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Read First: A Guide To Joining & Using This Forum

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Retired Moderator
Mar 1, 2004
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Washington D.C.
How do I join?

The Register button is on the top right of the page, next to the 'Log In' button. Or you can click this link register.
You can simply click that, and enter your information. PLEASE put in a real email, because that will be necessary in validating your account so you can use the forums. Also, be sure to pick a Username you like, because that will be your identity on this forum forever! Once you fill in the required fields, read through the User Agreement, and check 'I agree' if you agree. Then click the 'Create account:', and you're registered! Once you do that, you should get an email soon, giving you a link to click. Once you click this, it will take you back to the forums, and you will all logged in and ready to post, and read topics and such. Also, be aware the email will sometimes go to your Junk Mail.

:: The Basics ::

Posting New Threads

If you are new to our forums, you can make a post in this section to introduce yourself and perhaps tell us about your tank(s). But if you have fish or tank related questions, you should post in a more appropriate area.

When you want to post something, think about what it is, and what it's about. If it is about your new Betta you just got, it should probably go in the Betta area in the Freshwater and Brackish Aquaria Discussion section of the forums. If it is about your fish that is floating upside down, it should go in the Emergencies section. If you have a more general question about fishkeeping, the Tropical Discussion section is probably a good place to post it. Try to place your posts in an appropriate forum.

There is a section called Board Announcements and Suggestions. Please do not post questions related to keeping fish in that section as that section is mainly for posting about issues you are having with using the forum or posting suggestions for improving the forum.

If for some reason you do put a thread in the wrong forum accidentally, or you are not sure where to put it, it can and will be moved by a Moderator or Administrator to the correct section, but try to do your best to put it where it should go, or where you think it should go.

Before you post a new thread about something, or asking a question, try checking the first few pages of the right forum, to see if there are any topics that might be about the same thing or something very similar. If you happen to find something, it may answer your question right there!

Another very handy feature for questions and general info is the Search Function that is at the top of every page. You can search back to as long ago as this forum was created. You can also search by section. Such as just the Livebearer section. Chances are, somebody has already posted about your question, and had it answered! Also, we have a FAQ section with many articles on different subjects, and a Fish Index for information on specific species. Also, be sure to check the pinned topics on the top of each forum for more information.

If you want to post a poll, there is an option to do that too. Go to the section you think the poll should be in, and click the 'New Topic' button. There will be an option at the top of the page to create a poll. From there, it pretty much tells you what to do. Make sure your poll isn't one sided, such as all the answers being "Great", "Nice", or "Awesome�" Also, it can be helpful to have an "Other"option.

General Posting
Everyone loves proper grammar. While it is not absolutely necessary, it is recommended that every member quickly reads over and checks what they write before they press the submit button. If you don't know how to spell something, don't worry about it. Just make an effort to make your posts easy to read. Also, please do not use ALL CAPITALS. Some people consider this shouting, and impolite. They can be okay to emphasise a few words, or such, but bold or italic works just as well. We'll show you how to do that further down.

When you post something in a thread, keep it relevant to the discussion occurring in the thread. If you want to talk about something else, post in the appropriate thread, or make a new thread about it. It is best to read up on what's going on in the thread, because sometimes posts can change drastically after the first few posts, or someone's questions may have been answered already, and now they have new ones. Conversations change, and it's best to respond to the last few messages rather than the very first post alone. Ideally, read through the entire thread to get a sense of what is going on.

Another thing that can help make people's impression of you better, and several people happier, is the use of capitalization and punctuation. It is much nicer to read something that is several complete sentences, with word capitalization and punctuation when necessary then it is to read a huge, run-on sentence that never has any capitals and it can sometimes be confusing too!

Posting Pictures

When you want to show people your gorgeous tank, or your favorite fish, there are a few ways to do this. The first way, and probably the easiest way, is to go to the Members' Aquarium and Fish Pictures section, and start a new topic there. Then click the 'Browse' button, on the bottom of the New topic page, and find the picture you want to show. You can add a few pictures per post. Another option is to use a photo hosting site, such as www.photobucket.com or http://imageshack.us. Those are free hosting sites. Once you have your pictures on there, you can copy the URL of the picture. When in the reply box paste the address in there, and it should show up as a picture!

Bold, Italic, Colors, Links etc

The place where you will most often make use of these things is when you are starting a new topic, or replying to a post. Below are some examples.
If you want to emphasize something, it is more effective to use bold or italics instead of ALL CAPS. There is a little switch at the top left of your editor when posting, so long as that is switched on then you should be able to use the buttons across the top to select the various options as you would with various well known word processors.

When you have a discussion, and you wish to quote a certain person, the simplest way to do this is by clicking the 'Reply' button at the bottom of the post you wish to quote. If you wish to quote multiple people, click on the 'Quote' button under the posts you wish to quote, then click 'Add Reply'. However, you may also manually do quotes by using the

*put quote here*
code. A quote button also appears on the top of the reply screen. The quote code puts whatever is written between the opening and closing tags into the quote box. This is much simpler and easy to read then using quotation marks, or something of the like.

