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Welcome to rec.aquaria.*
Welcome to Rec.Aquaria.*
contributed by Todd Zebert
edited by Erik Olson
Welcome to the rec.aquaria.* newsgroups! Please read this entire
document and whatever FAQs it may suggest before your first posting. We
hope this will help you get the most from the newsgroups, and aid you
in getting along with the people already here.
This document will tell you about:
the FAQs (answers to Frequently Asked Questions); what they are, and
where to find them.
Other Web Sites?
proper etiquette for posting to rec.aquaria.*
common acronyms and other terms used here.
common questions (with answers) asked about the rec.aquaria.* newsgroups.
There are several Usenet newsgroups collectively referred to as
rec.aquaria.*. They compose an international forum for the discussion
of almost everything related to aquaria and keeping fish. If you are
new to the aquarium hobby, you will find them a valuable source of
advice. If you are an advanced hobbyist but new to the Usenet forum, we
welcome your input and hope you will find some interesting discussions
and the new information that you need to keep current.
If you have questions about Usenet, newsgroups, posting messages, the
net in general, general netiquette, writing standards, how to FTP,
etc., the answers can be found in the news.announce.newusers group.
This is the single most important group for someone new to the net who
wants to get acquainted with the system. Some of the important files
(all written by Mark Moraes) in news.answers you should check out a
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions about Usenet
A Primer on How To Work With the Usenet Community
Hints on writing style for Usenet
What is Usenet?
Just the FAQ, Ma'am
Before posting for help, please read as much of the FAQs as you can.
Really! They will most likely tell you everything you want to know
about almost every beginner issue (if they don't answer your question,
WE want to know!). Reading them should be your first order of business
and is a simple courtesy to the readers of these newsgroups who get
tired of reading the same questions from newcomers, over and over.
The FAQs are available in three forms: World Wide Web, FTP, and monthly
Usenet postings. The best and easiest way to read them is through World
Wide Web at the URL
http://www.actwin.com/fish/mirror/ (U.S. mirror)
Outside the U.S., you may get faster access through another mirror
site, which are listed at the URL above.
Many of the FAQs are also posted on the aquaria groups, and
news.answers on a monthly basis. A bit of searching through articles
with the subject ``FAQ'' should bring up the latest copies. One word of
caution: now that the groups have been split, not all FAQs are posted
to all newsgroups; some may be only found on relevant groups.
If you do not have web access but do have ftp access, these text-only
versions can also be downloaded from the Usenet FAQ archive at
Other Web Sites
With the explosive growth of the web over the past few years, there are
so many sites coming and going that it's impossible to name them here.
One way to find them is to use your favorite search engine. Another
good "jumping off place" is Fish Link Central, at
http://www.fishlinkcentral.com. The old Caltech index at
http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~aquaria/ is being phased out, but should
remain for a time.
Posting to rec.aquaria.*
If the following instructions seem unclear, read the newsgroups for a
few weeks (called ``lurking'') and you'll get the hang of the way
things work. There are many readers of rec.aquaria.*, some are old
pros, some newcomers, but all would appreciate it if you would follow a
few simple requests when posting. Remember, you're asking them for help
so you should play by their rules!
1) If you've looked around for the information requested, but come up
with contradictory information, no information, or don't understand the
information, please say so. This will show that you've been actively
seeking out the information yourself.
Also, PLEASE PLEASE do not buy a fish and THEN ask the newsgroup how
you can properly care for it. Ask questions FIRST and read as much as
you can BEFORE buying the fish. Allow several days for people to get
back to you. Most stores will hold a fish for you if you ask. It also
does not hurt to introduce yourself, and come to know the owner or some
of the employees at your favorite store. They will be more willing to
do things for you if they know you are a loyal customer. It is poor
husbandry to buy a fish not knowing if you can keep it healthy.
2) Fill in the rest of the subject line with a brief description of the
problem or a couple of words that describe the concern of the post. A
descriptive subject line is more likely to get read and responded to
than a vague one (``Goldfish has white spots'' is better than
3) When asking for help, please give a complete description of your
tank size, lighting, filtration, its inhabitants and their sizes**, how
long you've had it running, measures of water quality such as ammonia,
pH, temperature, etc. You can't expect much of an answer (or any at
all!) unless you include enough information. (i.e. not ``HI, My fish
died! Why? Bye'')
**Fish sizes are measured from the tip of their head to the beginning
of their tail fin (where the tail meets the body).
