The International Aquatic Plant Layout Contest is the largest and most popular aquarium design competition in the world, garnering competition from across the globe seeking to be selected as one of the world’s best aquariums. 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 the 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
5th Place: Zeng Qing Jun, China