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Take a several weeks reading here, The Two Hour Aquarist, UK Aquatic Plant Society (UKAPS) and also YouTube. Find posters with great looking tanks and see what they are doing. The key is to see photos of their tanks. Tank journals are especially good for this. Find tanks with a style that you really like and start by building a similar one.

I hate to say it but you may find better information online than at your local fish store(LFS), especially for plants. You may be able to purchase some good specimens at your LFS but don't expect a lot of informed advice on keeping them unless they have well maintained specimen/display tanks.

Bottom line is to take your time researching before making any purchase decisions. Patience is essential for a successful planted tank.

Good luck and let us know what your plan becomes!

PS. Regarding algae. There are two kinds of aquarists: those who have algae and those who say they don't!
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