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Old 02-06-2005, 12:59 AM   #1
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plants not pearling - odd reflective film on surface???

So I noticed today that my plants were not pearling at their usual rate which was odd. When I looked in from the top it appears almost as if I have an oil slick on the surface of the water. I tried to break it up but it just slicks back together. It is sort of shiny & is reflecting a lot of my light back out of the tank I think.

Its not from overfeeding cause I haven't fed any non-veg food for 3-4 days.

What could it be?? I did do some transplanting a couple of days ago I guess it could be from my substrate??
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Old 02-06-2005, 09:40 AM   #2
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I've seen this aswell, it happens on very still surfaces.

perhaps if you have a HOB filer like the TetraWhisper 40, or a Cannister, Fluval makes a skimmer attachment that I would recommend (bout 10$ down there) and i've mated it to a hob, but now it's on a fluval 304. keeps the surface perfectly clear.

(I think the oil is produced by the plants, but don't quote me on that)

http://www.bestfish.com/tips/102799.html

http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/...tegory_id=2631
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Old 02-09-2005, 12:55 AM   #3
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Hmm I will have to look into that - does the skimmer take up much surface area cause I am very limited on that with a tall tank?
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Old 02-09-2005, 03:56 AM   #4
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Surface scum happens. Old dead matter, or decaying fish. I never had it show up for almost two years but this year it frequents my tank. I hear its normal and no worries. It comes and goes. Supposedly live bearers like Mollies or Swords will skim it away, but my two Swords don't do much for it. Water change the top can help and I try to just ignore it. It will disappear, then come back. A protien skimmer will certainly clear it up too, but thats more money. Go figure.
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Old 02-09-2005, 07:19 AM   #5
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the surface skimmer I mentioned takes up about 2" diameter of the surface, not much at all.. it only has a thin rod that sticks out of the canopy (you could drill a 3/8" hole)

The only down side is you have to turn the flow rate of the filer down while feeding, otherwise it will splurp off all the food, but that's not too big a problem.

You don't really need a protien skimmer..
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:16 AM   #6
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I have seen this happen with certain water conditioners/dechlorinators, especially the ones that contain aloe or other plant-based additives for "slime coat health.". If you have changed brands recently, or you are getting down to the end of a bottle that would be my first suspicion.
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Old 02-09-2005, 09:20 PM   #7
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I purchased a "Skimmer" attatchment for my peng 170 bio wheeles..cost me 14 dollars at the LFS..nothing fancy but it attaches to the siphon pick up for most any HOB filter and I have had 0 surface scum ever since. If your tank is planted, i recommend giving it a try, it cost's very little and keeps the surface perfectly clean, especially after those gravel vacums that cause a complete mess
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Old 02-09-2005, 09:36 PM   #8
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As TankGirl said, I would suspect the water conditioners. Excess organic waste is often the culprit. I had this problem for a while too, and discontinued using "slime protectants" and it cleared up. This may help you http://www.thetropicaltank.co.uk/rev-cond.htm.
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:00 PM   #9
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I use nothing special in my tank beside Prime to dechlor, and I still get the surface scum sometimes. Its a layer of protiens...dissolved organic compounds.

Don't waste money on a protein skimmer. I've only heard of one or two people getting a skimmer to work on freshwater.

Clean, un-dyed, un-scented paper towels - lay them on the water surface, then remove. Repeat several times and you'll see the scum thin out and disappear.
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:19 PM   #10
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I would use the skimmer, with the frequency that it can occur, it's easier to turn a thumb piece then soping it up. (9$ is not expensive) and I can vouche that they work very well.

I also use Prime for dechlor aswell. (don't need aloe at a cost of 4x the price)
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Old 02-09-2005, 11:23 PM   #11
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I don't use anything for dechlor or any water conditioners. I have started using a new plant fertilizer though . . . Hm . . . Its only a problem cause I like my plants as much as my fish & it makes them slightly unhappy. I did try the paper towel thing a bit already but not whole ones & not several rounds.

Thank you all for your help and advice. I probably won't do anything right away. After I stop renovating & planting if I still have trouble I will look into a skimmer or maybe throw in a couple more mosquito fish from the pond.
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Old 02-10-2005, 01:17 AM   #12
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If interested, here's a pic of my modified HOB intake. Its not skimming the surface in the pic (redundant skimmer), but you get the idea. Parts are clear plastic pipe from an artstore and some 90 deg elbows.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:49 PM   #13
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Thanks it looks pretty simple. I appreciate you taking time to take the picture.

Folks are sure helpful around here.
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