Oily film on water

AggieYen
  • #1
I have a rather.. silly question here. I read here that the film the develops on the surface of water is sometimes due to lack of water agitation, and this problem can be fixed by simple putting in airstone. I have a small internal filter for my 5 gallon, and being afraid of the current being too strong for my betta, i've turned the water flow way down. So i've now added a bubble wall - my question is.. does the film dissipate immediately, or does it take a while for the film to go away? I've got the bubble wall running, but as far as I can tell, the film on the water is still there.
 
capekate
  • #2
HI Aggieyen
its hard to say what is causing the oily water. My thoughts are that the filter was running too low. Now that you have a bubbler in there, just wait awhile and see if it goes away. If it doesn't, maybe a small water change will help.
I also would turn up the filter flow for awhile and see it it helps clear up the water.

~ kate
 
Narcicius
  • #3
Where to find filter flow control?
 
capekate
  • #4
Where to find filter flow control?
Hi,
All aqua clear filters even the #10 have a filter flow valve. I have found that the top fin filters do not. So it depends on what type of filter you are using if it has a flow valve or not.
~ kate
 
Narcicius
  • #5
I'll be sure to check for one when I get home, and sorry for jackign your thread.
 
Chief_waterchanger
  • #6
Aggie,

Sometimes the high phosphate levels in foods can cause that oily film. I wouldn't worry about it, but Kate is right with possible remedies she listed.
 
AggieYen
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
hI guys, thanks for that. It does okay after a water change, but then it builds right back up. I just worry that it's not good for Champion, being an anabantoid. He hasn't been looking well lately, his pectoral fins have become transparent in some parts, like he's begun to lose the coloured membrane (??). Or maybe... I'm just being an over-paranoid mother.

Narcicius: It's okay mate - when I shopped for internal filters I looked specifically for a filter that had flow control. Mine is a little lever on the top of the filter. That's why I decided against the small Whisper, because it didn't have flow control, and it was impossible to find filter media off the shelves here Down Under.

Off I go to the Betta board to bug Rose and Dave. Thanks!
 
CanadianMade
  • #8
I noticed yesterday morning there was an "oil slick" ontop of the water in my 30 gallon tank. Ive read in some places it may be from the oils in the flakes being fed. if this is the case do I feed them less frequently? if not what is this? how do I fix it? and is it harmful?
 
Nympxzie
  • #9
This is probably Biofilm. I'm pretty sure it comes from lack of water surface agitation eg low filter flow.
 
Jswin
  • #10
I'm battling this in my betta tank. I have to find a way to increase the agitation without creating more current


 
BDpups
  • #11
It's build up from the food. You can take a paper towel and kind of soak it up. It doesn't work all that well, but in a small tank it might get some descent results. Or put an air stone in for some more surface agitation.

In a 30 gallon you could add another HOB filter to help move the water on the top of the tank. Or a power head would work pointed toward the surface as well.

 
CanadianMade
  • #12
oh okay, thanks guys I will give that stuff a shot!
 
Kimberly4403
  • #13
I'm battling this too.. I moved my canister outlet so it pointed up more breaking water surface.. I also ran an airstone in it for 1hr yesturday as a trial and in just 1 hr it made a big difference so I'm going to set one up over the weekend.. I love the look of the bubbles anyway and my cherry barbs enjoyed playing in the bubbles.. I'm going to set mine up on an 8hr timer to come on and go off with the lights as my air pump is a bit noisy so don't want it on all nightlol

Sent from my LG-D855 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
 
CindiL
  • #14
I'm battling this too.. I moved my canister outlet so it pointed up more breaking water surface.. I also ran an airstone in it for 1hr yesturday as a trial and in just 1 hr it made a big difference so I'm going to set one up over the weekend.. I love the look of the bubbles anyway and my cherry barbs enjoyed playing in the bubbles.. I'm going to set mine up on an 8hr timer to come on and go off with the lights as my air pump is a bit noisy so don't want it on all nightlol

Sent from my LG-D855 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app

Just make sure you have a stop valve attached to your airstone tubing so you don't accidentally siphon your tank onto the floor.


 
Dadio
  • #15
Installing a surface skimmer works. I use one on my 55G and have a crystal clear surface.
 
CindiL
  • #16
I use the Tom 45gph internal filter with spray arm in my betta tank. It's super gentle yet agitates the water enough. This can be a common problem in betta tanks and also because they put out a protein film just by making their bubble nests.


 
New Fish in Town
  • #17
I too have this problem when I put food in the tank for fish. That is all it is.
 
BDpups
  • #18
From what I hear, unless it is planted, or you are really overfeeding, it doesn't hurt. But if there is an abundance of it, it can mess with the oxygen exchange.
 
ppt
  • #19
Nope, I don't think that it is slime.
I recommend 30% water changes

Sent from my SM-T211 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
 
Dadio
  • #20
I use the Tom 45gph internal filter with spray arm in my betta tank. It's super gentle yet agitates the water enough. This can be a common problem in betta tanks and also because they put out a protein film just by making their bubble nests.

