I met Charles Delbeek at the Waikiki Aquarium

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
I recently got back from Ohau, Hawaii.
I've known Charles for about 8 years via email and finally met him in person. For those who are not aware, Charles is a widely respected lecturer and writer for marine aquaria. He ventured into FW planted tanks some years back and I helped out where I could.

The public aquarium is rather small, but it well run and has nice displays, awesome corals and livestock. He has done very well with seagrasses. They have an outdoor coral frag and clam grow out tank that was truly awesome.

Nothing like real sunlight where the coral is from to grow things.
Best color on corals I've ever seen in a tank.
Due to the sun light, taking pics was impossible.

We chatted about the hobby.
He's been around longer than I and we talked about the old days and how the same things keep popping up every few years with the next new batch of hobbyists cohorts.

Many reinvent the wheel. Ole, Troels and Karen also had similar comments when they came to the AGA last fall. ;)

Many experts really do try to help folks and Charles is one of the best ones.
As such, I try to help him in my area of specialty. Likewise, helping others is the goal to help this hobby grow. Giving back to those that helped you before by helping the next new group of hobbyist is somethinjg you might consider here.

Many of you have gained a lot of knowledge and will continue to learn.
I use to think it would be great to know all that some "expert" knew.
But truthfully, we just answer what we can as the questions come up.

I think some believe reinventing the wheel waste some time etc, but we all teach kids math, to write, read etc, even though others have already done it. Same thing here.

Folks need to do the basics to learn the more advance things in the hobby and make mistakes, gain experiences, realize that what they once thought is not quite what they thought.

I do try as do all of the folks above(as well as many others) to guide folks so they do not repeat some of the mistakes. Not everyone is willing to take such advice nor help:cool:

I'll get some pictures up a bit later.

Tom Barr


Guru Class Expert
Jul 9, 2007
Austin, TX
Well I know this probably goes for others too, but I really appreciate the time you take to help others that might not have as much experience as you. And I thank you, and all the others who have helped me by patiently answering questions over and over again and posting the information where it is accessable to others. And by doing tests and experiments and telling others of the results. Having someone actually say, "X does/doesn't cause Y and I know because I've personally tested it." and knowing that they really know how to carefully set up these experiments and test certain variables, gives me a good idea of who I should listen to and what info is probably true. Being able to trust this info saves me the the time and frustration of learning it the hard way and certianly helps dispel the misinformation that exists everywhere.

I also believe the internet is something new that "old-timers" didn't have the luxury of using, and since its introduction to the public, has slowly been dissolving the old myths. The internet provides a common place for people all over the world to meet and share their ideas. It also in essence creates a database of all this information and provides a record of everyone's activity and conversations. This makes it easy to show the progression of the hobby, and an observent person can see the mistakes/misunderstandings of the past and the response/answers of the present. I think this will be a big help in the future for keeping a newcomer's mistakes/misunderstandings to a minimum. There IS a lot of conflicting information on the internet, but a diligent person can usually piece together the truth.

A site like this, APC, TPT.net, and others is a wealth of information and a great place to come and learn. From these 3 places, and the experienced members there, I have learned almost everything I needed to know and found an answer to almost every question I had. I feel that these forums are probably the most valuable tool for any hobbyist wanting to learn more.

All of these things have been a big help in moving the hobby forward, and hopefully the wheel will need to be reinvented less and less, and instead we can focus on using it to take us to the next level. When I gain enough experience I'll be able to pass on what I've learned and give back to someone new.

So to Tom & all the "Gurus" on these forums (and really, anybody willing to help others & share their experiences): thanks again for taking time out to read these threads and answer our questions everyday, and leave a record for future hobbyists to learn from.

-Mike B-