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Have you ever noticed oil slick in your Aquarium, where does the oil slick-like film come from in your aquarium?

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I used to think it was from food's, or possibly coating on some aquarium gravel in tank's with no plant's, but after switching food's,and going with just plain rinsed sand,I still saw/see it on occasion.Maybe wood leaching ,or food trapped behind rock's or wood in the tank?
If it is any consolation, it seem's to diminish as the tank ages for me.
In meantime, I use spray bar to create rippling on the surface which break's it up, and it is less of an eye sore.
I also see it sometimes if I spoon too much fertilizer in my planted tank's.
 

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One reason, I think, it might be from wood, leaking tannins or resin or something.

I have just started another aquarium recently. I washed the substrate, I put inf water, and left it for about a week. No problem, clear and fluid water.

I put in a piece of wood that had been soaking for about two months.

At this point, there is no water pump or filter installed. Just water, sand, wood.

The next day, there was a thin film on the top of the aquarium with trapped air bubbles in it on the surface. About 3 days later, the film and bubbles are still there.
 

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It's probably a biofilm made up of bacteria that lives on the surface. They can look oily sometimes. Who knows what it is feeding off.
 

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My ramshorn snails love that film. I only see it in newer tanks, and tanks with too little surface agitation. Not so much of a problem with hob filters. They seem to do an OK job at churning the stuff.
 

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I just got a skimmer attachment for my canisters that took care of the film in an instant. Only issue now is my rimless tanks evaporate noticeably faster.
 

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Bio-film - is a thin film on the surface of aquarium water, caused by the build up of protein from organic waste material. It is the structure bacteria build to support themselves growing on the surface where they get access to oxygen.
This.

Fluval Spec tanks are notorious for having film build. The filter is shaped in a way that intakes water from below the top of the water level, and extake is also below the top of the water level. So near no surface agitation takes place.
 

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Material accumulates at the water-air interface of all natural water bodies to form a surface film. The interface is a dynamic environment, so surface films are altered by water movement, solar radiation, and biological processes. These films consist of a complex array of organic matter and microorganisms. This can reduce O2 diffusion and CO2 loss.

There are many many factors that influence these films.. every tank would have a unique variety of microorganisms and differing types and levels of organic matter.

I've seen it when dosing higher levels of iron, adding new wood that leaches organics and when feeding fish a little too well.

The notion that iron is the sole cause of these surface films is commonly dismissed, but I've seen it happen repeatedly. I worked hard to remove confounding variables because I didn't believe what I was seeing. I could induce it with iron dosing alone several times. Within 24hrs of a new dose surface film would increase then slowly decline until the next dose was added. I just don't get what else it could be.
 

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I know that at least in marine environments, the oily film can sometimes come from the fish itself. Speckled Trout, for example, often regurgitate food and the oil resultant of this floats to the surface. Many anglers actually locate schools of trout by sight simply by locating "oil slicks" that form on the surface of the water from this. I'm sure not every fish does this, but I'm also sure that if you truly have oily substances gathering on the surface, it could be produced by your livestock.
 

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I noticed I got it more once my plants all died back from crypt melt. I never had it before until then
 

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Bio-film - is a thin film on the surface of aquarium water, caused by the build up of protein from organic waste material. It is the structure bacteria build to support themselves growing on the surface where they get access to oxygen.
Ya... agreed. I notice this is all of my new tanks. The film usually goes away a month after the tank cycles though. I usually just use a single paper towel draped across the water to get it off. Works perfectly.
 

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I noticed this on my new tank. I assumed it was from my sand substrate (Black Diamond blasting sand from Tractor Supply). I noticed it has small metallic specs in it along with the oily looking film. I rinsed the sand many times in a bucket, and it appeared to be the same film. I also noticed the film showed back up when I stirred up the substrate to put in driftwood and plants. I ended up just getting an "Eheim Skim 350" surface skimmer pump. I left it on high for about 20 minutes and the entire surface was clear. Since the high setting also pulled in some bubbles, I reduced it to low (by using a simple shutter style slide switch), and now I have a crystal clear surface with no added micro bubbles in the tank. Best $26.24 I have spent so far!
 

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Running a powerhead at the surface, in a way that it lifts the water a little bit against the side of the tank on the surface, will take the mess from the top of the water and deposit it on the glass where you can wipe it off. It should only take a few minutes... something I recently discovered by accident. (PS, do it in the dark period cause it is going to outgas your CO2.
 

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I noticed this on my new tank. I assumed it was from my sand substrate (Black Diamond blasting sand from Tractor Supply). I noticed it has small metallic specs in it along with the oily looking film. I rinsed the sand many times in a bucket, and it appeared to be the same film. I also noticed the film showed back up when I stirred up the substrate to put in driftwood and plants. I ended up just getting an "Eheim Skim 350" surface skimmer pump. I left it on high for about 20 minutes and the entire surface was clear. Since the high setting also pulled in some bubbles, I reduced it to low (by using a simple shutter style slide switch), and now I have a crystal clear surface with no added micro bubbles in the tank. Best $26.24 I have spent so far!
i have the same skimmer from eheim for about 6 months now with no problems, some thing you can do if you have breeding fish or small shrimp is take some screen mesh and cut it out to fit the intake, i had to do this to mine due to clippings getting stuck in there and running the pump low on water
 

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Has anyone ever noticed their fish eating the surface oil proteins? In my community aquarium they sometimes feed on it.
 

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i have the same skimmer from eheim for about 6 months now with no problems, some thing you can do if you have breeding fish or small shrimp is take some screen mesh and cut it out to fit the intake, i had to do this to mine due to clippings getting stuck in there and running the pump low on water
I know what you are saying about the plant clippings finding their way in there. Do you have a pic of yours? The screen doesn't interfere with the skimmer being able to pull the skim off the surface?
 

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I had biofilm in my aquarium and my friend didn't and I asked him why?
He recommended to get 2-3 black molly, they feed on biofilm. Now water surface is clear.


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