12-13-2010, 12:26 PM
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Do you have power heads in your tank? Any that are aimed so that the water just breaks the surface? That is an easy way to break up and avoid the oil slicks in most tanks.
The other way to help rid your tank of the oil slicks is to do more frequent small water changes. The oil slick at the surface is mostly organic compounds that are not broken up by bacteria. By decreasing the organic load in the tank with the extra water changes, the oil slicks will eventually subside.
Other things that can cause the oil slicks... excess amounts of dust and pollution in the air, cigarette smoke, and fish foods, especially prepared foods.
To manually remove the oil slick from the surface grab a roll of paper towels. One paper towel at a time, lay it onto the waters surface until it is just beginning to saturate, then take it by an edge and "slide" it out of the water. Paper towel works great for soaking up these slicks and if its done regularly, does not take long and doesn't have to be messy or difficult.
Is your tank covered? An air stone placed near the surface of the water so as not to create micro bubbles throughout the tank can also be used to agitate surface water enough to break up the oil slick. This will create a bit of spray, so cleaning of salt creep will increase slightly... but it is effective. If you are running a canister filter (or can add one), the spray bar set just above the surface of the water will have the same effect.
I have worked with a number of manufactured as well as home made surface skimmers and in the past 20 yrs I have seen very poor long term results unless an overflow system was in place. There are many other effective ways to accomplish the same thing safely.
If you do decide to try this out, please come back and let us know how it works for you both short term and long term, and any problems that may arise. That is information that could help many people in need of better/different solutions to the same problem and it offers some of us who design equipment such as this some extra pros/cons to work with.
If there's more I can do to help please let me know.