Beginning a Sulawesi tank *update 4/21*
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:39 PM   #1
billb
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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


Viola!


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.

Bill

Last edited by billb; 04-21-2010 at 10:24 PM..
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:01 AM   #2
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Wow. This is a seriously ambitious project. Look at all those plumbing fittings.

That's a great hardscape man. I wonder why you don't see more like that. It looks very natural.

An obvious guess for plants would be crypts, although I understand that most of the high pH crypts are from Sri Lanka, not Indonesia. Somebody here ought to be able to suggest some good authentic plants.
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by billb View Post
...and my wife has informed me it will be my last! Well, I better make it worth while then.
haha. i love this. those dang wives!!
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:10 AM   #4
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Really fantastic scape. How exactly were you planning on growing mosses? Attached to additional rocks, or are you planning on adding driftwood?

You're the first person I've seen using Malaya. Very interesting.
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:10 AM   #5
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Hydrophyte!
First - thanks again for the stand design! It's great.

Second - you are a good choice to help me with a plant selection question. I have read that the Sulawesi lakes do have reeds and other plants that grow out of the water in shrimp habitat. I was thinking about Giant Hair grass as I have some. Do you have any other suggestions? I would like they plants to be able to access atmospheric CO2 instead of pumping it into the tank at high levels. Don't want to lower the pH or gas the shrimp.

Any thoughts?

Bill
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:16 AM   #6
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Really fantastic scape. How exactly were you planning on growing mosses? Attached to additional rocks, or are you planning on adding driftwood?

You're the first person I've seen using Malaya. Very interesting.
There are a couple folks in So Cal with Malaya. In my case, I knew I wouldn't be looking for intensive plant growth but wanted a good substrate. The brown color also looks good with the rock and sand. There will be a lot of substrate visible so i didn't want to try and blend/hide the black Aqua Soil.

As for the moss, I will attach it to small rocks and fit it into a few crevices.

Bill
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:20 AM   #7
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Love, love, love the way the sand and rocks make the bottom look like a river system ! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the scape.

Hope you're gonna have lots of luck with your Sulawesis, so you can sell some to me in a few months .
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:34 AM   #8
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Hydrophyte!
First - thanks again for the stand design! It's great.

Second - you are a good choice to help me with a plant selection question. I have read that the Sulawesi lakes do have reeds and other plants that grow out of the water in shrimp habitat. I was thinking about Giant Hair grass as I have some. Do you have any other suggestions? I would like they plants to be able to access atmospheric CO2 instead of pumping it into the tank at high levels. Don't want to lower the pH or gas the shrimp.

Any thoughts?

Bill
There are quite a few pretty cool plants you could put in there. It might be more difficult to find stuff that will grow emersed and which is also authentic to the habitat. Would you be willing to fill the tank to just 1/3 to 1/2 full? You could do a riparium type setup, or plant taller emergent stuff right in the bottom. It looks like you have everything hard-plumbed already and it might be difficult to have the tank half-empty(?).

You know for underwater plants needle-leaf Java fern might be a good one to start with. You might want to cut back on the lighting for this non-CO2 and high pH setup.
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:43 AM   #9
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There are quite a few pretty cool plants you could put in there. It might be more difficult to find stuff that will grow emersed and which is also authentic to the habitat. Would you be willing to fill the tank to just 1/3 to 1/2 full? You could do a riparium type setup, or plant taller emergent stuff right in the bottom. It looks like you have everything hard-plumbed already and it might be difficult to have the tank half-empty(?).

You know for underwater plants needle-leaf Java fern might be a good one to start with. You might want to cut back on the lighting for this non-CO2 and high pH setup.
Java fern would work well!. I suspect I will want to raise the light - both to accomodate emersed growth and to keep the algae in check. This could be a modified riparium. I will most likey just work with a few species as I think it would look more authentic

Thanks for your suggestion



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Old 10-03-2009, 12:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
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.
lol - my wife said that 4 tanks ago. this looks like it's going to be another great build. can't wait to see it all put together.
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:50 AM   #11
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double post - woot!

i just remembered this link. it has some good photos of what you're recreating.

http://www.planetinverts.com/sulawes...er_photos.html
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:03 AM   #12
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So long as the room air isn't too dry Java fern can work great as an emersed plant too.

I don't know how authentic it would be, but Cryptocoryne ciliata is another one that will grow happily emersed and likes hard water. You could plant ciliata right in the bottom, or in riparium planters. C. balansae--better as an underwater plant--also grows best in hard water
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:28 AM   #13
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Those look like some kind of Vallisneria in the link (from that very unpopular Website) that oldpunk78 posted. Vals are also good ones for hard water. I don't know Vallisneria at all really, but the plants in those pictures look like they have very short leaves, with long flower stalks. Something like that would scale nice with your tank.

I like Vallisneria. Those lake-bottom pictures resemble the hard water lakes that we have around here, in the springtime, before they fill up with stinky algae.
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:26 AM   #14
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Wow. Your tank looks great already with out any plants.
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:35 AM   #15
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Old Punk - thank you for the link. I have done some searching for info but those pictures are great.

Hydrophyte, I have some plant lists from some searches and I think they are a species of Val. At any rate, it looks like something with a grass like form would be a good choice.

Bill
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