As aquarists it’s easy to get wrapped up in maintaining our aquariums and reading information online. But there’s another aspect to the hobby entirely that sometimes gets overlooked: the aquarium community.
Aquarium clubs are quite common in major cities, if less so in rural areas. But even in a major metro, you might not find a club that’s dedicated to what sort of fish, plants, corals, or invertebrates you enjoy keeping.
Fortunately, the internet allows you to connect with aquarists from all over the world who love everything from Bettas to low light LPS corals! Let’s delve into the best aquarium forums and communities out there and find a place for you to connect!
We split this list into several different sub-section:
- “General” aquarium forums
- Saltwater & reef aquarium forums
- Freshwater & planted aquarium forums
- Species-specific forums
The Best General Topic Online Communities
General topic online communities are a great place to begin because they cover a little over everything rather than specializing in just reefs or planted tanks. You will always find both fresh and saltwater subjects covered, which is appealing if you keep both because it means a few less clicks and having to follow multiple forums.
On the other hand, general subject forums and communities don’t tend to have as much activity in the specialized sub forums because there are fewer members to go around. A general forum with 30,000 members will see less reef aquarium discussion than a reef forum with 20,000 members.
General topic online communities tend to have many more beginners as well, which can mean being flooded by well intended but incorrect information. So you’ll need to be more vigilant when looking for advice in these places.
That said, these oldest communities are a great place to begin because there are many more long-time pros you can solicit advice from. Many general topic online communities have been around for 15 years or more!
Started in 2006, Aquariumforum.com is an old-timer in the online aquarium community. It’s now approaching 30K members and shows no signs of slowing down. The niches covered by the website are pretty extensive, with sub forums dedicated to everything, even brackish water aquariums, which often get missed.
I notice that the website also has a search function that can be used by non-members, a handy way to find information and entice new members into joining. Many communities force you to sign up.
However, the amount of activity across sub forums is very unbalanced; some forums are clearly more popular than others. In one area, you’ll find activity just a few minutes old while in others, the last post was in 2018. If your interests are only in one particular area, you may not find an active community here.
- Creation Date: 2006
- Members: 29,800
- Posts: 268,600
Started in 2004, Tropical Fish Forums is one of the oldest continuously running aquarium communities online. It dwarfs even Aquarium Forum.com in total member and post count, though of course, only a fraction of those members are active currently.
Tropical Fish Forums is very well organized, with useful calculators for finding aquarium size and volume, guides on frequently asked questions like Betta Care, and even a freshwater species Wiki for further detail.
Unlike Aquarium Forum.com, every single sub forum on Tropical Fish Forums is continually active. I recommend this site if you are looking for a single website to sign up for because no matter what you’re interested in, you’ll find other folks talking about it!
The tradeoff is fewer niche forums. There is no underwater diving sub forum here, unlike Aquarium Forums.com. But you’re still going to find something that works for you!
- Creation Date: 2002
- Members: 94,100
- Posts: 446,00
Reddit has taken the forum world by storm, sweeping up every subject that exists to form a single superforum on everything from anime to politics. Each subreddit acts as a subforum on a given subject and you can join a subreddit to post and see posts on your main feed.
Reddit’s aquarium subreddit is much less tidy in appearance than the two websites listed earlier. But it’s a much more casual way to discuss aquarium topics and a username gives you full access to the 6th most visited website in the world. At any time, there are a few thousand people online adding and responding to various topics.
Reddit is ideal for image sharing and fun discussion on aquarium oriented topics while also browsing any other subjects that interest you. On the other hand, professional advice is even less common as Reddit is as much social media and image sharing as it is discussion.
If you have questions about niche subjects you’re better off hunting down a subreddit that covers it, like /r/ReefTank. There, you’ll find higher quality advice and more coverage on topics that interest you personally.
- Creation Date: 2009
- Members: 365,000
- Posts: Unlisted (lots)
The Best Saltwater Online Communities
Most saltwater specific communities cater to the reef aquarium world. If you’re interested in general saltwater discussion, your best bet is to become a member of any of the general topic online communities listed earlier. Even though they may have several freshwater forums as part of their website all have active saltwater sections.
Nano Reefs are a niche within the reef keeping community that don’t get as much attention as they should. Since they have very specific care requirements and exacting standards, it’s only fair that nano reef keepers have a forum all to themselves!
Nano-Reef.com has been around for a long time. And given the expertise and dedication of the nano reef community, this is the place you want to be if nano reefs appeal to you. You are almost by default an expert if you’re capable of keeping these difficult setups so the quality of information is leagues better than what you’ll find on general purpose forums.
The classifieds sections are also an excellent place to find rare corals, fish, and other inhabitants grown by said experts!
- Creation Date: 2001
- Members: 97,000
- Posts: 399,000
Reef Central is by far the largest general purpose reef aquarium forum. If you’re into reefs, sign up with this website. Started in 2000, there are nearly 2 million discussions to browse through from aquarists of all skill levels. Best of all, there is active discussion all over the forum.
That said, you do have to be a member to make full use of their library of information. The search function doesn’t function for non-members.
