When I first got my 55 gallon... I had great success with plants... they grew amazing, filled my tank with awesome green leaves and just were fantastic. Later on, some life stuff happened and I neglected my tank enough that I returned most of my fish and just had some rasboras living in a tank with no light (other than what came through the window) and no plants. I moved... and my "new" set up has just left me uninspired and it doesn't seem to be working out as well. My list of "problems" 1. The filter doesn't seem to be providing the same flow of water as it did before... I wonder if I positioned the "out" spout differently, I've tried moving it a few times but there still appears to be "dead spots" in the tank. 2. Dead spots... wow... does stuff accumulate here. There seem to be two places in my tank where dead leaves, and brown yuck (I assume to be fish waste) just SIT... it's so aggravating. I have black sand and this stuff just sticks out as an eyesore, I never had that before. 3. Plants are growing but I'm finding dead leaves on almost all of them. 4. Duckweed (also... the duckweed pretty much stays on the half of the tank where the "out" spout is, which I find odd) 5. Corys hide... like all the time. I've had them for months now and they are super skittish. They are Metae cories if that makes any difference. (take 1 had green corys that didn't seem phased by anything). These are hiding even when I'm not near the tank so I am worried that something "else" is stressing them out. The two things I have done differently with this tank are... no MTS!!! (they went crazy on my last tank, I had to buy assasins, and I just HATED the white dots all over everything in my tank... ugh!) and I haven't set up a CO2 injection system yet (I really don't like the DIY so I'm considering a more advanced system). I have been dosing the tank with excel though. I also have slightly different plants... before I had more swords... now I have a few magenta plants. Any suggestions? Some thoughts I have already had: 1. Get MTS and try not to overfeed. Wondering if the sand isn't getting churned up enough. 2. Change substrate (I really really really don't want to do this) 3. Change plants... maybe go back to swords 4. Re-fertilize the sand with root tabs. 5. CO2 setup (gaaa... a little bit scared of this and the initial set up cost) 6. Something with the filter? Does the out spout have to be closer to the top of the water? I am thinking mine is too low (I had more tubing than I needed when I moved because the tank is now closer to the filter) I really don't want to do all of this at once, so some advice for what to try first or instead would be appreciated. Whenever I get this tank fully in order, I want to try adding a blue ram as the finishing touch.