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Issue: January 2011

International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest 2010 (Full Article)

Author: Takashi Amano

IAPLC 2010 01
Photographer: Pavel Bautin
Mr. Takashi Amano presents the latest winners of his illustrious annual contest, highlighting some of the world’s most outstanding planted layouts.

IAPLC 2010 01
Grand Prize
World Ranking #1
Pavel Bautin
Title: Forest Scent
Dimensions: W150 x D50 x H60 cm (W60 x D20 x H24 inches)

Aquatic Plants: Eleocharis acicularis, Fontinalis antipyretica, Glossostigma elatinoides, Micranthemum umbrosum “Cuba,” Hemianthus micranthemoides, Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Micranthemum umbrosum, Microsorum pteropus, Myriophyllum elatinoides, Myriophyllum mattogrossense “green,” Myriophyllum pinnatum, Rotala sp.“nanjenshan,” Rotala rotundifolia “green”

Fish & Invertebrates: Boraras maculatus, Caridina japonica, Neocaridina denticulata

Evaluation: This year’s grand-prize winner is from Russia with an innovative image of a forest. Four judges selected this layout as the best layout. The creator combined many different sizes of straight woods, and expressed a perspective of the forest in a 150-cm (60-inch)-wide aquarium. Myriophyllumspp. planted in the back were closing their leaves due to nyctinasty (the movement of plants in response to the onset of darkness), but this worked out well because it made them look like needle-leaf trees. It is regrettable that there were no fish captured in the photo, but the nature of forest was skillfully created and the creator’s idea was highly evaluated.

IAPLC 2010 02
Gold Prize
World Ranking #2
Zhang Jian Feng

Title: Loess Plateau


Dimensions: W90 x D45 x H45 cm (W35 x D20 x H20 inches)

Aquatic Plants: Rotala sp.“nanjenshan,” Riccardia chamedryfolia

Fish & Invertebrates: Trigonostigma espei, Caridina japonica

Evaluation: The gold-prize winning layout sent from Macau had a strong color impact. Riccardia chamedryfolia was attached on red table rocks, and it attracted people’s attention. Mr. Zhang made use of those unique table rocks and expressed a plateau. But all of the rocks are leveled at the same height, and it is regrettable for lacking the power and natural feeling. The layout is themed on “Loess Plateau.” It could have been better if the plants were arranged to express a wider landscape of a plateau.

IAPLC 2010 03
Silver Prize
World Ranking #3
Xuan Thuy Nguyen Thi
Title: Colour of Life
Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H40 cm (W50 x D20 x H15 inches)

Aquatic Plants: Glossostigma elatinoides, Hemianthus micranthemoides, Limnophila sp. “Vietnam,” Marsilea hirsuta, Rotala rotundifolia, Rotala sp. “red,” Echinodorus tenellus, Vesicularia sp.

Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon axelrodi, Otocinclus sp., Caridina japonica

Evaluation: The silver prize winner is from Vietnam, and the creator made a good arrangement of rocks and stemmed plants. The rocks are all the same texture, and unique, which gives the layout a good ambience. The stemmed plant trimming technique is also notable. However, we could not see much natural feeling in the layout, as all the elements were meticulously created, and the whiteness of cosmetic sand in the central part seems a bit artificial. The fish also does not match the layout. All these points may have downgraded assessment of this layout.

IAPLC 2010 04
Silver Prize
World Ranking #4
Yutaka Kanno
Title: The View

Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H45 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)

Aquatic Plants: Fontinalis antipyretica, Vesicularia sp., Amblystegiaceae sp. “São Paulo”

Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon simulans, Caridina japonica, Neocaridina denticulata

Evaluation: Another silver-prize winner is from Japan. The layout looks like a piece of modern art, expressing a space in the cave with the dynamic arrangement of driftwood. Some kinds of willow moss are used, but it gives too much of a monotone impression. The layout could have been completely different if the creator chose to express a different world by using red-stemmed plants around the mouth of the cave. It could make a visual effect as if we were looking at a different outside world by sitting in the cave.

IAPLC 2010 05
Bronze Prize
World Ranking #5
Zeng Qing Jun
Title: Karst
Dimensions: W150 x D60 x H60 cm (W60 x D25 x H25 inches)

Aquatic Plants: Fontinalis antipyretica, Pogostemon helferi, Glossostigma elatinoides

Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon axelrodi

Evaluation: The first bronze-prize winner is from China. The creator used uniquely shaped stones and expressed famous karst landscape of Guilin. The moss attached on the stones looks natural, but the plants in the foreground do not look nice. Many plants with different leaf shapes were planted in small amounts, which gave an impression of lacking unity. Those plants seem to be just planted and not grown yet. The layout may become disorganized when all those plants are fully grown. The pebble size in foreground seems too big, giving a rough impression to the layout.

