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Discussion Starter #1
I currently have a male betta in a 1.5 gallon tank that stays roughly between 75-80 degrees with no filter or air stone. I use Zoo Med Betta H2O Conditioner and feed him two Aqueon Betta Food pellets daily, making sure he eats them instead of letting them fall to the bottom. These conditions have been the same for all my previous bettas over the years, so I was puzzled when the film first appeared.
The film itself has a cloudy white appearance and seems to be a couple mm thick. When the tank is bumped, it starts to separate and little bits of it fall into the water as small white strands. It doesn't seem to be harming my fish, but it still worries me :-|
I initially thought it could be coming from the decorative ornament I have (hollowed out pumpkin from Petsmart's Halloween tank collection) since it was the only "new" thing in the tank - I purchased the same silk plant and rocks that I've always used in my tanks, so I don't think the film could be coming from them considering it's never shown up before.
The first time I attempted to get rid of the film, I scooped it off the water surface, scooped my fish into a new plastic cup, dumped the water from the tank, rinsed everything with hot water, let it air dry, and reset the tank. It seemed to do the trick for the first day, but when I checked the tank on the second morning the film was back! A day later, I repeated the process of cleaning the tank except I let everything sit in the sun outside for a few hours since I'm wary of other disinfecting methods. Unfortunately, the film returned again after a couple days. A day or so later, I decided to pick up an inexpensive tank that came with gravel and a small plant to completely start over and see if that did the trick. It actually seemed to work for about a week, but I started noticing the film forming yet again. :-?
I've read tons of forums online and a majority say that it's a protein film, but they also say those are caused by food that just sits in the tank, which isn't a factor in my situation. I've also read that it could be caused by the water conditioner, so I'm currently letting everything sit out in the sun again and plan to fill the tank with Publix brand spring water just to see if that fixes the problem.
If further information needs to be provided to help diagnose this issue, please say so!
I would also appreciate any tips on how to further disinfect everything in my tank. I've read posts that suggest numerous methods including bleach solutions, but I've also read just as many posts that say each method poses a potential threat.
 

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No real suggestions as to what it could be, but did want to mention that I read before that even spring water can have chlorine in it. Unless you are 100% certain that the spring water you bought doesn't have chlorine I wouldn't put it in the tank without conditioner.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No real suggestions as to what it could be, but did want to mention that I read before that even spring water can have chlorine in it. Unless you are 100% certain that the spring water you bought doesn't have chlorine I wouldn't put it in the tank without conditioner.
Is there a way I could test it for chlorine?
 

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Just a minor comment, but 1.5 gallons is a bit n the small size, how often are you changing the water as well?

I find that API stress coat leaves a film on the surface of the water, and do you use aerosol air sprays? Those will leaves a film on the surface as well as being poisonous to your fish.
 

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Is there a way I could test it for chlorine?
There are chlorine test kits, other than that there isn't a way that I know of. You could perhaps try to call the maker of the spring water you have and see if they can tell you.

Also just wanted to ask, the white film you are describing is there any way possible it is a bubble nest? Do you happen to have any pictures of it?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just a minor comment, but 1.5 gallons is a bit n the small size, how often are you changing the water as well?

I find that API stress coat leaves a film on the surface of the water, and do you use aerosol air sprays? Those will leaves a film on the surface as well as being poisonous to your fish.
I try to change the water 50% atleast once a week. After reading a few threads on here, I've come to understand that frequency isn't enough because of the ammonia; I will be sure to change that. I will also look around for a bigger tank.

I don't use any type of sprays besides perfume, but where I spray it is on the other side of my bedroom atleast ten feet away. I do have a wax melter and use that every so often.
 

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That *might* do it. I used a febreeze melting sent thing and then the water had some film on the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There are chlorine test kits, other than that there isn't a way that I know of. You could perhaps try to call the maker of the spring water you have and see if they can tell you.

Also just wanted to ask, the white film you are describing is there any way possible it is a bubble nest? Do you happen to have any pictures of it?
Alright, well I'll call the number on the jug tomorrow to see if I can find out.

Not that I know of. A previous fish of mine used to make bubble nests and this film looks totally different. I don't have a picture nor can I take one right now since I just cleaned the water and the film isn't present. If it comes back, I'll be sure to take a picture and post it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That *might* do it. I used a febreeze melting sent thing and then the water had some film on the water.
Hmm, well that definitely is something to consider then. I've always kept my fish tanks in my living room and when I got this fish, I decided to put his tank in my bedroom for a change. I'll see if taking him out of my room fixes the problem. Thank you so much!
 

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Alright, well I'll call the number on the jug tomorrow to see if I can find out.

Not that I know of. A previous fish of mine used to make bubble nests and this film looks totally different. I don't have a picture nor can I take one right now since I just cleaned the water and the film isn't present. If it comes back, I'll be sure to take a picture and post it.
Just make sure that whoever you talk to can guarantee that there's no chlorine in the water.

