okay so no on the dead plant bits, I'll pull those out when I clean the tank tomorrow. gonna give the walls and the driftwood a good scrubbing; pull out all the algae I can get, and cut the lighting again I guess
right now it's got two lamps on timers; one daylight spectrum 13w(i think?) CFL bulb directly on the tank, definately what the algae likes because it's ONLY on that side of the tank. that's on for I think 8/8.5 hours, and one nighttime lamp, a dark green bulb facing away from the tank, on overnight and overlapping with the daylight bulb, about an hour in each direction. I'm thinking of changing the overnight bulb to something else though, it's a bit bright, and honestly, a bit creepy.
As for the Oto, I'll get him on some veggies and stuff, since it looks like he has, indeed, cleared up the brown algae I bought him for, and it's not his fault I didn't know he wouldn't touch the hair stuff.
One last thing though, and I'm asking for brutal honesty here. There's probably no chance of me getting a big enough tank to give him a school for months yet, and my betta does seem stressed even if they seem to be working things out. Aside from petco and petsmart, there's one LFS with some gorgeous tanks, and they really seem to know their stuff, though they're predominately saltwater(and one of the girls did try and tell me a 5gal was too much space for a betta).
Would my oto be happier/healthier if I went to see if they could take him and maybe find him a better home, or should I just keep on trying to give him the best home I can with what I've got? I'm going to see tomorrow if they have any more plants for my tank to hopefully crowd out the algae, while I'm there, should I ask them about their policy on taking fish that aren't doing well?