As far as vacuuming the substrate, you kinda do a hover and swirl above the substrate. Little circular motions to get the waste to float a bit. As far as the algae, you sure it's not diatoms? If it's diatoms, it will either go away on its own (common in new tanks), or you can put some ottos or similar clean up crew in there to take care of it.
thanks for the tips on the vac. I was trying that the other day with some success but then I started thinking maybe there was another way or maybe when you have a heavier planted tank with eco complete and light fish loads maybe for some reason you don't vac the substrate...
For the diatoms, how would I know if it is? On the algae cleanup crew, I do have an Oto in there already but I only have one since he came over from the original tank. I was about to buy some nerrite snails and red cardinal shrimp to help out but I wanted to figure out what was causing it before I just tried to keep it at bay.