Designing aquariums is serious art for folks who take part in international aquascaping contests like Russia's International Planted Aquarium Design Contest and the International Aquascaping Contest hosted by the Houston-based Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA). Aquascaping is the craft of designing underwater landscape for fish tanks that involve arranging aquatic plants, rocks, stones, cavework, or driftwood in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Competitive designs may invoke a number of distinct styles such as a miniature landscape of the Wild West with submerged cacti, or the taiga of Russia, the valleys of China, or even beaches. Some of these aquascapes can take months to prepare.
The International Aquatic Plant Layout Contest (IAPLC) is the largest aquascaping competition in the world where hobbyists from all over the globe enter. As many as 2,100 aquascapers from more than 60 countries competed with each other during the 2013 edition of the contest for the grand prize of 1 million Yen. Artists from Asian and Eastern European countries generally dominate the top slots where the craft is very popular, but thanks to the Internet, westerners are slowly catching up to the game.
Whisper of the pines, designed by Serkan Çetinkol of Istanbul, Turkey. The aquarium contains 150 liters of water and is pictured after 4 months of growth.
Forest Morning, designed by Pavel Bautin of Saint Petersburg, Russia. The 400-liter tank contains 8 types of plants and took 6 months to grow.
Way to Heaven, designed by Dmitriy Parshin of Moscow, Russia. This 600-liter tank took 9 months to prepare.
Forgotten Forest, designed by Łukasz Kucharski of Lodz, Poland. The tank size is 400 liters and pictured after 7 months of growth.
Charm of Light, designed by Timucin Sagel of Istanbul, Turkey. This is a 270-liter tank and is aged at 5 months.
The Mini Mountain Range, designed by Melinda Koncsik of Nagykőrös, Hungary. This tank contains only 20 liters of water and took 3 months to prepare.
Lookig up, designed by Irina Kryshtopa of Alchevsk, Ukraine. This tank is 250 liters in size and is 4 months old.
Lair Forest, designed by Tibor Szecsei of Nagykőrös, Hungary. The tank is 117 liters in a size and contains as many as 16 different plant types that took 7 months to grow.
Wild West, designed by Stjepan Erdeljić of Djakovo, Croatia. Tank is 160 liters in size and is 5 months old.
Stones Dance, designed by Alexander Moscalenko of Khartsyzk, Ukraine. This 160-liter tank took 3 months to grow.
The Arms of Naiad, designed by Laszlo Tart of Herend, Hungary. The tank contains 247 liters of water and is photographed after 1 year of plant growth.
The Green Grand Canyon, designed by Igor Kapitan of Slovenija. This tank is 63 liters in size.
PANDORA, the land of flying sparks, designed by Marko Velikonja of Slovenia. This 450 liter tank contains small islands made of lava stone and epoxy resin and attached to glass with strong magnets to make them appear as floating.
Stairway to Heaven, designed by Timucin Sagel of Istanbul Turkey. This tank is 270 liters in size.
The pillars of the earth, designed by Pasquale Buonpane of Italy. This tank is 400 liters in size.
Mountain Flowers, designed by Zhenzong Su of China. This tank is 350 liters in size.
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