why there is an oil film on my turtle's water

Why Is There Film on Top of Turtle Tank Water? – Simple Guide

Turtles are one of the cutest water pets to have. They grow in tanks just like fishes and other aquarium animals. Aquarium owners might have seen a cloudy film built up over time in the turtle tanks. What to do to clear the cloudy film on top of turtle tanks?

Let us see about what causes the film on top of turtle tanks and what to do about it

Why Is There a Film on Top of Turtle Tank Water?

what causes oil film on a turtle tank

The film on top of the turtle tanks is formed due to an oily layer formed of protein. This is normal in tanks with fish and turtles.

The oily layer is formed in course time as the food particles and protein from aquarium food get accumulated over the top layer of turtle tank water. This will affect the overall health of turtles if not taken care of.

It is common to see whitish film layers forming on the top of tank water. New fish and turtle tank owners may be overwhelmed to see cloudy tanks.

If you are also worried about this film layer formation, then don’t worry. In this blog, we have made a detailed study on what causes the white stuff layer on top of the aquarium and how to clear it.

So, sit back, relax and enjoy the reading.

What Is the White Stuff at The Top of My Aquarium?

Turtle tank owners might have seen white stuff at top of the fish tank. It is due to lime formed from the evaporation of hard water.

This white stuff gets accumulated over the surface of the tank and builds up as limescale. The white stuff on top of the aquarium can be cleaned by emptying the tank and scrubbing it with mild cleansers.

Check our detailed guide on Cleaning a Fish Tank. The white lime deposits are formed due to hard water and not proteins. It must not be confused with the film formed on the turtle tank surface.

What Causes the Film on Top of My Aquarium?

The Protein Slick is a film-like oily layer that is formed on top of a turtle aquarium due to the protein layer deposits. These are some of the layers like residues formed due to excessive protein from the aquarium pet foods.

Sometimes, these layers are also made of microorganisms forming a visible film called the Surface scum. The surface scum is seen over the tank liquids and solid materials like rocks, pebbles, and gravel.

It mainly acts as a boundary layer between the atmospheric air and tank water. This is a biofilm and does not cause much harm like the lime deposit layers.

Now let us see if turtles and other aquarium pets can live in a tank with a film layer on top.

Can Turtles Live in A Tank with Film on Top?

No! Turtles can’t live in a tank with film on top. Pet turtles are sensitive animals. They like to be in their regular and optimal conditions. Turtle tanks must have ample light and air supply from the top of the tank.

If there is a film layer on top of the turtle tank, it will hinder the volume of light and natural air entering the tank. This will affect the overall health of turtles.

When the protein or lime layer is not cleared for a longer period, it may cause serious health issues and diseases in the turtle.

Inadequate tank aeration will also force the turtle and other aquarium animals to move to the top part of the tank.

How Do You Get the Film out Of a Turtle Tank?

The oily film on the surface of the turtle tank can be broken by disturbing the even surface tension over the layer. Breaking surface tension might cause the oily layer to mix and cause a mess.

But this can be handled by removing the upper oily part with a razor blade and separating the mixed water using a vessel or container.

Use a fresh razor blade to carefully remove the layer without disturbing it. Disturbing the protein film may cause mixing and forming a protein film layer again.

Turtle tank owners can also remove the film on top of the turtle tank by completely draining the water, cleaning it and filling with fresh water.

This will avoid the formation of any type of film layer like protein film, bio film or even lime deposit layer for several weeks.

Final Words About the Film on Top of Turtle Tank

Summing up, the film layer on top of the turtle tank is caused due to excess protein inside the tank. This layer gets accumulated due to the protein getting accumulated over a long period of time.

This layer may also be caused by some microorganisms. The film layer formed only by microorganisms is called biofilm. This is nothing to be worried about.

If the film layer is formed due to protein or lime, it can be removed by slight rubbing with a razor blade. The protein film mixed water can be separated with vessels.

Film layers are harmful for turtles and it must be removed immediately. If the layer is there in the tank for a long time, it may harm the turtle’s health in the long run. Make sure you are cleaning and proving better Aeration for The Tank.

So that was all about what causes the film layer on top of the turtle tank and how to clear it.

We hope this blog helped you clearing all queries on whey protein film layer is caused on top of turtle tank and what are the other layers that can be seen around. 

We always welcome your suggestions. Comment below your experiences with your beloved turtles.

Feel free to mention things that are to be changed and improved in our blogs and websites as we are learners for life! 

If you liked this post do share it with your friends and family.  Cause sharing is caring.

See ya!

Until then, keep swimming around with your tiny turtles… 

Protein Film on Top of Turtle Tank – Related Questions

How to Get Rid of Protein Foam in Aquariums?

Protein foam in the tank means there are too many particles and pollutants inside the tank and it is time to perform tank maintenance. Protein foam inside the aquarium can be removed by scrubbing and cleaning the tank. Any other dust and debris must also be removed completely.  

If tank is not cleaned proper periodically, it may even lead to the Fish Tank Water Turning Green. Make sure the tank filters are cleaned regularly; gravel is changed once in a while to avoid protein foam formation and other major problems inside the turtle tanks.

How to Get Rid of White Film on Fish Tanks?

The white film on a fish tank can be removed by using a razor blade. The razor blade must be scratched gently over the film to scrape off the white layer. Later, the water with protein film must be separated using a vessel. It must not be allowed to mix with the normal water.

Mixing the protein film layer water with normal water may cause harm to the living organisms inside the tank. It will also cause the film layer to appear again.

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