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INSPIRATION! - Build a winning aquascape!
April 26, 2021
Aquascaping and the Nature Aquarium style itself are inspired heavily by nature. Natural decorations, diverse underwater fauna, magnificent colors, and shapes. Our imagination only limits the visual world we dream of in our aquarium.
Some walk around nature, watch movies, browse the internet, collect these inspirational images; others refine their ideas based on other aquariums and master the technics used there.
Both are doable ways, but now we will talk a little about the second one with some of the IAPLC 2020 winners because it is worth learning from the bests!
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
and build something completely different!
Our skill, our style constantly changes the years we spend in the hobby, but if we always build the same and don't try new things, we lose the challenge's excitement, and maybe our interest diminishes over time. Dare to step out of our comfort zone, as we can learn a lot from it and not necessarily only when we build for competitions.
The best of aquascapers are constantly building in this approach, often pushing their limits. This is how the most beautiful aquariums are made every year. We will show you three great examples now.
EXTREME FANTASY WORLD
Siak Wee Yeo / Malaysia - World Ranking 1
Stunning extreme visual world, this is Siak's Aquarium. But what methods used to build it? The aquarium hardscape is built with ironwood, which he made out of several pieces. He glued vertical pieces of wood to both ends of the main structure to break the horizontal patterns and shapes. The Micranthemum Monte Carlo plant hanging from the decors further reinforces this tendril effect.
Sand is added to the front, which breaks the homogenous foreground. And offset the light hanging plants, he used smaller, slower-growing, dark green mosses, which also provided sufficient detail for the foreground. Fissidens and Riccardia are mostly used in larger quantities. Both are slow-growing moss, with lots of detail so that maintenance will be easier with them. The stem plants give density and a new dimension to the aquarium behind the whole wood structure.
The fish selection must fit the detailed layout. Here, the aquarium's size and the design allowed it to use Harlequin rasbora, which otherwise gives excellent contrast to the plants.
FOREST IN THE LIVING ROOM
Roger Goh / Singapore - World Ranking 5
Roger's aquarium brings the real forest image we often see in competitions. For a dark forest atmosphere, he chose light foreground sand decorated with tiny basalt-like stones. Here, the light gray color specifically helps the natural look. Under the trees, he used lava stones because, in color, it fits the trees better and adds volume to the decoration.
Moss is an essential plant of the forest layouts. Here Fissidens and perhaps Willow mostly used moss because of the particular leaf shape. To break this dark green look, some small Anubias, Bucephalandra, and Monte Carlo plants were used as well. It gives variety to the foreground. He used Bolbitis for the upper part, which perfectly fit the aquarium size. Some brighter green plants are added in the forest's background, making the distant sight look real. Ceratopteris or other softer leaves plants can also be used for this purpose. As with the previous layout, the fish selection was perfect here as well. The Ember tetra is an ideal schooling fish and gives a great contrast to the green plants.
The layout is challenging to maintain due to the detail, but the result worth it.
Luis Carlos Galarraga / Brazil - World Ranking 7
Luca's aquarium is truly fascinating in many ways. It shows how far we can push the limits with one of the most popular decorations, the Seiryu stones. Meanwhile, the perfect mix of plant and decoration elevates the layout to another level and differentiates it from the commonly seen iwagumi designs. Placing the rocks the right way and rotating them towards the front glass gives an infinite effect to the layout.
Decorative sand is also an essential element here. Small basalt/gravel was added to the transition. The size of the stones is constantly changing as we move backward. In the foreground, therefore, details are vital. Marsilea plant is used in front of the moss because of the varied leaf shape. It is essential to use different textures and not have such a large homogeneous foreground. He also used moss on the edges of the rocks for a more natural effect. In the background, several types of stem plants add weight to the layout but are also responsible for the colors and reflection. Due to the structure, we do not see the lower part of the stem plants, and only their most beautiful, colored upper part is visible behind the rocks.
The layout can be maintained in the long run due to the minimalist style. Only the stems in the background need to be trimmed timely.
THE LARGEST COMPETITION
Enter the IAPLC contest to race with the bests
The most influential aquascaping competition, IAPLC, will be held again this year. If you feel like entering based on the above, you can do it on the competition website. Registration is free. Participants' aquariums will also appear in a printed book later this year!
You can enter the competition from April 1st to May 31st by clicking the button below.