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Please help, giving up!!!

Hi all!
This will be a long, and sad, post! please read it anyway!!! thanks.
Over the last six months I've had more trouble with my aquarium than ever in
my life before :-(  and I'm at the brink of giving up alltogether.
I set up my tank approx. six months ago.
I had some major gill-fluke and snail problems in my old set-up so I decided
to do everything thouroghly:
-I cleaned my old plants in ALUN salt following the advice from my LFS. This
was supposed to kill all kinds of parasites and snails.
-Then I boiled all the gravel and the roots.
The problems started 4-5 days after I had finished setting up my tank.
-my giant Vals turned brown from the tips down. This continued for about 2
weeks, then they slowly started to recover
-Then my swords started to look really pale, like the chlorophyll was eaten
out of them.
-Finally this happened to my Crypts as well.
-Of course with my plants not growing the hair and brush algae did and
despite all my efforts it soon covered most of my ,by now recovering, giant
-Then the snails returned, so I got some Botias to get rid of them. As you
probably guessed it failed.
-Because of all the debris from the dying plants I had to start cleaning my
tank every 2-3 days and change 1/2 of the water, this goes on even now six
month later.
-I added 14 algae eaters of different kinds to get rid of the algae
including a Panaque nigroleniatis and some SAEs. By the way, the Panaque
eats the hair algae like spaghetti, in fact 1 Panaque is ten times as
efficient as 3 SAEs, honest!!!
-The latest addition on the problem front is some kind of "brown algae" that
slowly covers the gravel.
-In addition to this I believe my fish have got the flukes again, scratching
on the roots and bottom, and sometimes gasping for air.
-It also seems like the roots of my plants are dying, or at least not
growing well, they are a dark red-brown coulour and seem really fraigile.
Now my giant Vals, that used to be 6' are 1/2' and the swords, that used to
be 1', are 2" long.
This is the max lengths of all the new leaves as well, and it seems like
they are dying in the same rate as they are growing.
A lot of problems for one tank and one man right?
-I've tried to add fertilizer- from Steve Pushak, iron, and TETRA Crypto
Dunger. This has failed as well.
-I allso tried to get rid of the algae using some kind of algae stop, which
was a partial sucsess, it is still there but my fish are now almost able to
keep it under controll. It has started gaining on them now though!
-I've allso experimented with the lightning, hanging it higher and higher in
an effort to decrease the intensity, and slowing the algae down. It now
hangs about 2' above the water surface.

The water values are:
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 0
Phosphate: unknown, but my guess is 0 because of the frequent water changes.
iron: now this is strange, it seems like no matter how much I put in, it
never rises above (or even close to) 0.5 ppm.
pH: ranges between approx  6,2-6,5
I use pre-stored, pre-heated and peat treated water.
My 120 gal tank is set up like before, 2" of clay substrate, quarts-free
gravel 2-6 mm grain size, One thin layer of SERA floredepot enough for 13,2
gal. , lots of mangrove roots bought at my LFS.,
-I had lots of plants from my old setup, where they were thriving; lots of
really giant giant-vals, nice swords, some crypts and a lot of anubias
barteri. I also bought heaps of new and big swords.
-Preveausly I had approx. 70w of fluorecent lightning, but decided to get a
250w MH. lamp.
-I have a FLUVAL 403 cannister filter, and a 300w heater placed near the
-Following recomondations from my LFS. I decided to add a DIY yeast based
co2 system
injecting the co2 into the intake of my 403.- I removed it today because of
my fish's condition.
I have considered starting all over again, but at this time my student-loan
and upcoming exams won't allow it.
If any of you can see any obvious mistakes I've made or have any advice at
all please help me.
Thank you all in advance if not for any advice at least for reading this
long post.
Se you all! and better luck to you with your hobby,
bebenum at c2i_net
Please feel fre to e-mail me for additional information or with your advice.