Yeah, I didn't really think it sounded like a bubble nest but thought I would throw it out there just in case.

Good luck! Hope you are able to figure out and eliminate whatever is causing the problem!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just make sure that whoever you talk to can guarantee that there's no chlorine in the water.

Yeah, I didn't really think it sounded like a bubble nest but thought I would throw it out there just in case.

Good luck! Hope you are able to figure out and eliminate whatever is causing the problem!
Will do. Thank you so much for your input! :) And I hope so too!
 

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first, just leaving your water out in the sun is not enough to remove the chlorine. Modern water has a chlorine compound (the name is escaping me at the moment) that does NOT evaporate in the sun. Which means this water you are putting into your tank is not safe for your fish, at all.

You cannot use just plain spring water for your tanks. Spring water lacks the nutrients in your water that your fish needs to have a healthy live. You will have to buy mineral supplements for your water.

Your water conditioner or your food is not the issue. Protein films form because there is not enough surface agitation. That being said, Protein films are completely harmless. They just look unattractive. You can lay a piece of paper towel on top of the water for a few seconds to remove the film.

Can you attach a photo of this film you are seeing? click "go advanced", click the paper clip icon, follow the instructions on the pop up.

also a 1.5 gallon tank should be getting a 50-75% water change every other day/every 2 days.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
first, just leaving your water out in the sun is not enough to remove the chlorine. Modern water has a chlorine compound (the name is escaping me at the moment) that does NOT evaporate in the sun. Which means this water you are putting into your tank is not safe for your fish, at all.

You cannot use just plain spring water for your tanks. Spring water lacks the nutrients in your water that your fish needs to have a healthy live. You will have to buy mineral supplements for your water.

Your water conditioner or your food is not the issue. Protein films form because there is not enough surface agitation. That being said, Protein films are completely harmless. They just look unattractive. You can lay a piece of paper towel on top of the water for a few seconds to remove the film.

Can you attach a photo of this film you are seeing? click "go advanced", click the paper clip icon, follow the instructions on the pop up.

also a 1.5 gallon tank should be getting a 50-75% water change every other day/every 2 days.
I think you misunderstood what I meant. I put the gravel, decor, and the tank itself out in the sun to be disinfected, not the water that goes into the tank.

I did not know that about spring water. I found out that the brand I bought has no chlorine, so I used it for my water change. My fish is still active and seems healthy right now, but I'll be sure to switch back to tap water with conditioner.

If the protein film developed due to lack of surface agitation, then why did it not develop in my previous tanks? I feel like there is another factor causing it to form, which could be my wax melter in my room since it's a new factor with this tank. But then again, it could be another sort of film. I don't have any pictures of it right now, but I'll be sure to take a picture of it if it forms again.
 

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not every tank will develop a protein film. I have three identical tanks. with the same filter. and only one has a protein film.
 

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Vivian... was "chloramine" the word you were looking for?


Lacy... Bio-Film can be caused by several different things; lack of surface agitation, poor filtration or no filtration, mucus from labyrinth fish when they do their bubble nests, rotting plant material, too much bottled bacteria, organics from substrate, or extremely fine particles of uneaten food.

While you may never know the exact cause, it's important for a fish tank to have some type of water movement that allows water surface agitation for healthy oxygenation in the water column. Bio Film can prevent the release of co2 from the water, which is a very very bad thing.

Since betta prefer to have very little water movement we have to provide other means of keeping the water oxygenated (necessary for the nitrifying bacteria in the filter and other none labyrinth organ fish). Airstones help provide this.
 

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Does it look like a pile of bubbles? If yes them your betta wants a mate, he's just bubble nesting
 

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yes that was! sorry I was at work and didn't have my coffee yet when I wrote that lol
 

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Bubble Nest

Yeah, betta's build them all the time, there are quite intresting
 

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Yeah, betta's build them all the time, there are quite intresting

Not all betta blow them. Like mine for instance. He looks at me like "Yer wantin' a bubble nest are ya? Pfft. Not".


He blows a bubble here and a bubble there, but doesn't seem interested in a nest.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
VivianKJean- Hmm, well alrighty. Such an odd thing.

Mousie- I'm considering setting up the tank's filter when I move my betta back into his original tank and that should provide enough surface agitation. It isn't adjustable as far as I know, but I plan to place a plant underneath the outtake to ease the current and also place a pre-filter sponge on the intake tube.

I know this is off topic, but what is your opinion on pre-filter sponges? Can they serve as media that the helpful bacteria can thrive in? Would I still need a filter cartridge? I've been reading tons of threads on this website since I joined and have learned the importance of cycling and would like to formally establish one in my tank for a healthier environment.

BettaFire682- I'm 99% sure that it is not a bubble nest (a betta of mine in the past used to make those and I thought it was the coolest thing).
The film is cloudy and white and becomes mususy/stringy when disturbed, like I described in my initial post. Again, I will be sure to post a picture of it when and if it forms again. It's been two days since I last changed the water and so far, so good! *knocks on wood*
 
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