That was me too, I'm afraid. Hair algae was a big problem and I initially went in the wrong direction to try to get rid of it. I cut back my tank light, stopped fertilizing and got too many algae eaters. After some more research (mostly on this forum) I went back to 12 hours of tank light a day, cut off most of the natural sun light, resumed with fertilizer, added more plants and found out about Excel. Now the algae is almost all gone. This picture shows what's left. Ten days ago the hair algae on this plant was at least two inches long.
This one shows one of my algae eating shrimp.
I don't actually know what substrate I have. It's what was recommended to me for live plants. (At that time I didn't even know was the word 'substrate' meant.)
The details of the tank and lights set up that I have can be found here.
Along with the plants (the names of which are a mystery to me) I have six adult guppies, one african dwarf frog and a small variety of 'staff' whose job it is to keep things clean. The most recent addition to the staff is some Malaysian Trumpet Snails.
Ammonia and Nitrite are both at zero but so in Nitrate. Maybe I misunderstood something I read but I thought Nitrate should be above zero, like something a bit less than 40. Is that right?
Also, my pH level continues to be 8.2. Everything seems to be doing OK in it. I just give new fish/frogs lots of time to adjust by adding a small amount of tank water every 15 minutes or so into the bag and then finally putting them into the tank.
Anything I should be doing differently for Nitrate or pH?
Today I did a 1/4 water change and trimmed everything back at the same time. I guess I'll soon find out whether or not that was a good idea but I'm pretty happy with how it looks right now. The top seems a bit bare but the plants grow really fast so it should fill in pretty quickly, I think.
With a bit of free space at the top, I can now count 12 baby guppies. I've also been able to confirm three shy African dwarf frogs along with the six adult guppies.
I also learned a bit about taking photos of my tank from another thread on this forum. So this picture is better than the previous ones. Now I just need to remember to get my reflection out of the way.