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My Only Problem - Surface Scum


19 Jul 2007
Lincoln UK
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.

I'm with you on this one. I think it is CO2 related but not caused by CO2. bubbles are sticky and they carry whatever causes the scum up to the surface. I think the scum is probably caused by a mix of fishfood, carbohydrates as per Cegs argument and from the ferts we add.

So when we use CO2 the small bubbles carry the crap up to the surface. If you run CO2 higher and also have surface movement as I do then the scum doesn't appear (or at least doesn't have the chance to settle.)

It would be interesting to see if anyone using TPN and not dry powders is getting this problem. If so then we could add the sulphates to the list of possible causes.

Your last statement is wrong though. Its not what you are adding to the tank and being left over as excess that is ending up on the surface. It is more likely the 'unused' part of what you are using i.e. the salt part (sulphate) which the plants aren't using which gets to the top.


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