the top of my water has a light film and collects some bugs - is this typical? Is there a way to prevent this as well?
aim a powerhead up alittle to disrupt the surface, this allows for good gas exchange.
This is one of the primary benefits of a sump system. A sump utilizes an overflow, which skims the surface of proteins, improving gas exchange. There are very few hang on skimmers which utilize an overflow, and those that do require almost daily evaporation replacement.
From your question, I assume you do not have a sump. In this situation, improved water movement at the surface will be very important. I also suggest that you use your siphon hose to remove the surface film when doing water changes. It requires a steady hand, but you can bend the hose towards the surface and skim the film off.
Unfortunately,i dont have room for a sump and must use a hang on skimmer (aqua c). I think its doing a good job, every couple of days i empty this green foamy liquid out. Ill try to skim the top with while doin g water changes. thanks
I have never used this, but before I installed my sump, I was eyeing this for my 46 gallon reef:
Aquarium Surface Skimmer
I think this needs to be used with a canister filter, and if possible, I would suggest incorporating a sump before using a filter...
Actually, I ran a canister filter empty for a few months before I incorporated my sump. It never trapped anything, because there was no filter media in it. It was a good way to turn over the water, and before the sump, added another output (acting like a powerhead).
And I did suggest installing a sump (and not using a filter), but I believe the OP said that a sump wasn't possible at this time.
On the up side, eliminating this surface film will increase light penetration. Also, removing it from the surface will get it back into the water and allow for possible removal by a hang on skimmer.
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