I thought you have to boil your wood before you put it in the tank (from petco) to release tannins so they don't hurt your fish..... is this not true then lol....The easiest way is probably just using DECAFFEINATED tea bags. Just seep them in your tank or filter. Coconut shells work as well and provide shelter. Peat is how it's usually done but on here you'll hear that it's not a sustainable resource but I mean every garage in middle America has a huge compressed bag of peat sitting there so why not use it. I'm not suggesting you contribute to the peat moss cultivation economy. There's really no need once you find some it's totally reusable. I swap out old dried bags of peat regularly. The used ones aren't as good but still you can stretch it. Like reusing teabags. Tannins are also beneficial for boosting immune system health against things like fungus infections etc
I'm interested as well. Do you have hard tap water? Are you on city or well water?Why do you need to soften your water?