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Old 04-24-2003, 10:28 AM   #1
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Film of bubbles

Hi all - thanks many of you for the excellent aqdvice so far to this newbie!
I've got another ... issue...
On top of my 90 gallon wannabe reef I keep getting a build up of a sticky film of bubbles. It's like bubbles rising from the sand get 'caught' in a film of something and form this layer floating on the water. It's not there all the time - just seems to appear every few weeks. The only way I get rid of it is to skim it with a large plastic salad spoon (yeah, my wife LOVES this hobby ).
I've got hang-on-the-back Prizm skimmer which is producing some pretty foul-looking and foul-smelling stuf all the time but I'm wondering if I'm simply not skimming enough of this?

Figures are:
90 gallon.
135 lb of live rock (in for 3 months)
PH 8.2
Amm. 0
Nitrite. 0
Nitrate 2.5
1 Percula clown
3 damsels
5 red-leg hermits
3 Mexican Turbo snails
1 marble star
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Old 04-24-2003, 12:18 PM   #2
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My guess would be that it's a combination of the DOC's that accumulate on top of the water and the bubbles. The bubbles are getting trapped in the DOC's. If there is some way to add a surface skimmer to the Prizm, it should take care of it.
Logan J
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Old 04-24-2003, 12:21 PM   #3
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It sounds to me like your getting a touch of green slime cyano. Anyway, try pointing one of your powerheads towards the surface to break up the film. Another thing you can do is either buy or make a surface skimmer for your skimmer. Most of the organic material in your tank floats up to the surface so your skimmer will remove more if it draws water from the surface. I heard that red sea came out with a surface skimmer for the prizm but I haven't seen it yet.

Brian
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Old 04-24-2003, 12:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loganj
My guess would be that it's a combination of the DOC's that accumulate on top of the water and the bubbles. Logan J
Erm... Logan... excuse my ignorance but what are DOC's??

Also I do have the 'Pro' version of the skimmer with the inlet adapter for surface skimming. Since I haven't gotten around to my auto top-off device (parts on order) this is set quite low though. Maybe that's the problem?

Thanks for the advice though.
Andy.
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Old 04-24-2003, 12:59 PM   #5
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Sorry...I get lazy and start using acronyms . DOC's = dissolved organic compunds. This is the film that develops on top of the water. If you can set the surface skimmer on the Prizm up so that it is pulling this stuff in, you should see a big difference in a day or two. The Prizm Pro should be plenty of skimmer for your tank. Are you running a sump? If not, you might want to consider it as that will, among other things, keep the water level in the tank stable.

Also, for a 90, I'm thinking you need a few more clean up critters. I have, in a 20 high, about 6 astrea snails, 4 cerith snails, 10 blue leg hermits, 5 scarlet hermits, and 1 emerald crab. I say about because I have moved some back and forth from my coral tanks, but that's a pretty close count.

Do you have a DSB (deep sand bed) in this tank?
Logan J
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Old 04-24-2003, 01:16 PM   #6
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Logan,
Ahhh.... all makes sense now!
Well no I'm not running a sump. Probably like many people I started off with the idea of FOWLR (see, I do know some acronyms!) and then evolved my ideas later (largely as a result of this forum). So I only got a standard LFS 90 gallon All-Glass (without any holes etc in). So am I wrong in thinking that adding a sump now would be a nightmare??

I'll look at the clean up critters per your e-mail. To be honest I thought I'd got too many snails - you see these Mexican turbos that I got are around 3" diameter and eat EVERYTHING and also leave a trail of .... waste.....

No I don't have a DSB since, like you I live too far from the East coast fro Home Depot to have Southdown. I've got around 2" of Aragg-Alive. This has tons of bubles in the sand and I get a lot of bubbles rising so I presume this is working??

Thanks again,
Andy.
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Old 04-24-2003, 05:44 PM   #7
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Adding a sump wouldn't be terribly painful. You'd need an overflow box, a return pump, and well...a sump . For the overflow, CPR seems to be the most prevalent one in catalogs, but I have been warned away from them by several people. I have never used one. I have used a Marineland Tidepool overflow and did not like it at all. I think Big Al's has a basic U tube overflow for a reasonable price. The pump can be anything from a MagDrive to an Iwaki external. Depends on how much you want to spend and what you use for a sump. You can use a smaller aquarium. You can even use a Rubbermaid tub. Or you can buy an acrylic sump. If you use the aquarium, you will be limited to submersible pumps unless you have the tank drilled for a bulkhead fitting. The Rubbermaid could be drilled I suppose, but I don't know how well it would hold up. The acrylic sump is the best way to go, but will be expensive.
I like the astrea snails better because they don't move things around in the tank. I have a couple of the big turbos in my coral tank and they arrange the tank to suit them...always having to put rocks and things back. As long as you're not having problems with algae and detritus, I wouldn't worry about it a lot. You have room for more critters if you want to add them though.
If you're getting all those bubbles from the sand bed, then it is probably doing the job. Nitrates are staying low?2" is a little below the norm for a sand bed with nitrate control in mind, but it's not chiseled in stone anywhere that it won't work. Keep us posted on how things are going.
Logan J
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