Setting up a Cardinal Sulawesi shrimps tank (Step by Step by Riversun)

Posted by Giao D Truong on Dec 4th 2015

This is an article on how to set up a Cardinal Sulawesi shrimp tank by professional breeder Truong Nhut Giang (Riversun) in Vietnam. I have met and setup this tank together with him while on a trip to Vietnam. Here is step by step with picture and I also provide some recommended replacements for hobbyists in the US on the products he uses in the setup.

Follow the link for more info on Cardinal Sulawesi shrimp:

Tank: ~17 gal (60x30x36cm)

Substrate: Seachem Onyx, Onyx Sand

Filter: undergravel filter, Eheim 2213, Gex Canister Filter, Sponge Filter, pump, air pump

Filter media: Matrix Pond, Eheim Substrat Pro, Mech, Seachem Denitrate, Ceramic Rings, Sponge

Additives: Benibachi Super Bacteria Bee Max, Benibachi Mineral for Shrimp, Prodibio Biodigest, Prodibio StopAmmo

Mineral: RO water with Saltyshrimp Sulawesi 7.5

Step 1: spread 1L Matrix Pond in the tank, get ready to install undergravel filter on top.

(Replacement for Matrix Pond: Seachem Matrix, ceramic rings)

Step 2: Install the undergravel filter fit in place, on top of the Matrix Pond

Step 3: prepare bacteria and minerals additive for the setup. In this case, we use Benibachi brand products include: Super Bacteria Bee Max and Mironecton Powder Mineral for Shrimp.

(Other additives products can be used for replacement if desired:

Mosura: BT-9 and Old Sea Mud Powder

BorneoWild: Enlive and Minerax)

Started to spread a layer of Benibachi Super Bacteria Bee Max and Mineral in the tank, note that we did not put the additive on top of the undergravel filter, just around it.

Step 4: pour half (1/2) bag of Seachem Onyx substrate (have big grain size) in the tank, cover evenly on the undergravel filter and additives

Step 5: now pour half (1/2) bag of Seachem Onyx Sand substrate (small grain size) on top and continue to spread Benibachi Bee Max and Minerals additives evenly

Step 6: pour the remaining half bag of Seachem Onyx Sand substrate (small grain size) into the tank, use the Sand Flattener to keep the substrate flat and smooth

Step 7: we decided to use some aquascaping stones to make an Iwagumi layout. The stones should have porous surface for algae to grow on , Sulawesi shrimps love to hang on these stones to munch algae. In USA, we can use Ohko stones, Seiryu stones, Lava rocks and Ryuho stones...

Sulawesi shrimps are shy and normally hide a lot. So if you'd like to see them, it's best not to use too much stones.

Step 8: after finishing the hardscape, fill the tank with RO water SLOWLY.

While waiting for the water to fill in, prepare the filter system. It is not possible to over filter an aquarium, although it is possible to have too much current for the shrimp. SO depending on your choice to choose the best filter system for your shrimps. In this case, we use:

The main filter: eheim 2213 - full Eheim subtrat pro + mech.
Connect the undergravel filter to a pump and run through Gex 6090 canister filter - ceramic rings, Seachem Denitrate and sponge.

Step 9: After water is full, the water is pretty clear. Run filters, air pump and lights on to speed up the cycle.

Step 10: dose Prodibio BioDigest start and StopAmmo start. These vials help created a healthy Bacteria system for any aquarium setup and maintenance. All of Jungle Aqua Shrimp tank using these products.

Light is on for 12 to 14 hours a day to help algae growing on the stones, the main food for Sulawesi shrimps when introduce them to the tank.

After 1 week, test NO3 and it's 0

Pictures of the tank after running the cycle for 2 weeks:

After 1 month from day 1 setup, he put 30 Cardinal shrimps in the tank 

He now got more than 100 of them with babies hanging around: