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Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

Rules at a Glance

The rules at a glance

For more details and our reasons, please scroll down to the relevant sections below.

  1. Do NOT use SMS, chatroom and instant messaging (IM) abbreviations and intentional mis-spelling of English words, or what we call SMS/IM lingo.
    • We do not require members to post in perfect English. We only require members NOT to use such abbreviations and mis-spelling of common English words.
    • For example, spell:
      • 'Me', not 'mi'
      • 'You', not 'u'
      • 'Your', not 'ur'
      • 'Thanks', not 'thx', and
      • 'Also', not 'oso'.
    See details.

  2. Price discussion:
    • Do NOT discuss nor reveal unofficial discounts for products or services that have RRP or published prices.
    • Do NOT use coded phrases for pricing, such as 'red notes', 'blue notes', 'gold coin', etc.
    See details.

  3. Respect other members. Do NOT insult others or engage in personal attacks. See details.
  4. Do NOT post or upload vulgar, obscene, pornographic or erotic materials. See details.
  5. Do NOT post or upload discriminatory materials. See details.
  6. Do NOT use Aquatic Quotient for political propaganda, campaigning or recruitment. See details.
  7. Do NOT use Aquatic Quotient for religious propaganda or proselytising. See details.
  8. Do NOT defame anyone (regardless of whether they are Aquatic Quotient members). See details.
  9. Respect intellectual property rights (e.g. copyrights). See details.
  10. Abide by our advertising and trading rules (click the relevant links below for details). The major rules are:
    • Advertisments are ONLY allowed in the Marketplace forums.
    • Do NOT advertise in other member's threads.
    • Do NOT advertise on other people's (regardless of whether they are members or not) behalf.
    • Do NOT advertise or trade illegal goods.
    • Do NOT advertise or trade alcohol or tobacco products.
    • Do NOT flip goods. (Flip: Buy, then resell quickly for profit.)
    • Auctions are NOT allowed.
    There are extensive rules regarding advertising in Aquatic Quotient. Please scroll down and read before posting advertisements. See advertising rules details. See trading rules details.

  11. Do NOT post-chalk (i.e. do NOT post zero- or low-value posts just to get privileges that come with post count). See details.
  12. Do NOT bump threads (i.e. posting zero- or low-value posts like 'up' to keep your thread alive). See details.
  13. Do NOT spam. See details.
  14. Do NOT create multiple accounts. See details.

Language Rules (No SMS and IM lingo)

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Do NOT use SMS, chatroom and instant messaging (IM) style of intentional truncations and misspelling of English words, or what we call SMS or IM lingo.

We do NOT require members to post in perfect English. We only required that you spell common words correctly, in full and use proper punctuation (at least the basics like periods (full-stops), commas and question marks). We understand that not all our members are good in English and that some have trouble with grammar, sentence construction and spelling of longer words.

In general, acronyms and initialisms are allowed, but truncation and intentional misspelling are NOT allowed.

Acronyms and initialisms are words or names that are formed from the first letters of the words in a phrase or name. For example, FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), BTW (By The Way), HTML (HyperText Markup Language), AQ (Aquatic Quotient), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation).

Truncation is the chopping off of parts of a word to shorten it. For example, 'pls', 'ppl', 'tks'.

Examples of SMS or IM truncations or misspelling (not exhaustive):

  • mi (me)
  • u (you)
  • ur (your)
  • pls (please)
  • ppl (people)
  • oso (also)
  • tt (that)
  • e (the)
  • isit? or izit? (is it?)

We allow common abbreviations like:

English Chemical Notation Units of Measurement
Etc. (Etcetera)
E.g. (Example)
I.e. (That is)
C, K, O, P, N
CO2, KNO3, O2
m, cm, ' (feet), " (inches)
A (amphere), W (watts)
l, ml, oz, gal
g, kg, mg, lb

Where there is doubt whether a certain abbreviation is allowed, Aquatic Quotient's decision is final. Intentionally misspelt words are completely prohibited.

Reasons for This Policy

  1. Aquatic Quotient's primary language is English and while our membership is predominantly Singaporean and South East Asian, we also have International members and visitors, and their numbers are growing. For some of these members, English is a second or third language. Reading English may not easy for them; truncated or misspelt common English words will make it harder.
  2. Non-English speaking/reading members or visitors can use translation programs or online services to translate our site. These translators will not be able to translate mangled English words. Or worse, they translate wrongly.
  3. Not everyone is well-versed with SMS or IM lingo. Our members consist of people from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Not all of them are comfortable with SMS or IM lingo.

Common Questions about This Policy

Q. "This is a hobby forum, we are here to relax. We should not be stressed out by having to write proper English."

A. First, AQ does NOT require members to write in perfect English. We only require members to spell properly (to the best of their ability), use at least basic punctuation, and to avoid SMS or IM lingo. We understand people sometimes unintentionally misspell words and we will not penalised genuine cases (at most, we will edit and correct the word for search and translation purposes). We, however, do not understand nor tolerate members who intentionally misspell 'me' as 'mi', or 'also' as 'oso'.

Second, while it is relaxing for some people to post in SMS or IM lingo, it is stressful for others to read them. Not all members can understand SMS and IM lingo.


In topical forums, for the first few incidences, our moderators will generally edit the posts and correct the spelling. In most cases, the corrections will be highlighted for your attention.

In the marketplace forums, all posts that contain SMS or IM lingo will be deleted without notice.

For repeat offenders, infractions will be issued. If enough infractions are issued, the account will be automatically moderated. Posts from moderated accounts will be placed in the moderation queue and will not appear until approved by a moderator.

Persistent offenders will face permanent bans.

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Restricted Price Discussions and No Coded Pricing (Coloured notes and coins)

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Price Discussion Rules - The long version

(Scroll down for the short and sweet version)

Shop Pricing

  1. Items with Recommended Retail Price (RRP), like most branded and manufactured products such as filters, lighting, fertilisers, fish food, etc.:
    • Do NOT reveal non-RRP prices and locations where such prices can be had.
    • It is OK to reveal RRP prices.
    • If unsure of the RRP, give a price range or an estimate. Do indicate that it is just an estimate.
  2. Items without RRP, like livestock, plants, driftwood, etc:
    • Do NOT reveal exact prices paid for such items.
    • It is OK to reveal a price range.
  3. Shop pricing:
    • It is OK to reveal that a certain shop has good deals. E.g.: "XXX shop has pretty good deals."
    • Do NOT reveal any shop's general discount on pricing. E.g.: Do not write: "XXX shop is usually 10% cheaper."
    • Do NOT reveal specific special discounts. (For example, those given for large purchases or to regular customers.)
    • Do NOT compare pricing between shops. E.g.: Do not write "XXX shop prices are better then YYY shop.
  4. Official promotions and limited-period sales:
    • It is OK to reveal official promotions, advertised sales and limited-period sales. E.g.:
      • AAA brand is offering a 10% discount on RRP during the Aquarama period or at the event itself.
      • ZZZ shop is having a 1st year anniversary sale.
  5. Locations:
    • It is acceptable to reveal locations where a certain product can be bought.

Second-hand, Home-grown, Home-bred and Custom-made Items

  1. Clearly indicate if the items sold or bought are secondhand, home-grown, home-bred or custom-made. This will allow the readers to judge for themselves the value-for-money.
  2. It is acceptable to reveal who or where these items are bought from.

Coded Pricing

  1. Do NOT use coded phrases to reveal prices. For example, do not write "3 red notes" to represent S$30. Prices are prices, no matter how you phrase it.
  2. Any attempt to code prices will be deemed as an act to circumvent Aquatic Quotient's policy and will not be tolerated. Repeat offenders may see disciplinary action taken against them.

Price Discussion Rules - The short and sweet version

This is the short version for ease of reading, but where there is any doubt, the long version of the rules will always prevail:

  1. It is OK to mention RRP and prices before unofficial discounts.
  2. It is OK to mention official promotions and discounts.
  3. Do NOT reveal unofficial special prices or discounts and the shops that offer them.
  4. Do NOT compare prices between shops.
  5. Do NOT use "red notes", "blue notes", "gold coins", etc.
  6. Clearly indicate goods that are second-hand, custom-made, home-grown or home-bred.

The Rationale

While Aquatic Quotient understands that members (especially Singaporeans) like to get the best prices possible, we have recognised that open discussion of prices have resulted in an unhealthy effect on the Singapore fish shop industry.

Often the discussion of prices, especially of livestock and plants, do not include the comparison of the other factors such as the quality, size and source (example, wild-caught vs. farm bred, specific farms, etc) of the goods. This has led to the demise of many shops that strive to bring in and maintain quality livestock and plants for the hobbyists, and the proliferation of less scrupulous shops that supply cheap, but lower quality livestock and other products, or save costs by storing the livestock, plants or goods in less than reasonable conditions.

