there's a film on the water...
It's my 5g soil substrate tank... right now it just has a tiny guppy fry and some java moss because my order form Sweet Aquatics hasn't come in yet.
I noticed this morning that the flakes (3 tiny pieces of flake) that I placed in the tank for the fry is uneaten... but stranger still, it's been floating for about 18 hours.
Upon closer examination, there's a film on the water. The film is clear, so a photo is impossible, but I'm affraid it could prevent gas exchange since I see some tiny round bubbles stuck under the water surface.
I did a 50% PWC but approximately 5 minutes later it's back.
I stirred the water surface vigorously with my finger, and I could see this whitish/clear stuff in the water.
The tank is filterless, and I'd like to keep it that way.
I don't mind the film, but I'm just wondering if it's harmful.
(tankmates for now, will just be some snails and plants, with maybe 6 neons or tiny tetras coming soon)
Probably a protein scum, common in all aquaria unless there is sufficient surface movement to prevent it. I used to run surface skimmers on my canister filters for this purpose, but took them off when the small fish and fry kept getting sucked in. Depending upon your type of filter, it is possible to arrange the outflow so that it creates a minimal current across the water surface, just enough to prevent the protein scum but not enough to cause CO2 to be driven off in excess.
I have this quite thick in my 70g SE Asian tank, because the floating plants are thick (I have Chocolate Gourami and pygmy gourami fry constantly hiding in the floating plants); each week during the pwc I simply hold the tube under water and carefully draw off the surface scum.
It is unsightly, and it does negatively affect the exchange of gasses at the surface, but in a planted tank this is not a cause for concern.
I have the film too. In my 5g and 55g. This is because I have my outflow pointing downward so there is no surface movement for my Angels. The film doesn't really bother me becauwe you don't notice it looking straight at the tank. Byron, you're saying the film will not cause harm to the fish or live plants?
Oh great. I have a few crypts...haha. I didn't think it caused harm and I wasn't concerned. But thought I'd inquire about it as well since Redchigh started a thread on it. Thanks, Byron!
redchigh I too had the scum develop in the filterless invert tank when I first set this up; I tossed in a lil pennywort and let it just float on the top by itself and its near-gone now.;-)
Since you're doing the soil approach are you poking the soil daily with a lil stick?
1, that the MTS will do most of that for me,
2, the "bad" bacteria that ends up killing fishes does so because it produced vast amounts of CO2. I know what the PH is on setup, so I'm going to watch the correlation between PH (co2) and lighting intensity. If the PH rises under more light, then more CO2 is being used. I have about 2.5-3 inches of gravel, and small amounts of soil are mixed into the bottom 1/3 of gravel.
Wouldn't the plants get enough nutes from that?
If not I'll start poking. I have cuttings of all the plants in other tanks so if it crashes I have backups to start over...
MTS will do the same then "poking with stick" :-)
For a proper co2 development chart you'd wanna test and record your pH AND the KH development...just saying :-)
If you have used something like organic topsoil/ clay mix; that in combo with what your water has to offer on minerals will do for the plants.
No ferts in a long time, and rinse it a lot before putting it in. (Didn't sift it though, so was probably a bit of organic material left- might be a tiny drowned worm in there or two or roots or something, causing the ammonia spike.
On your last point, as Angel said you may have sufficient from the soil and minerals in the water. The plant growth rate and appearance will tell you that; yellowing leaves will indicate nutrient deficiency assuming your light is adequate.
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