oil at the top of tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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oil at the top of tank

Not black like engine oil, but something keeps forming a layer at the top floating on the water, what is it? Is it stopping some light?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 06:13 PM
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Could be oil from the fish food or a bacterial growth. Either way its harmless but not that pretty.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 06:51 PM
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Probably biofilm or proteins. Surface agitation helps to get rid of it.


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 07:38 PM
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Do you use co2? Surface agitation like other's said work.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 10:34 PM
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I don't think any light blockage/reflection/refraction/whatever would make any noticeable difference.

It will limit gas exchange though, which would have much more of an affect on your tank's inhabitants.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 10:37 PM
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+1 add airstone/surface agitation will rid it
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I've been using a kitchen roll to get rid of it, it seems to be working, also tried using toilet paper and it instantly broke apart, not the smartest thing I've done! Yeah I have diy co2.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 12:38 AM
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you can use a small cup to skim it off the surface. I had this problem for awhile. just upped my W/C schedule a little and it went away. are you using some kind of a bubble counter/ gas filter chamber for your co2? if not get one set up.


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 12:50 AM
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That's funny I was literally coming here to post this same thread, and this thread was at the top of the heap. thanks guys an airstone sounds like the avenue I'm prolly gonna take.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 12:57 AM
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I always get the oily surface sheen every time I start a new tank (such as right now). It seems pretty harmless and goes away on its own after a few weeks. Just carry on with normal tank maintenance and water changes.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 04:48 AM
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I just hold the python upside down during a water change and skim it off of the surface. I get this normally when I feed a bit too much. You know the shake, shake, [email protected]# instances.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 01:30 AM
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I pythoned the waste from last week's fungal treatment using the upside down method mentioned by THE V above, and it took out about 85% of it with one h20 change. With a better technique, I bet I can get it all next time


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 03:01 AM
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AS The V said the oil layer is made up of fats and protein waste from fish and their food. It is not made by plants. It is a sign of excess carbon waste build up. Unlike the N and P from fish waste, this organic carbon will not be consumed by plants. Surface agitation will break up the layer but it will also lower dissolved CO2 if you are injecting.

If it really bothers you also use charcoal or frequent water changes as others have suggested. There is nothing wrong with ignoring it too.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 04:40 AM
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It's far more likely to be a bacterial bloom. Evidence: it goes away on its own in a couple of months after tank set up even though you're still feeding. Test: take a clean sample of tank water and put it in a separate container. Wait a couple of days. The surface will again form the oily film. So don't waste your money on a protein skimmer nor an air pump if you don't already have one. But the aeration technique works very well.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 06:19 AM
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Use a skimmer


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