How to Remove the Film on Top of Fish Tank? 9 Easy Ways!

If you have an aquarium at home, then you must have noticed a thin layer of white substance on the water surface from time to time.

It is a common issue faced by aquarium lovers, and fortunately, there is a solution for it.

We are about to share a comprehensive guide with you on ‘How to remove the film on top of the Fish Tank?’ Keep reading more to find out!

What Is This Film Layer On Top Of Your Fish Tank?

This film layer on your fish tank’s water surface looks like a layer of oil. It is usually white, grey, or brown in color or a mixture of all three.

You may also find it appearing in the form of droplets on top of your fish tank.

There are several reasons why this film layer forms on your fish tank’s water surface, and there are several consequences to it.

If left unattended for a longer period of time, it may pose a threat to your aquatic friends inside the tank.

The most common reason why a film layer appears on the water surface is due to negligence during water replacement.

Sometimes when you fill water inside the aquarium tank from an adequate height or too quickly, these bubbles form naturally, floating on top of the water surface later on.

Besides this, sometimes, when you are cleaning your fish tank using detergent, some particles are left behind.

This residue collects into a foamy layer on top of the water surface.

In addition to this, another possible reason for the formation of a film layer on your water surface could be water pollution.

The slime residue from algae found on plants and decorative objects can result in a thin oil film on the water surface.

How to Remove Film Layer from Your Fish Tank?

Now we are going to discuss some very easy and simple ways to remove the unpleasant-looking oil film from your fish tank.

Some of these solutions may require you to install some devices in your fish tank, but they are only going to make your job easier in the longer run.

Let’s dive right into these solutions.

Solution # 1 – Use Paper Towels to Soak Up the Film

This is a pretty self-explanatory method of removal. It does not require you to make any fancy changes to your fish tank.

Neither is it a very tedious task to perform.

All you need is a good old-fashioned paper towel.

Use a single piece of paper towel and gently place it onto the water surface of the tank.

Make sure to avoid any creases and lay them down completely flat. This way, the maximum paper towel comes in contact with the water surface.

The weight of the towel gets evenly divided as well, and the chances of it sinking down are less.

As soon as the paper towel comes in contact with the water, quickly pick it right back up.

You only want the oil film to stick to the paper towel. Avoid letting the towel soak in a lot of water.

Now keep repeating this step using fresh pieces of paper towel every time and cover the entire surface of the fish tank.

You may also repeat this step all over again if you feel that you did not get all the film in the first attempt.

However, the job usually gets done in the first attempt if the film is not unbearably thick.

In that case, you might have to opt for a completely different solution.

Solution # 2 – Use a Cup to Scoop it Out

At times the film formed becomes so thick that simply soaking it up with a paper towel just won’t cut it.

You will need a small clean cup. Hold the rim of the cup at one end. Introduce the opposite end of the rim of the cup to the water.

The cup should be introduced at a slight angle to the water surface.

Allow the rim to go a few millimeters deep into the water only. The oil film will quickly seep inside the cup as it has a lower density than water.

Gently, take out the cup, forming an imaginary ‘J’ shaped with your end.

This will ensure that the oil film will be collected inside the cup and will not spill out into the tank again.

Keep repeating this step till all the film has been removed. Keep a trash can or a jar next to you while performing this method of film removal.

Spill out the collected film in the jar or trash can. You can dry the cup between each scoop to ensure a much smoother removal of the film.

Solution # 3 – Filter out the Debris Daily

Your fish tank collects a lot of debris on a daily basis. This includes uneaten food, excretory products, and dust particles from the air.

It is a lot easier to remove this debris than allow it to sit in your fish tank and be converted into an unwanted sticky film.

Use a small Aquarium net and collect all the floating debris on the surface. Avoid going in too deep into the tank with the net as it will disrupt the internal environment of the fish.

It can result in more dissemination of dust collected at the bottom of the tank.

Solution # 4 – Keep the Glass Clean

This solution is quite similar to the first one. For this, you will need a sponge or a wipe instead of a paper towel.

In the first solution, you were removing the film from the water surface. In this solution, you will remove the sticky film from the inner surface of the tank as well.

Make sure to use an acrylic-friendly sponge if your fish tank is made of acrylic glass. You can gently wipe the inner surface of the tank using a clean wipe.

Make sure to swipe your wipe or sponge just once only and then replace it with a new one.

Once you start wiping the tank, you can slowly advance downwards till you are just a few millimeters away from the gravel.

Do not touch the gravel as it will release more detritus into the tank.

Solution # 5 – Regularly Replace the Water

You do not need to completely replace the water in your tank. All you will need to do is remove one-third of the water in your tank at a given point.

This dilutes the impurities in the tank and drastically slows down the process of film build-up.

You can pick a bucket that holds just about one-third the volume of water in your fish tank. Use this bucket weekly or bi-weekly to replace the water in the tank.

You can also install a water changing system that you can attach to any nearby faucet in your house.

This does the job automatically; all you will need to do is change the drain settings.

Solution # 6 – Introduce Algae Eating Fish into the tank

As discussed earlier, algae are one of the major contributors to the film-forming in your tank.

Investing in fish species that consume algae can help reduce the amount of film formation.

It is important to bear in mind that this will not completely omit the algae from your tank.

You will still need to regularly maintain the tank water. However, you will not need to do it as frequently.

Some options for algae-eating species are crab, shrimp, and snails.

Solution # 7 – Do Not Overfeed your Fish

Overfeeding your fish has direct as well as indirect consequences. Excess food in your tank will end up rotting and become a nutritious source of food for algae.

Overfed fish will indirectly have an impact on the film formation as they will add to the number of excrement products in the tank.

You can tell that you are overfeeding your fish if you start noticing uneaten food floating around in the tank or the fish is bloated.

You should reduce the amount of fish feed, or you can feed your fish once daily instead of twice.

Solution # 8 – Install a Strong Air Pump

Stagnant water promotes the growth of algae. A strong air pump will maintain strong currents in the water.

An adequate flow in the water will prevent debris from decomposing.

You can also place an airstone in the tank that produces bubbles. Air bubbles maintain the oxygen levels in the tank and improve the quality of water.

Good quality of water means that less grime will be formed.

Solution # 9 – Invest in a Surface Skimmer

A surface skimmer is a device that works best to remove the film from the top of your fish tank.

Surface skimmers come in different types. You can pick any based on your specific need.

Surface skimmers are attached to the filters and work as an up-gradation of your filter.

The filter removes all the physical impurities, while surface skimmers take into account all the impurities at the molecular level.

The Bottom Line

To sum it up, it has been established that removing this film layer from your fish tank is the wiser thing to do.

We hope that the next time you face this problem, you can come back to this guide for valuable tips and solutions.

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