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Old 10-02-2012, 11:08 PM   #1 
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Whitish film on surface of water

I have an Evolve4 aquarium that I started about 6 weeks ago. I have a betta, 2 small frogs and 3 snails, along with 2 live plants. After about the 3rd week I started noticing this film on the surface. There is just a carbon pad at the intake and the pump is pointed slightly up creating small ripples. This is a 4gl. tank with the pump etc. behind the back black wall. Because of the power of the pump, I inserted a ball valve to slow the flow a bit, but it is still powerfull enough to blow the betta or frogs across the tank should they swim in front of it. All are healthy and seem quite happy..Betta gets pellets and/or brine shrimp, snails eat algee off the plants, and frogs will get 1/4 tab of algee about once a week. I do a 30% water change every 3 weeks, but havent "vaccumed" the sand as of yet.
So I'm wondering what this film is caused by...tank is covered. Water temp. at 78-80.

Thank you!!
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:19 PM   #2 
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first of all your tank is quite small.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:23 PM   #3 
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What a ball valve btw
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:24 PM   #4 
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You need more frequent water is a great post on water change schedules based on your set up! I'm pretty sure this is what is causing the film.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:17 AM   #5 
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Thanks for your amazing, insightful response.........djembekah
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:36 AM   #6 
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Hrm, well I hear there is such thing as protein from rotting foods and waste, aka bacteria, like the person above me said, you need more water changes and perhaps vaccum the gravel (with a turkey baster or gravel vaccum) to get rid of the waste and avoid this filmy stuff.

There is something called cycling which consists of getting beneficial bacteria to help eat up the nitrates and amonia, however this is not the case. This could be harmful bacteria that can hurt your fish in the long/short run, meaning it can lower its immune system and perhaps lead to the typical betta diseases caused by poor water conditions such as fin rot and popeye.

Use the post link given to you by the person above, and make the necessary water change according to your tank

(x gallons + filter = x times water change)

With some tender loving care it will clear. Just make sure to make it a routine, there are lots of animals in your tank that make waste! Remeber they swim in their toilet! Also make sure that the live plant doesn't have any rotting leaves that are being released in the water, that contributes to bacteria, the bad kind.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:10 AM   #7 
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protein films occurr naturally in stagnant water. my snails and planaria eats it..
you can remove by hand with a paper towel.
what djembekah wanted to point out is that the tank is over stocked... this may cause problems stemming from ammonia spikes etc. general rule of thumb is 1in if live stock for every gallon of water...
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:46 AM   #8 
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Add a surface skimmer. Water tension will hold protein at the surface and creates that skin on top of the water. If your filter doesn't break up the scum on top then you need a surface skimmer. If you siphon the water you will probably not affect the surface unless you put the top of the siphon on the bottom of the tank and hold the opening near the surface to suck the protein scum off the top.

If you just siphon the bottom, then add water it will mix the surface scum back into the tank and it will eventually resurface over the next few days.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:20 AM   #9 
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I think it's normal, I have a divided 10G and the filter side has no film at the top and the other does. It doesnt seem to bother my betta at all.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:02 AM   #10 
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It's most likely a film of oils and proteins from the brine shrimp, and other floating stuff. Filtering and gravel vacuuming won't help much, because the film is on the surface and not in the water. A paper towel works great for me to clean that up. It doesn't appear to bother the fish, but it prevents oxygen absorption into the water. This can cause a lot of damage to your plants, so you should definitely skim it off.
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