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I've been noticing the plants underneath the surface film on my 50 gallon do not have the green, lush growth of my fauna underneath a clear surface. IS this correct? I have photos to support this, but was curious to see if anyone else has had this happen. The plant in this case is my glosso foreground. One side has superve horizontal growth, and the other side is not doing much. It's not dying, but its not growing either.

So does surface film directly inhibit plant growth?
 

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Yes, it can block light. I have come to the conclusion that it is from decaying leaves more than anything else. If you top some of the plants to get more surface flow from the spraybar across the top of the tank, that can help tremendously. Skimmers work, but take up more space in the tank. Water changes and keeping the tank as clean as possible of decaying leaves, and keeping plants from getting too close to the top of the water can usually do the trick - without a skimmer.
 

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I have a heavily planted 75 gal and had scum show up on the waters surface. I have a low tech tank with alot of root feeders so I found out the day after adding plant tabs the water would get a scum layer on it. I added a skimmer and I can't believe how clean the water is on the top . It keeps the tank moving a touch on the surface and allows more light to the bottom of the tank.
 

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Platies, and mollies eat that surface scum and will help clear it out, and an ADA glass lily outtake pipe with the vortex effect can help clear it up.
 

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Seconded on the paper towel method. If you want to sink even more $ into this project nightshop then ADA makes clear float just for this purpose.
 
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