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QYNGA: Surface scum

On Tuesday, November 18, 1997 3:48 PM, Aquatic Plants Digest 
[SMTP:Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com] wrote:
> Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 09:57:19 -0700
> From: George Booth <booth at hpmtlgb1_lvld.hp.com>
> OK, I'm starting to feel bad about all the questions I never answered
> because I thought "someone else would do it".  I call for an open
> season on "Questions You Never Got Answered". Send'em in folks. I'll
> bet they get answered this time.  Be sure to mark them as "QYNGA" so
> we can give them priority.

I'll bite.  I asked about this several months ago, and recently saw another 
person ask as well.  Perhaps nobody knows, but perhaps they do:

Early this summer I setup two 120 gallon aquariums each w/2 175W MH lights. 
 *One* of them has had a persistent problem with surface scum, which comes 
and goes not apparently in response to anything I am doing.  The problem 
tank is ~ pH 6.6, the other ~7.2 - aside from that there are no differences 
that I  can see making a difference.  (different plant and fish choices, 
but similar amounts of both in each tank.)

When the sum is thick I can agitate the water with my hand and it will 
break into small white bits.

The questions then are:

1) What *is* this scum?
2) What does it's presence tell me about my tank?
3) How can I encourage it to go away and stay away?

(I am soon installing a trickle filter with siphon boxes on those two tanks 
and expect that the drawing of surface water into the filter will answer 
#3, but I am still very curious about #s 1 and 2.)

The very act of seeking sets something in motion to meet us;
something in the universe, or in the unconscious responds as if
to an invitation.  - Jean Shinoda Bolen