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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 5.5g planted tank has a oily surface layer, and was wondering if I put an air stone in the tank will this get rid of the oil?

I was thinking of getting a surface skimmer but I cant find one small enough for a 5.5g tank.
 

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Do you put you hands in the tank often? That may be the cause, to get rid of the film, you can use an air stone or cause surface agitation.
 

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My 5.5g planted tank has a oily surface layer, and was wondering if I put an air stone in the tank will this get rid of the oil?

I was thinking of getting a surface skimmer but I cant find one small enough for a 5.5g tank.
The air stone will get rid of the oily surface layer, but ends up causing a lot of bubbles which pop at the surface. These popping bubbles gave me a bigger headache because then I'd have hard calcium stains on my light fixture and reflectors that I constantly had to clean.
 

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I've had this issue as well. Is there any way to solve it without surface agitation? Trying to keep the CO2 up. My tank is a 5.5 planted, with 2 RCS that I don't give any extra food. They just scavenge the tank.
 

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I've found duckweed, riccia, or alot of stems at the water's surface the best way to "passively" agitate and break the surface tension. I'm sure there are other floaters that could work. Or maybe a slightly emersed section of moss...
 

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The airstone might break it up for a while, but as soon as it stops it is back. It is likely from your fish food. It is a protein film
I have to disagree that it is from fish food. I've had this in most of my nano tanks, none of which I've ever fed fish in. It's just surface scum. The only real way to prevent it is by either having really strong circulation or as has been suggested getting some kind of surface agitation going on. You could also try manually removing it (take a small cup, like, a washed out yogurt cup and run it under the surface, let it suck it all up)
 

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I have to disagree that it is from fish food. I've had this in most of my nano tanks, none of which I've ever fed fish in. It's just surface scum. The only real way to prevent it is by either having really strong circulation or as has been suggested getting some kind of surface agitation going on. You could also try manually removing it (take a small cup, like, a washed out yogurt cup and run it under the surface, let it suck it all up)

Agreed. It also is common in CO2 tanks without surface aggitation. A spray bar helps (e.g. eheim) when it is pointed just below the surface (not breaking through.

I also have some scum on my mini-s...I use a cup to scoor it off.
 

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nah...the easiest 2 ways to get rid of it are

1) add a surface plant like riccia or duckweed (duckweed works better but is a headache afterwards...especially at that size tank) to get rid of the problem, but youre just creating another

or

2) get a clean paper towel...set it flat on the water surface for about 5secs and then remove it with something clean (aka a fork or tweezers...NOT your hands tho cuz that will add more oil!)

eventually...youll probably jus learn to live with it tho, it doesnt hurt anything in your tank...and is only visible from a specific angle
 

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nah...the easiest 2 ways to get rid of it are

1) add a surface plant like riccia or duckweed (duckweed works better but is a headache afterwards...especially at that size tank) to get rid of the problem, but youre just creating another

or

2) get a clean paper towel...set it flat on the water surface for about 5secs and then remove it with something clean (aka a fork or tweezers...NOT your hands tho cuz that will add more oil!)

eventually...youll probably jus learn to live with it tho, it doesnt hurt anything in your tank...and is only visible from a specific angle

I actually have duckweed, salvinia, and frogbit on my mini-s and I still have a protein film...even with a HOB...despite the fact that the plants move on the surface, the scum remains.

The paper towel works sometimes, but it is more effective to scoop it out with a glass cup or something...less messy, too. I had to do this a total of four or five times before the film on my planted/pressurized 20 Long didn't come back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I adjusted my filter to cause a more agitation on the surface now only the left side is filmy but I can live with it. And I think doing a water change might get rid of some of the oil
 

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I adjusted my filter to cause a more agitation on the surface now only the left side is filmy but I can live with it. And I think doing a water change might get rid of some of the oil
You may know this, but if you break the water's surface you may outgas some CO2 if you are injecting...That's why I aimed my spraybar just underneath the surface of the water...it really helps.:smile:
 

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Unless you are way over doing the hand lotions, the film on the surface is protein or Aloe from a water conditioner. With a 5.5 gallon tank it is often difficult to correctly measure the dose of water conditioner that contains aloe as a fish slime protector. Water changes are the usual time to overdose with aloe.

For protein or aloe, siphon off the film with using a piece of airline, scoop with a cup, or try picking it up with a paper towel. If the film continues, switch to Seachem Prime for your de-chlorination. Prime is Highly recommended in these forums and a small bottle will last you years on a 5.5 gallon tank.
 

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I use only Prime in my low-tech nano, my medium sized high tech tank, and my fish-only tanks...

I still get the surface scum in my planted tanks (low-tech and CO2).

I agree that synthetic coating in water conditioners are counterindicated in planted tanks...

The only way I was able to get rid of it in my CO2 tank was to increase surface agitation and do a 50% wc weekly...I do not have surface scum anymore in that tank.

My low-tech is another story...lol :icon_roll
 

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If I didn't have surface agitation in my 46 Gallon aquarium, I would have surface film. I have found a happy medium in surface agitation, that eliminates surface film and allows a lime green drop checker with 2 bps CO2. It's just a matter of adjusting current flow lower or higher near the water surface. The surface agitation is important for O2 exchange as well.
 
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