The color tag you use to change the color of the text. The easiest way to do this is to select the color you want from the drop down list at the top of the reply screen.

If you want to link something, you can copy the address of the link, then click the button in the top of the reply screen that looks like a small section of chain and paste the address into there, and click 'OK'. Another box will come up. If you want to give your link a name, like Filter Info or something, then the easiest way is to type the name in, highlight it and then click the link button.

:: General Forum Information::

Private Messaging

The Private Message system is a way to have private conversations with other Forum members, similar to e-mail, except it is just within the Forum. Private Messages are generally referred to as "PMs."You can access the PM system by going into your 'Control Panel' and clicking Inbox, or Sent Messages.

If you get a Private Message, a message window will appear when you visit the forums, unless you have that disabled. If that is disabled, you can see if you have unread messages by looking at the top of the forum index. There it will say '1 New Message', or if you have no new Messages, '0 New Messages'.

If you would like to send someone a PM, you can click the button that says "PM" at the bottom of their posts, or view their profile and click "PM This Member." You could also access the PM system by clicking the "New Message" button. If you do that, you must enter the username of the member you wish to send a PM to.

When PMing someone, be sure to enter in a subject.

You will only be able to send one PM per day until you have a few posts under your belt on the forum. Sadly a rule that has been needed to stop spam bots troubling people too much.

Editing your Info:
If you want to change your information around in your profile, or add information in (Which any member can access when they click on your name, such as when you post or something), you can do so by going to the 'Edit Profile Info' section in your control panel. There you can change your location, and add info about your fish and tanks and things like that. Be sure to click 'Amend my Profile' when you are done, so the changes are saved!

What are all those things beside my name?!
You may have noticed that when you or someone else posts, there is a lot of information under the username. We'll go down the line in order:

First up is your title these change as your post count changes. Don't worry too much about these, they tell you more about how long someone has been here than anything else. When you reach a preset number of posts, you can customize the title. The option will be in the Edit Profile Section of your control Panel. Remember, do not judge people's advice on their rank.

Below that is your avatar. An avatar cannot be larger than 120 pixels by 120 pixels and 21 kb.
To make a picture your avatar, you will need to click on your username at the top of the Forums, then my profile, hover over the picture bit and the change button should appear. This will bring you to the Avatar Selection Screen. From there, you can either enter the URL (web address) of the image, or select and upload it from your computer's hard drive. Or, choose one of the avatars already on the forum. Do that by clicking 'Go!' next to the Base Gallery list. It's a drop down list, so you can also choose from 2 other galleries.

Next we have your Group. Your's will likely say member. It doesn't mean anything, or do anything...it's just there for identification purposes. Below that you'll generally find some dots, another marker of post count.

Then we have your post count. This is how many posts you have made. Please note, your post count will not go up in the General Sections of the forum. Also, do not post random things just to get your post count up. And most importantly, do not judge people's advice on post count either!

If you're looking at your own profile you'll then find something that will generally say 0 warning points. Don't worry about this, it means that you haven't broken any rules. You can only see your own.

After that is your gender, usually this is self explanatory.

Then we have your location. This is useful information should you want to sell something. It's also useful for people to give you better advice, since some medications/brands of fish supplies are country specific. You can edit your location in the 'Profile Info' section of the control panel.

Another thing you might have noticed when people post, is they have a few sayings or a picture under it. This is a Signature. Signatures can have 5 lines of standard sized text OR one picture/gif (maximum size of 100k or 400x300 pixels) and 2 lines of text. Large text should be treated as a picture and limited to 2 lines.

Signature images must be uploaded to the Internet. The hosting sites mentioned above are the sort of places you want for this.
Once again, you can find this option in your control panel. Once you get there, on the left side you will find an "Edit Signature" link. Click on it. There is a space for entering your signature. To put an image in, you will need to write

or click on the IMG button. Click "Save Signature" at the bottom.

Personal Picture
Also in your control panel, is an option for changing your personal picture. This picture will show up when a person clicks on your profile. It can be a picture of you, or whatever you like!


Making a welcome thread prompts lots of members to help make you feel welcome. So don't feel shy, let people know you're the newest member! Just be sure to keep it in the Newbies Board. Also, please don't ask questions in the Newbie Section. If you are new to fish, you can ask them in the Beginner's section, or wherever you think they will fit the best.

The Moderators and Administrators are also very knowledgeable, and helpful. If you're lost, you can ask any of them about something using a Private Message or Email. If it's a pressing matter, you can PM one of the ones that is currently online. Their name will be in blue at the bottom of the main page. They'll also shown their online status on the link above. Please don't expect them to know everything though, they were chosen for moderating skills, and aren't expected to know the answer to every subject.

Now that you've read over this guide, get out there, post, make some friends and have fun!
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