The candidate gases for the replacement of SF6 in magnesium melt protection were reviewed from the viewpoint of environmental effects, melt protection properties, and chemical properties. The surface films formed under fluorine bearing gases were analyzed by using XPS. The XPS results revealed that the surface films consist of MgO and MgF2. The fluorine content of the surface film increases with increasing gas concentration and exposure time. The Pilling- Bedworth ratio (PBR) of MgO was 0.73, and the porous magnesium oxide could not cover the whole melt surface. PBR of MgF2 was 1.29, and the surface film which contains MgF2 could cover a lager area of the melt surface. This higher PBR of composite surface film prevented further oxidation and evaporation of magnesium.