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I'm new

Hi all, I'm new to this list.

I have a black thumb and I hope someone can help me. 
I did some searches in the archives but couldn't find what I'm looking for. 
Sorry if I'm asking something that's been asked a thousand times but I can't grow plants!

I have an overcrowded 33 gal with amazon swords java fern and jungle val. There's about 1.5-2 inches of gravel on the bottom. The temp is 85F. I have somewhere between 60-80 watts of light, a Hagen flora-glo and a Zoo-med reef sun or something like that. I have 2 DIY CO2 bottles on it. I change half the water twice a week with 1/2 RO to 1/2 tap aged in a rubbermaid and use Plant-Gro liquid fertilizer. As an expirament I took a shot glass and put laterite on the bottom, a piece of a plant tab, covered this with gravel and put a tiny bud of amazon sword in it. Nothing is growing.

History... I was given a ton of plants. They did okay for a while but stopped growing. Later, I cranked the heat to help treat a sick discus. Most of the beautiful plants died but I saved some. Now they hate me and won't grow. Well, since I started attending to them more (with the CO2, fertilizer and taking the temp down to 85) a few of the amazons have small buds, but they really aren't growing. 

These are typically easy grow plants, but I am jinxed. Perhaps it's because the tank is overcrowded, but I'd think the water changes would adjust for that. 

I'm setting up a 66 gal this winter and I want to do it right, I plan to put in laterite, plant tabs, all the plants, CO2 and leave it until the plants take hold before putting the discus in. If someone can give me some guidance I'd appreciate it!

Sorry this is so long!

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