Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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equatics 05-31-2012 07:46 AM

Suggestions For Removing Protein Slick
Does using a vacuum upside down at the surface work? I guess there's nothing to stop me from trying it:-) Maybe I'll turn off the filter and wait a few minutes before starting so any protein that was disturbed by the waterfall output from the filter wiill have a chance to go to the surface.

Thank you for any suggestions.

Chesh 05-31-2012 09:35 AM

You can siphon it off if you're careful not to break the suction. I've also read of people skimming the water surface very quickly and lightly with paper-towels. I could be wrong about this, but from what I've read the best way to get rid of this problem is to increase agitation at the water surface - maybe turn the filter up or add a bubbler? There are a couple of different types of this that I've seen mentioned, so it may depend on the specific problem you're having. When you touch the surface of the water, do the oils break up easily, or do they hold together. . . Here's a thread that I read on this not too long ago, it might help out?

rjordan390 05-31-2012 09:47 AM

A device called a "Surface Skimmer" will remove the protein. Many of the online stores should carry them if your local store does not have them. When you set it up, just allow a small amount of water to flow into it or it will suck air along with the water and get entrapped in your cannister, if you have one. Depending on size of the tank, the surface should clear up in ten minutes for a small tank to possibly one hour for a large tank. If you have a see through cannister; check on it occasionaly to make sure the water level has not gone down. If it happens, you need to adjust the surface skimmer to slow down the flow and bleed the air out of the cannister.

Geomancer 05-31-2012 09:50 AM

Yes, you can use a siphon to do that.

Surface agitation/movement will prevent it, but not ideal in a planted tank since that promotes gas exchange. I had a problem with that in my 20 gallon, but over time it went away on it's own. Not really sure on the causes/reasons.

equatics 05-31-2012 09:51 AM

Thanks for the feedback. The "slick" isn't too bad - a lot of small particles in there. Thanks for the link.

I know that proteins (and maybe other things float to the surface of the water, where they cover the water they interfere with gas transfer and degrade the quality of the water when they break down. In salt water tanks they use a protein skimmer to remove proteins from the system.

I'm goiing to try the upside-down gravel vac method and see how that works. With my 10, it shouldn't take too long.

Thanks again!

Boredomb 05-31-2012 11:26 PM

I get it from time to time in my 55 gallon. I usually take a paper towel and skim the top of the water with it and it comes right off. Just let the paper towel barely touch the water then move it from side to side in the tank.

jaysee 05-31-2012 11:31 PM

I have surface skimmers on most of my tanks, built into the filter intake - they are very effective.

If it's for a small tank, Drs. Foster and Smith sell an HOB with a built in skimmer.

Boredomb 05-31-2012 11:44 PM


Originally Posted by jaysee (Post 1102303)
I have surface skimmers on most of my tanks, built into the filter intake - they are very effective.

If it's for a small tank, Drs. Foster and Smith sell an HOB with a built in skimmer.

Have heard they are very affective as well but on the other hand have heard of ppl loosing fish do to them getting stuck in the protien skimmer. Not something I want to risk.

jaysee 05-31-2012 11:57 PM

I had a couple of zebra loaches swim down the hole when the top part floated off. I had the water too high and so my arm in the tank displaced enough water to make it float free. I noticed them in the canister filter tube and got them both back in the tank.

With the surface piece properly positioned, the fish would have to jump out of the water and into the hole to make it in. I don't see many fish getting in the hole.

I want to point out though, that a surface skimmer and a protein skimmer are two different things.

equatics 06-01-2012 12:00 AM

I found this thing

Aquarium Surface Skimmer

It's for a pool so I don't know what size it is. Very inexpensive. At that price I think I'll try it out. Size looks reasonable. What do you think? Btw, those loaches are notorious for going up/down tubes. Glad you rescued them.

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