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Water testing

Having just moved to a house with well water, I was looking forward to
not having to age water or remove chlorine. Oh well...  It seems my
water comes out of the ground at a ph of 5.8 and 1 degree of hardness
for both gh/kh (tetra test kit).  My tank right now is stable at a ph of
5 but I have to do weekly 20% water changes to maintain that!

I know I need some buffering in there, but am unsure what to add.  I'm
using a litter/local clay substrate that tested out to a neutral ph
prior to use.  I'm also adding tetras trace elements per instructions.
The plants seem to be doing well but I just lost a batch of new fish
this week.  All the ones that I moved with came through fine and have
adjusted to the new lower ph.

I want to get the water tested for minerals etc. but the local lab is
quoting over $200 for the test.  Any suggestions on the buffering to
bring me up to 6.5 ph and a lab that doesn't cost an arm or a leg would
be helpful.

Maybe I should just do cardinals and Discus....


Ray Nelson