Aquarium Fish

Member Spotlight on Slug

Online Aquarium Fish Magazine | Member Spotlight - Slug (Matt)

Introduction:

My name is Matt, and I am 22 years old. The aquatic hobby stuck young for me. I grew up in a house where there was always at least 1 fish tank running. My dad kept a small simple 20 gallon fish tank with livebearers and tetras all throughout my childhood up until my early teenage years. By the age of 12 I owned my own tank.


Shortly after my first tank had been established I found that the internet was a wealth of information. This is when I became fully devoted and engulfed in the internet message boards pretaining to fish. Like myself I knew there were new people to the hobby and I wanted to be able to connect with them and give them some tips that I found helpful while also receiving any advice they might want to share. All I did whenever I had time was sit at the computer, studying cichlids, specific species, their needs, experiences with them, foods they like, everything. I was building my mental database, window shopping for the future. Not to mention making contacts and great friends in the hobby at the same time.

Around 2002 or 2003 I bought my first "big" tank. A 55 gallon monster compared to all of the others in the house. Discus had always been on my wishlist since I got into the hobby, just never a real possibility until I got my 55 gallon tank. I decided once again to swim upstream and ignore all the warnings of difficulty associated and dove head first. I bought some small discus at my LFS. I kept them sucessfully for 2 years until I decided to move on to another type of fish.

In Febuary of 2007 I took a large step in my hobby and setup a saltwater tank. I setup a 2.5 gallon pico reef. Something so small could still support amazing amounts of life. This tank has since migrated into a 10 gallon Nano reef. Supporting over 18 different types of coral from SPS, to LPS, to softies.

Its been just about 10 years since I first entered this awesome hobby. And for the past 10 years I haven't been without at least one tank running. Heres to another 10.

My Aquariums:

Cobalt Discus 55 gallon: This is a barebottom discus growout tank. A tank for pairs to form basically. It contains 8 discus of different strains, ranging in size from 3-5". Cobalts, Blue Diamonds, Red Marlboros, Brilliant Turqs, and Alenquers. The tank has been running a good 3-4 years, but was only recently switched to a discus tank. Temprature is 86, pH sits at around 7 - 7.3. I do daily water changes on this tank and feed with a rotation of Beefheart, bloodworms, and misquito larva, 2-3 times per day.

29 gallon: The Angelfish tank has been running for probably 2 years. It houses a single male angelfish and bristlenose pleco. The male angelfish's mate died of old age a few months ago.

20 gallon: Barebottom discus breeding tank. This smaller bare tank is home to a Cobalt X Blue Diamond pair of discus that I am currently working with. Temp is around 86, pH is about 7. Like the big discus tank, it gets the same feeding and water change schedule.

Labidochromis caeruleus 20 gallon: Labidochromis caeruleus juveniles. This tank is a sand and rock tank that is home to some Labidochromis caeruleus juviniles that are growing out. A bristle nose pleco also lives here.

10 gallon: Nano Reef - Ah, my nano reef. My pride and joy. This tank is full of coral and 2 fish. It is my play tank, as I am always tinkering with it. Growing the coral, fragging the coral, rearranging. This tank is about 2 years old and houses SPS, LPS, Zoas, and Softies as far as coral goes, a Royal Gramma and Fourline Wrasse call the reef home as well. Out of the 18 types of coral I own, there are multipule color forms of each.

Aquatic Photography:

I've gotten great feedback on the pictures I take. Its a second hobby of mine that I love and enjoy, and I can intertwine it with fish keeping so it works great. A lot of people always want to know how. A few main points I can tell you is.
  • Have patience, don't rush the shot. Fish are naturally curious and will approach you, they set up the shot.
  • Stay in one place on the tank, don't chase the fish around the tank.
  • Practice! Rome wasn't built in a day
  • Know your tank. Know where your flash bounces back and avoid these areas, know what makes a good background in pictures and setup look at this area.
  • Know your fish, know how they react and their patterns of movement.
  • Finally, charge your battery and empty your memory card. Not only will you be sitting there a long time, but you will take hundreds of pictures and only find 10 useable ones. It happens, just be patient.
Sure camera and equipment plays into it. But reguardless, the basics are the same. I've captured some awesome pictures with a simple point and shoot camera. The more you work the better you get, post your pictures, enter photo contests, just get your pictures out there for people to see. You'll be a great photographer in no time!

4 Line Wrasse Cleaner Shrimp Macro shot of Acropora Coral Polyps Bubbles on Coral

Future Plans:
This hobby is ever evolving and our tanks will never be fully completed. They are always a work in progress. Some of my future plans include:
  • House a Paretroplus breeding program (As well as other ACA CARES species)
  • Own a fishroom/fish house
  • Own and breed a group of L046 Zebra Plecos
  • Advance my Discus breeding to a level that I can actually call myself a quality breeder
  • Win with a showfish at the ACAs
My main goal is to keep the hobby what it is. I don't want a store front, and if some business comes from selling some fish, let it. But I don't plan on looking for it. My main concern is passing along quality fish so others can enjoy the hobby that has held my intrest for the past 10 years.

Acknowledgements:

First off to Dino and Ross. Two of the nicest, most generous people in the hobby. Your knowledge, helpfulness, and devotion to the hobby is second to none.

To all those involved with local and national clubs, keep it up. This is where quality fish and the drive for the hobby starts and continues.

Fishlore, thanks for welcoming me and providing me a new "home" online as well as giving me a chance to be spotlighted. These sites are really what the love for the hobby is about. For people to take time out of their day to help others wanting to become involved is awesome. Fishlore is a great community, not just another book on the bookshelf.



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