Many fish shops often give discounts to regular customers or customers who buy large quantities. When such prices are revealed indiscriminately, many shopkeepers end up facing bargain hunters who bargain aggressively to get such prices for small quantities or one-time purchases. This eats into the shops bottomline and again leads to the demise of some shops.

The revealing of such discounted prices has also led to distributors taking action against the shops for selling products below RRP and often results in the shop not being able to stock such products any more. This affects the shops livelihood as they are not able to stock popular brands any more and subsequently lose customers.

While it is an open secret that many shops gives discounts on RRP, the open publishing of such pricing will leave the distributors no choice but to take action, especially when other shops complain.

One side effect is that some shops are now wary of customers who are obviously forum members, preferring not to give them better pricing for fear that it will be revealed online and lead to the above mentioned problems. They also become wary of dealing with forum staff who depend on good relations with the shops to get sponsorship and other deals for forum events and members.

However, Aquatic Quotient understands that many hobbyists, especially beginners, just want an idea of the costs of starting and maintaining an aquarium. Hence, Aquatic Quotient will allow the limited discussion of prices as outlined above.

I think we can safely assume that when you buy large enough quantities of items or patronise regularly, most shops will give a discount anyway.

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Respect Other Members

No doubt occasional disagreements will occur between members and is unavoidable. We appreciate, robust debate, please respect each other and do not resort to insults and personal attacks. Also, do not respond in kind. AQ will take action against all guilty parties, regardless of who initiated it.

Please also remember that the faceless nature of the internet lacks the benefit of body language and other physical clues of intentions. Misunderstandings can occur and please give the benefit of doubt when responding.

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No Vulgarity, Obscenity, Pornography and Erotica

Do NOT post vulgar, obscene, pornographic and erotic content

As a guideline, anything that will NOT appear on the National Geographic Magazine may NOT be used in Aquatic Quotient. This is only a guideline and does NOT override any other rules on Aquatic Quotient.

This rule also applies to content that is implicitly of this nature. For example, misspelt, abbreviated or otherwise camouflaged vulgar words or phrases are still subject to this rule. Non-nude images depicting a vulgar, obscene, pornographic or erotic act are also subject to this rule.

Aquatic Quotient reserves the right to decide the suitability of any content posted on Aquatic Quotient.

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No Discrimination (racism, sectarianism, sexism, etc)

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Do NOT post discriminatory content against another person's character, personal beliefs and/or subscriptions

This rule covers all areas of Aquatic Quotient that a member may edit, such as signature, avatar, title, etc. This includes but is not limited to discrimination against the following:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Culture
  • Nationality
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender
  • Age

Depending on the severity of the incident, the penalty will range from a simple warning to a permanent ban.

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No Political and Religious Content

Do NOT post political and/or religious content

Politics and religion are sensitive topics and can lead to heated disagreements. We also do not wish to be used as a platform for political or religious propaganda, recruitment or prolysetization. Aquatic Quotient is a forum for all aquarium hobbyist, regardless of their political leanings or religious beliefs, and we will not tolerate having the peaceful community being rend asunder by political or religious agendas.

There are other channels for such topics.

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No Defamation

NO defamation

Defamation is a written attack on a party's reputation.

If you have had a bad experience with another party or parties (regardless of whether they are Aquatic Quotient members or not, including organisations or businesses of all kinds) and wish to share your experience on Aquatic Quotient, you may do so, but in a truthful, neutral and factual manner. You must NOT attack or make judgement on the other party's character (e.g. you should not label the person as dishonest, unscrupulous, etc) or make unsubstantiated accusations. The readers themselves can judge for themselves from the events and facts of the incident.

Readers who respond to such posts must also avoid defamation.

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Respect Intellectual Property Rights (i.e. copyright, trademarks, etc)

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Respect Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

The guidelines to IPR on the Internet are broad and not exactly concrete. In any case, the law still has the final say. In general:


  • Obtain permission from the copyright owner BEFORE you post or upload any text, images, videos, audio and other materials on to Aquatic Quotient.
  • The owner and source of the materials must be acknowledged clearly.
  • You may link to the actual materials hosted on the owner's site, as long as it is publicly available.
  • You may NOT embed any copyrighted materials without permission from the owner. Embed means that the materials are displayed or playable on Aquatic Quotient even though the embedded file is still hosted on the owner's site.
  • If the hosting site provides explicit code or other mechanisms to embed the materials (e.g. Youtube), you may assume permission is given.


Trademarks can be used:

  • As long as the use does NOT imply that the trademark owner is in anyway sponsoring, endorsing, or is represented by, the user or Aquatic Quotient. (Hence, we strongly discourage the use of trademarks in user names, signatures, avatars, etc.)
  • To identify the trademark owner, or the owner's product or service. For example, you can write "the Ehiem Pro II series of filters come with a priming device" or "I wrote an email to Seachem regarding...".
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Advertising Rules

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Advertisements may be posted in the Marketplace forums only.

For more details, please see the advertising FAQ.

Advertising are NOT allowed on any other parts of Aquatic Quotient or in other forms, including but not limited to:

  • Non-marketplace forums
  • Members' signatures
  • Members' profiles
  • Unsolicited private messages or emails
  • Mass private messaging or emailing

General Rules (Applies to Merchants as well)

  • Do NOT advertise goods or services that are deemed illegal in Singapore and in the countries in which the advertiser will transact in.
  • Do NOT advertise alcohol and tobacco products.
  • Do NOT advertise on behalf of other members or non-members. Marketplace is strictly for personal use only.
  • Do NOT hijack other members' threads. All new advertisements must be posted as new threads.
  • Do NOT link to advertisements posted in other websites.
  • Do NOT link to or embed your own images that are NOT hosted on Aquatic Quotient or your business website. The images can be uploaded into Aquatic Quotient's photo gallery or as attachements.
  • Respect Intellectual Property Rights. Do NOT embed images to which you do not own the rights, unless you have obtain permission from the owners of the images. The sources must be acknowledged.
  • Members may link (NOT embed) to manufacturers images or webpages for the purpose of showing an image of the item on sale. (Links use the [URL][/URL] bbcode tags. Embed uses the [IMG][/IMG] tags.)
  • Do NOT conduct auctions.
  • Do NOT flip (see FAQ for explanation).
  • Avoid chatting and off topic discussions.

Forum specific rules

In addition to the general rules, the following applies to the respective marketplace forums.

Aquarium Related Marketplace

  • Only members with 10 or higher postcount and have been a member for 30 days or more may start new threads in the Aquarium Related Marketplace.
  • All members can reply to existing threads.
  • Only aquarium related goods or services may be advertised.

Non-Aquarium Marketplace

  • Only members with 30 or higher postcount and have been a member for 90 days or more may start new threads in the Non-Aquarium Marketplace. All members can reply to existing threads.
  • Only non-aquarium related goods or services may be advertised.

Please Note

  • It may take the system an hour or more to grant the privileges to members that achieve the criteria. Please wait patiently.
  • Posting low-value or zero-value posts (i.e. post-chalking) to get the privileges is NOT allowed. Post-chalkers will be dealt with severely.

Merchant Advertisements and Announcements

  • Only Merchant accounts are allowed to advertise in the Merchant Advertisements and Announcements forum. To obtain a Merchant account, please see the advertising FAQ.
  • Other members can reply to threads within the Merchant Advertisements and Announcements forum.
  • Merchants may post their business related advertisements in the Merchant Advertisements and Announcements forum only.
  • The advertisements must be relevant to the aquarium hobby and other main topics discussed on Aquatic Quotient.
  • Merchants must display their full business contact details in their signature.
  • Merchants may link to their business websites.
  • Merchants may link or embed images hosted on their business websites.
  • Merchants may include one text link in their signature to an advertisement in the Merchant Advertisements and Announcements forum.
  • Merchants may advertise their personal used items in the non-merchant Marketplace forums. Merchants must state clearly that the items are personal used items.
  • Merchants may participate in the discussions on Aquatic Quotient like normal members.

Mass Order

  • Mass Order (MO) organisers must seek approval from Aquatic Quotient first. For instructions to obtain approval, please see the advertising FAQ.
  • The following information must be provided:
    • Product name
    • Product details
    • Vendor details: From whom the product(s) will be order.
    • Usual price
    • Mass order price
    • Shipping charges
    • Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ): The minimum orders that must be achieved before the organiser will proceed with the MO.
    • Estimated shipping duration
    • Payment details: Payment deadlines and how payment can be made.
    • Estimated collection schedule
  • The MOQ must usually be met before any MO can proceed. All payment MUST BE made in full (unless otherwise stated) to the organiser before the MO can proceed.
  • Upon receiving full payment from the BUYERS, the organiser is OBLIGED to inform the Buyers the date of the order and the estimated arrival date of the goods.
  • The MO organiser is OBLIGED to keep all buyers informed of the status of the order if there are any delays, regardless of the reasons. If available, provide tracking codes.
  • Upon arrival of the goods, it's the OBLIGATION of the buyers to collect the goods on the date or dates stipulated by the organiser. If this is not possible, alternative arrangements must be made with the organiser as soon as possible. Organisers are NOT obliged to hold the items indefinitely.
  • Once committed, there should be NO BACKING OUT by either organisers or buyers unless there is mutual agreement by the parties directly involved.

Threads that break the advertisement rules will be removed without notice.

Aquatic Quotient reserves the right to remove any advertisements that it deems inappropriate without notice.


Aquatic Quotient is merely providing a free place for advertising. We are neither involved in, responsible nor liable for any of the advertisments or resultiing transactions.

We do not make any effort nor take any responsibility to ensure the authencity of advertisers or the quality of the goods or services advertised. Our requirements of MO organisers are merely to discourage fraud. Permission given to MO organisers to advertise should not be taken as endorsement by Aquatic Quotient. It is the responsibility of buyers to check the quality and quantity of goods or services provided before completing the purchase. In the case of MOs, it is the sole discretion of the buyers to decide the trustworthiness of the organiser before making payment.

While Aquatic Quotient may on occasion, at our discretion, step in to investigate disputes or seemingly fraudulent advertisments or transactions, we do not take any responsibility for such cases nor is it our responsibilty to investigate or resolve them. Do NOT expect Aquatic Quotient to help you investigate or resolve such cases.

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Trading Rules (buying, selling, giving, exchanging, auctions)

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Aquatic Quotient provides several sub-forums in the Marketplace forums for members to place advertisements to sell, buy, exchange or give away goods and services. Please see the Advertising FAQ above for detailed rules and more information.

Auctions are Not Allowed

Auctions add several levels of complication and we simply do not have the resources to monitor auctions and ensure they are carried out fairly and within the rules that would be required.

Flipping (Buying and Quick Re-selling for Profit) is NOT allowed.

Flipping is the buying, or obtaining for free, used goods with the intention to quickly re-sell them for profit. It does not matter whether the goods are bought from Aquatic Quotient members and flipped elsewhere, or the goods bought elsewhere are flipped on Aquatic Quotient.

We provide the marketplace forums as a convenience for well-meaning members to sell at a reasonable price, or give away, their unwanted items to other members with genuine need for the items. And also for members with budget constrains to get items they need at budget prices. We feel no one should take advantage of members' good intentions or needs to turn a quick profit.

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Do NOT Chalk or Pad Postcount

Do NOT chalk or pad postcount

Chalking or padding postcount refers to the rapid posting of useless posts in order to achieve enough postcount to gain privileges.

Offenders will see their useless posts deleted and ill-gotten privileges revoked. Persistent offenders will be banned.

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Do NOT Bump or 'Up' Threads

Do NOT bump or 'up' threads

Bumping a thread refers to posting zero- or low-value posts to keep a thread alive or to push the thread to the top of the 'New Post' results or forum listing. This is disruptive to the forum and makes it difficult for members to find threads with genuine new activity. Bumping is a form of spam and will treated as such in severe cases.

Depending of severity, one or more of the following actions may be taken:

  • Issuance of infraction
  • Placing on moderation
  • Banning
  • Deletion of bump posts
  • Deletion of thread

For Marketplace, any threads that are bumped or 'upped' will be completely deleted. Repeatedly starting new threads for the same items, will also be considered as bumping.

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Do NOT Spam

Do NOT spam

Spammers will be dealt with severely. Advertisement spammers will be banned permanently.

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Do NOT Create Multiple Accounts

Please do not create multiple accounts on AQ. The only exception are merchant accounts: merchants may maintain ONE normal member account and ONE merchant account for each distinct registered business.

In most cases, multiple accounts are used to conduct fraudulent activities and we will treat all multiple accounts seriously.

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Search FAQ

Select this option if you would like your search to look in the text of FAQ items as well as their titles.

Select an option here to specify how you would like your search query to be treated. 'Any words' will return the most numerous but possibly least relevant results, while 'Complete phrase' will return only results that contain exactly what you are searching for.