This has mos def been a learning experience for me. Thanks for everyones help and restraining as best you could in saying "YOU ARE A DUMMIE".
I feel like I've hit a bit of a reset button on my tank and that's fine as long as I can progress from the mistakes.
As of right now I've taken out all of the driftwood I collected myself. I'm just going to buy some spiderwood I saw at a local pet shop and stay with that for awhile. I just received a C02 diffuser in the mail so I'm going to work on a DIY system and just back off the Excel and maybe just dose some Flourish twice a week.
Thanks again for everyones help/advice.
It is a fairly common mistake - changing out all of the filter media at once. The other common problem is rinsing filter media with tap water in the sink thereby killing all the beneficial bacteria in the chlorinated water.
In my Aquaclear filters I only run two sponges. Once a month when doing my weekly water change I rinse them in some of the tank water I siphoned out. When I need to replace sponges (about every 2 years) I only replace one per month.