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Surface Film

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by shane, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have a film that develops on the surface of my planted tank. After a water change it will take about 1 day for it to appear. I scim it off every other day.

    I prepare my water changes in a 20 gallon garbage can 24 hours before a water change. I add Seachem Prime and add K2SO4 for Potassium. I do not dose NO3 or PO4 currently. Before the water change I notice a surface film in the 20 gallon water change bucket. Could the K2SO4 be causing the surface film?

    Anybody have any experience with K2SO4 powder causing surface film?
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Shane,

    The surface scum is usually caused by a LACK of nutrients. You may want to start dosing K and P on a regular basis as per EI along with your traces.
     
  3. Mooner

    Mooner Lifetime Charter Member
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    I use K2SO4 in a 30 gal without a overflow using EI. Tank has a surface film which progressively gets worse by weeks end, then clears after the WC. This tanks film was there even prior to using K2SO4 so don't believe that's the culprit. Best idea on this site is to provide surface movement to help break up the film. Otherwise, plants grow well.

    I'll take a leap here. When using Declor after Cloroxing, and I leave it for a few days soaking, the container with Declor will have a ton of scum on it. Maybe it's the Prime in your mixing bucket?? But I doubt the tanks problem.
     
  4. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Gerryd,

    I dose TMG for traces every morning. I do not dose P & K because I have (4) large discus that do that for me (along with the ADA AquaSoil). I have tested the P to be about 1-1.5 PPM before a water change. I test about 15-20PPM NO3 before a water change. I figure I don't need to dose P&K?

    I dose about 0.5tsp 3 times per week of K. Perhaps I should bump it up to 0.75tsp 3 time a week?

    The tank is a 58 gallon (50 gallons of water) tank.
     
  5. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Mooner,

    I was going to try and not put the K2SO4 in the water change bucket and see if the scum is there or not. I suppose it could be the prime. I looked at the water coming out of the tap after filling the water bucket (with no prime or K2SO4) but didn't see any scum.
     
  6. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Shane,

    Is this a newer tank? My EI planted tank had a little scum for maybe a month or so. It completely went away after that, so I assumed it was maturity of the tank. I did, however, have a ton of surface movement.
     
  7. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    This tank has been up about 1.5 years. I have a good amount of surface movement. Just trying to figure out how to get rid of it (besides manual removal).
     
  8. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Shane,

    Something is amiss here...

    I used a ton of K2SO4 in my EI tank after I got up to a rather large fish load. It didn't cause any scum for me.

    Have you had this scum layer for all 1.5 years? If not, what had changed when it started?

    Maybe if you post your tank specs -- filter specs, lighting, plant load, fish load, etc -- one of the experts here can give you some clues.
     
  9. rich815

    rich815 Guru Class Expert

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    In the 1 1/2 years I've had my rimless and open-top 72 gal planted tank I've had surface film or scum 3-4 times. First time I suspected it was from my mother-in-law spraying some room freshener in the nearby living room since when I asked her to stop the film went away. Things were fine for about 9 months. I then went high-tech late last spring and almost immediately started having a surface film again. Then 2-3 weeks later as fast as it showed up it went away. Since it has happened once more in the same way: it came, couple weeks later disappeared. Now as of last week I have a lot of small bubbles and slight froth going on the surface! I mostly follow a general EI regime and cannot imagine how this all of a sudden came about. I did start dosing my ferts straight dry by sprinkling into the tank 2 weeks ago. Maybe I'll go back to mixing them in a cup of tank water and then pouring them in again to see if somehow that caused it.....go figure!
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Shane, I have surface films is higher bioload tanks.

    This is moe than likely why, otherwise, the other folk's reasons are fairly true overall.
    Still, you are not going to get rid of it easy without a surface skimmer with high bioloading/feeding.

    All the food has the scum(lipids) and it'll come back even with tip top plant growth and frequent water changes.

