02-08-2014, 08:13 AM
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My pH is 8.4 with a GH/KH of 14-16, so I also have very hard water. I keep neon tetras, however, which are "softwater fish". As long as you acclimate and don't try keeping a fish that prefers harder water than you have in your tank, you should be fine. Just try to buy locally.
What makes fish prefer different pH values is the amount of minerals in the water. Soft water has less minerals than hard water. When you take a fish that likes a pH of 7.0 and put it in a pH of 8.2, it simply takes the minerals it needs from the water and there are extras that stay in the water. When you take a fish from harder water, say 8.2 pH, and put it in 7.0, there aren't enough minerals to keep it happy and healthy. I hope that makes sense.
I wouldn't worry about your water unless you buy online, then you need to acclimate VERY slowly.