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Issue: February 2013

International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest 2012 (Full Article)

Author: ADA

Photographer: Zhang Jianfeng
We are proud to announce the winners of the annual International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest and feature the best aquascapes from around the world.


Grand Prize
World Ranking #1
Zhang Jianfeng
Title: Amazon
Dimensions: W120 x D50 x H50 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Riccardia chamedryfolia, Marsilea crenata, Cryptocoryne parva, Vesicularia sp., Fissidens nobilis
Fish & Invertebrates: Carnegiella strigata fasciata, Paracheirodon simulans, P. axelrodi, Caridina japonica
Evaluation: This year's grand prize winning layout resembles the tropical rainforest of the Amazon, as its title states. In the past, there were many layouts with an expression of trees using driftwood and mosses, but what makes this layout special is the realistic expression of canopies of a tropical rainforest, which consisted of many trees. We see the creator's high technical skills in the canopies created by the skillful arrangement of twiggy driftwood and mosses. The presence of white sand in the center and arrangement of stones placed on both sides also contributed to create natural tropical rainforest scenery. The selection of fish and the timing of the photograph are just perfect, and this layout deserves the honor of grand prize.


Gold Prize
World Ranking #2
Siak Wee Yeo
Title: Gratefulness
Dimensions: W140 x D60 x H50 cm (W55 x D25 x H20 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Limnophila sp. "Vietnam," Anubias barteri var. “nana petite," Staurogyne repens, Fissidens fontanus, Fissidens nobilis, Hemianthus callitrichoides "Cuba," Bolbitus heudelotii, Microsorum pteropus "narrow," Glossostigma elatinoides
Fish: Hemigrammus rodwayi, Nannostomus eques, Puntius denisonii, Crossocheilus siamensis, Otocinclus sp.
Evaluation: The aquarium layout with a unique natural look and beauty from Malaysia won the gold prize. The driftwood and ferns resembling a thick primeval forest, beautifully grown mosses, and the white sand, which makes a perfect contrast with the aquascape, are all effectively arranged here. Together they describe a unique natural beauty. The narrow path or stream in the center, created by the white sand extending from the back space to the foreground, is also very effective and adds a depth and power to the layout. The position of fish is also just right and highlights the whole composition.


Silver Prize
World Ranking #3
Long Tran Hoang
Title: Green Convergence
Dimensions: W220 x D65 x H65 cm (W85 x D25 x H25 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Microsorum pteropus "needle leaves," M. pteropus sp., Marsilea hirsuta, Hygrophila pinnatifida, Glossostigma elatinoides, Eleocharis acicularis, Taxiphyllum sp., Rotala rotundifolia sp. "orange," R. rotundifolia sp. "yellow"
Fish & Invertebrates: Boraras maculatus, Caridina multidentata, Atyopsis moluccensis
Evaluation: The first silver-prize-winning layout from Vietnam had a sensational impact. By directing the pointed stones toward the vanishing point, it created a visual effect like one-point perspective. Exaggerated perspective and powerful stone arrangement make this layout sensational. Even aquatic plants are meticulously arranged in detail. However, depending on how you look at it, the outcome of evaluating this kind of unrealistic expression can change. In this sense, this is one of the most remarkable layouts in this year's contest.


Silver Prize
World Ranking #4
Song Pin Chen
Title: Forest Impression
Dimensions: W105 x D60 x H60 cm (W40 x D25 x H25 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Anubias sp., A. barteri var. “nana petite," Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides, Microsorum sp., Taxiphyllum barbieri, Vesicularia sp., Riccardia chamedryfolia
Fish & Invertebrates: Paracheirodon axelrodi, dwarf puffer, Ancistrus sp., Caridina japonica
Evaluation: Creating a forest scene by arranging driftwood in upright position has already been a standard layout technique, but this required more sophisticated skills. Mr. Chen created a layout with a strong perspective and power by using different sizes of driftwood in the foreground and background, and having steep substrate slopes and white sands in the center. Different kinds of aquatic plants were planted in detail, and an image of a stream running through the primeval forest is skillfully created by arranging pebbles, mosses, and ferns in the aquarium layout.


