It didn't take long for the BBA and even some hair algae to really get going strong... my fault for being so out of balance. I know why, too much light, too much fertilizer that wasn't being used and not enough co2.
A fish will not solve the BBA problem for you, neither will adding CO2, or reducing lights and ferts. The stuff is found in every kind of setup, even in the petstore which uses very low light. The factors that promote BBA growth are still being debated and tested, the cause is not 100% known.
What do you suggest since I'm starting co2 tomorrow? I believe I should try to remove algae covered leaves, wash it off the driftwood, right? I've read about using excel, or getting a SAE to help.
Reduce the hours of light, even the amount maybe (I have options)
The best and most reliable approach to get rid of BBA is to use excel or gluteraldehyde (the same thing as excel) to spot treat it. Use a syringe and apply excel very slowly underwater to patches of BBA. Do not exceed the initial dose then you can do 3x the daily dose until it is all gone. Do not dose it into the water column and expect it to kill BBA quickly, it needs to be applied directly to the algae with a syringe underwater (taking objects out of the water also works but is inconvenient). The algae turns bright red the following day, this indicates it has died. It will take another week or two to decay away.
How many hours a day should I run lights? Should I run my T5 plant bulb/s or just the lower light daylight led? I know limiting light should help but with the new co2, well don't I want lights on?
I'd say 7-10 hours is the usual amount. If you have extremely bright lighting then closer to 7, if you have normal lights 8 or 9 hours, and if you have slightly dimmer lights then 10, very low lights up to 12. Can you give us more info on your lighting?
Hard to answer your other questions about which lights to use without knowing the wattage and T5HO or T5, type of LED etc.
I don't want the co2 levels bouncing around, so start running the co2 what 8 hours a day? How about the lights? Fertilizer? Should I use up the bottle or two of Excel that I have in the dose they say helps get rid of algae, while running co2?
I'd just keep the CO2 canister running 24/7, it doesn't hurt anything and it is less to worry about. If you have a solenoid and you just have to use it then set it to start 2 hours before lights on (to saturate the water), and turn off when lights go off, plants use CO2 in the daytime.
The brighter your lights and the more CO2 you add the more fertilizers you'll need to add. You must add all the necessary nutrients, macros & micros or your plants will develop deficiencies long term.
My advice is: don't worry too much about it right now. Just start dosing according to EI guidelines, add CO2, keep the lighting medium-high intensity and deal with problems as they come. Most plants recover from deficiencies within a week or two under these conditions so any mistakes you make are easy to fix.