Well over the last few days i've been staring that the worst looking thing in my tank. The surface scum that builds up on top of the tank. It gets so think that the small bubbles from my co2, plant streaming, pearls that float up get trapped beneath it and float there for an eternity. At the end of the day it's literally a giant layer of bubbles. It looked crappy. On top of that I bet that those bubbles interfered with light getting through the surface. Simple solution! Build a surface skimmer that connected to my HOB filter. I went out and bought two 1/2" 90* pvc elbows. Connected it to some clear silcione tubing i had laying around. That brought the intake to 1/3" away from the surface. I found a plastic cone (very narrow cone) that fit into the intake and cut 4 vertical slots into it. Shoved it into the intake. The slots are about 1/4" into the water and skims the surface perfectly. If you look into the intake tube (which only goes 4" into water) you can actually see the water falling into the tube. It only fills the lower 2".
Well the pvc elbows cost 19 cents. With tax came out to 41 cents. I had the rest of the parts, which probably would have cost less than a dollar for the material i used. The surface is crystal clear and it cost less than 2 dollars. I just have to go see if anyone makes clear plastic elbows, or spray the ones in the tank. Two white objects, although hiding behind my driftwood, are pretty obvious.