Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Morris County, NJ
Solutions like skimmers, paper towel, and surface agitation are only temporary fixes. The root cause is high organics (detritus, mulm, etc.). I dealt with surface film for almost a year in my 120. Originally I tried to address it through a skimmer and regular removal or organics, which helped but still was not enough. Only when I started cleaning the filter regularly and removed a large piece of driftwood (that contributed to high organics by making cleaning difficult, trapping particles in the moss, and providing a source of organics via dying moss) did it truly go away. I removed the wood a bit over a week ago and the scum hasn't been back since even without the skimmer; fingers crossed that will stay the case.
Make sure your filter is clean, and vacuum any visible detritus and remove any larger pieces of organic matter (like detached plant leaves, etc.).
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