thanks for the info!
i took every affected plant out, and scrubbed off as much as i could (which was most of it). they're now back in the tank (along with a newly cleaned filter), hopefully the little existing bits will be kept at bay until i can get my hands on a tru SAE.
would it be a good idea to add more "algae busting" plants right now? or would i risk their being covered as well?
also, is there somewhere y'all would recommend (online) where i could find a true SAE?