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dropping pH question

Guess I';m back into a seasonal problem with my plants looking poor.  Only
this year
I found out what the culperate really is.  My tap water normally 7.8 to 8.0 pH
moved to the 8.6 to 8.8 range.  With CO2 I'm getting this down to 8.2 however 
my plants still do not like this.  Does anyone have another way of bringing
the pH
down safely?  note my general hardness reads 40ppm and alkininity buffering is
in the 300 ppm range.  My belief is a majority of the buffering is caused by
sodium based salts in the water.