The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I actually started with planted tanks over 3 years ago, but then broke this current one down and rescaped about 1 year ago. Up until about 4 months ago, I’ve never had any issues with surface scum.

Here’s the most recent series of events.

Rescape was 1 year ago

4 months ago, BBA outbreak (first ever major algae problem)
Along with the BBA I started to notice surface scum and had to start using a skimmer for 30 min a day to keep the surface clean.

Attempted to control it with lots of water changes..2-3 per week @50%
I’ll list my tank chemistry below, but it’s all normal.

About 1 month ago I removed all the wood in my tank. My thinking was it was contributing too much decaying organics. I also removed any plant matter that had any algae on it. Also removed rocks and scrubbed off any algae and did an excel dip.

Rescaped with only rock and a few remaining plants that were algae free.

Broke down my filter, replaced the medium sponge, removed the fine sponge. Course was still obviously not restricting water flow. Inlet and outlet and tubing all cleaned thoroughly. Bio Media was rinsed in tank water and overall the filter was just clean of any excessive mulm or anything restricting flow. My thinking here was maybe my filter flow rate has slowed down too much.

The surface scum persists to this day.... and theres not a whole lot in the tank right now. I’ll post pics below.

I’ve always had really healthy plant growth and really minimal algae issues (until 4 months ago)

My tank is a 60U
Filter eheim 2215
Nitrate 3-7 range
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Phosphate 0
Ph 6.0
GH 8-9
KH 2-3
TDS 180-250

Light is chihiros rgb vivid @ 35% of its available power during a 4 hour peak (12-4)
The total photoperiod is 10a-6p with a 2 hour ramp on either side

I fertilize with macros and micros using the pps pro method as it’s described on GLA’s website.

Here is a current pic so you can see how much I’ve removed



Here is a pic right before I removed all the wood



Anyone have any ideas as to what’s causing the surface scum?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
298 Posts
I actually started with planted tanks over 3 years ago, but then broke this current one down and rescaped about 1 year ago. Up until about 4 months ago, I’ve never had any issues with surface scum.

Here’s the most recent series of events.

Rescape was 1 year ago

4 months ago, BBA outbreak (first ever major algae problem)
Along with the BBA I started to notice surface scum and had to start using a skimmer for 30 min a day to keep the surface clean.

Attempted to control it with lots of water changes..2-3 per week @50%
I’ll list my tank chemistry below, but it’s all normal.

About 1 month ago I removed all the wood in my tank. My thinking was it was contributing too much decaying organics. I also removed any plant matter that had any algae on it. Also removed rocks and scrubbed off any algae and did an excel dip.

Rescaped with only rock and a few remaining plants that were algae free.

Broke down my filter, replaced the medium sponge, removed the fine sponge. Course was still obviously not restricting water flow. Inlet and outlet and tubing all cleaned thoroughly. Bio Media was rinsed in tank water and overall the filter was just clean of any excessive mulm or anything restricting flow. My thinking here was maybe my filter flow rate has slowed down too much.

The surface scum persists to this day.... and theres not a whole lot in the tank right now. I’ll post pics below.

I’ve always had really healthy plant growth and really minimal algae issues (until 4 months ago)

My tank is a 60U
Filter eheim 2215
Nitrate 3-7 range
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Phosphate 0
Ph 6.0
GH 8-9
KH 2-3
TDS 180-250

Light is chihiros rgb vivid @ 35% of its available power during a 4 hour peak (12-4)
The total photoperiod is 10a-6p with a 2 hour ramp on either side

I fertilize with macros and micros using the pps pro method as it’s described on GLA’s website.

Here is a current pic so you can see how much I’ve removed



Here is a pic right before I removed all the wood



Anyone have any ideas as to what’s causing the surface scum?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I experienced surface scum when tried new food with fat and other type of nutrients.


Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
Depending on the aquarium location, any type of spray, air conditioner debris and deodorants, any type of air pollution inside your home can be an issue.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

No. Another good thought though


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

You need more turbulent surface agitation and not laminar.

I have a nano sized circulator in my tank that seems to agitate the surface well.

Can you expand on what you mean?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
305 Posts
I just installed a cost effective model from sunsun jy-02. It does a good job. We need to install it at about the right height depending on the general water level. Also evaporation top up every 2 days or so. The float has a sponge which can be removed without removing the skimmer. I remove the float and washed the sponge and clear any debris every other day.

The only con is that the skimmer is a little big for my 50 cm tank and stands out. The plant is to grow the plants around the skimmer so that it gets hidden out of view
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
298 Posts
Well
I have this tank for about 9 months and i took out my airstone for 38 hours and the water surface was horrible, also my shrimps were killed again, ghost shrimps, by my loach.... and there it goes one more filtration helper....
A few things in a stable, harmonically controlled closed ecossystem that changes and the answer is fast.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Is that a powered surface skimmer on the right or powerhead or in-tank filter?

I use a glass surface skimmer for my lily pipe intake and it is a miracle worker. Without it my surface looks like the Valdese oil spill. With it my surface is crystal clear. Fish food has lots of oil in it.

Yeah that is a power skimmer, I just don’t want to keep it in the tank. Before a few months ago, I’d only have to put it in to skim a few times a year.... but the last 4 months I’ve had to use it every single day.

I just bought a glass Lily pipe skimmer. I’m sure that will work.

I guess ultimately I’m just confused as to why I had nearly 3 years of hardly any surface scum issues and then 4 months ago.... constant problems. And I’ve tried to rectify it in so many ways and nothing seems to work.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
967 Posts
I know you said you've upped your maintenance routine but it still looks like you have a problem with excess dissolved organics, possibly from the wood. It could be potentially made worse depending on how much fertilizers/food you are adding. Since you said the BBA started appearing around the same time as the surface scum, I think those are both symptoms of the dissolved organics. You might try either more frequent water changes and/or pulling back on the dosing/feeding and see where that leaves you. I had similar issues in one of my tanks and I added a larger filter and also more frequent water changes. It's my 5g shrimp tank so I only do water changes of 20% sometimes twice a week, usually just once though. I saw a big improvement with both of those issues. All the BBA is gone and I only occasionally see the start of the "oil slick" when the sponge on the filter starts to restrict the flow.



On the other hand, my Java Fern seems to be suffereing without the extra ferts. Lately I've been adding some water from my 75g planted tank to see if I can perk it up again. I figured it should be like a diluted fert dosing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
Recently I moved and ever since, I too have been trying to deal with persistent surface scum. From what I can tell my case was just that we get a lot of dust build up in the apartment. I installed a small surface skimmer, Oceanfree surface skimmer, and it solved the issue but I would have to clean it every 2-3 days. Couple days ago, I got new shrimp and some duckweed came with them. I stopped using the skimmer because it would suck the duckweed BUT so far ever since adding the floating plants, I havent had any surface scum buildup in that tank. Whereas usually 6-8 hours without the skimmer I'd see the surface scum.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top