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Issue: January 2012

International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest 2011 (Full Article)

Author: ADA

Photographer: Long Tran Hoang
The results of the annual International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest are in, revealing the best of the best Nature Aquariums from around the world.


Grand Prize
World Ranking #1
Long Tran Hoang
Title: Delicate World
Dimensions: W150 x D81x H48 cm (W60 x D30 x H20 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Glossostigma elatinoides, Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides, Marsilea hirsuta, M. quadrifolia, Bolbitis heudelotii, Sagittaria subulata
Fish & Invertebrates: Hyphessobrycon amandae, Neocaridina heteropoda

Evaluation: This year, a very strong layout from Vietnam received the Grand Prize. The composition of rocks arranged in a fine balance gives a strong impact, like a superb view found in the ocean floor. Not only does he create a unique layout style, Mr. Long Tran Hoang also utilizes the distinctive aquarium size ratio to create short- and long-distance views, skillfully expressing perspective and power in the layout. Small ferns and mosses attached on the stones are all natural, and they emphasize the unique stone layout. By arranging various plants around the stones, he succeeds in making a delicate world.


Gold Prize
World Ranking #2
Xue Hai
Title: Song of Forest
Dimensions: W150 x D60 x H50 cm (W60 x D25 x H20 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Cryptocoryne yujii, C. wendtii, Rotala pusilla, Microsorum pteropus, Pellia endiviifolia, Hypnum plumaeforme, Blyxa alternifolia, Anubias barteri var. “nana,”
Eleocharis minima, Bolbitis heudelotii, Hygrophila sp., Glossostigma elatinoides, Ranunculus papulentus, Ranalisma humile
Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon simulans, Nematobrycon palmeri
Evaluation: The Gold Prize winner is from Taiwan, and it gives an impression similar to that of the 2010 Grand Prize winning layout. But what makes this layout attractive is the creator’s fussing over details. The fern and moss “gloves” on each and every tree are used to express epiphytes, and cosmetic sand and pebbles suggest a stream running through the forest floor. The detailed arrangement of various plants was highly evaluated.


Silver Prize
World Ranking #3
Dmitriy Parshin
Title: Brotherhood
Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H45 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)

Aquatic Plants: Eriocaulon sp., Riccardia chamedryfolia, Fissidens sp. “fontanus,” Hanegoke moss “Cameroon,” Anubias barteri var. nana “petite,” Hemianthus micranthemoides, Crassula sp., Microsorum pteropus

Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon axelrodi, Siamese algae eater, Caridina japonica
Neocaridina sp.
Evaluation: The first Silver Prize winner is from Russia, and the layout is an image of a Russian forest. In this year’s contest, we received many layouts with an image of a forest, likely due to the influence of last year’s Grand Prize winning layout, but this layout shows the highest level of completion. Here the creator expresses a deep natural feeling by rugged bark textures and greens of plants. He also skillfully arranges various sizes of trees, sometimes in inclined positions, and succeeds in emphasizing a perspective in the central open space. The position of the fish at the moment of shooting the picture was also good.


Silver Prize
World Ranking #4
Cliff Hui
Hong Kong
Title: Alongside
Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H50 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Rotala rotundifolia, Hemianthus micranthemoides, Glossostigma elatinoides, Microsorum sp., baby tear moss, Vesicularia sp., Fissidens fontanus, Fontinalis antipyretica, Riccardia chamedryfolia
Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon simulans, Nannostomus beckfordi, Rasbora borapetensis, Otocinclus sp., Caridina japonica
Evaluation: The second Silver Prize winner is from Hong Kong, and his layout gives a good impression of a natural feeling and perspective. He combines both stones and driftwood, and expresses a natural feeling by attaching several species of moss on those layout materials. He emphasizes perspectives by spreading cosmetic sand from the central open space toward the back. The use of driftwood looking like a rustic bridge over the valley draws the viewer’s attention. These techniques are nothing new, but the level of expression is very high, and it received high evaluation from the judges.


Bronze Prize
World Ranking #5
Fa Loy Lee
Title: Broga
Dimensions: W150 x D60 x H45 cm (W60 x D25 x H20 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Riccardia chamedryfolia, Vesicularia sp., Staurogyne repens, Ranunculus papulentus, Myriophyllum mattogrossense, Rotala rotundifolia “green and red,” Rotala wallichii “long leaf,” Ludwigia inclinata var. “verticillata Cuba,” L. arcuata,
R. sp.nanjenshan,” Cryptocoryne wendtii, Limnophila sp. “Vietnam,” Fissidens sp., Eleocharis vivipara, E. acicularis, Eleocharis sp.
Fish & Invertebrates: Corydoras pygmaeus, Sawbwa resplendens, cherry shrimp
Evaluation: The first Bronze Prize winning layout is an iwagumi layout from Malaysia. Using a panoramic aquarium tank and a large main stone, the creator makes a layout with a sedate impression. A dark shadow under the overhanging main stone gives a heavy impression, but white cosmetic sand in the center and bright stemmed plants to both sides counter this dark impression. The ratio of open space and densely planted area is just right, and the use of mosses is very good.


