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> Subject: Re: QYNGA: Surface scum
In-reply-to: Your message of "Wed, 19 Nov 1997 03:48:08 EST."
             <199711190848.DAA12804 at acme_actwin.com> 
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 09:21:26 -0700
Message-ID: <9858.879956486 at hpmtlgb1_lvld.hp.com>
From: George Booth <booth at hpmtlgb1_lvld.hp.com>

> Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 16:36:07 -0500
> From: "Frank I. Reiter" <FIR at istar_ca>
> 1) What *is* this scum?

It has been reported as either a protein scum from fish food
(especially meaty foods like frozen cubes) or bacteria that seem to
like iron (from our dosing drops).  I'm not sure if I've ever seen a
definitive answer. This might be the same goop that collects in
saltwater tank protein skimmers. 

Anti-QYNGA: Protein skimmers don't work on freshwater tanks.  The
surface tension is too low.
> 2) What does it's presence tell me about my tank?

It says "your tank is just like my tank(s)".  All of our tanks have
had this surface film ever since

  1) we started raising plants

  b) we started adding CO2

  iii) we started fertilizing

All this was so long ago, I forget which might be the case <g> 

> 3) How can I encourage it to go away and stay away?

I don't think it will go away on its own unless you or someone else
figures out what causes it and changes that factor.  Maybe pH is a
clue (ours always has been close to 7.0).

Solutions to the problem:

Surface skimming, either with a trickle filter siphon box, an Eheim
Surface Extractor (fussy but effective) or some DIY device.

Laying a paper towel on the surface to absorb the film. Not a
permanent fix, obviously.

Heavy areation will break up the film and "hide it" with the obvious
drawbacks to a planted tank.  "Lack of CO2" if it wasn't obvious. 

I've always felt that the surface film is detrimental to gas exchange
so we always have something to deal with it.  All our tanks now have
trickle filter skimmer boxes but we've used the Eheim Surface
Extractors in the past on other tanks. 

OK, we put that sucker to rest.  

George "One down, 234 to go"