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plants covered with brown film

I never saw this come up the first time but my test-post worked so here's a 
second try:
My plants tend to last for a few months before they are covered with a brown 
layer that is unappealing and can't be wiped off.  I think it inhibits their 
photosynthesis, too, because they lose health, and I am forced to uproot 
them.  It always happens gradually.  I know it is most likely some sort of 
algae, but I have heard  there is a non-algae type of brown film that can 
form in tanks.  I have two 5" Siamese Flying Foxes that keep the (29g) tank 
clean of everything but the brown.  The tank has been established for a year 
and the water quality is good, biweekly changes, and lighting with a 
vita-light.  I can't solve the problem and I am trying to keep my next new 
batch of plants fresh and green.  Has anyone else had this problem?  If so, 
please help!