surface skimmer? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-19-2009, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
surface skimmer?

How important is this tool? Ive never had to use one before but im starting to get some kind of film forming at the surface of ym aquarium and i was wondering if i should invest in one? Also can anyone tell me how this thing works and why its needed?
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-19-2009, 02:48 PM
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Depending on how big the tank size is I would reccommend the subcurrent surface skimmer it removes organic film off the top of the water it is rated for 30 gallons and i've had real good luck with this in my tidepool recreation. go to this link to learn more Aquarium Filters & Water Quality: Current SubCurrent Internal Wet/Dry Filter
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-20-2009, 07:17 AM
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It's not typically considered as vital for a freshwater aquarium as it is for marine. If you want to there are some filters like the above that will do some surface skimming but unless its really bothering you I wouldn't worry about it.

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-20-2009, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
well my tank is 46 gallons, and the film isnt all that bad but its kinda gross sometimes. What is it? Is it a form of bacteria?
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-20-2009, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
sometimes i feel like there's a lot of film and on other days it seems pretty clean so i dont know what to expect or what i should do.
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-20-2009, 09:17 PM
$1 surface skimmer: Empty water bottle.

Just empty out a plastic water bottle, and hold it *right under* the surface. All of the scum should flow right into it. I've done it on my 40G, because I couldn't see through the surface.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-21-2009, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
haha, but then... i would have to touch it... plus im not at home a lot so if its necessary i want something that does it regularly.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-21-2009, 07:43 AM
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My understanding is that the scum is protein of some sort. I've read where having the skum interferes with the oxygen exchange between the water and air. When feeding the fish, I also don't like how the food just sits there in a clump. I understand this scum layer only occurs with tanks that use filters that don't disturb the surface. Most canister filters fall under this category. That's why most surface skimmers attach to the inlet of a canister filter. Power filters and airstones tend to break the surface tension and keep this scum from forming.
I'm in the process of moving away from my UGF to using an Eheim 2217. When I turned off the UGF, the scum appeared. So I turned the UGF back on.
I'm looking at surface skimmers myself but have heard mixed reviews. The Ehiem skimmer isn't large enough flow-wise for the 2217 so I'd have to use a value to control it. I've heard floating plants can interfere with it and introduce air into the canister. I also heard that Eheim's design can suck up fish. Tom's skimmer is a better choice but the intake line is a non-standard size. You'd have to run to the hardware store to gets parts to make it work.
I'm leaning toward either adding a second HOB filter which is a good idea anyway. Or I may just add an air stone. If I was using CO2 an airstone would be a bad idea but I use Excel. No issues with losing the CO2 .
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