Yes, CO2 works to some degree. A 55g tank needs pressurized CO2 though. Peat is another way, but it also has its limits.
I would go with R/O water and a very light fish load. This way you won't have to do water changes all the time.
Obviously, there are many fish who do great in hard, basic water. African cichlids, most livebearers (guppies, platties, swordtails, mollies, etc.), some rainbowfish, some killies, many gobies...It is also not impossible to find a good number of plants that will tolerate the water.
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