The Planted Tank Forum - View Single Post - Beginning a Sulawesi tank *update 4/21*
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-03-2009, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
Join Date: May 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 245
Beginning a Sulawesi tank *update 4/21*

(planning and building are easy, I suppose its getting the livestock and keeping them alive that will pose the challenge!)

Well, I am now starting my second scape (not counting a 10 gallon crs tank) and my wife has informed me it will be my last! Well, I better make it worth while then.

My goal is to have a Sulawesi biotope, very different from my 90 gallon. This one will have a pH between 7 and 8, lower light ( 2watts per gallon) and fewer plants - i am thinking moss and emergent growth plants,(up through the surface) maybe more Giant Hair Grass. Please let me know if you can suggest any plants that would be appropriate.

The tank:

A 60 regular = 48" x 15" and 17" high.

The mechanicals - This will be a closed loop system.

4 holes (1 and 3/4 inch diameter). The water from the tank will go through 2 x 1" bulk heads with a shrimp friendly modified prefilter. The returns will be split - two 3/4 in Loc-Line nozzles at the substrate level, and an over the top-edge Loc-Line with flared nozzles at the surface to keep things flowing and well aerated.

Filtration -
mechanical will be provided by a 20 inch Big Blue whole house sediment filter. This will take 4.5" x 20" pleated polyester cartridges - 50 micron - by Flow- Max. These are chemically resistant which will allow them to be cleaned and re-used. Flow rate through put on these is 20gpm at 2psi. The housing was available for $26 on e-bay and the cartridges are $18. A big savings over the $160 Ocean Clear with a $60 cartridge! Performance is equivalent.

Biological - That Pet Place had the Ocean Clear 354 Polybead filter for $61! This has 7 lbs of small beads to host one heck of a bacterial colony for breaking down organic waste. I will inoculate the filter from my existing filter on the 90g tank.

Mechanical part two. I have a small filter housing that will take a 20 micron pleated cartridge for polishing the water coming from the Ocean Clear. Probably not necessary but I love clear water.

UV - I got an 18 watt Aqua Ultraviolet system. - Don't want to allow pathogens to spread and don't want green water.

Heater - 300 watt Hydor Theo plumbed in line

Substrate About 50% crushed coral gravel, 40% ADA Aqua soil "Malaya" and 10% fine sand. Interesting note: my tap comes out with a pH around 8. Even with the crushed coral, the aqua soil brings the pH down to 6.8 over night. I am changing 50% of the water daily to hopefully over come the buffering. Powerful stuff!

Lighting - an old Power Compact system with two 55 watt bulbs and a white plastic reflector. If I go with my plan of looking for plants that will grow out of the water, I will have to consider raising the light and installing better reflectors. We'll see.

No CO2 yet. Not sure I want/ need it. preventing algae will be different in this tank

Here are the picks so far:

Drilling stuff

Braced the rig to keep it steady


Built another stand

The lower shelf with it's acrylic overlay to protect from the inevitable spills

My pre filter with Shrimp friendly screen

Intake and outputs

The rest of the plumbing - yikes

The tank - I am a lousy photographer, sorry

Some detail - the Aqua soil has been placed on either end, held up by the rocks. The middle had crushed coral laid down and then I dropped the sand in from the top with the filter flowing - it created a cool rippled surfaced like you would see on a sandy bottom exposed to waves or current.

a different view

this is really cool to see in person - I can't capture it in pics.

The right side

right side with two Chocolate Poso snails

The left side

The center

Finally the filters (and some tank)

Obviously, I have more to do. I will probably start with some moss and hair grass. I also have three small, Erio "sulawesi" that I'll put in. but I am looking for help with plant selections - this is where I am a NOOB! I don't know that many plants, especially ones that work well north of pH 7.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Last edited by billb; 04-21-2010 at 11:24 PM.
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