4) Please do not use all capital letters. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING!
5) Make sure your newsreader is limiting line length to a maximum of 75
characters (or columns) otherwise it will be difficult for others to
read your post! If you don't know how to do this, ask your network
6) Do not post pictures to the rec.aquaria.* groups. Graphics in
general take lots of bandwidth, and are in general disallowed in
"non-binaries" groups. If the picture is available on a web site,
instead include the URL where others can find it. There is a special
group created on the alt. heirarchy for fish pictures,
alt.binaries.aquaria. Depending on whether your ISP carries so-called
"binary newsgroups", it may or may not be accessible (if in doubt, ask
Responding to Posts
When responding to a post, most newsreaders will include the original
message with some sort of character prefixed on every line, usually a
greater-than symbol, ``''. Please delete as much unnecessary
information from the original post as possible, while still maintaining
continuity of the conversation. This includes extraneous headers and
information from the previous post that is not relevant to the reply.
Terms and Acronyms
As you read posts in these newsgroups, you're likely to come across the
following terms, acronyms, and conventions commonly referred to as
Collectively refers to all groups in the rec.aquaria heirarchy.
As far as I know
AFM, MFM, TFH, FAMA
Four popular aquaria magazines: Aquarium Fish Magazine, Marine Fish
Magazine, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, and Freshwater and Marine Aquarium.
America Online, CompuServe Information Systems; two commercial Internet
By The Way.
Means part of previous post has been removed.
Do It Yourself, home made, a device or system that is built by the hobbyist.
Frequently Asked Question[s].
A message which is abusive (see below)
File Transfer Protocol, and HyperText Transfer Protocol, two method of
For What It's Worth.
For Your Information.
HyperText Markup Language, used for creating web pages.
IMHO, IMO, IMNSHO
In My Humble Opinion, In My Opinion, In My Not-So-Humble Opinion, etc.
Local Fish Store
reading a newsgroup, over a period of time, to gain knowledge from
other people's questions and answers, without posting anything of your
MOP[S], PW, TFP, WTA
Four M/O businesses: Mail Order Pet Shop, Pet Warehouse, That Fish
Place, and Wet Thumb Aquatics.
Net etiquette. The golden rule is: RTFF!
A beginner. Often, but not always, used in a derogatory way. Don't feel
too bad if someone calls another a newbie.
On The Other Hand.
An unfortunate correlation between Plocestomus Catfish deaths and
mention of their name on the net has led to the use of `pl*co' as a
superstitious habit. For our protection, the fish's full name has been
deliberately misspelled above.
message[s] on Usenet
The rec.aquaria re-organization.
Rolling On The Floor Laughing.
Read the ``fine'' Manual, or FAQ. Usually directed at people who ask a
question without first checking the obvious places to find the answer.
Substitute expletives beginning with F for ``fine'', if you like.
Siamese Algae Eater (see the ALGAE FAQ).
The initial message and all the following replies to it, a discussion.
Thanks In Advance
Undergravel Filter, Reverse Under Gravel Filter.
Wanted To Buy.
WWW, W3, web
World Wide Web
Your Mileage May Vary, basically just because something works well in
one situation, does not mean it will in another.
Smileys :-) ;-) :-(
(turn the page, monitor or your head to one side if you don't see it at
first). Smileys are used to denote emotions that might otherwise not be
understood from the text, e.g. explicitly point out a statement is
meant to be humorous. The three shown here denote humor, a wink, and
Questions & Answers
Q: What's up with all these different groups?
A: Due to the sheer volume of postings on the original newsgroups, a
proposal was passed by Usenet readers in March of 1996 splitting
rec.aquaria into several sub-groups. The official charter of the new
groups can be found in our FAQ ANNEX. Meanwhile, the old group
rec.aquaria has been phased out (effectively replaced by
rec.aquaria.misc), so you should not post to it. Please avoid
crossposting (posting to multiple newsgroups) whenever possible,
especially to the .misc groups.
A general discussion group for topics not covered by the other groups,
and topics that are appropriate to more than one group (rather than
crossposting). Post here if the topic doesn't fit neatly into the usual
freshwater/marine division (notably brackish aquaria), but does not
have a large enough following to warrant a separate newsgroup at this
time. Post here if the topic is of broad interest to many types of
aquarists. Also appropriate are such things as pointers to more
specific newsgroups, ftp and web sites, and other ``meta-issues.'' If
you don't know where to post it, it probably belongs here.
