Odd Film on Surface of the Water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Odd Film on Surface of the Water?

So my aquarium has been running for a little over a month now and it is 80% planted with about a dozen fish and a bunch of snails. About a week ago I notices a translucent film on top of the water that looks like this.



So what gives with the smoke over water?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 11:25 AM
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The film that you are observing is quite normal and is usually a buildup of (excess) protein (though there are other, less common causes as well).

Increasing the surface agitation a bit should help disperse it more, as would reducing excess protein sources (i.e. feeding less). You can also remove it mechanically if you have some paper towels, or (the more expensive route) with a surface skimmer.

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Eheim Pimp #362 - Eheim 2213 x2, Eheim 2028, Eheim 2217, Eheim surface skimmer and Eheim autofeeder.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 11:47 AM
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If you really want to solve it, take a look at your feeding / water change regimen and see if you can tweek either for the better. Although, many will suggest increasing surface agitation to disperse it, a surface skimmer, as Darkblade48 suggested, will make your filtration do the dirty work for you and truly eliminate it rather than put it back into solution. Keep in mind that even if you go the skimmer route, you should pay a little more attention to filter media initially.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 11:48 AM
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Throw an air stone in the corner, crank it up for a few minutes whenever you see a film start to build.


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Well if its not an indicator of any imbalance that I should be worried about and is simply an aesthetic issue then I won't worry about it. I do intentionally overfeed a bit to make sure my Betta gets enough opportunity. I have always used an airstone ever since I started keeping aquariums until just recently--I'm just tired of that air pump sound and I keep my aquarium in the living room. Guess that explains why I've never seen it before.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:06 PM
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You can get surface skimmers for around $15 online that just attach to the intake of your filter. They work wonders


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:19 PM
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Ehiem skim 350! I had the same issue, have these set on timers for co2 off hours and the top is crystal clear!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:31 PM
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Try a spray of h2o2.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooksie321 View Post
Ehiem skim 350! I had the same issue, have these set on timers for co2 off hours and the top is crystal clear!
It blocks air/water gas exchange (co2 and o2), so you want to get rid of it. I was getting the same build up for a couple of years, and never got it to go away for good. Surface agitation would help some, but it was still there. Paper towels remove it, but you'll have to do it all the time. H2O2 had no effect for me. I do weekly 50% water changes, and by mid to late week it'd be back. I finally got this same Ehiem skimmer. I run it on a timer at night for a few hours, and the top of my water is like glass. It's one of the best little things I've added!


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherHobby View Post
It blocks air/water gas exchange (co2 and o2), so you want to get rid of it. I was getting the same build up for a couple of years, and never got it to go away for good. Surface agitation would help some, but it was still there. Paper towels remove it, but you'll have to do it all the time. H2O2 had no effect for me. I do weekly 50% water changes, and by mid to late week it'd be back. I finally got this same Ehiem skimmer. I run it on a timer at night for a few hours, and the top of my water is like glass. It's one of the best little things I've added!
That's what I'm saying best $24 I've spent in a while.. always looking for another excuse to run a timer too! Its amazing how much crud this things picks up in a few days...
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:45 PM
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Use some kitchen roll and place it on the surface, it will soak it up
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 02:04 PM
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I have had one tank where this truly became a problem. Many suggest it is overfeeding but I find it is more related to WHAT is fed. Surface movement is suggested but doesn't always work. It did not for me. I also feel having really hard water may play into this problem as well. I do have lots of limestone in my water as you can see on the brace.

The problem?


The problem with the output of the filter turned upward to get more agitation? More surface movement changed things but not for the better! The first picture has a good ripple on the water but the second is far worse.



I found changing brands of algae tabs worked for me. I feel there may have been some type of binder in the tabs to make the pellets and it was the cause. I recommend changing food or the skimmer if you have a filter that the skimmer can work with.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 03:23 PM
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And for an alternate view, pay particular attention to ceg4048's postings beginning with post #20.

http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/s...ing-back.2389/
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-12-2014, 06:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I also feel having really hard water may play into this problem as well. I do have lots of limestone in my water as you can see on the brace.
Yep, I hadn't considered that. I live in Florida which is one of the few Karst landscapes in the US and there is most definitely Limestone in the water. I get the same kind of buildup on my aquarium. I think water hardness is how I'm getting away with just using root tabs. I'll have to look into that more.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-12-2014, 08:40 AM
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I get film on all my 5 tanks. Pressurized or not. I have soft water in at least 3 out of 5 tanks. Plants are in all my tanks. I do not use pellets to feed my fish. Regarding the Ehiem surface slimmer. It works well , but it takes a lot of CO2 with it when running. I have found out that leaving on a timer does not work well either since it rejects film back out of the filter as soon as its turned off. Why would my tank be different than yours? Fact is, if you watch the filter after it shuts off more film will drip back out.
My solution is: Running it when CO2 is on because its more convenient for me but only for an hour or so. I make sure while it is running , I lift it up out a liitle to keep the spill way above the water line to keep film in the filter then I pull the plug. It is a PITA, but a solution until the next day when the film returns.
The only other real solution would be to run a sump. You would never get the surface film when running a sump. Sorry folks, thats life without a sump.
I have checked many times, just like HOB filters, the skimmers suck the life out of your CO2 system. Yes, you could double up on your gas. But I will not be doing that. For now I babysit my skimmer since it keeps the water clear for about 12 hours until the film returns again. The paper towel method is pathetic. Frequent water changes helps but will never totally get rid of the film in the long run unless you did like 50% water changes 2 times a week.
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