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[APD] algae and critters, me too

well, I guess in my old age, I'm learning to be patient.  I set up a 55g tank 2 days before xmas.  It had water in it for a week, just to see if everything worked, then I inserted plants from an internet order. After a few days, I bought some shrimp from the local store (clear but not specifically algae eaters) and 12 black neons from Capital Aquarium in Sacramento.  With the plants I bought, I got some snails.  In the past 2-3 weeks, algae has built up on the glass, some on the driftwood and other places.  I don't think it's real bad, but it's there and easily noticeable. Most of it is string alage, but there are a few perfectly round green dots appearing on the glass. I'm trying to not over-react and just get the hang of things.  Some of the shrimp died and contributed their bodies to the overall tank nutrient supply. To address the algae, I bought 6 Otos and threw them in.  On Sunday I did a 20% water change (first one) and added plant food.  I'll probably try plant food !
 2x a we
ek, just to see what's going on. (have a three bottle set of liquid plant food purchased from O St Aquarium in Sac).

Before water change, KH 12, ph 7.2 (ph meter controlled CO2), no ammonia detectable, no nitites either.  Davis uses well water, so I use 50:50 Davis water and purchased drinking water. Light is 2x 54W T5 Tek lights, on 11 hours/day.  CO2 automatic.  Fish feed 2 or 3x per day, dry flakes.  I see some bubbles from plants, some plants are growing and some seem to be losing leaves (turning yellow and then brown). One plant is flowering!  It's a weird brown tuber thing with short leaves has flowered 2x and sent up new longer leaves, I guess it's happy. Since I got a plant assortment, I don't know what many are, but I'm happy watching things and seeing what's happening. 

I have been reading forums and am not sure what I should be doing.  If I really quickly get rid of the alage, the otos won't be happy, right?  I'm willing to let the snails be snails, but I think they'll eventually reproduce enough to be a problem? If I have a mix of low light and hi light plants, I figure they all can't be happy at the same time, so I'm letting things go and see what grows and how I can aquascape with what I have.  When the Otos travel along plant leaves, are they cleaning algae off the leaves or are they damaging the leaves?  If anyone thinks I'm setting myself up for a massive failure, please let me know.
John F Hess
johnfhess at comcast_net
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