Topics specific to freshwater aquaria which do not fit into one of the
more specialized newsgroups, as well as topics which fit into multiple
specific freshwater newsgroups.
Topics specific to marine aquaria which do not fit into one of the more
specialized newsgroups, as well as topics which fit into multiple
specific marine newsgroups.
Allows ads to be found easily without burying or being buried in
general discussion. Ads related to aquaria and aquarium products and
inhabitants by private individuals and businesses.
While the organisms and special techniques vary, both freshwater and
marine aquaria face a similar set of fundamental problems and often
rely on similar devices in their solution. Discussion about the
technology of aquarium keeping, including homebuilt gadgets as well as
commercial devices. Discussions of the technical details of such
devices belong here, though the rationale for their use may be just as
appropriate in another newsgroup.
All topics related to both old- and new-world cichlids.
All topics related to goldfish and their kin.
Another specialized group, home to any and all discussion about
freshwater plants. Topics may span the entire range of beginner to
expert. Samples: ``My goldfish keeps destroying my plants,'' ``How do
you grow Echinodorus horemanii?''
The fundamental division of the marine hobby is into reef and non-reef
aquarists. This group provides a home for reef specialists while
allowing non-reef aquarists to avoid the large number of reef related
Q: What about alt.aquaria and sci.aquaria?
A: alt.aquaria is a historical remnant from the original newsgroup
creation wars of 1989. The full story behind this is now a fascinating
net.legend. We recommend that you not post to alt.aquaria as the
rec.aquaria.* groups are in place. Nonetheless, the group continues to
receive traffic more than two years after the revision.
Sci.aquaria's unofficial purpose is for more serious `scientific'
discussion. Now that the new rec.aquaria.* groups are in place, there
is no need to crosspost to sci.aquaria. This group receives very little
Q: Are there any other related groups? Mailing Lists? Chat Lines?
A: None of these other groups are supported by this documentation or
any of its FAQs or archives, but they do have related themes:
rec.ponds -- keeping outdoor ponds (usually with Koi and goldfish)
alt.aquaria.killies -- keeping Killifishes.
alt.aquaria.oscars -- keeping Oscars. Group created mid-1998 by Mark
Stone of Oscar Study Page fame.
alt.binaries.aquaria -- pictures, may not be carried by many servers.
There are also some E-mailing lists. Here are some we know about:
List Name Server Address What to Send as Message Body
Discus-L SUBSCRIBE Discus-L
BETTAS SUBSCRIBE BETTAS Your Name
Cichlids , subscribe cichlid Your Name
Dwarf Cichlids subscribe Your Name
Aquatic Plants subscribe aquatic-plants
Goldfish subscribe goldfish
Killies subscribe killies
For instance, to subscribe to the Aquatic Plants list, send e-mail to
with the line "subscribe aquatic-plants" as the
message body. Finally, there
are interactive ``chat'' services, such as Fishroom, a classy virtual
meeting place resembling the ultimate fish nerd's dream house.
Fishroom was set up by Kevin
Carpenter, and is accessible 24 hours a day. Specialized
groups now have meeting times when you might be able to
talk to some experts. Simply
and follow the directions. It is important to telnet to port 1025, or
else you will get a normal boring unix prompt. Further help is
available on the WWW, or via anonymous ftp from
Q: Can I post Non-commercial Advertisements?
A: Yes! There is a newsgroup just for you: rec.aquaria.marketplace,
which is open to both commercial and private advertisements. Here are
Do not crosspost to the other newsgroups!
Since many are suspicious of people selling things on the net, be sure
to include why the items are for sale, especially if a profit motive
may be suspected.
If selling locally, include your location in the subject line
(``US-NY-Buffalo'', for instance). This will help your intended buyer
find you amongst all the posts.
It is advisable to limit the distribution of your post when the item is
only of interest to a local area (for instance, a glass tank). This is
done through your newsreader while composing your message.
Finally, after the item sells, you should delete (or cancel, as many
newsreaders call it) your original posting. Again, this is done through
Q4: Can I post Commercial Advertisements?
A: If you are an aquarium-related business, as of the March 1996
re-organization, you may post to rec.aquaria.marketplace without guilt.
