Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Indianapolis, IN.
I use an Eheim 3535 surface skimmer to keep the water surface clean at all times. It connects to the intake of my canister filter. It is a bit on the expensive side, but it is the quietest surface skimmer I have ever used. Very little noise. Other skimmers I've used in the past were way too noisy for my taste.
The Eheim can be found on many online sites, with prices ranging from around $40 to $60 or more, sometimes less when on sale. If the price is too high, you can buy other brands for $10 to $20 but they will be noisier.
Another alternative to clean your water surface is to use an overflow style intake for your intake tube, if you are using a canister filter. You can buy it online or build one yourself from PVC pipe. Search 'aquarium overflow' on YouTube to see how to build one.
Another trick is to soak up the film with clean, white paper towels (don't use patterned towels, since the ink can leach into the water), but this is only a temporary fix. The film will often re-occur.
As for the film on the glass, it sounds to me like diatoms, but it might be bacteria. Either way, I would still clean the glass regularly to keep the tank looking it's best. There will be plenty of bacteria developing in your filter, substrate, etcetera.