Well, I took out the driftwood (temporarily) to help with tank maintenance while I figure out this algae thing. I also dropped the lighting time to 6 hours, and what do you know, algae growth has significantly slowed down, and plant health has increased. The shrimp are also out cleaning more of the tank. The HC is actually seeming salvageable at this point which I am very happy with as I didn't want to deal with starting another carpet plant. Going to continue doing water changes twice a week for now until I stop seeing the big groups of hair algae on everything. But it looks like it's headed in a good direction!