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re: white surface scum, what is it
I've seen scum on the surface of a tank with only plants and no proteins
from food of any kind. Iron eating bacteria is a possibility but the
iron levels must be very low since I can't measure any in the water and
I had not added any to that tank. I do have a soil + peat substrate in
that tank and quite low lighting levels so iron from the substrate in
low concentrations is a possibility.
A couple of weeks ago I added some killie fish (Cynolebias nigripinnis
maschwitz) to that tank and boosted the lighting a little. There is no
filtration or water movement in this tank; that's why it seems to get a
heavy scum layer on the surface.
I'm fairly sure the scum I have (white, no oily rainbow-like color
pattern) is bacterial in origin. It does seem to increase when you start
feeding meaty foods though but this is probably due to additional
nutrients and organic food particles.