IAPLC 2016 Aquascaping Contest Top 27 Photos & Comments

The International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) is the world’s largest aquascaping competition.

For the contest, which is hosted by ADA (Aqua Design Amano) in Japan, aquascapers from right around the world submit photos of their aquatic layouts which undergo a thorough judging process which results in a world ranking of all the entrants.

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Here you can see the top placed 27 layouts along with the comments from some of the judges.

Grand Prize

World Ranking 0001
Title: Mighty Cave

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0001_pc

Takayuki Fukada

Aquarium Size/W120×D60×H55(cm)

Aquatic Plants
Bolbitis sp.
Hemianthus Callitrichoides “Cuba”
Fontinalis antipyretica
Vesicularia sp.
Riccardia chamedryfolia
Fissidens japonicus
Monosolenium tenerum
Fissidens fontanus
Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae

Fish & Invertebrates
Kryptopterus bicirrhis

Mr. Takayuki Fukada received the Grand Prize at IAPLC 2016. His layout was selected as Best Aquarium by three judges. Among the layouts reminiscent of a “spectacle” of eroded rocks which have been increasing these years, this layout reached a very high degree of perfection in terms of overall composition and the expression of natural feel in every detail. What is noteworthy about this work are the contrast between the unique-shaped rocks in front and the distant view at the back of it and the perspective emphasized by a white-sand trail leading towards the background. Furthermore, it is worthy of praise that the creator used a high-level originality to make this superb aquascape while using various conventional techniques including the expressions of sheer cliff and stone pillar, weeds and moss grown around them, and hanging vines. The fish species selected perfectly match the atmosphere of this layout.

Gold Prize

World Ranking 0002
Title: Dreamland

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0002_pc

Chao Wang

Aquarium Size/W150×D55×H45(cm)

Aquatic Plants

Riccardia chamedryfolia
Vesicularia ferriei
Vesicularia filicinum
Glossostigma elatinoides
Bucephalandra sp.

Fish & Invertebrates

Paracheirodon axelrodi
Trigonostigma heteromorpha

This Gold Prize winning work is very meticulously created using many pieces of branch-like slim driftwood. The composition is highly novel and skillful. However, the rating varied by judges as it did not appear natural to some of them.

Silver Prize

World Ranking 0003
Title: “The Rest of the Dream”

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0003_pc

Junichi Itakura

Aquarium Size/W180×D60×H60(cm)

Aquatic Plants
WABI-KUSA Stemmed Plants MIX
WABI-KUSA Stemmed Plants MIX (Red)
WABI-KUSA Rotala rotundifolia(Green)
WABI-KUSA Ludwigia arucuata
Microsorum sp.”Tridentleaf”
Ludwigia sp.
Rotala sp.“Ceylon”
Anubias baeteri var. nana “Petite”
Polygonum sp. ‘Pink’
Vallisneria nana
Cyperus helferi
Fontinalis antipyretica
Nymphaea rubra
Echinodorus tenellus
Echinodorus angustifolius

Fish & Invertebrates

Aphyocharax rathbumi
Mikrogeophagus ramirezi var.
Anomalochromis thomasi
Otocinclus sp.
Caridina japonica

The first Silver Prize winning work was highly rated for its high degree of perfection as a Nature Aquarium layout. Its stunning design embodied the ideal “aquascape” where aquatic plants and fish coexist in harmony.

Silver Prize

World Ranking 0004
Title: OverTime

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0004_pc

Katsuki Tanaka

Aquarium Size/W120×D45×H45(cm)

Aquatic Plants

Vesicularia ferriei
Taxiphyllum sp.
Micanthemum sp.
Hemianthus Callitrichoides “Cuba”
Eleocharis parvula
Rotala sp. “Wayanad”
Myriophyllum sp.
Myriophillum tuberculatum
Myriophillum elatinoides
Bucephalandra sp.
Echinodorus tenellus

Fish & Invertebrates

Hyphessobrycon elachys
Carinotetraodon travancoricus
Otocinclus sp.
Caridina japonica
Neocaridina denticulata

This is a novel and unconventional layout depicting a crack on the ground or a deep valley. It uses various species of aquatic plants, from mosses to stem plants, and its composition is very well formed. However, the light from underneath the tank may be ‘excessive staging’.

