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RE: QYNGA: Surface scum

> Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 06:51:52 -0800 (PST)
> From: Erik Olson <eriko at wrq_com>
> Subject: QYNGA: Surface Scum
> > 3) How can I encourage it to go away and stay away?
> 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.

An airstone would drive off CO2 so I can't do that.  There *are* floating 
plants ("Water Lettuce" and duckweed) which seem to do more poorly in the 
[problem tank than in the other, and which seem to do most poorly when 
there is lots of scum.

> Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 09:21:26 -0700
> From: George Booth <booth at hpmtlgb1_lvld.hp.com>
> > 2) What does it's presence tell me about my tank?
> It says "your tank is just like my tank(s)".

<Grin>.  Thats useful information in itself - When I got little comment 
before I assumed that other people did not have this problem.

> > 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).

I have wondered whether the slightly higher pH in the other tank was what 
made the difference.

> 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.

I do this once in a while when it gets thick.

> 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.

It was, and so I haven't.

> 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.

I'll be installing the new trickle filter when I get a few more plumbing 

> Date: Wed, 19 Nov 97 9:34:40 MST
> From: "Marshall F. Wilkinson" <wilkinso at acs_ucalgary.ca>
> The surface scum seems to be a difficult one. Like your case I
> have 2 tanks that share the following: same water source, same fish load
> (different fish though), approx same plant density (some plants
> same, some different). Aside from the volume of water (which
> cannot possibly influence scum growth) the difference is I use
> peat in the filter of one system. This is the tank that develops
> the scum. The scum comes and goes in cycles, seemingly unrelated
> to whether the filter is clean or "dirty" (cleaned about every 2
> months).

Ditto - the scum does not seem related to filter cleaning for me either. 
 Cutting back the feeding to where the fish are obviously still hungry 
after each meal also did not seem to affect it.

> One other thing, there are little (< 1mm) "fleas" that I can see
> jumping on the scum patches. Could these little cretins be
> responsible?

I have these as well in the problem tank.

> I'm curious about this stuff because it is telling us something
> about the system. Whereas my tank inhabitants seem to be happy
> campers it would be interesting to know what this stuff is and why it
> arises.

Exactly my thinking.

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