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> From: George Booth <booth at hpmtlgb1_lvld.hp.com>
> > From: Erik Olson <eriko at wrq_com>
> > 
> > As you mention in your original, the only sure fire way I've been able
> > to stop surface scum has been to use an airstone in the tank, skim the
> > surface (which is the best), or keep lots of floating plants.
> Hmmm, in our case, floating plants (Frogbit) start to block the
> skimmer after awhile and prevent the scum from being sucked in. And
> they don't seem to combat it on their own. What plants help prevent
> the scum from forming?

Oh, I should have said "floating plants XOR Skimmer".  I never keep
floating plants in the tank with the skimmer for the reason you cite.
In the tank with the skimmer, if there's a dead spot, I try to re-aim
some of the returns to get the water moving in that area.  And yeah, I
have the exact same problem with plants that grow too big... they
start to collect dead leaves, algae and other debris on the surface.

As to floating plants, it's a pure unscientific observation of mine
that every one of my tanks that is heavily populated with floating
plants (salvinia and frogbit) has no scum on the surface.  Some tanks
that initially started with scum are now scum-free once the entire
surface became populated with floating plants.

And of course the airstone... I think it's a cross between a protein skimmer
effect and the surface agitation.

Finally, I'd also mention for the data point, every time I've had
floating scum it's always been bright green, and I've mostly removed
it with a paper towel on the surface, or by skimming (submerging a cup
so the lip goes down last). 

Erik Olson				
eriko at wrq.com