What causes it? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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What causes it?

I have 2 shrimp tanks that have been set up more than 3 months. 1 tank has shrimps and the other does not. Both tanks produce film/milky white stuff on the top of the tank. I increased surface agitation and even installed small surface skimmers to fix this issue. Unfortunately it just helps a little bit.
Does anyone know why the tanks produce white/slimy stuff and what causes it?




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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 01:46 AM
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Typically that is from a high level of organics in the water. I typically see it more in my shrimp tank than my fish tanks. It's probably due to my shrimp tank having less filtration/circulation than my fish-only tanks. Usually you can clear it up by either providing more/better bio-filtration and/or more frequent/larger water changes.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 01:54 AM
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Is your skimmer setup correctly in that you see water flowing into the skimmer constantly? That really should take care of it.

What you are seeing is a type of bacteria that lives on a bunch of goop at the surface. A skimmer is an excellent way of getting rid of it. That said, it's also helpful to scoop out the stuff. Basically when doing a water change use a cup to skim the surface for that water change.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 05:08 AM
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If you're really good with a siphon, you can often skim the surface with it without breaking the seal! A paper towel will grab most of it too. Usually a decent airstone is all you need though.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Is your skimmer setup correctly in that you see water flowing into the skimmer constantly? That really should take care of it.

What you are seeing is a type of bacteria that lives on a bunch of goop at the surface. A skimmer is an excellent way of getting rid of it. That said, it's also helpful to scoop out the stuff. Basically when doing a water change use a cup to skim the surface for that water change.
skimmer set up correctly and flow is normal. I did few water changes in the past and this stuff just come back. I try to ask how i can prevent this white stuff coming back again?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 03:58 PM
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For prevention, I might go with several changes in the way the tank is run. One is the surface skimmer and what I see might not be big enough to do the job fully, so perhaps a bigger one? Perhaps pull the media from the skimmer to clean it more often? But at the same time, I would work on reducing the cause by changing up some things like food. Just some things that I might look at as I don't know what is currently done, so not meant to accuse you of anything!
Perhaps too much food or food of the wrong sort that has too much oil or is not fully eaten? I had one large 75 gallon tank which suddenly came up with this and it was a real problem as more surface flow was suggested but that only created a stack of bubble like a bubble bath. Note flow all around the tank as well as more/better bio filtering seemed to solve my problem. In a large tank, powerheads around the bottom to keep all the water moving to the filter seemed to be the final solution, in my case.
I also backed off on feeding and changed brands of food, so uncertain what was the bigger issue.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
For prevention, I might go with several changes in the way the tank is run. One is the surface skimmer and what I see might not be big enough to do the job fully, so perhaps a bigger one? Perhaps pull the media from the skimmer to clean it more often? But at the same time, I would work on reducing the cause by changing up some things like food. Just some things that I might look at as I don't know what is currently done, so not meant to accuse you of anything!
Perhaps too much food or food of the wrong sort that has too much oil or is not fully eaten? I had one large 75 gallon tank which suddenly came up with this and it was a real problem as more surface flow was suggested but that only created a stack of bubble like a bubble bath. Note flow all around the tank as well as more/better bio filtering seemed to solve my problem. In a large tank, powerheads around the bottom to keep all the water moving to the filter seemed to be the final solution, in my case.
I also backed off on feeding and changed brands of food, so uncertain what was the bigger issue.
Thanks for the reply. i feed my shrimp with Bacter and Shrimp King. i think i do not overfeed but i will reduce food a little bit more. The skimmer is big enough for this 16g tank but due to the small sponge i insert in the water intake to prevent shrimps crawling in. this effects and reduce the performance of the skimmer.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 05:20 PM
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Bacter AE suggests feeding about 50x more than most of us wind up finding is the needed amount. That scoop that comes with the can is absurdly large. I feed two 125 gallon tanks and 4 20 gallon tanks with about 10% of that scoop measurement. That is likely your issue. I also can't stress enough that a large air pump split between both tanks on airstones will almost certainly rid the tank of it in a day or two. You'll have some bubbles and grime at first, but it will eventually pop all the scum out of the tank. But cutting drastically back on the Bacter AE may well be all you need to do.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Bacter AE suggests feeding about 50x more than most of us wind up finding is the needed amount. That scoop that comes with the can is absurdly large. I feed two 125 gallon tanks and 4 20 gallon tanks with about 10% of that scoop measurement. That is likely your issue. I also can't stress enough that a large air pump split between both tanks on airstones will almost certainly rid the tank of it in a day or two. You'll have some bubbles and grime at first, but it will eventually pop all the scum out of the tank. But cutting drastically back on the Bacter AE may well be all you need to do.
that is what i heard on Bacter. i just use a toothpick and have one dip of bacter at the top of it. will try airstone.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 08:51 PM
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Most all we do is work with nature and it has lots of little things that change what it does, so we often do just get down to trying a small change here and there and looking for results.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 08:58 PM
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Any extractor thatís working properly should have cleared that up in a couple hours.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 09:09 PM
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Any extractor that’s working properly should have cleared that up in a couple hours.

https://youtu.be/6UpJfJTExBQ
Yeah, a skimmer should resolve that very quickly, especially on a tank that size. Just double check that water is being pulled in, that the sponge is in place...make sure it's plugged in? I've got skimmers on my canister intakes now, but a skimmer like that on my 10 gallon would have the surface clear in under half an hour. Looking at the pic, I can tell something isn't right with the skimmer. That thick of scum, you would see it being drawn in, and it's clearly just going around it and not in. In other words, I can see the flow pattern of the water from the surface film, and the flow pattern is not going into the skimmer.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 09:25 PM
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I have never had skimmers on my tanks in 30 years and do not have this surface scum unless feeding 5-6x daily growing out discus or with a newly cycling tank.
And I have big fish bio-load and low plant mass.

You dont need a surface skimmer-- change water weekly, maintenance filter routinely, feed a high quality food, and make sure to clean accumulated debris at substrate level.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandit1200 View Post
Typically that is from a high level of organics in the water. I typically see it more in my shrimp tank than my fish tanks. It's probably due to my shrimp tank having less filtration/circulation than my fish-only tanks. Usually you can clear it up by either providing more/better bio-filtration and/or more frequent/larger water changes.
Have have very low circulation in my 5 shrimp tanks as well-- absolutely no surface scum.

Thats strange.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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I have those type of surface skimmer installed in each tank already. And they have been running well but not solve the issue.


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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
I have never had skimmers on my tanks in 30 years and do not have this surface scum unless feeding 5-6x daily growing out discus or with a newly cycling tank.
And I have big fish bio-load and low plant mass.

You dont need a surface skimmer-- change water weekly, maintenance filter routinely, feed a high quality food, and make sure to clean accumulated debris at substrate level.

Bump:
Have have very low circulation in my 5 shrimp tanks as well-- absolutely no surface scum.

Thats strange.

I'm currently a bit overstocked as I'm using the shrimp tank to grow up a batch of cory fry. I'm doing much more in the way of water changes and slowly catching the larger fry to release into the main tank, but I'm still lagging behind where I should be with maintenance. Soon it will be shrimp only again and I expect it to clear up and look like it normally does.
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