You said this setup is new, but how long are we talking here? Also it might be helpful to post a photo.
It is very new. The tank has been set up since January, however I only started the plants/co2/fertilizer in June. So probably only a month or so with plants. Here are some photos:
The answer is fairly simple, it's just not fun: assuming your fertilizers and co2 are correct, and that your light is strong enough for your tank height and plants, your light should only be on long enough per day yo grow your plants and not algae. For a new tank, this could be a max of two hours a day for a few months.
Secondly, make sure you are actually doing your water changes and siphoning up detritus regularly.
I have not considered this. I have my light on for 6 hours per day as I have read that is the minimum for plant health. I have been leaving it at 6 hours but decreasing intensity to try to find the balance. I did not realize I could potentially try stronger light for more robust growth for only two hours per day. I guess I would do this mainly until I was able to increase plant mass and then slowly increase it?
That brings up another thing I have thought about
: how long should I wait between making changes? Should I change something then wait two weeks to see if there are effects? Is that too long/too quick? Thanks again for your help!