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Re: QYNGA: Surface scum

Frank Reiter wrote, Nov. 18:
........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.)

It is a bacterial scum where the bacteria are all attached to the surface.
I have seen it usually in newly setup tanks.  Its presence does not mean
that there is a lot of decomposing organic matter.  I seem to recall that I
saw it more often in uncovered tanks, and I wonder if dust settling out of
the atmosphere encourages this growth. Once the aquarium gets a good
'ecosystem' of fauna and flora, it disappears, probably because of various
small invertebrates, and even protozoa that eat it up.  Pond snails like to
eat it, too.

Paul Krombholz, Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS 39174.