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scrubb my plants?

Although I have kept Aquariums since I was a kid, I'm kind of new to
aquatic plants.  This list has and is helping a great deal.  Here's a
newbie sort of question.

I have a huge problem with algae.  From what I read on this list, I
beleive that it is actually cyanobacteria.( Funny smell and the snails
won't touch the stuff)  I beleive that I may have a problem with
phosphates but buying a test kit will have to wait until I can afford it.
(I'm a poor grad student).  So far I have been able to combat it enough to
allow my plants to survive by doing fairly frequent water changes.  I have
a 29 gallon tank and I exchange 5 gallons/week with RO water.  The problem
is slowly getting better since I stopped using tapwater altogether. I used
to mix the tapwater with RO 50/50.  Until I can do something to turn the
tide to the advantage of the plants I have  resorted to physically
removing the stuff from the broader leaves of my wendtii and java fern.
Unfortunately, I can't seem to get all of it off.  Could I use a peice of
cloth or polyester filter fiber to remove it? 
Here are some of my tank parameters :
  29 gallon, 3 20 Watt bulbs (not sure of type), 2-3 inches of profile
under 1 inch of gravel, 11 leopard danios (small ones), 1 angelfish and 1
tiger barb, a small Eheim canister filter with activated carbon
running continuously.

I plan to get a good phosphate test kit and possibly some type of filter
resin to lower the levels.

Thanks in advance.

Kenneth S. Bruno
Purdue University 
Department of Biological Sciences
West Lafayette, Indiana
kbruno at purdue_edu