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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! My tank has been planted for about 3 weeks and running for a month.( water filter and substrate were added a week before plants arrived. It is a 45 gallon long filter is an eheim 2215 and the light is a 48" planted +. I am overall pleased with how my plant growth has been but ever since i added water i get this nasty milky ashy looking oil slick. If i run my net through it with some paper towel wadded in it i can get most of it or obviously skim it out manually which is a major PITA! My subrate is eco complete i thought maybe its leaching something but i'm not so sure. Im wondering if anyone has experienced this filmy oil slick before?how can i get rid of it?? Can it be the eco complete? For hardscape i have 2pcs of malaysian driftwood and thats it no rocks. I dose per the tom barr non co2 method except i use flourish instead of eq my ferts are dry from GLA My tank has cycled im pretty sure anyway my basic params are
Ph 7.5
Gh 6
Kh 4
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrates 5
Please help me
Scott
 

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If your seeing it on the surface, add agitation and it will go away
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If your seeing it on the surface, add agitation and it will go away
I have my spray putting out pretty good ripples if i point it up anymore it will be spraying out of the water. I can run my fingers through this stuff and it really doesnt break up. When i skim it out it appears like it is some kind of clear jelly type substance. I forgot to mention that being new to this whole thing i bit hook line amd sinker on the api stress coat drops and it has aloe vera in it,but wouldnt it go away after repeated skimming without a pwc? I have been using that since day one maybe i answered my own question lol. Does anyone use api stress coat or heard of this happening with that?
 

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Switching to Prime as your dechlorinater and doing extra water changes should help. I would do 2 50% water changes a week and see if it goes away.
Maybe give the filter a quick cleaning too. IMO, the 2215 might be too small for a 45 long. It will probably work but you might need to clean it more often.
 

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Switching to Prime as your dechlorinater and doing extra water changes should help. I would do 2 50% water changes a week and see if it goes away.
Maybe give the filter a quick cleaning too. IMO, the 2215 might be too small for a 45 long. It will probably work but you might need to clean it more often.
+1 agree ^^ also you could add an airstone to help surface agitation
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies folks. I have a question about the airstone i am not running co2 in this tank, i thought i have read somewhere the airstones reduce co2 levels in the water? With an airstone running wouldn't this be harmful to my plants/co2 levels? Sorry if my questions are stupid but i gotta ask.
 

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With film on the surface you probably aren't getting good O2/CO2 gas exchange.

The air stone will help with surface agitation, breaking up the layer of film.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
image.jpg
This is what it looks like hours after i skim it like little clumps of some kind of white particles by tomorrow at this time it will look like a toxic cess pool. I will give an airstone a try but as of right now before the film develops i can see the particles moving in the current the entire length of the tank as in i don't see dead spots. After the film forms the water becomes stagnant on the opposite end of the spray bar.
 

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Your tank is still very young and surface scum like that is not uncommon, especially in newer tanks. What's the root cause? dunno.. too many variables. Bacteria from overfeeding and/or organic compounds breaking down? Something in the tap water? Poor maintenance? Poor air quality? Do you spray air fresheners, perfumes, deodorant, anywhere near the tank?

I had similar scum in a 5 gallon I set up a few months ago.

What worked for me : swapped out the filter with a bigger one I had kicking around to create more flow and surface agitation, did a couple extra water changes and it was gone in a couple weeks. One of those Eheim skimmers would be cheaper then a new filter.

What you can try:
More surface agitation is needed to help break that layer.
Raise your spraybar so it's breaking the water surface, a little ripple isn't going to cut it.
Add an air stone to help break up the scum.
More water changes with Prime. I wouldn't use that Stress Coat for regular water changes, maybe in your case it's the aloe or something else in there reacting with your tank. Stress Coat is known to cause excess foaming in salt water skimmers, maybe under certain fresh water conditions it causes surface scum. Some people have reported that they get an oily looking film on the surface from using Stress Coat in fresh water tanks.

my.02:)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Bruce! I don't know how it can be breakdown or overfeeding since its been going on before i planted or added fish. I only have a few danios i used to cycle their food is gone in under a minute so i dont think im overfeeding. What i am going to do first is try prime and some big water changes. I have my spray bar breaking the surface of the water the slick is back its breaking the surface to the point of minor bubbling. If the prime and water changes dont work i guess i will add a bubbler. I will post a pic just so you can see the difference from the last one i posted and this time theres major surface movement.
image.jpg
 

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Nice picture to show what really is there. That's also what my one tank looks like. I have a 75 which I have had up for several years with constant changes but the substrate has stayed the same from African cichlids to planted and back to Africans. That makes me think it is not your substrate or new tank or wood. My slick came about when I took out the plants and shut down the CO2 as well as moving some fish out. Same decor other than plants. I am playing with moving the water in more ways but currently I have a major slick in any part of the tank where there is not a gushing fountain. When I do a water change or add, the incoming water carries white bits of "stuff" down to float around until sucked in by the filter. Fish take it in but spit it out.


Thick layer to the left but less to the right of the brace where there is a ripple going. My main worry is that it will get thick enough to block gas exchange.
No idea on the cause but I can say it is not from new tank, CO2, substrate, etc. No change in food used but just less of it due to fewer fish as I removed and angel and one rainbow cichlid to make this a totally African tank again.
I can't imagine it being overfeeding as there are only about 15 small 1-2 inch fish in a 75 gallon tank. The 2217 filter cleaned 8 days ago. Water change 4 days ago. No ideas from me???
 

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I used to get surface film from a certain brand of flake I fed. Fish loved it tho. Like aquabruce suggested a skimmer would help. I have three of those eheim skim 350 and they do a great job. Not that you wanna spend money to fix surface film but they work great.
 

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Can't say enough good about surface skimmers -- you can get them that install as an intake to your canister. Fluval makes one, and there's another maker, Tom's, that are just about identical, and both cheap, <$20. They work with all but the biggest canisters (too high a flow rate doesn't play well) but they clear this up in 30 minutes and keep it clear for good.
 

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I may nee a skimmer. One thing that does not work on my film is water movement/ripple. I changed the outflow of my canister to shoot above the water surface and got a big surprise this morning. Now I have bubbles and film! The bubbles are now high enough to catch and stick on the bottom of the center brace, maybe a 1/2 inch above water level.


No soap added. Nothing different from when there was no film except removing two fish and the last couple plants that were left over. No change in food type, only fewer flakes than before. This is the food that I have used long term so I would not suspect it. No major disturbance of the substrate as the plants were in pots to remove.
But then I have no idea why I now have film and suds!
Something the plants were using which they now don't remove?
 

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For me, agitation didn't do much to it either, I could look up and see the hole in the film near the biggest ripples, but it was just as bad everywhere else. I could manually skim it off during water changes, but it would be back in a day or two. The Tom's skimmer cost me like $14, biggest improvement for the dollars I've put into the tank.
 

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I hate buying new equipment! But this may be needed as it is a second time for having a slick like this. Last time, just as I was ready to get a skimmer the film went away for no known reason. I thought it might have been due to different oil in one can of food but never found it. This time it has come up using the same food out of the same can.
 

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Yikes I've never seen foam like that on freshwater. Almost reminds me of a marine tank. I'd think it would be organic but it definitely sounds like you've covered all your bases. Water changes and a keen eye hopefully will solve this. Good luck.
 
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