Layer of something at surface of water - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Layer of something at surface of water

As you can see from the attached image, the surface of my water has a layer of something. No idea what it is. The photo is taken from below to show the surface. To describe it i'd say it reminds me of when you drop oil in water. Any ideas what it can be, how its coming and how I can avoid it from happening? My tank is a 100G planted and I have a pressurized CO2 system. I dose EI ferts and do regular weekly water changes
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 12:58 PM
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I think you could do a search for surface scum. I'm not familiar with any cure for it personally, but the 3 common cures for it are:
1. Live bearers like mollies eat it.
2. A paper towel laid on the surface will pick it up.
3. A skimmer will filter it out.

I don't know what causes it, but I have some and I'd like to know.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 01:08 PM
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I've read that it is proteins that build up in the water. For some reason it seems to be more of an issue when pressurized co2 is used. I experience this as well. To counter act it, I aim the output of my canister filter to create some surface agitation. This causes me to have to increase co2 output but I seem to have found a balance between reduced surface scum and co2 output. Some people use surface skimmers attached to the input of their canister filters and this seems to be effective. I personally can't use this method because I have to much evaporation with my open top tank. My co2 output is about 3 bps on a 46 gallon tank. Since co2 is inexpensive, I don't mind the co2 loss to much. Also, the surface agitation will benefit by adding additional oxygen to the water.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 02:20 PM
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I had something very similar to this in my new tank. I was adding ammonia for my fishless cycle and a day or so later I had an oil slick on the surface. I had a crappy little filter as a "just in case filter" for a 10g tank. I threw that on to circulate the water closer to the top. The next day the oil slick was completely gone. I think the canister filter doesn't circulate the water close to the suface. That's the only thing I came up with.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 03:00 PM
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It could also be iron bacteria. That's the problem i have, lots of rust/iron in my water.. so after every water change they thrive and then by the end of the week it's gone... if it's really bad i'll running my koralia nano at the surface of the water for a little while to draw air and churn it up which helps


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 04:06 PM
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I've also experienced this in my injected tanks. No harm to fish or plant IMO.
Directing the spraybar or a power head parallel below the surface to break surface tension w/o splash will make it disappear.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-29-2009, 01:52 PM
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I point the spraybar on my fluval 404 (DIY made out of PVC) horizontally across the tank, about an inch below the surface. That works well. When I had my 29 set up, I noticed that if the water level was high, the filter didn't create much surface agitation (whisper 60 or something like that) and the surface film appeared. When the water level dropped, the film disappeared.

On another tank, I have a wet/dry sump with a corner overflow, it skims water from the surface plus the output is directed across the tank a few inches from the surface. No surface film.
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