So I start excel dosing. In just the first day I see something I've never seen before...bubbles everywhere....coming from all the plants. Poor things just needed some carbon!
I add some iron tabs under the swords (I add a 3rd one), and also add two water sprites. The goldfish promptly decimate the water sprites.
We also get a few moss balls as they're on sale. The goldfish love them. They don't actually eat the moss balls, but vacuum them while pushing them around like fluffy ping pong balls. I also removed the large rock on the right. I noticed it seemed to be creating some debris, and was worried it might be effecting tank chemistry...plus it was displacing a few gallons of water just by itself!)
I also get the flourish plant pack, and some standard flourish. Within a day, there is a substantial change in the growth in the tank. Things aren't just surviving, they're finally growing!
The black moors launch an assault on the black hair algae. Within a few days (with the excel) and the moors, all the black hair algae has been eaten and turned into poop.
One of the swords decides to escape, and grows straight up, over an inch a day. I finally trimmed it after it made it out of the tank.
You'll also notice that I added a second filter. I added an aquaclear 50 after reading more about how my tank was overstocked, so I wanted an excess of filtration. Also thanks to this forum, I swapped out the chemical media, and doubled up on the sponges, as well as buying some micron filter media in bulk and cutting it to aquaclear size, providing some much needed polishing.
I should mention around this point I get a full test kit, and find everything happily in the green!