IAPLC 2010 06
Bronze Prize
World Ranking #6
Chen I Sheng

Title: A Day When Walk on a Jungle Trail


Dimensions: W210 x D60 x H60 cm (W80 x D25 x H25 inches)

Aquatic Plants: Riccardia chamedryfolia, Vesicularia sp., Taxiphyllum barbieri, Fissidens fontanus, Pellia endiviifolia, Micranthemum umbrosum, Echinodorus quadricostatus, Sagittaria subulata, Glossostigma elatinoides, Eleocharis vivipara, Eleocharis sp., Microsorum pteropus “Windelov,” Microsorum pteropus, Microsorium pteropus var., Anubias barteri var. “nana petite,” Anubias barteri var. “nana,” Bolbitis heudelotii,Vallisneria nana, Cryptocoryne beckettii, Cryptocoryne bullosa, Staurogyne sp. “Rio Cristalino,” Riccia fluitans

Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon axelrodi, Carinotetraodon travancoricus, Crossocheilus reticulatus, Crossocheilus oblongus (siamensis), Ancistrus sp., Sturisoma panamense

Evaluation: Mr. Chen from Taiwan created a natural-looking layout by using both driftwood and stones. The arrangement of shade plants such as ferns and mosses also contributed to make a good ambience of jungle. However, the base composition is not so clear, especially the right side seems roughly arranged. The open space on the right end is a big disadvantage, as the joint part of the back corner appears clearly. The composition would have become clearer if this space was filled by layout materials or aquatic plants.

IAPLC 2010 07
Bronze Prize
World Ranking #7
Grigoriy Polishchuk
Title: Forest Silent
Dimensions: W120 x D50 x H50 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)

Aquatic Plants: Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cryptocoryne beckettii, Cryptocoryne lutea, Vesicularia dubyana, Anubias barteri var., Vallisneria nana, Hemianthus micranthemoides, Echinodorus tenellus, Microsorum pteropus

Fish & Invertebrates: Tanichthys albonubes, Macrotocinclus (Otocinclus) affinis, Caridina japonica, Neocaridina denticulata

Evaluation: A typical concave composition layout from Ukraine was selected for the bronze prize. Composition of the layout materials and balance of the whole layout were highly evaluated. When watched carefully, we can also see some problems in the layout. The Anubias on the right side is too big, and looks unnatural. The arrangement of Cryptocoryne in the midground and Vallisneria in the back look nice, but they grew too thick. The cosmetic sand in the middle looks dirty. The creator’s ability to maintain the layout for a long period was evaluated, but its technique caused degradation.

IAPLC 2010 08
World Ranking #8
Long Tran Hoang
Title: Into the Green
Dimensions: W155 x D81 x H50 cm (W60 x D30 x H20 inches)

Evaluation: This is a unique layout produced with characteristically shaped stones tied with ferns and mosses. The left and right balance is good, and the whole composition is organized well. But the white cosmetic sand seems unnaturally white. In order to enhance the natural look of stones, the cosmetic sand close to the natural color should have been used, or the foreground filled with aquatic plants.

IAPLC 2010 09
World Ranking #9
K. P. Wong
Title: Infinite Wonder
Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H45 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)

Evaluation: The layout is composed with natural-looking, complex-shape stones. The composition is excellent, and it gives us an impression of seeing a magnificent scenic place. However, using too many colors of aquatic plans was disadvantageous. The bright red color stemmed plants especially do not match these stones. Mosses and Anubias were planted between the stones. This layout could have been better if planted only with green color plants.

IAPLC 2010 10
World Ranking #10
Li Da Wei
Title: Whitehead Gap
Dimensions: W120 x D50 x H50 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)

Evaluation: The distinctive texture of stones and nicely trimmed stemmed plants are perfectly matching. The use of cosmetic sand in the foreground also improves the natural look. It is very regrettable that the thicket of stemmed plants in the background was not filled completely to the right end. The layout could be more natural if they were taller and had more inclination at both sides so that they cover the joint part of the aquarium.

IAPLC 2010 11 

World Ranking #11
Wang Chao
Title: Drizzle
Dimensions: W120 x D55 x H50 cm (W50 x D22 x H20 inches)

Evaluation: The creator expressed a natural feeling well with stones, driftwood, cosmetic sand, and mosses. The way stemmed plants in the background grow also looks natural. The overall impression and natural look is very positive, but the arrangement of driftwood and its angles did not make a good impression. The layout could be different if driftwood angles were a bit lower, as they seem too wide.

IAPLC 2010 12
World Ranking #12
May Kwan
Title: Shou Stone Ridge
Dimensions: W150 x D50 x H55 cm (W60 x D20 x H22 inches)

Evaluation: The layout was composed by meticulously arranging perforated rocks. It gives us an impression the creator took time for planting between the rocks, and composing the whole layout well. It is very regrettable the black joint part of the back corner appeared very clearly, which limits the spatial width. It is an interesting layout, but this point became the subject of point loss.

See the full article on TFH Digital

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