Oily film on surface
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Old 11-18-2013, 06:51 PM   #1
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Oily film on surface

I've recently added live plants to my well established tank (up for 2+ years now). The flora is minimal as I have a group of Geo's that would love to dig up any plants rooted in the substrate.

I recently made a few changes to the tank set up - one of which I suspect is causing the oily film that is now on the surface of the tank. (I know…bad idea to do make more than one change at a time to easier identify the root cause of problems - just like this one!)

Set up:
135 Gallon
2x Emperor 400 HOT filters
Penguin 1140 power head (300gph) w/ quick filter attached

The additions to the tank:
LARGE piece of driftwood (much too big to boil - so I just hosed it off)
small piece of driftwood w/Anubias nana attached
pastic mesh from a craft store (I attached java moss)

4x Anubias Nana
2x Java fern
LOTS of Java moss

5x 3" Geo's
10x 3" Congo Tetras
1x 4" Severum
3x 5" Pictus Cats
1x 2" Royal Pleco
1x 3" Common Pleco
1x 4" Khuli Loach

I've done 25% water change every day for 2+ weeks. Additionally I have skimmed the water surface with each water change - some times 2x a day.

The skimming would only temporarily relieve the problem. The oil slick would start coming back over night. I've tested the water and all appears normal. Ammonia = 0, Nitrites = 0, Nitrates = 10-20, PH = 7.5

I have considered setting up a protein skimmer - but really don't want one. The fish all appear to be thriving - but the oily surface and resulting foamy bubbles are most certainly hampering the oxygen exchange at the surface.

Does anyone have any insight on how I might better address this problem?

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Old 11-18-2013, 07:56 PM   #2
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Just soak it up with newspaper, and wait
a little bit, to see if things settle down
Good luck, Len
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:36 PM   #3
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Yea it happens. Only way is to maintain water clarity (purigen is great stuff) and agitate the surface. Still, agitation might not be enough. So unless you invest in a skimmer, an airstone should break up the scum on the surface.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:49 PM   #4
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how about getting one of these attachments?

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Old 11-18-2013, 09:11 PM   #5
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Thanks All. Guess I'll just keep siphoning off the top and perhaps try newspaper or paper towels to soak up whatever it is. Hopefully whatever is causing it will eventually run out soon.

Also might check the LFS for a HOT skimmer…could always put it away once the problem is resolved and will have it as a back up if something like this happens again.
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:36 AM   #6
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big al's pets had these on sale for 23.99 last week. not sure what they are now.
Play at the edge of your comfort zone
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:43 AM   #7
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You may want to get airstones to agitate surface, that's what I had to do
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