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Beginner Questions

After lurking around (dodging the reflector sunray polarization) I am
working on a planted tank. I am converting a baby angelfish tank with 3
ottos, 3 sae's, and 2 cory 55 gal tank. Last time I tried this I planted
heavy and within 6 weeks had beautiful plants and algae growing out of my
tank! BTW, I never got it under control - trimmed the plants down to
nothing - gave most away. I have an AquaClear 300 (phosguard & sponge) and
a HOT Magnum with micron filter. I have 4 small amazons, 2 water sprites,
and 2 bacopa (?). Water temp is around 80 degrees. Substrat is just 1-2mm
rock type. I have added some flourite tabs (probably not enough, 10). I
also have 80w of lighting. I can add 80 more but I am concerned about algae.

I just took some chemistry measurements using different test kits. Some
were shocking.

Tap H20 PH (tetra): 7.6.
Tap H20 PO4: >3.0 ppm.

Not sure the difference between ppm and mg/L.
PO4 (Red Sea): 0.2 ppm. (Seachem): 1.0 mg/L 
Fe (Red Sea): 0.1 ppm (Seachem): 0.0 mg/L
Ammonia (AqPh): 0.0 ppm
Nitrite (AqPh): 0.0 ppm.
Nitrate (AqPh): 40 ppm.
PH (AqPh): 8.6 !! (Tetra): 8.0

I have having some algae on the walls of the tank. It is green and for the
most part comes right off into the water where my micron filter takes it
out. I also have some blackish algae on some of the leaves of the amazon. I
would take the leaf off but it only has 4-5 leaves left.

Presently I am working on lowering the PH to around 6.8-7.0. I do not know
why it is so alkaline. I have never had this problem before when I had
discus with the PH coming out of the tap at 7.5. There is a piece of wood
in the tank but I have not heard of wood rising the alkalinity. In any case
the wood had been in there when I kept the tank at 6.5.

I hesitate to add more light, more plants, or anything til I know what
order to do things. Any assistance would be appreciated.

BTW, how is Dan Q. doing? I emailed him concerning plants but have not
heard. Is he seriously ill?

Thanks for your help. All suggestions welcomed, especially the order of
bringing the tank into balance.