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Zapping scum

At 03:48 AM 12/5/1999 -0500,  TEACHSKIP at aol_com asked:
>Help, I have a white surface scum in my planted 55 gallon tank. I previously 
>got some advice that it was protein...  I have to strain this scum out every 
>day with a fine mesh net.   I withheld food and light and that did no good...
>Any suggestions???

I have reversed my opinion on use of airstones in planted tanks with
pressurized CO2 systems.  

Originally I thought that running an airstone from midnight to 6AM or so
was a waste of CO2 and that the pH drop that would occur in the dark if you
didn't run an airstone occurred in nature anyway and was of no importance.
 I still believe the latter, but....

Running an airstone during the very late night can remove (redistribute)
all kinds of surface junk.  Oily scums, algae (in my case), other trash.
I find it very useful in keeping the top clear.  All you need is a cheap
timer and a cheap air pump.  Less that $20 total.   

If you use pressurized CO2 the value of the lost CO2 that is driven off by
the aeration is next to nil.   If you use DIY (yeast) or chemical CO2, it
is better if you can store the CO2 produced during the night for the next
day.   But then that adds to the cost and complexity of equipment, maybe
you should just run pressurized CO2 anyway.  Your call.

HTH.    Dave
Dave Gomberg, San Francisco            mailto:gomberg at wcf_com
My aquarium plant supply store:      http://www.wcf.com/store
For low cost CO2 systems that work:  http://www.wcf.com/co2iron 
Tropica MasterGrow in the USA:      http://www.wcf.com/tropica