Bronze Prize

World Ranking 0005
Title: To my friend in heaven

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0005_pc

Adriano Montoro Nicácio

Aquarium Size/W120×D45×H37(cm)

Aquatic Plants

Callitriche sp.
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Hydrocotyle tripartite
Rotala najenshan
Rotala rotundifolia
Rotala Mexicana
Rotala green
Rotala sp. Pink
Glossostigma elatinoides
Utricularia graminifolia
Eleocharis sp. Japan
Eleocharis parvula
Staurogyne sp.
Pogostemon helferi
Limnophila sp. Vietnam
Vesicularia sp.
Bacopa sp. Reflexa
Hygrophila pinnatifida

Fish & Invertebrates

Paracheirodon axelrodi
Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi
Neocaridina davidi

The composition of this layout is orthodox but the overall balance is excellent. The perspective is also very well expressed with stone and cosmetic sand. The arrangement of aquatic plants is appropriate. The perfection level of this aquascape is very high.

Bronze Prize

World Ranking 0006
Title: The Forbidden Forest

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0006_pc

Yoyo Prayogi

Aquarium Size/W120×D50×H45(cm)

Aquatic Plants

Taxiphyllum sp.
Vesicularia ferriei
Vesicularia montagnei

Fish & Invertebrates

Hemigrammus rhodostomus

The creator of this layout used fine driftwood pieces to express tree roots eroded by water. This expression is reminiscent of riverside or underwater of tropical rainforest waters. There were other layouts having similar design, however this work was remarkable with excellent expression of natural ambience.

Bronze Prize

World Ranking 0007
Title: Hideaway

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0007_pc

Long Tran Hoáng

Aquarium Size/W152×D78×H45(cm)

Aquatic Plants

Fissidens nobilis sp. Mini
Cryptocoryne parva
Bucephalandra sp.
Anubias barteri var. nana ‘petite’
Microsorum pteropus sp.
Taxiphyllum sp.
Riccardia chamedryfolia sp.
Bolbitis heudelotii
Marsilea hirsute

Fish & Invertebrates

Hyphessobrycon amandae
Carinotetraodon lorteti sp. ‘dwaft puffer’
Neocaridina heteropoda sp. red cherry

The expression depicting an overhanging rock wall is very powerful. The bold and wild composition helps express the water flowing from the rear right of the center to the left front, adding a sense of openness to the layout.

World Ranking 0008

Aquarium Size W150×D50×H50(cm)
Title: Journey

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0008_pc

Yufan Yang

This layout expresses the perspective by the tunnel-like structure in the center which was made by a combination of many thin driftwood pieces. Just as the last year’s Grand Prize work, this layout also uses extremely fine branches to depict vines.

World Ranking 0009

Aquarium Size W120×D60×H50(cm)
Title: Origin of the Dream Forest

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0009_pc

Jin Liang

This layout expresses the perspective by the valley-like structure which becomes narrower towards the background. The perspective is further emphasized by placing smaller pieces of driftwood at the back while placing larger ones in front.

World Ranking 0010

Aquarium Size W146×D60×H60(cm)
Title: Searching for a Dream

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0010_pc

Yong Liu

This work has an impression like deep forest covered by moss. Dark green aquatic plants are mainly used but the ambience is not gloomy thanks to a moderate amount of open space. This arrangement makes the aquascape look appealing.

World Ranking 0011

Aquarium Size W120×D60×H45(cm)
Title: Deep Forest Emergence

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0011_pc

Roger Goh

This layout has the composition like looking up a sheer cliff from underneath. The expression of tree roots and vine that have firmly got into rock crevices provide a good accent to the layout.

World Ranking 0012

Aquarium Size W120×D60×H60(cm)
Title: Guiding Lights

IAPLC 2016 World Ranking 0012_pc

Yi Ye

This layout has a unique atmosphere reminiscent of a gaping hole in the wood. A natural feel of forest floor is skillfully expressed by combining various aquatic plants having different leaf shapes.

World Ranking 0013

Aquarium Size W95×D50×H45(cm)
Title: Zionlan


Martial Hervy

An aquascape along the riverside is expressed using the combination of round river stones and driftwood. A moderate amount of cosmetic sand in the center together with the plants grown directly on the stone surface positively emphasizes the natural ambience.

