Film on Water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Film on Water

I have a oily film on the surface of the water. How can I get rid of it?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 01:01 AM
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Have your spray bar or power head aimed at the top of the water Improving surface agitation should fit it or you can get a surface skimmer they are $10.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 01:19 AM
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To my knowledge the surface film is just a build up of protein, which has no negative effect on your ecosystem. It is annoying I have it as well. But if you have a lot of plants I don't believe surface agitation is best due to gas exchange (losing precious CO2). I'll periodically lay 5 or so paper towels on the surface this usually soaks up that oily film. Hope it helps
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 01:50 AM
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to get by in a pinch you can dip a cup in the water so that the rim of the cup just skims the surface. that should help you out till you find a better solution.

suface agitation works. a surface skimmer works great too like heineken said.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 03:39 AM
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stupid surface scum...

i find it strange that by the end of the week it's almost gone. then i do a water change and it comes back. what's up with that?

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 03:47 AM
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oldpunk, mines completely opposite, i get it only at the end of the week!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by oldpunk78 View Post
stupid surface scum...

i find it strange that by the end of the week it's almost gone. then i do a water change and it comes back. what's up with that?
Same here! It seems it comes back right after water changes

It's a protein build up and it's harmless I actually think that my snails eat it because I see them upside down at the surface gazing on it every time I see the surface scum. You can dip a cup so it skims the surface as timwag2001 mentioned or do paper towel method you can also purchase protein skimmer I think you can get one at Dr Foster and Smith for like $10.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 06:04 AM
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^Yes it seems snails do feed on it. I get a light surface scum when my surface aggitation is low. My trumpet snails stay at the edge of the water where a most of this protein foamy scum builds up anyway and they seem to just feed off of it. I have at least 10 snails at a time feeding off the surface.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by PRSRocker3390 View Post
^Yes it seems snails do feed on it. I get a light surface scum when my surface aggitation is low. My trumpet snails stay at the edge of the water where a most of this protein foamy scum builds up anyway and they seem to just feed off of it. I have at least 10 snails at a time feeding off the surface.
I got my ramshorn and trumpets feeding on it. It's fun to watch ramshorn how they spin uncontrollably when they get caught by a current.

I forgot to mention that you can always increase surface agitation to keep scum from building up...


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 02:47 PM
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Yes you can increase it to get rid of the scum. I kind of don't mind the scum and it gives my snails something to do all day, lol. They are nice, large and healthy trumpet snails so I can't complain about their diet. Plus its free!


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 03:09 PM
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the film itself isn't harmful in any direct way, but if it builds up too much it can hamper O2 exchange and light penetration (not a lot in the second case, but some) As said before, aim filter outlets, etc to agitate the surface a bit, run an airstone at night, hire a molly (they love this stuff) or add a skimming device to your filter intake.


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 06:08 PM
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The Tom Aquatics Suface Skimmer accessory works great. I use an internal, surface skimming filter as a powerhead and surface skimmer. Both are a little sensitive to water level, so you can't let water level dip too much. The TA Surface skimmer more forgiving in that respect.

So....

If looking to add a powerhead to increase flow, consider theinternal filter. If not, than $10 on teh TA Skimmer is a great investment.


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 06:45 PM
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Q from me on topic , i get a protien buildup and have no water agitation ...but my microbubbles from my DiY Co2( w/powerhead diffuser) start to build up on the surface until entire surface is covered and they don't pop, seems like efverything grows a little better during that time .....is that the Co2 staying on surface trapped in the protien buidlup until disovled into water(so good) or is hampering gas exchange (bad?).
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
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Q from me on topic , i get a protein buildup and have no water agitation ...but my microbubbles from my DiY Co2( w/powerhead diffuser) start to build up on the surface until entire surface is covered and they don't pop, seems like efverything grows a little better during that time .....is that the Co2 staying on surface trapped in the protein buidlup until disovled into water(so good) or is hampering gas exchange (bad?).
That's a good question. This happens in my tank too except it doesn't cover the whole surface. It's definitely CO2 gets trapped in the protein and maybe DIY CO2 has something to do with the protein build up. I never notice that it's doing anything bad but I would like to know as well...
That's why I do add an air stone sometimes at night just to increase the surface agitation.


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 07:44 PM
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yes i started to unplug Co2 tube to powerhead to feed Oxygen in water but realized the Co2 took time to buildup during day when plugged back in , so i tried leaving it runnning at night and fish seemed content and no lack of oxygen so i run it at night and day ^^ for DiY yeast i think i am getting good Co2 in tank ( of course not as much as pressurized lol ) . figured the NO surface agitation helps immensly keeping Co2 (have spray bar vertically about 1/3 into tank spraying at angle towards other side )hoping that is good for circulation of oxygen from plants and for at night.
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