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Member Spotlight on Matsungit

Online Aquarium Fish Magazine | Member Spotlight - Matsungit

Introduction:
I had a 15 gallon and 35 gallon aquarium way back in the early 80s. I didn't know the nitrogen cycle back then. I didn't have a regular cleaning schedule and would change 75% to 100% of the water occasionally and would heavily rinse the substrate. A lot of fish died every water change and I didn't know why (osmotic shock from old tank syndrome compounded by nitrogen spikes). When my last fish died (a 7" Tin Foil Barb) I got tired of the hobby and put the fish tanks in storage.

Fast forward to 2007, my wife wanted to setup an aquarium. We've heard about the nitrogen cycle but never really understood how it worked. We were having serious new tank syndrome issues and kept losing a lot of fish. We ended up having serious MTS and kept upgrading from a 20 gallon, to 36 bow front with a 10 gallon sump, and finally to a 60 gallon. The 60 gallon initially was a freshwater community and is now mild brackish with puffers and gobies. The cichlids are now in the 36 after we discovered they were too aggressive for other types of fish. Balloon mollies and platies are in the 20 gallon which we give away to the LFS when they overpopulate. The 10 gallon ended up as a sump/refugium for the 60.

The internet has given me access to countless knowledge as never before and my know-how in the hobby has expanded exponentially. You can find youself being immersed in any kind of scientific discipline in the aquarium hobby like biology, chemistry, physics, and electronics.

I usually don't follow any kind of given rule blindly. I prefer to try it out for myself. After all, first hand experience is the best teacher. I like to DIY when I can, and when it's sensible and practical.

My DIY Projects:
A Hofer Gurgle Buster and a rubber coupling for my overflow box.
overflow box

My own water level controller using china made circuits.
level controller

I upgraded the ballasts for my 48" 4x54Watt Oddysea T5HO light fixture using Philips Advance Centium ballasts purchased from Home Depot.
ballast

A return pipe using 3/4" schedule 40 PVC and fittings and a china made eductor.
eductor

DIY screen tops.
screen tops

CO2 indicator using my own 4dKh water and API pH test reagent.

The aquarium is my laboratory and I believe that there's not much difference between a saltwater and a freshwater aquarium. Probably the only thing that I havent used in my freshwater tank is a protein skimmer. I have bio pellet and GFO media reactors, I've dosed trace minerals, carbon dosing, deep sand bed, and now I'm trying my hand on a planted setup.

For this I purchased an Aquatek Mini CO2 regulator (paintball tank), a Fluval bubble counter, and an Ista Max Mix CO2 reactor. The plants are not doing so well and I have tons of algae. I'm not very good at it. But I keep trying. The good thing about the aquarium hobby is that there's always something to discover and do. It manages to keep me perpetually interested and curious about how nature works.

My 20 gallon water mix for mild brackish (1.0025 specific gravity) for partial water changes:

  • 20 gallon RO/DI water
  • 1 cup Instant Ocean or Coralife marine mix.
  • 1 teaspoon calcium carbonate (2 tsp if not planted)
  • 1 tablespoon magnesium sulfate (2 tsp if not planted)
  • 5 ml Kent Freshwater Essential (10 ml if not planted)
  • 1/8 tsp CSM+B
  • 15ml API Leaf Zone (Potassium Sulfate and/or Flourish Iron for adjustments)
  • (I'm still working on the micro/macro nutrient mix to balance my tank)

My feeding regimen, 1x daily:
2 pinches Aqueon Flakes directly in the tank with pumps turned off.
Mixed frozen food in a medicine bottle to thaw: 1 cube H2O Life Spirulina Brine Shrimp and Mysis, 1 cube Hikari Mysis shrimp, 2 cubes Hikari Blood Worms, 5ml Seachem Garlic Guard, 8 drops Boyd Vita-Chem.

I'm always dreaming of having a reef tank someday but I'm currently attached to my freshwater pets. Don't get me wrong the freshwater tank still has lots of new things to offer and keep me interested and preoccupied.

Acknowledgements:
I'd like to thank my wife Sharon for having patience, understanding, and tolerating my MTS. Thanks to Steve and his wife at Pasadena Tropical Fish for having most of the supplies, equipment, and livestock I need. Thanks to CK Aquarium for having cheap Chinese made alternative equipment and supplies. They have been reasonably reliable for the appropriate use. Thanks to Ebay and Amazon for having things that are impossible to get locally. I literally buy things directly from China now.

I'd also like to thank my job (can't disclose employer without permission) for giving me a very flexible time schedule, lots of vacation hours, and the ability to telecommute.

And lastly, thanks to Fishlore for making an ideal place for hobby newcomers and veterans alike. It's a good place for sharing good knowledge as well as getting it. It's a very nice community with very knowledgeable members.

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