Drained tank and replaced substrate with smooth gravel.
The gunk I removed from the tank reminded me of digging up sewage pipes. However, everything DID stay in place and it was layered very well.
I suppose the water I threw out would have made a great black water product but the containers which were required to contain the smell haven't been invented yet!
I trimmed the dead foliage from the plants and removed the sand from their roots. There was a lot of new growth to grow off of. I used 3 small terra cotta pots for caves and burried them a 1/3 of the way down. The ozelot sword was placed between two of the 'caves' for more privacy, they look like they are in great shape! The micro-swords are placed in the front left corner. Most leaves were trimmed .5"-1.5", unless it was new growth. The bacopa and banana plants were just physically de-algae'd. No chemicals.
Finally, made a DIY CO2 system. Used a 2L Mountain Dew bottle and a 20 oz juice bottle(for a pressure buffer). Then I used a plastic dome with a circle cut in the top(like the kind you get on top of a Starbuck's 'whipped cream' drink). I cut a circle of filter(that was bigger than the circle in the dome) and placed it inside the dome. Then I put the air hose through the circle and pushed it through the center of the filter for a tight fit. Then I placed a DIY air stone on the end of the hose. NOTE: the air line also has a check valve in it. And the air stone isn't working as an airstone.
The CO2 collects under the filter mesh and sits there for a few minutes. When the bubble gets really big it escapes in a big pocket.
If the CO2 sits in the water for a while will it disolve into the water? How fast does CO2 dissolve? Because it's not really disolving as a big pocket.
I found the pressure buffer concept online somewhere, I don't remember. Does anyone know of this plan or where it can be found? I would like to check my work.