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Discus Plants and Hard Water

I have been very successfully keeping plants in a 75 gallon tank.  The water
here is quite hard, coming out of the tap at 8.4 and leaving calcium
deposits in pots.  Still, I have managed to grow enough plants to sell them
regularly and recently to sand a bunch to Wilma Duncan for use in the West
Virginia school system.

Twice I have tried to introduce discus into the tank with fatal results.
The tank is CO2 injected and the pH hovers around 7 so I don't think the pH
is killing them. The tank have never registered any type of nitrogen as the
plants take it all up.

I am asking if it is possible to peat filter the water before changes and/or
use rechargeable softener pillows to bring the hardness down low enough.  I
don't want the expense or hassle of RO right now. Are there any cheap or
easy solutions?