My Only Problem - Surface Scum

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by PM, 19 Aug 2008.

  1. PM

    PM Member

    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    London
    I have no algae problems any more, the only thing that I cannot control is this:
    2779375656_028fa4c0ca_o.jpg

    The small hole you see is hrere I put the food for the fish about an hour ago :wideyed:
    2779375908_c85f51a163_o.jpg

    Raising my lily pipe is not an option as this tank is in my bedroom and I would not be able to sleep with the noise. Anyway I have tried that and it doesn't get rid of it - just breaks it up.

    I need to buy something to sort it as even with the utmost maintainance I still get this stuff forming. This is only two days since a 50% water change, skimming the surface with a jug also to get rid of it, and lots of cleaning.

    Will a protein skimmer work? I don't really know what they are... PLEASE HELP!

    Paul
     
  2. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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  3. PM

    PM Member

    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    London
    Re: My Only Problem - surface scum.

    Thanks, I've seen that thread before, and I just re-read the entire thing, but there doesn't really seem to be a clear answer in my mind. :?

    I have an Eheim 2322 and my tank only holds about 40L of actual water... really don't think I need two massive filters for my teeny weeny tank!

    Can I buy a small skimmer??

    ALSO, I didn't use CO2 for a day, and the water surface was clear but with a day of CO2, it's back. So it is the CO2 that does it I'm sure.
     
  4. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    See I get surface film but only when I have low co2, it's like a sure sign of something wrong. I notice that it only seems to happen when you have a plant "dip" where growth slows. I'm certain Tom Barr said it was low co2 and circulation that cause the film but I really can't remember and the planted tank search is turning up nothing definite.
     
  5. PM

    PM Member

    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    London
    I just read this (translated through Google) http://www.aquamax.de/HG27UG02.htm

    So I reckon that possibly, as I am adding so many nutrients (double EI), there is not enough actual growth sucking them up.
    (As my plant mass is low-ish).

    Therefore the CO2 bubbles transport the nutrients (including iron) to the surface. Hence iron bacteria. That's my theory, but it's just that. I have had problems with this for as long as I can remember now, sometimes not too bad, and sometimes terrible!

    All I know is I need to stop it happening. Fast.

    Any more?
     
  6. nickyc

    nickyc Member

    Messages:
    208
    Location:
    Nottingham
    We had bad surface scum on our marine tank, but an airstone has sorted that. Still don't know what caused it, but the airstone is hidden behind some rocks so it doesn't get on my nerves!

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to fill in some of the details about your set up and your dosing regime?
     
  7. PM

    PM Member

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  8. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    1,913
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  9. PM

    PM Member

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    611
    Location:
    London
    Thanks James, I might just buy one and be done with it.

    But I'll probably get this one - as you can turn it on and off when you want. Only problem is it will take up half of my tank! And it's soooooo ugly. Can't someone make a glass, or at least a clear plastic one!

    This link explains it excellently http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Surface-Skimm...20754QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262

    If anyone knows of a small prettier one then let me know ;)

    ADA don't do one do they? :eek:
     
  10. PM

    PM Member

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    611
    Location:
    London
    CO2 is high! Drop ch always yellowy green. I reckon when I get more plants it will eas off, but I still don't think it will go away completely, I just don't have the time to keep things super super clean and pruned when I'm back at uni next year! :(

    I HATE SURFACE SCUM!!!
     
  11. Garuf

    Garuf Member

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    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    You're at uni? What do you study?
    Higher plant mass should help but like mentioned it might not solve the problem a good plant to get your hands on would be hygropholia polysperma it is virilant and is the first to show any deficiancies which should help pin point any problems.
     
  12. PM

    PM Member

    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    London
    Cool, I'll look into that plant.

    Studying architecture :)

    My course title is IDEAs (Interior Design Environment Architectures). I just say architecture because when people hear 'interior design', they think cushions! (It ain't cushions). :lol:
     
  13. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    I'm doing architecture too! Only the building side not interior, no cushions there either.
     
  14. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    Nottingham
    You can turn the Fluval type of surface skimmer off too. All you do is turn the black rod in the centre around to fully open the strainer at the base. Still not exactly aesthetic though!

    Have you got an air pump you could run at night to break up the surface scum? If that was on a timer while you were at uni it would need no maintenance and might just solve the symptoms.
     
  15. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

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    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    Hi mate, i seem to remember JamesC (i think) talking about when plants are deprived of something of dying off, whatever it may be i don't remember but they release part of the plant's "structure" and thats what is creating a surface scum. I could be way off but it does ring a bell. I know your dosing correctly so in theory they aren't short of anything but?...
    I've had it in the past in a more low tech tank. It was hornwart going pale and dying, once i removed the hornwart it went away? just a thought.
     
  16. Joecoral

    Joecoral Member

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Neath, South Wales
    This is from the link posted in the second post of this thread:

     
  17. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    Thats what i was getting at :rolleyes: nice one, i was starting to think i'd imagined it.
     
  18. PM

    PM Member

    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    London
    I actually disagree with most of this! This is just another theory, and believe me I have read a lot of them on this now (on other forums and google etc). There are always going to be some leaves that are on there way out in the tank, and I do not intend on removing every single imperfect leaf from my tank on sight - as I have to take out the massive ferns to to this each time (which are attatched to the hardscape). Also my plants really are in brilliant condition right now. When I don't have my CO2 on I don't get this.

    However I do agree that more plants will probably equal less surface scum. There is no way some java fern, java moss and literally a few stems could need more ferts or CO2 than I am using right now.

    Everything that is lighter than water will end up at the surface, and as I am still running a UV sterilizer, I am aware that my flow has been affected, and is not picking up quite as much rubbish in the tank.

    Anyway, I have bought the same surface skimmer that AE sell, for £6.19 inc p&p on ebay :)

    My theory is that I need more plants to soak up all the nutrients that I am adding, thus what I put into the tank, won't end up on the surface.

    Thanks anyways!
     
  19. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    1,913
    Location:
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    Well my tank is rammed full of plants and I dose 2 x EI, but I was still getting surface scum. :?
     
  20. Superman

    Superman Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Mine has improved since I added my external filter last week. There's still a small amount of scum but thats mainly because some of my crytps are melting so expect there to be something on the surface.

    Another good thing is that I'm using an in-line reactor for the CO2 so there's no massive CO2 build up under the surface like in the photos posted on this thread.

    So, it's slowly getting better as I've improved the flow with the filter and also added more plant mass.
     

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