Organic Film on Water Surface of Planted Freshwater Aquarium


Junior Poster
Jun 15, 2009
Hello, my name is Maurice and this is my first post since becoming a member. I'm having an issue with organic film on the water surface. This is not due to overfeeding since the aquarium has a light load of fish (22 Neon Tetras, 16 Rummy Nose Tetras, 13 True SAEs, 2 Bristlenose Pleco in a 90 gal aquarium). I know of only two ways to get rid of this film; either thru surface skimmers or certain types of fish (Swords, Mollies etc.). Is there another way to get rid of this film because I do not want to add anymore fish nor do I want to set up a skimmer? I would ideally like to keep the light load of fish and not add anymore equipment to the aquarium.

Are there any other alternatives to remove the organic film? I am currently skimming the surface during water changes and this works well, but I am looking for a more practical solution. Any ideas? Thank you.

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Might be due to wood, could be simply dust in the room, could be due to the sediment/filters etc, should be clear during the night etc, then build up during the day in most system.

The Ehiem suction surface skimmer is small and might be useful.

After a water change, it's typically not present.
Also, after you run aeration at night, none is present, but will build up later afterwards during the day when the aeration is off.

Wood seems to allow the SS to persist.

Tom Barr