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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone else have a problem with the water surface having a layer of junk on it. Dont know what it is. Maybe dust from the rocks or something. Also, I have DIY co2 going into an ehiem diffuser and a lot of the bubbles end up just floating on the surface. It looks like a bubble bath with really tiny bubbles. I was thinking of trying to make some sort of cheap, simple skimmer. Has anyone else done this or use something similar? Should I just leave it and maybe it will go away once the tank gets older (its been up for two weeks only)?

Thanks!
 

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Does it kind of look like an oul slick. Mabye looks like a thin film of soad on hte surface. I have had that before. It does go away adn it is easy to suck up when you do a water change. Takes a bit of practice to hold the siphone the right way but once you do you can get rid of most of it that way. I have heard other s say the same and it is not a problem. I would not bother wiht the skimmer. In my opinion they are not worth taht much because most of the waste you want to get rid of sinks to the bottom. What type of filter do you have?
 

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You can get a surface extractor by eheim. If the surface protein (grease) gets too thick, it will reduce the light going to the lower parts of the tank.

James H. had this problem and his plant started to show sign of insufficient amount of light.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have an eheim 2217 cannister filter. It is kind of like an oil slick. Hopefully it will just go away after a while. It wont let the tiny co2 bubbles escape. Will it affect the o2 content of the water? I looked at the eheim and I might get one if it doesnt go away after a while.
 

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OK Kevin,

The plants I gave you I had bleached just to be sure I didn't give some evil-super-duper-viral-algae-monster-thingy on the plants. If they are like my plants probably some of the plant leaves are shriveling up and turning clear. This is from damage from the bleach. I had a lot of the Bacopa carolina leaves do this in my 75 gallon tank. This results in a lot of organics in the tank that may color the water yellow and cause a thick scum on the surface.

If this happened to you, what you need to do is trim the bad leaves off of the stems, and even cut down some of the stems. Since the stems had roots on them they should generate new healthy growth. Then do a water change. Now you had rotated the spray bar up a few degrees last week to avoid turbulating the plants. Turn the bar up a little more or raise the whole bar up a bit to turbulate the surface just a little bit. This should help get rid of the scum.

Regards,
Steve
 

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I had this stuff when adding lots and lots and lots of trace... From what I have read, its basically an insoluable protein layer. Proteins become more and more soluable at high pH, I found I was running my CO2 a little too aggressively. If you can, shutoff gas at night to get pH > 7.0 I think this will help also.

Jeff
 

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Try adding a couple of platties to your tank. I had a similar situation, and had read on another board the platty suggestion and it worked for me. I also have a tank with endler's that also seem to have no problem with this either.

Also, I remember a discussion either on apd or ab forum, not sure which, a while back with Gori saying that he had some surface scum which went away when he upped his co2 levels to 25-30.

HTH.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I had been meaning to ask you about this Steve. I will do what you suggest because my bacopa and water wysteria have disentegrating leaves. I notice new growth at the tops of the plants so they will hopefully be fine after a trim.

Platties? What is the theory behind that? Do they splash at the surface a lot or something? Please explain.

Thanks everyone! I appreciate the help! I dont really want to spend money on the ehiem skimmer. I will post another reply in a few days and let everyone know how it turns out.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I wonder if a pair of sailfin mollies would do it? I dont know how they would like my water conditions though....the ph and hardness are both kinda low at the moment. Interesting idea though!
 

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Seriously, is the "protein film" really that annoying? Kevin, your tank is still relatively young and not all parameters are in order. Wait until your tank is a bit more mature before tackling this "problem". :wink:

JLudwig said:
From what I have read, its basically an insoluable protein layer. Proteins become more and more soluble at high pH, I found I was running my CO2 a little too aggressively. If you can, shutoff gas at night to get pH > 7.0 I think this will help also.
Protein solubility is a complex interaction between its physical/chemical nature and the pH, temperature, salt concentration, etc. There are numerous proteins, each with its own solubility curve. Who knows what the composition of the "protein film" in our aquaria is or if proteins are the primary constituents. I've read references that the film could be primarily lipids and carbohydrates. I am in no position to either confirm or deny such propositions. :lol:

A trend I've seen in what few papers I've read seems to indicate that many proteins' isoelectric points (a pH at which a particular protein is least soluble, whereas solubility increases as pH moves in either directions) are within pH 6-7, which is the pH range that many of our tanks are at. It would be interesting if this film is lessened if pH is increased or decreased from a set point. It would suggest that the film is primarily composed of proteins right? Interesting.
 

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Surface Scum

cS said:
There are numerous proteins, each with its own solubility curve. Who knows what the composition of the "protein film" in our aquaria is or if proteins are the primary constituents.

<SNIP>

It would be interesting if this film is lessened if pH is increased or decreased from a set point.
I had recommended increased pH as decrease significantly past 25-30ppm CO2 could cause some problems. Traditionally 'water treatment' is done at higher pH (I'm thinking foam fractionation)... This is only partly done for proteins tho, mostly done to precipitate iron hydrides prior to filtration thru deep sand beds. Lower pH might work also, just watch those fish for respiratory distress!

As for caring about the film, it was adversly affecting light levels as well as gas exchange and circulation in my case. Like you mention, its assumed to be protein, but it could be bacterial in nature in which case a treatment with erythromycin might help... This would be my plan B if playing with pH/water changes didn't help

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well its not only annoying, I think that it has some affect on the gas exchange in the tank. None of the co2 bubbles are allowed to escape and the entire surface looks like a bubble bath. I havent noticed any fish gasping or anything though. I think I will try trimming some of the dying plants back some more and raising the spray bar for a few days. Im still really a newbie so I dont want to mess around with the ph unless I have to. Thanks again!
 

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I wonder if a pair of sailfin mollies would do it? I dont know how they would like my water conditions though....the ph and hardness are both kinda low at the moment. Interesting idea though!
Sailfin mollies have been successful at removing this in my tank. As far as the water parameters go - I have fairly soft water. The first pair only lasted about 4 to 6 months. I now have a second pair that are doing much better. I Now add a small amount of Epsom salts to increase Mg. The mollies appear to benefit from this as they have fry and the pair is healthy. And the plants like the Mg. GH with Mg added is about 6 and KH is about 3.5 (with baking soda). Actually, I have reduced the lighting in this tank and think it would do fine without the mollies but they are family now.

Hey, if you decide you really want a Eheim surface extrator thingy let me know. I have one. Bought it and wasn't satisfied with the results or the appearance. So would dump it - er uh - sell it reasonable :D It really is a pain in the keester to use! Or maybe I just have a low patience level for that kind of thing.

Regards,
Jay Reeves
 
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