Beware, though, that non-advertisement posts from companies and their
representatives may be subject to scrutiny by wary rec.aquaria.*
readers. General guidelines for acceptable advertising on usenet can be
found in the ADVERTISEMENT FAQ posted to news.announce.newusers. Here
are some tips for keeping a friendly commercial presence on the
Do not post or cross-post your advertisement to any of the
rec.aquaria.* groups except for rec.aquaria.marketplace.
Retailers who are active participants of rec.aquaria.* can include a
reference to their business in their message signature (or better yet,
a reference to a WWW page). People can contact you or your web page
directly if interested in your business. Netters generally do not get
angry about this sort of advertisement.
If you respond to a post with a recommendation for your business, make
sure to be clear that you are associated with that business (otherwise
you are likely to get a bad reputation when your connection is
discovered). It also goes without saying that your response should be
relevant to the original post. :-)
E-mail advertising is never acceptable unless explicitly requested. If
a reader didn't specifically ask for your advertisement, do not send it.
Q: Why did no one answer my questions?
A: This question is usually answered by ``YOU DIDN'T READ THE FAQ!''
The FAQs are a collection of documents that members of these newsgroups
have written to answer questions that beginners ask ad nauseum. Before
posting, please read the relevant FAQs to be sure what you wish to know
has not been dealt with before. Despite the world-wide nature of
rec.aquaria.*, there are in fact only a few dozen members who answer
the vast majority of questions. They get tired of answering the same
questions over and over, and more often than not will simply ignore
questions that could have been answered by reading the FAQ.
Sometimes you won't get a reply if you haven't waited long enough; many
people do not read rec.aquaria.* daily, and it can take a few days for
the article to propagate to some hosts.
Another common cause of the unanswered post is a non-descriptive
subject line or vague message content. With hundreds of messages posted
daily to rec.aquaria.*, it is easy to ignore ``irrelevant'' subject
lines such as ``Subject: My Fish''. Likewise, it is also important to
convey all the necessary information in the body of your message. See
the section above on Posting to rec.aquaria.* for hints on improving
Finally, the reason may be that nobody really feels confident enough to
answer your question, and everybody is hoping someone else will answer.
If you mention that nobody answered a previous post, you may get a lot
of answers. They may not be helpful, but you will get them!
Q5: Why did I get flamed?
A5: You may get flamed if you supply an ignorant answer to someone's
question, or just general ``bad advice''. Bad questions usually are
ignored, but bad answers are often flamed. You might also get flamed
when discussing controversial issues.
Threads on rec.aquaria.* are open uncensored conversations between
adults (and sub-adults of all ages) and so occasionally smart-ass
replies and jabs are made. These are not strictly discouraged and to
throw flames DOES NOT immediately cause one to be labeled a social
pariah, but flames should be on-topic and delivered with a sense of
humor. Neither is swearing totally unacceptable on the net but the use
of swear words will quickly remove any semblance of humor from your
flames. This may result in seriously hurt feelings, and so swearing is
to be strongly discouraged. Also, a few smileys (where appropriate) can
go a long way to save people's feelings.
We hope that this introductory FAQ will improve your understanding of
the rec.aquaria community, and make your interaction with other netters
fun and productive. A great deal of time and thought has been devoted
to making quality answers to the Frequently Asked Questions available
at all times. A hurried post to the newsgroups might not yield an
answer for days (if at all), but if you read the FAQs you may have an
answer in minutes. Please give it a try!
[The FAQ Team can be reached by e-mail, but since we've been getting so
many irrelevant requests for help with individual problems, the address
will no longer be posted here.]
The FAQs owe their existence to the contributors of the net, and as
such it belongs to the readers of rec.aquaria and alt.aquaria. Articles
with attributions are copyrighted by their original authors. Copies of
the FAQs can be made freely, as long as it is distributed at no charge,
and the disclaimers and the copyright notice are included.
|Thread||Thread Starter||Forum||Replies||Last Post|
|Rec.Aquaria gone???||-=LÈGIÖN=-||General||0||July 20th 06 04:08 PM|
|Welcome to rec.aquaria and alt.aquaria. Mid month FAQ pointer andlinks||Elaine T||General||6||February 16th 06 02:16 AM|
|Welcome to rec.aquaria and alt.aquaria. Mid month FAQ pointer andlinks||Elaine T||Plants||5||February 16th 06 02:16 AM|
|rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants,rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc||Aqua||Plants||2||February 25th 04 05:30 PM|