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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So what's the best way to deal with surface film? I currently have a TOM surface skimmer for the intake to my canister, but this is awfully bulky in the back of the tank. No matter how little I feed the fish or how clean I try to keep the tank, I still end up with a surface film after a little while of not running the surface skimmer.

What exactly is the cause of surface film and is there anything you can do to completely eliminate it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've tried angling my output nozzle toward the surface and it helped a little with the surface film, but overall circulation in the tank suffered. I don't really want to use a circulation pump when my filter normally provides more than adequate circulation as it is right now.

I understand that surface agitation will help with it, but I still don't understand what causes it to accumulate in the first place. What is the root cause or causes of the oily protein film that accumulates on the water surface?
 

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You can toss an air stone in overnight, every night lol. I keep one in one of my tanks and the surface is pristine.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Add an aquaclear hob to supplement your canister, that solved all my scummy problems. I don't use air pumps on any of my tanks, not a fan of bubbles or the noise it makes.
 

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I use a timer and turn on an airstone at night. It completely eliminated the film.

I put my air stones (1 in each back corner on the floor of the tank hidden by the plants) on a 30 minute timer in the middle of the day just before the CO2 solenoid comes on and it completely eliminates the scuzz.

I recommend this method because it works!
 

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What is the root cause or causes of the oily protein film that accumulates on the water surface?
i think there is no way to truely stop it, short of not feeding protien to fish. the best we can do is run our surface simmer 24/7 or have constant surface agitation.
 

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Oily protein film is caused by food with high protein content or overfeeding. Best method to tackle it is with a surface skimmer or a HOB. One can use a powerhead or spraybar to agitate/ripple the surface. Once it is turned off the protein layer will still be there.
 

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I had the same issue. I had surface scum in my tank and I couldn't get rid of it. I had a lot of surface agitation as well. Even with all the surface agitation, the only parts that were clearing up for me were the areas that my filter and powerhead were hitting. Everything else still had scum :(

Eventually I just got sick of it and threw an airstone in the tank. It turns on an hour after my lights go off and turns off an hour before my CO2 kicks on. With this, I had no more surface scum.
 

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Surface film is generally caused by the feeding and development of beneficial bacteria in the aquarium. I believe it is a mix of both waste of these organisms and other organisms themselves. Generally, I've noticed that film is more a part of new tank syndrome, but it could continue to accumulate in an established tank if something is wrong with the filtration and there is not enough surface agitation. Mine usually goes away as soon as the aquarium is established and there is a mild bit of surface agitation. Try making sure that your filter is running okay, and that there's a bit of surface agitation, perhaps even do a couple of small 10% water changes over the course of a few days. I hope that I helped.
 

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This question comes up every week it seems. If you have a canister filter you could consider using this great intake that COMPLETELY eliminates surface scum.

http://www.istaproducts.com/details+Surface+skimmer/products/75/

It attaches to your canister's intake tube and you can adjust how much flow you want from the bottom or from the top. You just need a little from the top for it to work well as surface scum will never be able to build up as it's continually taking the water from the top. I think it'll help with oxygen exchange as well because of this.
 
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