I've had a fish tank for about two months. About two weeks ago I noticed brown spots on some of the decorations, so I took them out, scrubbed them with water, let them soak in hot water, and put them back in. I do weekly water changes with a gravel vacuum. However, I just went on vacation for a week and returned to find my tank completely overtaken by the algae. A bunch of the leaves on my Java Fern are covered in it (and I'm scared the algae is killing it), the gravel went from blue to brown, and all the fake decorations have become brown. The filter intake has also begun to brown.
The tank holds one Betta, is 5 gallons, is lighted for about 8 hours a day, and is kept at a healthy temperature.
I was considering getting an Oto or a snail, but the internet seems to think that is a bad idea. What would all of you suggest? I don't know why this continues to happen. I need to know how to clean it now and prevent it in the future.
Here are some pictures: