Acquariofilia Facile is excited to offer you a wonderful exclusive interview with one of the most famous aquascapers in the world: Tom Barr!Vai all'articolo in Italiano


If we look at the various aquarists, we would likely divide them in three category: the ones who aim to recreate a biotope, the ones interested in fish reproduction, and the ones enthusiastic about plants and heavy planted tanks.

This last category – which goes from Takashi Amano followers to planted tank designers passing through low-tech aquarium lover- it’s definitely heterogeneous, but united by exactly the same passion for plants. That’s true for beginners, as well as for those who turned aquarium plant into a real job. We could say that this applies to many of our Acquariofilia Facile users, as for a professional aquascaper like Tom Barr.

Tom Barr

So I got in touch with him, asking if he was willing to be interviewed; he gladly accepted to answer our questions.

I admit that this interview pleasantly surprised me. I expected the debate to be focused on matching and positioning plants, golden rule etc… Nope!

What emerges is the great knowledge of our guest star, who answered all the questions without preparing any answer, in confirmation of his great skills of all-round aquarist.

So I discovered that Tom Barr isn’t just the man of estimative index: he is a great aquarist who maintains low-tech tanks with refills and PMDD, getting awesome results.

I am therefore pleased to share with you this interview.


Q. Hi Tom, welcome to AF, and thank you for accepting my invitation.

A. Hello there!

Q. I read you studied biology; it was this who brought you to become one of the most famous aquascaper in the world?

A. I studied biology my whole life. My father was a cave biologist , he studied beetles and taught at Kentucky’s University. His friends and half a lab were fish biologist, in particular they studied Darters (river fish from Percidae family).

Barr senior
Tom Barr’s father (Hubbard’s Cave, 1960)

I slept a lot in Biology classes until the upper division classes and Graduate school; and that’s were the suffering begins! I went back to college after dropping out 4 times. I was about 30 years old when I decided to get serious and finish.

I’d already had a strong interest and impact on the planted tank community by then; so plant biology was very applied for myself. I also did ample graduate work on algae and bacteria.

The plant biology is fairly well understood, however hobbyists do not want to hear that. Logic is often not accepted by the public.