A lovely full tank shot for inspiration.
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Photo is from the Reef2Reef archives, courtesy of @DLHDesign, ©2019 All Rights Reserved.

Reef2Reef has a very busy forum. So busy, in fact, that if I post something in the morning, I have to do a big search for it in the afternoon to find my thread because there have been so many other posts since then. In spite of having a busy forum, there are lots of people who just "lurk" or read content without joining the forum. This article is for you because you really should join the forum, and not just lurk.

Why you should join the forum:

1. Get your questions answered.

There is no paywall and you can read both articles and discussions in the forum for free. But if you want to ask a question, you need to join. And joining is free. Joining is easy.

2. Get your questions answered 24/7.

There are people on the forum from all different time zones. While most of the members are from the US, and about 5% are in Canada, no matter what time zone you're in, there's someone on the forum who is awake. Here are some examples: I'm in the Pacific Northwest in the Pacific Standard Time zone, which is normally UTC-8, but is UTC-7 right now during Daylight Savings Time. And I never sleep. I'm @Seawitch.

The big boss here, @revhtree, is on the east coast of the US or UTC-5 (UTC-4 right now). He's three hours ahead of me. @Sallstrom is in Sweden--that's UTC+1 or eight (8) hours ahead of me. @fabutahoun is in Saudi Arabia--that's UTC+3 or 10 hours ahead of me. @shih87 is in Taiwan, that's UTC+8 or 15 hours ahead of me.

Those are just a few examples off the top of my head. My point is that if you have a burning question in the middle of the night, you can get an answer in the middle of the night. We can help you to be a better reef aquarist.

3. Comment on articles.

Every article has a place where you can make comments. That spot becomes a thread in the forum. Comments are important because they help me and other authors to do a better job. You can't comment unless you are a member of the forum. So, join the forum!

Look at the image below. When you click on an article, you're seeing the "overview" page. But if you click on the "Discussion" tab (see red arrow), that's where the full version of the article appears again within the forum and you can comment on it below the article.

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Screenshot courtesy of @Seawitch.

4. Easy access to sponsors.

Reef2Reef has sponsors. These sponsors are many of the major brands in the marine aquarium business: companies like Bulk Reef Supply, Marine Depot, and Tunze. Each of these sponsors has their own sub-forum, and you can talk directly to them. This is a really easy and valuable way to talk to these businesses about equipment or livestock.

5. Access to giveaways and prizes from sponsors.

Many of these sponsors hold all kinds of competitions, draws, auctions, and special sales with giveaways and prizes. The only way to get in on the action is to be a member of the forum. And it's not hard to win stuff. Even I won something in a draw I didn't know I was in.

6. Participate with like-minded individuals.

Reef2Reef, itself, has contests, games, and charity events. You'll be hanging out with people who share your interests in a saltwater tank. You can discuss topics of interest. Show people photos of your tanks and livestock. Get input on what you're doing.

If you're good at this hobby, then share your knowledge and talents with others. We need people like you. And helping others is good for your health. I'm not kidding.

7. Have fun.

There is a sub-forum called the Lounge, where people talk about all kinds of off-topic things. For example, there are word games, a prayer thread, a woodworking thread, and discussions about weather, children, or pets. There's definitely something for everyone.

Over time, you get to know people. You make friends. Some people meet up in real life. Seriously.

I have someone from Reef2Reef who I talk to about airplane engines. I'm a writer--I'm always researching something. I have other friends that I talk to privately about other off-topic subjects.

Sacred-cow fears about joining the forum addressed:

1. I'm scared to have a public persona and for people to know who I am.

This fear is unfounded. You don't have to give away any personal information that you don't want, and on Reef2Reef, we don't even require that you use your real name. I'm staff, and I'm transparent about who I am. I'm been on the internet since the early 1990's, and I've never had a problem. I'm Cynthia White and I live on Vancouver Island. No one is going to show up at your door and try to steal your coral.

If you're worried, then don't use your real name. Create a free email address using any of the free online email services like outlook or gmail just for the purpose of participating on forums. You don't have to say where you are, but if you want to be vague, that's okay too. If your name is Joe Jones from the Bronx, you can call yourself Joe Jackson from the east coast of the US. No one has to know your real name, ever.

2. People are going to bash me if I say something stupid.

Not on this forum, they won't. This forum is tightly moderated and is "family friendly". That means that there's no cursing and no being rude to others. Everyone is welcome, and you will get a warm reception. If you ask questions, answers will be polite and respectful.

It's true, meanness between members does occur on some forums, but not this one.

Look at this screenshot below. It's a picture of the "Meet & Greet" subforum. Notice the top post, "Returning to the hobby after very long break." It was posted at 11:24AM. An hour later, there were already 13 replies welcoming the newcomer.

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Screenshot courtesy of @Seawitch.

Don't just sit on the edge. Jump on in. The water's fine. We're waiting for you. Just look at the top right of your screen, and you'll see "register".

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We encourage all our readers to join the Reef2Reef forum. It’s easy to register, free, and reefkeeping is much easier and more fun in a community of fellow aquarists. We pride ourselves on a warm and family-friendly forum where everyone is welcome. You will also find lots of contests and giveaways with our sponsors.

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Author Profile: Cynthia White

Cynthia received her BA in English from NYU a long long time ago. She has been a freelance writer and editor for over 20 years. In 2018, she won the President's Award from the Professional Writers Association of Canada. Now she is a writer and editor on staff at R2R, where her forum nickname is @Seawitch. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, three special-needs dogs, and three saltwater aquariums being set up.