Throwing in the Towel

I've pretty much given up on my current setup.  
I have a 30L freshwater tank with about 80watts of Triton Light.  I use a 
DIY CO2 injector.  The tank has 2 goldfish, 7 mollies, and an angel fish.
The substrate is composed of a about 3 inches of sand/quartz that I brought 
out of a natural spring in the mountains.  The loose particles tend to drift 
about and land on the plants.

I have such an algae problem that I'm considering tearing the tank down this 
weekend and starting over.  Here are my reasons.

* The plants are dying.
* The plants have a fur coat of algae
* I think the substrate has settled and become too hard for the roots.
* I want to remove all sources of algae
* I'll use filtered water instead of tap water.

What I'm interested in is a good substrate composition?  What is laterite 
and should I use it?  How about peat?  Gravel?  Children's sandbox sand?

*  The Self created God creates creations.  *