07-19-2012, 08:49 AM
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The mopani is already leaching tannin so adding peat would not change anything.
Almost all municiple tap water is basic, having acidic water would corrode the infastructure. Basic water does not mean hard water, nor does acidic water mean soft water.
Water hardness is measured as General Hardness (GH) and Carbonate Hardness (KH). The KH is what buffers the pH, which means it is what resists the change to pH. The higher the KH, the harder it is for the PH to change. GH is what people mean when they say "soft" or "hard" water. To get this number, the best way is through your water utility. Either calling them, or looking up the water quality report online. Some put it on the water quality report, some don't.
There are test kits for GH and KH but there is no point in buying them if you don't intent to change them because their values will not change normally. So buying a kit you will use once is a waste of money.
If for some reason your water utility dosen't know, you can take a water sample to a pet store and they'll have the test, but most often they will use strips which only give a vauge answer (the steps between colors on the strips are a huge range of GH).
To make hard water soft, the only safe way to do it is to mix your tap water with RO/DI water (Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water). If you have a means to collect rain water, and get enough rain for weekly water changes, that can be used as well. You need to know your GH numbers though.