The International Aquatic Plant Layout Contest is the largest and most popular aquarium design competition in the world, garnering competition from across the globe. The competition hosts a judge panel of 18 esteemed experts who award the contestants according to a 200 point criteria, half of which is determined by “Artistic Impression Point” – the other half is divided under 5 categories on the “Technical” side. For instance, points will be deducted for participants who use plants that don’t actually sustain themselves well in an aquarium. Aquariums that sustain a healthy condition for a longer period of time are given more points.
The contest, which has been running since 2001, awards its grand prize winner 1 million Yen. Everything from the choice of fish to the appropriateness of each plant’s position is judged by the 18-person panel. The winner, Pavel Bautin, used different sized “tree trunks” to create a forced depth – this tactic makes the layout look more dynamic and “sophisticated,” which is one of the criteria for those being judged.
1st Place: Pavel Bautin, Russia
2nd Place: Zhang Jian Feng, Macau
3rd Place: Xuan Thuy Nguyen Thi, Vietnam
4th Place: Yutaka Kanng, Japan