Bronze Prize
World Ranking #5
Yutaka Kanno
Title: Ray of Sunlight in the Cave
Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H45 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Rotala sp. “Nanjenshan,” R. rotundifolia, R. rotundifolia “green,” R. macrandra, Hemianthus callitrichoides "Cuba," Eriocaulon sp., Hydrocotyle verticillata, Ranunculus inundatus, Vesicularia sp., Fontinalis antipyretica, Riccardia chamedryfolia
Fish & Invertebrates: Axelrodia sp., Caridina japonica
Evaluation: The first bronze-prize-winning work is a very impressive layout with a challenging stone arrangement. The way stones in the upper side are overhanging may not be easy to understand at the initial sight, but from the layout title, one can understand the creator tried to make an image of a rock cave, looking from the inside. In addition to the use of stones and white sands, the photography technique, emphasizing the strong contrast between the dark shadow of rock cave and outside bright lighting, made this layout very impressive. It is regrettable that upper overhanging rock made an oppressive impression.


Bronze Prize
World Ranking #6
Duc Viet Bui
Title: Where Life Begins
Dimensions: W120 x D60 x H50 cm (W50 x D25 x H20 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Isopterygium sp., Vesicularia ferriei, V. montagnei, Cryptocoryne beckettii var. “petchii,” Hygrophila polysperma var. "rosaenervis," Marsilea hirsuta, Anubias barteri var. “nana petit" Fish: Boraras sp.
Evaluation: The second bronze prize went to the layout from Vietnam with an impressive use of driftwood and mosses. An image of dense forest was created by arranging driftwood in an overhanging way and attaching mosses to it. The dark impression created by the use of black driftwood and many dark green sciophytic plants is offset by the use of white sand in the center, for making an image of a narrow stream. As a whole, therefore, the lighting balance seems just perfect. This white sand part is also effective in creating perspective in the aquarium layout.


Bronze Prize
World Ranking #7
Truong Thinh Ngo
Title: Somewhere in the World
Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H40 cm (W50 x D20 x H15 inches)
Aquatic Plants: Eleocharis sp. "mini," Glossostigma elatinoides, Limnophila sp. "Vietnam," Marsilea sp., Rotala macrandra sp. "red narrow leaf," R. sp. "colorata," R. rotundifolia “green,” Taxiphyllum sp. “flame moss,” Taxiphyllum sp.
Fish & Invertebrates: Brevibora dorsiocellata, Crossocheilus siamensis, Caridina japonica
Evaluation: The last bronze-prize-winning layout is also from Vietnam, with a very impressive arrangement of stones. A unique natural feeling is created by setting up many stones and planting aquatic plants in the space between the stones. The small trees created by inserting driftwood covered with moss between the stones also became an effective accent of the layout. The composition is well organized in a panoramic size aquarium tank. The creator well maintained the white sand and aquatic plants, and it gives us an impression that the work was created with the greatest care.


World Ranking #8
Chee Keong Teoh
Title: The Root
Dimensions: W120 x D45 x H45 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)
Evaluation: The driftwood looking like a root of a tree is boldly arranged in this layout and gives the impression that aquatic plants are growing in a cluttered way at the initial sight. But it looks natural and brings more of driftwood's characteristics. Despite the use of large driftwood, the compositional balance is well organized due to the large open space.


World Ranking #9
Diego Marinelli
Title: One Too Many Mornings
Dimensions: W90 x D60 x H50 cm (W35 x D25 x H20 inches)
Evaluation: Perspective is created well, utilizing the aquarium tank with a depth. By making a mound of stones and driftwood, the creator made an image of a valley extending toward the back and created a layout with perspective and power. The planting of Hydrocotyle and mosses also emphasized naturalness.


World Ranking #10
Xuan Thuy Nguyen Thi
Title: Autumn Dream
Dimensions: W120 x D40 x H40 cm (W50 x D15 x H15 inches)
Evaluation: This is the layout created with uniquely shaped driftwood and stones. The color contrast of vivid red Rotala sp., deep green mosses, and white sand made a striking impression. Driftwood branches extending from both sides of the aquarium make an arch and emphasize the open space in the center.


World Ranking #11
Toshifumi Watanabe
Title: Gliding Over the Green Valley
Dimensions: W90 x D45 x H45 cm (W35 x D20 x H20 inches)
Evaluation: Although the layout is composed with only stones, mosses, and white sand, it made an unprecedented unique impression. The hill with a gentle curve adds a new dimension to the aquarium layout, and the cliff in the front gives an accent to the aquarium layout. The position of fish dwarfed in the background is also interesting.


World Ranking #12
Wang Chao
Title: Tree of the Soul
Dimensions: W120 x D55 x H50 cm (W50 x D20 x H20 inches)
Evaluation: Big driftwood is arranged boldly in this layout, and it gives the impression of being in a primeval forest. The twigs and roots of aquatic plants look like vine plants, and they became elements providing a sense of nature to the aquarium layout. The open spaces between the driftwood are also effective.

See the full article on TFH Digital

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