Bronze Prize
World Ranking 006
Koji Kogure
Title: Unspoilt Scenery
Dimensions: W90 x D45 x H45 cm (W35 x D20 x H20 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Rotala rotundifolia, Hemianthus micranthemoides, H. callitrichoides, Hydrocotyle sp., Glossostigma elatinoides, Riccardia chamedryfolia, Taxiphyllum sp.
Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon axelrodi, Endler’s livebearer, Crossocheilus oblongus, Caridina japonica, Indoplanorbis exustus
Evaluation: The second Bronze Prize winning layout is a mountainous layout from Japan. This type of layout is usually produced by heaping up ryuoh stone high for expressing a steep rock mountain, but in this layout the creator expresses a waterfall and mountain stream with a white band of ryuoh stone and white cosmetic sand, and succeeds in making a large-scale layout. The nicely grown plants are used for expressing trees covering the mountain surface, and their color gives a soft impression.


Bronze Prize
World Ranking #7
Chow Wai Sun
Hong Kong
Title: Verve!
Dimensions: W200 x D66 x H66 cm (W80 x D25 x H25 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Anubias barteri var. “nana,” Bolbitis sp., Bolbitis heudelotii, Cladophora aegagrophila, Echinodorus tenellus, Hygrophila pinnatifida, Marsilea hirsuta, Microsorum pteropus “narrow,” Nymphaea lotus “Zenkeri,” Taxiphyllum barbieri, Vesicularia ferriei, V. dubyana
Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon axelrodi, Otocinclus sp., Neocaridina sp.
Evaluation: The third Bronze Prize winner is a unique layout from Hong Kong. The creator of this layout is famous for arranging driftwood uniquely, and every year he sends a dramatic layout. This year the layout with a bold composition produced by driftwood in a large-size aquarium is very powerful. But some arrangements of driftwood and stones got negative remarks due to the existence of driftwood with a different impression in the left side of aquarium tank, and the lack of unity in arrangement of driftwood and stones. The aquatic plants still look young, and it does not have a resonance of nature.


World Ranking #8
Yuji Yoshinaga
Title: Great Nature on the Desk
Dimensions: W45 x D24 x H16 cm (W20 x D10 x H6 inches)
Evaluation: This is a mountainous layout in a wide, flat aquarium. Utilizing asperity and a white band of ryuoh stone, the creator succeeds in making a large-scale layout in a small tank. The plant arrangement is also delicate. But one drawback is the use of different color/texture stones on the left side.


World Ranking #9
Wai Hung Tony Wong
Hong Kong
Title: Pillar Cliff Glory
Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H45 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)
Evaluation: This is a concave composition layout produced in a panoramic-sized aquarium. Cosmetic sand in the center emphasizes the perspective, and the color and texture of the stones matches well with brightly colored aquatic plants. It is regrettable the composition is symmetrical, and some red-stemmed plant shoots stick out.


World Ranking #10
Eriko Kanno
Title: Time of Coloration
Dimensions: W90 x D45 x H45 cm (W35 x D20 x H20 inches)
Well maintained thickets of plants draw gentle curves, and many layers of such curves make a unique layout style. A part of the ryuoh stone is exposed, but the surface of the stones should be hidden in such a fantastic layout. The open space in the upper corners would have looked better if filled with stemmed plants.


World Ranking #11
Hidekazu Tsukiji
Title: Gentle Breeze
Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H45 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)
Evaluation: A large-sized stone sticking out from the water surface draws the eye. The stone’s impact is very strong, but when observing details, some people may find the arrangement rough. The use of mosses and spreading of cosmetic sand, even in the indented part, look natural. There are some species of slender plants in the background, but the whole layout would be better without these plants.


World Ranking #12
May Kwan
Hong Kong
Title: The Heart of Paradise
Dimensions: W150 x D50 x H55 cm (W60 x D20 x H25 inches)
Evaluation: The use of stones expressing the perspective and spatial impression of gentle slopes of green is very impressive. But the aquarium silicone seal of the back corners stands out clearly, and this undermines the beauty of the layout. It is advisable to use an aquarium with less obstructive silicone or frames when making such a spacious layout.

See the full article on TFH Digital

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