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Gourami & livebearers will eat it. You can also use mechanical skimmer to get rid of it. It does slow down gas exchange so it's better to get rid of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Does everyone have this issue? Is this abnormal?
 

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If you have fish in the tank, I would remove it. A thick film like this can block oxygen entry.

More importantly, though, it may be filled with environmental mycobacteria that can cause Mycobacteriosis ("Fish TB"). These common bacteria are oily and tend to gather at the water surface. My website contains a thorough, downloadable article about Mycobacteriosis.

When a film like this appears, I just take a cup and scoop it out. Wipe the outside of cup in between scoops, because the film will stick to the cup.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the helpful like to your article, Diana. In previous planted tanks, i didnt have the surface scum phenomenon. So i am puzzled why i have it now. I have 2 pieces of wood in there that could be shedding pollutants i suppose. I recently tore everything down and restarted due to unsolvable algae issues that were driving me nuts. So now its all new flourite, 2 chunks of wood, and new plants. Tank was disinfected with bleach for a few days before rebuilding. Only fish in there are otos atm.
 

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I would agree with you that the driftwood is leaching nutrients into the water. The film is a little ecosystem of bacteria and other microorganisms feeding off of those nutrients.

For years, I have heard so many instances of driftwood rotting and causing problems. Rocks which are inert (don't release organic compounds), IMHO, are a much better choice for planted aquaria. I'm not saying don't use driftwood, just that it is organic in nature, and because of that, it can cause problems.
 

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IMO, removing the surface scum is a virtually a REQUIREMENT. As mentioned already, it inhibits gas exchange. That's a problem for your filter bacteria and everything else. If you're adding co2, it can trap excess. I now use the Eheim Skim 350 and though I have to clean it weekly, I like it a lot.
 

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Wood, tree leaves, and fish food are potential sources of oily film. I use paper towels to remove it. Lay the paper towel across one end of the tank and drag it across the surface toward the other end. Have a bucket or plastic shoebox waiting to drop it into.
 

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Wood, tree leaves, and fish food are potential sources of oily film. I use paper towels to remove it. Lay the paper towel across one end of the tank and drag it across the surface toward the other end. Have a bucket or plastic shoebox waiting to drop it into.
I think that's a fleeting solution though, and not as good as something to deal with it consistently and prevent it from accumulating in the first place.
 

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I think that's a fleeting solution though, and not as good as something to deal with it consistently and prevent it from accumulating in the first place.
Very true, but "fleeting solutions" can be useful in emergencies, like a power outage.
... and its so satisfying to watch it all disappear in 3 seconds.
 

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IMO, removing the surface scum is a virtually a REQUIREMENT. As mentioned already, it inhibits gas exchange. That's a problem for your filter bacteria and everything else. If you're adding co2, it can trap excess. I now use the Eheim Skim 350 and though I have to clean it weekly, I like it a lot.
The Eheim is my favorite method too, and it will also clear a tank of duckweed!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I removed the wood today to see if that reduces the film buildup. I’ll post again in a few days and let you know. Thanks for everyone’s comments!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The problem of scum building up on the water surface has been greatly reduced by removing the wood, although the aquascaping doesn't look nearly as nice now.

Another problem has cropped up, which I'll ask about in a separate post.

Thanks everyone!
 

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Yes I am on there too.
I have the ADA Vuppa which uses a sponge and float switch to keep shrimp and small
Fish out of the skimmer.
 

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I second the Eheim surface Skim 350 comments. For me its like the ipad. My life before the Eheim 350 and my life after. I would never set up a tank without one, its that good. Best invention past few years imo. The attachment rattles a bit, but I only run it once or twice a day to clear the surface, so its no bother. I have small tanks with it as the only filter, so I sometimes run it without the top section to just clear the water and get some water movement - but have no fish in the tank, only plants. For a fish aquarium you need the top section fitted or you would suck in fish. Its great. Trust me after using one you won't be able to live without it. The only annoying bit is the rattle - that makes more noise than the pump and filter, but its a minor complaint.
 
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