One thing I do notice is that the fish section is fairly sparse in terms of sub forums. But given its focus on corals and other reef invertebrates, that’s to be expected. Everything is very well organised and the Special Interest forums cover exactly what I’d be looking for as a reef aquarist.
- Creation Date: 2001
- Members: 380,000
- Posts: 1,970,000
As an image sharing and social media oriented forum, Reddit’s /r/Aquariums may not appeal to experts trying to slog through a mountain of videos watching Bettas get fed (not that there’s anything wrong with those).
Reddit subreddits allow you to hone in on what interests you more and /r/ReefTank is full of images, videos, and general discussions on reef oriented topics. Just remember that the general Reddit atmosphere is more casual and social media oriented so long-form discussions, care guides and the like are harder to come by.
- Creation Date: 2011
- Members: 65,400
- Posts: Unlisted (lots)
Reef2Reef.com is a one-stop shop for reefkeepers, offering not only an excellent online aquarium forum and community but in-depth articles on coral keeping, image sharing, a marketplace, and much more.
The community here is massive and mostly active but unlike the previous forums, there are sub forums that have gone dead. Given the sheer number of subforums Reef2Reef covers, it’s no surprise a few are less popular, though. There’s a niche for any reef keeper here.
There aren’t quite as many topics to browse and folks to communicate with here. But considering what else it has to offer, Reef2Reef is an excellent community to be a part of if you want one place to concentrate your attention on!
- Creation Date: 2006
- Members: 142,000
- Posts: 599,000
The Best Online Communities for Planted Aquariums
Planted aquariums have really come into their own as the freshwater competitors to advanced reef systems. Many forums offer advice on the exacting chemistry, lighting, and other concerns that planted tanks need!
The Barr Report is where the expert freshwater aquascapers go to ask questions. There is a considerable focus on niche subjects like marine macroalgae, CO2-less methods, aquatic microbiology, and other subjects that would all get lumped under “Plants” in a general topic aquarium community.
Also, the aquarium plant database is very impressive, with full profiles on both commonly available and rare aquarium plant species. This by itself makes browsing the Barr Report worth doing!
Unfortunately, the site still feels like a work in progress as many sub forums aren’t as active and there aren’t nearly as many articles and guides as you’d expect for such an old website. Many forums also go months without activity – but not years like in truly dead forums. There simply aren’t as many expert plant keepers here.
- Creation Date: 2005
- Members: Unlisted
- Posts: Unlisted
Aquatic Plant Central (APC) is the more active sister website to The Barr Report. Many users have accounts to both websites and often reference information from each other. At any one time there is likely to be five times as many members on APC as The Barr Report. But APC is much more beginner friendly and intuitively laid out.
Interestingly, it has a very complete collection of regional fish club sub forums so you have the option to meet forum members in person! And many experts in the field, including Diana Walstad, post regularly on the forums here. So you’re bound to get quality information on this website.
- Creation Date: 2000
- Members: 50,500
- Posts: 94,000
The Best Online Communities for Specific Topics
Looking for something species specific? Here are a few of out favorite forums & communities to focus of specific species.
It’s not very well known that there is a substantial following in the world of Plecos. And it’s even less well known that there is a forum dedicated solely to keeping them happy and healthy!
If these flat, often spiky catfish are your jam then Pleco Planet offers quite a lot. Pleco ID, care and breeding advice, feeding, and sales are all a part of this community. Just be aware that it is not as active a forum as you might like (much like your Plecos).
- Creation Date: 2009
- Members: 148,000
- Posts: 21,400
Cichlids have always been a hot topic in the freshwater aquarium world and there are dozens of forums for both general and specific cichlid niches. However CIchlid Forums.com is by far the best place to be a member of. There are just enough sub forums to give each niche coverage and all are regularly active.
Cichlid Forum.com also has an incredible library of information for members and non-members alike to browse. The species profiles cover both common and extremely rare species in great detail. There are also product reviews, galleries, DIY guides, a highly active classifieds page, and a lot else beyond just the forum!
- Creation Date: 2008
- Members: 93,728
- Posts: 875,000
The World Wide Koi Club’s (WWKC) website also includes a discussion forum for Goldfish and Koi oriented topics. Common Goldfish are easy enough to discuss in general topic communities.
But if you’re interested in expert discussions on fancy breeds of Goldfish and Koi as well as pond construction and other topics, this is a great place to find advice from. It’s not as active a forum as some of the larger communities but it’s also a fish niche that attracts fewer people so that’s to be expected.
- Creation Date: 2004
- Members: 25,700
- Posts: 138,000
It’s hard finding active communities dedicated solely to freshwater shrimp keeping. ShrimpSpot is worth checking out but many sections of it are no longer active. Instead, I recommend spending time on Reddit’s /r/ShrimpTank.
Shrimp keepers are generally a more knowledgeable bunch than general aquarists as freshwater shrimp are on the sensitive side. That makes /r/ShrimpTank a great place to get information on caring for your dwarf shrimp!
- Creation Date: 2012
- Members: 76,900
- Posts: Unlisted (lots)