I do clean the filter material with tap water. But to be honest, I don't clean it that often... From now on I'll save some tank water to clean it.
It does need the new bulbs but I had problems long before they needed to be replaced.
Tom Barr suggests using the excel if you want to do regular water changes to help keep the CO2 at a more steady level to prevent algae. But I should not use it if I end up trying a flame moss carpet?