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New to forums in general? Read this.
Online forums are new to many people. They are a natural evolution that has taken place on the Internet over the last ten years. People first began communicating via email, then email lists, then on systems such as America Online and Compuserve. These large systems have given way to smaller communities of people focused on specific topics. The smaller communities are known as online forums.

Dating back to Roman times, an online forum is commonly defined as an online discussion group where participants with common interests can exchange open messages and ideas. Typically, online forums are focused on niche subjects (e.g., planted aquariums) and are incredibly rich in subject-specific information.

At the same time, online forums can be a bit overwhelming and intimidating for those new to them. It is for this reason that this User Manual was assembled. Please read through it and become familiar with APC. Be patient. Soon, it will seem like second nature to you. Here are some quick tips to help you:

1. User Manual: Read the User Manual and refer to it often.

2. Register: You must register to participate in the discussions and to access our features such as the PlantFinder, AlgaeFinder, etc. We require registration for your safety and to maintain order within APC.

Once you register, you will receive an email for email address confirmation. Note: You must *click* the link in the email we send to you for your membership to be activated. Use your correct email address or this process won't work! Once you've registered and finalized, log into the message boards.

3. Categorize your interest: APC is organized by topics: General Interest Forums, Advanced Topics Forums, Special Interest Forums, Other Forums, Local Clubs and Sponsor Forums. Click into the Forum of your topic category.

Note: To post a new message (thread), after clicking into a forum category of your choice (e.g., New to Aquarium Plants) and click on POST NEW TOPIC. Follow the simple instructions to post your questions or comments.

Note: If you would like to reply to a thread after reading it, click on REPLY TO POST

4. User Control Panel: Your User Control Panel is called "My APC" and is found as a large link on the top right of every page. It gives you the opportunity to edit, alter, and configure your membership at APC.

Note: If you would like to be notified when someone replies to your post, you can "subscribe to thread" which is at the top of each post or you can "edit options" in your profile to receive email notifications of replies.

Note: You can also update your birthday, update your bio, signature and more! Check it out.

5. Search: You can search through the discussions by clicking on the SEARCH link found on the top of every page of our website.

1. Click on the SEARCH button in the navigation bar found at the top of any website page.
2. Where it says "Search By Keyword" enter a few terms specific to what you're looking for.
3. Press the "Perform Search" button near the bottom of the page and wait for the results to appear.
4. Finally, click on the title of the thread you want to read.
5. To return to the list of search results, use your browser's Back button.

6. Supporting Members: We offer upgraded memberships for added benefits at the forums. Upgraded memberships help keep our website free and in return, they enjoy added benefits to their membership. Consider upgrading your membership today.

New to planted aquariums? Read this.
Are you new to planted aquariums? If so, you may want to focus your involvement in our General Interest forums. If the list of forums on our forum homepage is too large for you, you can change the forum homepage to ONLY show the General Interest Forums.

To do this, go to the forum homepage and scroll down to the bottom. On the left will be a drop-down list. Click on the down arrow button and you will be presented with a list. Select "APC- New Member" (APC-New Member Lite if you are on dial-up).

This will present the forum homepage in such a way that only the General Interest Forum category is expanded revealing the forums therein. The other categories (e.g., Advanced Topics Forums) will appear collapsed. You can always click on the up arrow button on the right of any category name (e.g., Advanced Topics Forums) to expand the category to full view.

Once you are more comfortable with the forums and the subject matter, go back and select the APC theme again and all forums will appear expanded for you.

Are you using dial-up or have 800x600 screen resolution? Read this.
Most people today are using DSL and have a screen resolution of 1024x768. An analysis of APC members revealed that we do have members that are accessing the Internet via dial-up and/or use a screen resolution of 800x600 or less.

In order to make APC more enjoyable for you, we provide a slimed-down version of APC by simply changing the forum "skin." To do this, go to the forum homepage and scroll down to the bottom. On the left will be a drop-down list. Click on the down arrow button and you will be presented with a list. Select "APC- Lite (56k Firendly)."

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