Reef aquarium clubs
One of the best ways to increase your reef aquarium knowledge is to join a local saltwater aquarium or reef aquarium club. Most clubs exchange information in three popular ways.
- Online forums: Most saltwater aquarium clubs and reef aquarium clubs have internet forums where members interact with each other. Questions are posted, experiences are shared, and a community of members is established. For many clubs, the internet sites—or more specifically—the web forums part of the website are the pulse of the club.
- The second way many saltwater aquarium clubs exchange information is at local, face-to-face meetings. Some clubs hold these events at a public venue (like a church or public library), whereas others may rely on club members to host the events. These meetings occur on a periodic basis and are a great way to meet other people who share your hobby interests, and the meetings are often focused around a single educational theme.
- The third way many reef aquarium clubs exchange information is by hosting/creating a larger, less frequent gathering like a frag-swap. Many times at these events, the clubs arrange for a subject-matter expert to give a presentation on a popular topic—which provides the attending members with an opportunity to meet with pioneers in the hobby and learn directly from their experiences and expert opinions. The biggest event of this scale is MACNA, the Marine Aquarium Conference of North America, which is hosted each year by a local MASNA group.
- Beyond the informational value that reef aquarium clubs provide, they also offer an element of support (how many of us haven’t had major issues at one time or other and wished we had somewhere to turn for help) and financial benefit—as local fish stores and suppliers often sponsor the clubs, advertise on their websites and provide discounts to paid members. The discount on a single equipment purchase and the money saved by buying coral frags from other members will usually ‘pay’ for the annual membership in a very short period of time.
For more information about saltwater aquarium clubs or reef aquarium clubs, check out the CLUB DIRECTORY on the MASNA website. MASNA is a non-profit society that provides support for local clubs.