You'll get a different answer from everyone answering this post, but to maintain stable water conditions, you need to flush a lot of pure, treated tap water through the tank every week. Your tank is really an "unflushed toilet" and by removing and replacing half the tank water weekly, you prevent nitrogens from building up in the tank. Some may disagree with such an aggressive water change routine, but the bottom line is "water changes work" and are the most important step toward a stable water chemistry, regardless of fish load.
This is how nature does it. The fish and plants get a constant supply of new, pure water and the old water is removed.
I would recommend addressing the water chemistry first and proceed from here. Start a sound water change routine and follow it religiously.
Just a thought.
"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."