World Ranking 0014

Aquarium Size W150×D55×H50(cm)
Title: I see you


Yanfei Qian

A unique layout that attracts the viewers’ eyes with its arch-like bold composition made of stone and driftwood. The perspective is produced by making the trees located in the center gradually smaller, though it is a diorama-like expression.

World Ranking 0015

Aquarium Size W120×D60×H50(cm)
Title:Water world


Luong Quoc Hung

An impressive layout with its bridge-like structure made of a combination of stone and driftwood. It is created with meticulous attention to the finest details including the expression of tree roots entwined around the stone structures, the cosmetic sand trail and arrangement of aquatic plants.

World Ranking 0016

Aquarium Size W120×D45×H40(cm)
Title: Season Change


Truong Thinh Ngo

This layout features the bold combination of large stones. The bright atmosphere is created by cosmetic sand and stem plants. A deep valley-like composition and the forward-jutting stones gives a powerful touch to the layout.

World Ranking 0017

Aquarium Size W120×D40×H50(cm)
Title: The Heart of Darkness


Julien Voultoury

This layout has a strong impression of a fish habitat. The stone and driftwood that lie on each other provide an ideal haven to the fish. The plant arrangement mainly consisting of ferns and mosses matches the atmosphere of this layout.

World Ranking 0018

Aquarium Size W120×D60×H45(cm)
Title: The Rhythm of Forest


Wei Chen

Under the reflection on the water surface, the composition looks like a tunnel running from the open space in the rear center. This work has a strong overall impression of moss plants, however we can find that various species of aquatic plants are used when we look at it closer.

World Ranking 0019

Aquarium Size W90×D45×H40(cm)
Title: The Whole Creation


Yucheng Pan

In recent years, the aquascape mainly using slim driftwood and moss has been popular. Among this type of works, this layout has an especially unique composition. The tunnel-like part in the center is the key point of this layout.

World Ranking 0020

Aquarium Size W120×D45×H45(cm)
Title: Pool of Light


Hironori Handa

This aquascape sticks to the basics of Nature Aquarium. The open space in the center created by an arch of large driftwood gives an accent to the composition of this aquascape.

World Ranking 0021

Aquarium Size W120×D55×H45(cm)
Title: Passage of Time


Hoai Nam Vu

A bold composition made of stone and driftwood creates a unique atmosphere. This layout looks like a trail or steps made by the pioneers who cut away the wood, rather than a naturally-formed landscape.

World Ranking 0022

Aquarium Size W90×D45×H45(cm)
Title: Nostalgia Ⅱ


Koji Kogure

The perspective is emphasized by creating a cosmetic sand trail in a diagonal direction. A glimpse of the sight reminiscent of a bamboo forest or trees in the center background adds a delicate touch to the layout.

World Ranking 0023

Aquarium Size W90×D42×H43(cm)


Bernat Hosta

Many clumps of aquatic plants create a fantastic atmosphere in the layout. The composition sticks to the basics. The trail leading to the open space in the center background adds an additional sense of depth to the layout.

World Ranking 0024

Aquarium Size W120×D60×H45(cm)
Title: The Rainforest 2


Narto Tan

Many pieces of driftwood in different sizes are placed nearly horizontally. This arrangement enables the distinctive composition and perspective. The moss attached to the driftwood is beautiful. The perfection level of this layout is very high as an aquascape.

World Ranking 0025

Aquarium Size W150×D60×H60(cm)
Title: Timeless


Kian Hong Sim

This layout features a beautiful expression reminiscent of mountain stream using stones and white cosmetic sand. The perspective is produced by placing a large piece of driftwood in the right front while placing smaller driftwood towards the rear center.

World Ranking 0026

Aquarium Size W120×D55×H47(cm)
Title: Honeymoon


Suhendri Suhendri

The perspective is emphasized by the contrast of different tree sizes. The two large trees on both ends in the front have grown their roots into the rock. They skillfully express natural old trees covered by moss.

World Ranking 0027

Aquarium Size W120×D60×H50(cm)
Title: Roots of marriage


Juan Puchades Rufino

A picturesque layout with dynamic composition made of stone and driftwood. The sober colors of aquatic plants and driftwood having an impression of withered tree create the wild and deserted overall atmosphere in the layout.

What do you think of this years top 27 aquascapes? Please post your comments below.

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