White Film/Scum on glass following water changes - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation White Film/Scum on glass following water changes

Hey all, this has been really bugging me. It seems that about 60% of the time that I do a water change, a white film appears all over my aquarium class a few hours later. I lightly vacuum the gravel, and then replace the water with conditioned tap water. When I went to the LFS they said it was a bacteria and I bought melafix. But now I have a bamboo shrimp and have heard antibiotics can easily kill invertebrates, so I'm worried to use the melafix (plus I don't know if it even helped that much). I tried to get a picture, but the scum is so fine it wouldn't show up, one might not even notice from a distance. It is slimy to the touch and makes the tank appear as if you were looking at it through a very slightly unfocused camera. My snails, ottos and SAE's seem to help take it off even the rainbow shark sometimes goes for it, but nevertheless this film stays on the glass for at least a few days, even if I scrub most of it off. I don't think any of my fish have died from the scum, but for their safety and well-being I'm turning to y'all to help me solve this aqua-enigma. After research I've seen it may be just a precursor to algae, bacteria, or even just calcium deposits because I didn't let the conditioner sit in the water long enough. But at this point I'm at a loss
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 02:39 PM
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stop vaccum of the gravel, just sweep the top lightly, no need to get down in it.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 06:27 PM
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Melafix claims to have some antibiotic properties; but its not an antibiotic in the traditional sense. Probably wont do much for you (good or bad!) but I honestly dont have much knowledge/experience when it comes to inverts so I could be wrong there.

Is it definitely "scum" or "film" you're seeing and not microbubbles? This seems to be more common during the colder/winter months of the year. If I remember correctly, its basically an over saturation of various gasses in the water supply so when adding new water to tank this shows up as tiny bubbles (mostly nitrogen?).

When you say you dont let the conditioner sit in the water long enough; what exactly do you mean? Whats your process there and are you somehow trying to remove the conditioner?

I suppose we should've started at the beginning though! How about some info on this tank? How big and how long has it been up and running? How often are you doing water changes and whats your general process?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 10:37 PM
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sounds like a mini cycle
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2015, 12:49 AM
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Tanks mature at different ages depending on the conditions of each individual tank. You are still well within the new tank window. It is probably just diatoms and will eventually go away on it's own. I would just be patient and wait and see what happens. If your ammonia and nitrite are good then just let it go.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 11:01 PM
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If you don't have loads of plants, this will be a problem. It is nitrifying bacteria trying to find a foothold. My bet is that you are not completely 'cycling' your tank for nitrifying bacteria. It will also cause a white scum on top of the water. Sometimes, the tank will be cloudy. It may not hurt your fish, but it will look bad. I offer this: Raise the temperature of your tank to 78 degrees. Or, about 5 degrees higher than it is. This has cleared it up for me before. But remember, it is only temporarily masking the fact that you don't have enough nitrifying bacteria with a foothold. So your filter is not 'old' enough. So many reasons, but, chlorinated tap water cause you to lose nitrifying bacteria footholds, so make sure you dechlorinate your tank water properly. If you are doing that, then you have too many fish for the amount of bacteria. Don't worry, it will catch up, but you'll have to endure the 'ugliness' of the scum until it does. OR, you could over abundantly add plants and fertilize them properly, and not worry about your filter ability. See my tanks and website.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 12:16 AM
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It does sound like a mini cycle and you should not be treating it.
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