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    I am fairly new at getting into the truly technical side of being an
aquarium enthusiast and have a few simple questions I need input on. I
have started reading the messages posted here in the digest to try to
get some answers, but it seems that the questions I have were already
asked and people have moved into the more intricate workings of the
    I have a 120 gal. tank that is fairly heavily planted with a
moderate fish load. I am running 4 bulbs (2 4ft power glo's and 2 4ft
actinolites), and two of the dual chambered emperors. The substrate is a
medium sized gravel. I have 5 amazon swords, lots of hygro, and several
anubias. I also have a lot of microsword. I basically have three
1) I have had the tank for 2 years, and since I planted all these
plants, my amazons have shrunk in size considerably and just don't look
real healthy. Even the anubias haven't done well. I fertilize the tank
with every water change (I do 20% once a week) with Helena tabs, initial
sticks, and florapride. What is wrong? What can I do to make the amazons
flourish and get back to their huge, beautiful state?
2) Am I running enough light?
3) Do I really need to set up a CO2 system?
4) Do I need to do something different with the substrate?
5) I also have an algae growing in the tank that is mostly in the
gravel, not on the plants. It is sort of in bunches clumping up little
groups of gravel. The algae is 1-2 inches in length and is fairly black
in color. How do I get rid of it?
6) What is the deal with polishers like the diatomaceous earth things I
read about?
7) And, has anyone had any experience with under-tank heaters that
supposedly help circulation to the roots of plants?

I guess basically, what I am looking for is someone who can give me some
advise on how to get this tank healthy. What would be a good plan of
attack? I would appreciate any and all input. Thanks.

Shane from Oxnard, CA, where it is windy, sunny, and chilly today.