Thus the reason protein skimmers exist or any type of skimmer for that fact.

If after feeding there's an oily film or any kind of film then I'd be questioning the food quality or how much food is being given. I hand feed all my tanks/ponds and I don't get any such film after or during feeding using frozen or dry foods from Hikari.

Surface agitation helps keep films minimal but do not resolve the issue. Skimmers do and pass it through your active filtration.
 
Demontay1
  • #22
I had this when I first started my tank it cleared itself up it was caused by lack of surface agitation but clearing it up is pretty easy using just a plain peice of paper and running it over the top of the tank

Sent from my GT-I9506 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
 
Jswin
  • #23
I got a little skimmer for my fluval spec v with the the new media basket I ordered. I forgot about it until last night. Problem solved


 
CanadianMade
  • #24
Good news, lastnight I adjusted my filter to create more surface agitation. First thing this morning before work I checked on it and it looks good as new! After I fed them it was all good too so it makes sense.

 
Jsigmo
  • #25
I'm not sure why more people don't use surface skimming in freshwater aquariums.

I've even run protein skimmers for freshwater and had them capture an amazing amount of gunk.

But at the least, I do like having good surface disruption to get the stuff that tends to float to mix back into the water column so it can be accessed by the main filters, and won't just collect on the surface.

I always worry about gas exchange in any aquarium that develops a surface film.
 
Gena
  • #26
I have the same problem in my 20 gallon. I'm getting a surface skimmer soon. The paper towel method didn't work for me.


 
BDpups
  • #27
Jsigmo Aquarist
Do you use skimmers 24/7? Or just until the film is gone? I think I'm going to get a Eheim. But wondering if I can move one from tank to tank, or get a bunch of them and leave them running.


 
Dadio
  • #28
My skimmers are running 24/7. On my 55 gallon it's powered by a spilt intake off my canister. As @Jisgmo stated, I too don't understand why more people don;t use skimmers for freshwater setups.
 
Jsigmo
  • #29
I always just left them running 24/7. But I'm lazy!
 
Dadio
  • #30
I have the same problem in my 20 gallon. I'm getting a surface skimmer soon. The paper towel method didn't work for me.

Here's the one issue with paper towels that while minor most don't think about the fact that paper is bleached and when introduced to water there is slight leeching of the chemicals used for processing white paper so for me I'd never use anything that has the slightest possibility to introduce problems, whether minor or major..
 
Jsigmo
  • #31
Yeah. I'd be a bit worried about what all might be introduced by the paper towels. It might be worse than the scum you're trying to remove!
 
BDpups
  • #32
Here's the one issue with paper towels that while minor most don't think about the fact that paper is bleached and when introduced to water there is slight leeching of the chemicals used for processing white paper so for me I'd never use anything that has the slightest possibility to introduce problems, whether minor or major..

Never heard that. I've tried to get the surface sum off the water with paper towels with no luck. I heard about it on a forum a few years ago. But thought maybe someone else might have some luck with it.

And I know I have used them to get diatoms off the inside of the glass sometimes too. Maybe I'll stop doing that.


 
CindiL
  • #33
I'm not against skimmers but in some of these simpler setups, a little more surface agitation is all that is needed and then the regular filters can pick up the film. Seems like this comment comes up a lot on very small tanks, (like betta tanks) where a skimmer might be overkill. Seems like a good idea on a larger tank where the surface agitation is already sufficient and there still is a film. I've never had a film on any of my tanks where the hobs are doing their jobs
 
CindiL
  • #34
Good news, lastnight I adjusted my filter to create more surface agitation. First thing this morning before work I checked on it and it looks good as new! After I fed them it was all good too so it makes sense.

Glad there was a simple solution for you!
 
BigBoom217
  • #35
If you are using coal slag as substrate that'll cause it also if you didn't rinse it well before adding.

Sent from my E6782 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
 
Jswin
  • #36
BDpups If you have a canister those that attach to your canister intake are way cheaper. My sunsun came with one.


 
BDpups
  • #37
Jswin yeah I have a few canisters. I'll look into them. Thanks!


 
Aquarist
  • #38
Hello,

I use the skimmer in a 55 gallon drum that I use to prefilter water for water changes. Around the clock. The drum does not have a lid so the skimmer really helps to remove pet hair, dander, dust, that is floating on the surface of the water. Works great!

I've also used them in aquariums with the same great results, around the clock.

Ken
 
BDpups
  • #39
I got a few Eheim 350 skimmers for some smaller tanks, and some of the Eheim skimmer surface extractor for some canisters. They work awesome. I don't know why I didn't do this years ago. The surface water on these tanks is crystal clear. I never realized how much film was on them until it was gone.
Jsigmo Aquarist Jswin
 
FishtailBraid
  • #40
In my experience with my betta, although they dislike high filter flow all the time, they may actually enjoy the occasional hour of airstone. As long as they have sufficient (real or silk) plants to go into to escape the flow, you may see them deliberately swim out from this shelter to get pushed around by it. Kind of like a waterslide I guess!
 

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