5 gallon jug... or a few hundred dollars in filtration plus filter changes.
Next up is to use town water, treat it for chlorine and do the same basic thing... cheaper, but I wouldn't drink the stuff (carted well water for years while living in town) so I would not be fond of having fish live in it.
Kate is up for RO water treatment as she wants some tetras... or at something small for a reasonable sized school. Kierstyn is up for adjusting the fish(she likes the research too) so it's 2 to 1... or does the wife's vote count for 2?