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New Tank Setup (long sorry)

Ok, so I'm sticking my head out again after being flamed ungraciously without my knowledge, in a reef newsgroup nearly a year ago. A year later, I'm back from school, more wise maybe, and more determined. So hopefully I'll not "intrude" on anyone's turf as I've resolved the last conflict to... No names to whom my main accuser is, but I think I've seen his name floating around :-( so hopefully you don't have any predisposed opinions.

   Here goes, Setup= Kent Maxxima RO/DI, CO2 from Dave Gomberg, 2 shoplite fixtures over a 75 gallon standard, two powerheads,RO/Right, Tropica Mastergrow supplement, 20-10-5(?) plant tabs in the peat, and the tank is cycling as we speak. Ok, so I've been quite successful growing just about anything live, and now comes my first 'planted' tank. I have deviated some from the standard dutch or Amano approach, as some of you may resign my methods to laziness, or whatever... But hear me out before deciding please. My dad is a potter, so i got some red clay, it's spiked on the bottom, with a 15% chelated iron and heavy metal fertilizer (neutralized with some baking soda (NaCO3?)) Then the nutrient rich part is Peat moss, plain canadian peat, rinsed once (yes it was a pain), and then covered with 3" at least of black sand blasting grit. A note about the "grit" yes, it's very sharp, and as I've heard, the "Grit" is actually just silica or ('coke' anyone?) added to the refining process!
 of iron/steel whatever, and while it's all molten, it's cooled, and the silica with it's network solid structure (glass?) nabs up all the impurities floating at the surface. Sounds like lots of impurities to me... and yes, it is very sharp stuff, but not dangerous to catfish or plants I believe (or hope). 
So I don't want to discredit any mail order places, and if I'm out of line I apologize, but if anyone wants to hear about my esperiences with MOpetshop.com or floridadriftwood.com, feel free to ask, however I will openly proclaim my exceptionally awesome dealings with Dave Gomberg, I will not go into specifics, but I'm just quite a fan of everything Dave does, including ordering from him. 
   Peat, as most know, and I wasn't quite aware of exactly how strong the tannic acids were... are very strong in peat... apparently soaking peat doesn't seem to work, mine only started releasing the dark acids into the water after the Ammonia-Nitrite-Nitrate cycle began. So now... help! The tank is brown, the RO/DI filter water changes can't seem to keep up with the tannic acids, and it smells (maybe just the result of the N cycle?). 
    Thanks a bunch, sorry for such a newbie-like post, If anyone has any interest in any part of how the tank ends up, or has suggestions. Thanks so much,
Bill Gould