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I noticed this whitish-red film on the surface of the water. It's even started to collect in between and on top of my fish's bubble nest 馃槥 From what I've read I think it's a protein film caused by excess food, but I did a 50% water change and a through cleaning a week ago (my betta has mild fin rot) and the film hasn't gone away. What should I do?
 

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Most biofilm will disappear if there is enough surface agitation. Many people turn their filters down too low which, IMO, lessens water quality. I think it was on LiveAquaria that I read "current is the circulatory system of the aquarium and must be maintained."

If you can turn the filter up, turn it up just enough so that some of the surface has movement and your Betta still has a calm place to eat. Also, you can lay a paper towel on the surface and "lift" the biofilm.

Are there any red decorations in his tank? Could the reddish tint be from the pink gravel? How long have you had this biofilm and how long has the tank been set up.

Trying to figure out all causes and options. ;-)
 

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I've got 4 tanks, and 2 of them get the surface film, and two of them don't. It has been interesting to see the differences, and why.

Of the two that get it, once has an external canister filter and a submerged spray bar (not much surface agitation), and the other has a Hang On Back (HOB) filter, with lots of surface agitation.
I use squares of kitchen paper dropped onto the surface and immediately lift them out. Works like a charm, as Russell says.

Of the two that don't get the film, one has a feeding ring, so that the area inside the ring gets the film and the rest of the water surface doesn't. The other one, I drop pellets right in front of the fish's nose, and he eats it all. No floating leftovers.

Having said that, I think that the surface film is in some ways a good sign. It comes from the fats in the fish food, and higher quality fish food has fats in it. Cheap nasty bulked up fish food is mainly cereal and a poor balance of fat and protein which isn't good for the fish, especially insectivores like betta. Think of it as healthy fat, and a useful part of their diet.

As for the leftover food causing it... again, not so sure. I have dropped a single pellet of New Life spectrum into a tank and seen the film spread out 6 inches in every direction within a couple of seconds. Quite impressive to watch. Reminded me of my Physics lessons at school where we dropped washing up liquid into water and created a film 1 molecule thick as a lesson in surface tension and molecular 'stuff'. In my tank, in that situation, one pellet causing a film was definitely not over feeding.

Anyway, I just take the attitude that 'surface film happens' and I just paper towel it away regularly (once or twice a week). And I try not to over-feed at any time.

Hope that helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've got 4 tanks, and 2 of them get the surface film, and two of them don't. It has been interesting to see the differences, and why.

Of the two that get it, once has an external canister filter and a submerged spray bar (not much surface agitation), and the other has a Hang On Back (HOB) filter, with lots of surface agitation.
I use squares of kitchen paper dropped onto the surface and immediately lift them out. Works like a charm, as Russell says.

Of the two that don't get the film, one has a feeding ring, so that the area inside the ring gets the film and the rest of the water surface doesn't. The other one, I drop pellets right in front of the fish's nose, and he eats it all. No floating leftovers.

Having said that, I think that the surface film is in some ways a good sign. It comes from the fats in the fish food, and higher quality fish food has fats in it. Cheap nasty bulked up fish food is mainly cereal and a poor balance of fat and protein which isn't good for the fish, especially insectivores like betta. Think of it as healthy fat, and a useful part of their diet.

As for the leftover food causing it... again, not so sure. I have dropped a single pellet of New Life spectrum into a tank and seen the film spread out 6 inches in every direction within a couple of seconds. Quite impressive to watch. Reminded me of my Physics lessons at school where we dropped washing up liquid into water and created a film 1 molecule thick as a lesson in surface tension and molecular 'stuff'. In my tank, in that situation, one pellet causing a film was definitely not over feeding.

Anyway, I just take the attitude that 'surface film happens' and I just paper towel it away regularly (once or twice a week). And I try not to over-feed at any time.

Hope that helps!
Hm, that might be the case. I usually feed my fish one pellet at a time so that there are no leftovers but sometimes a pellet or two manages to sink to the bottom (one even fell on top of my fish's head haha). I've noticed that the film has starting to decrease after every water change and cleaning. Thank you so much for responding.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Most biofilm will disappear if there is enough surface agitation. Many people turn their filters down too low which, IMO, lessens water quality. I think it was on LiveAquaria that I read "current is the circulatory system of the aquarium and must be maintained."

If you can turn the filter up, turn it up just enough so that some of the surface has movement and your Betta still has a calm place to eat. Also, you can lay a paper towel on the surface and "lift" the biofilm.

Are there any red decorations in his tank? Could the reddish tint be from the pink gravel? How long have you had this biofilm and how long has the tank been set up.

Trying to figure out all causes and options. <img style="max-width:100%;" src="http://www.bettafish.com/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Wink" class="inlineimg" />
I think you hit the nail on the head with the red decorations because 80% of my decorations are red/brown haha. I feel a bit relieved now that I know. Thank you!!
 
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