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CO2 from animals in the tank

Though I have no references to cite you, I would highly doubt that
putting lots of fish and other animals in a tank would significantly
increase the CO2 levels from the plants's perspective.
After many years of trying to grow more than just swords, Rotala
indica, java fern, etc. without CO2 I finally gave up and started
injecting it, and lo, I can grow nearly everything.  You could try the
Diana Walstad approach with soil under gravel and low light and "grow
what you can grow", but there again, you may become bored with the lack
of choices in species.
Ultimately, you will want to inject CO2, either via yeast reaction or
compressed gas.  Either that, or be happy with a  lower diversity (but
significant beauty just the same) of plant life.
Roxanne Bittman