Since Shakaho kindly helped me properly use my API test kit (I didn't realize there were TWO doses needed for Nitrate AND Ammonia) I saw that my nitrate levels were around 5 ppm. Highly acceptable of course. I recently added snails and one mysteriously died. I moved the plastic plants and the muck was unbelievable! I normally just vacuum around them. I did a larger WC and cleaned WAY MORE THOROUGHLY so I removed the fish and snails this time as flying muck can be an issue. The fish are perfectly fine seemingly. Anyway, I've permanently removed the plastic plants, they were just helping muck accumulate and the fish don't care about them anyway. I also slid the bubble bars BELOW the gravel surface, as a downside I noticed is that mucky food gets lodged between them and the tank wall and literally can MOLD as the fish can't get to it. Solves that issue. I ordered a few supposedly hardy live plants that I'm going to try and grow in their tank. Probably will fail HARD at that but will try! After I got their stuff all cleaned up and the tank settled, I put them all back in. They seem happier with the extra space, I still added their jars because they seem to actually LIKE those. Hopefully I can grasp the planted tank and never have a need for plastic plants again! They've got much more space now to swim and whatnot. And I tested my water after the tank settled down and I'm very happy with the results Everything right where its supposed to be and actually tested ACCURATELY thanks to help I received. Hanging right on in there as a beginner fish keeper and hope my guys like their new changes (and hope the snails do okay). I've done all I can do for now, and it took me a long time to clean all the horrid stuff but got it done. All good in fishy hood, I think.