My Only Problem - Surface Scum

PM

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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
 

PM

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Re: My Only Problem - surface scum.

JAmesM said:
http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2389&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=surface+film

Adding another filter has worked for me...
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.
 

Garuf

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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.
 

PM

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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?
 

nickyc

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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!

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

PM

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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:
 

PM

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JAmesM said:
You could be right about the build up of nutrients, so increase your co2 which will help the plants take up more nutrients...
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!!!
 

Garuf

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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.
 

PM

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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:
 

Garuf

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I'm doing architecture too! Only the building side not interior, no cushions there either.
 

Ed Seeley

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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.
 

Dan Crawford

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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.
 

Joecoral

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This is from the link posted in the second post of this thread:

ceg4048 said:
Any time you see surface scum, whether it be oily, white, brown or green it means that your plants are trying to communicate with you. What they are saying is that they are not happy with you. This can occur just as easily in a non-injected tank. Plants naturally secrete carbohydrates and lipids into the water column as part of their natural metabolic processes. This is organic waste, and the higher the light/CO2 the more waste is produced. If there was no surface movement at all you would see some buildup. If nutrient uptake is poor or inefficient the plants become stressed and unhealthy. When this occurs ejection of lipids and organic waste becomes uncontrolled (think diarrhea or vomiting). Lipids are the basic building block of fats and oils so release of this product results in the oily film. Ejected carbohydrate and some proteins cause the other types of debris such as the brown detritus-looking floating particles. Bacteria often feed on this flotsam/jetsam since it is high in carbon. This film then becomes it's own floating world.

High filtration and/or high circulation is important - not just for breaking up the surface film but for distributing nutrients and CO2.

You need to feed your plants more than you are feeding them now. You also need to inject more CO2 than you are injecting now. Then the plants will stop bleeding and the rate of organic waste ejection will be lowered to reasonable levels. Levels that do not required stopgap methods such as airstones or turbofans or whatever. :wideyed: In the scene below I can easily induce some type of surface film merely by lowering either CO2 or nutrients or both.


Cheers,
 

PM

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ceg4048 said:
Any time you see surface scum, whether it be oily, white, brown or green it means that your plants are trying to communicate with you. What they are saying is that they are not happy with you. This can occur just as easily in a non-injected tank. Plants naturally secrete carbohydrates and lipids into the water column as part of their natural metabolic processes. This is organic waste, and the higher the light/CO2 the more waste is produced. If there was no surface movement at all you would see some buildup. If nutrient uptake is poor or inefficient the plants become stressed and unhealthy. When this occurs ejection of lipids and organic waste becomes uncontrolled (think diarrhea or vomiting). Lipids are the basic building block of fats and oils so release of this product results in the oily film. Ejected carbohydrate and some proteins cause the other types of debris such as the brown detritus-looking floating particles. Bacteria often feed on this flotsam/jetsam since it is high in carbon. This film then becomes it's own floating world.

You need to feed your plants more than you are feeding them now. You also need to inject more CO2 than you are injecting now. Then the plants will stop bleeding and the rate of organic waste ejection will be lowered to reasonable levels. Levels that do not required stopgap methods such as airstones or turbofans or whatever. :wideyed: In the scene below I can easily induce some type of surface film merely by lowering either CO2 or nutrients or both.

Cheers,
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!
 

Superman

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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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