As far as teh algae goes here is what I do. Lighting is less crucial in a fresh water tank as it is to salt water. I limite the amount of light so as not to feed the algae. I used a timer so the lights are on only when I am home which is 5-10PM. 5 hours only as opposed to turning the lights on in the morning and off at night which is over 12 hours like many people do. I have small LED moonlights the rest of the time so the tank always looks cool.
I also use deionized water through a reverse osmosis filter. I reconstitute the RO water using RO Right chemical, then buffer the PH to 6.5 using a PH buffer from aquarium pharmaceuticals. This gives me soft water with a PH of 6.5. I never have a spec of algae since there is nothing in the RO water to feed it.
I once moved to a new house and used tap water and bang, the algae started up. I plumbed in my reverse osmosis filter and the algae stopped. You gotta give your fish good water. All my fish desire the same parameters of soft acidic water in the PH 6.5 area. Neon Tetra
, Cory's, horseface loaches, etc.... They all do great. if you get compatible fish that all desire the same water parameters its easy to achive using reverse osmosis. Just reconstitute it to soft or hard water, then buffer it to the proper PH. Playing with tap water and chemicals is like a bomb waiting to go off. You'll have too many swings since tap water is buffered up the ying yang and usually very hard. Learn your water chemistry and you will control you'll algae.
At least that worked for me. Give it a shot. You can buy reverse osmosis water for cheap from wine making stores or your local fish store. Do that if you don't want to get your own filter.