For those in the Milwaukee area, there is the Milwaukee Aquarium Society (http://mas-wi.com/
). I'm a member. It meets once a month, there is usualy a speaker and other events like the club auction of fish and plants that member bring.
My primary focus is on Discus so I do use a lot of RO water. I am planning on writing an artical on water and tank set ups, so I'll post a link in here. I started out using chemical drop and dip strips test but I found that it was costing me a small fortune in both time and money. I now use meters, super fast and once you first lay out the cash you are set for years.
I use a DIY CO2 set up as well, it lowers my PH reading by at least .5 in my 72 gallon.