    The food is the culprit and the waste from fish.
    They are big heavily fed cichlids, I have high ioloading and feed a lot, so i's easy to see and there is a progression based on bioloading in the 6 tanks I have.
    More scum where the fish load is higher, O2 is lower and plant growth less.

    If I stop feeding for awhile and give it a week it seems to clear up.
    But that's rare:)
    I like to feed.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    tedr108,

    Here are my tank specs:

    58 gallon tank
    T5HO lighting - 39 Watts on from 9AM to 4PM other 39 watts on from 12Noon to 7PM
    I run 3 filters - Eheim 2217, Eheim 2215, Eheim 2076
    I run a ultraviolet all the time
    Pressurized CO2 via a AM1000 reactor
    I have (4) discus, (8) Rummynose, (3) German Blue Rams, (2) Corys, (3) ottos
    Tank is fairly denslely planted

    It sounds like my bioload is what is causing the scum. I just find it interesting that the water bucket water already has scum in it.
     
  12. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Strictly a guess on the water bucket scum here, but it makes sense to me:

    K2SO4 doesn't dissolve easily ... it would not surprise me if it does cause some sort of scum at the top of your bucket water, since there is no flow there. However, once this water is put in the tank, I think that the K2SO4 mixes in very quickly. I think the scum in your tank is not the same scum that was in your bucket.

    I like your choice of fish, by the way ... post a pic some day, if you can get one (I have not had much luck getting good pics of my tank). I recently got 4 German Blue Rams myself ... to go with my cardinals (5), panda corys (4), otos (4) and marginatus pencils (3). The rams are rather brave ... first time I've ever had fish that come over to whatever side of the tank I am on and eat right out of my hand to boot. Yes, I know they don't care about me and only want food, but it's still nice. :)
     
  13. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    tedr108,

    I will try and get some good pics of the tank. I am defintely an amateur when it comes to taking aquarium pics. I need t0o spend some time one day and mess with the settings on the camera to get a good pic.

    In my water change water bucket, I do run a power head and heater. It may also be the tap water that has some film in it right out of the tap. I didn't notice any film after I pour the water in but a day later I do notice a little.

    I do love the german blur rams. Mine are a bit fiesty. They all chase each other around the tank. Sometimes the rams will push the corys around and even a few of the rummynose.
     
  14. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    It might sound crazy, but I always keep a few Black Mollies in my tank to keep the scum away. I heard this from someone a while back and it works! They are always grazing at the top and I think they aggitate the surface to keep the scum away.

    Give it a try. I would love to hear how it worked.
    Matt
     
  15. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    I just added 1 black molly to my scummy 29 gallon today and it did the job...
     
  16. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Can mollies survive in 84F water?
     
  17. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Well I am still manually skimming the surface of the water daily to get rid of some surface film. Anybody have any automated ways of getting rif of surface film? I have seen the Eheim surface skimmer but have never used one. Other than that, is feeding less the only way to get rid of this stuff?
     
  18. rthomas

    rthomas Guru Class Expert

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    Shane, Mollies are very hardy. I have them in my tank and the temp is 28C, which is more or less 84F (close to 29C). I suggest you try them. They have good reputation of cleaning surface scums.
     
  19. Dmaaaaax

    Dmaaaaax Prolific Poster

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    You could try this:
    [​IMG]
    Aquarium Surface Skimmer

    It is most likely from the multiple feedings but as long as you keep up the weekly cleanings you should be fine. If the Discus are happy I wouldn't about it too much. You could however try to switch to different brands that may be less oily...etc, depending on what you feed them. If it is frozen food, thaw it in a cup of water dump out the water and then add the food. This can help lower the amount of slime you are adding each time.
     
  20. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Submersible multifilter

    Its been a while so you might not have this problem any longer. What was the answer to surface film? This DJ 100 Multi-Filter is underpowered for a tank your size but I place mine horizontally at the waters surface and it has all night to filter surface scum. I tried the Aquarium Surface Skimmer but never could get it to work properly. :mad:
     
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