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IAPLC History

IAPLC 2001 - TOP 27 IAPLC 2001 - Look back history

IAPLC 2002 - TOP 27 IAPLC 2002 - Look back history

IAPLC 2003 - TOP 27 IAPLC 2003 - Look back history

IAPLC 2004 - TOP 27 IAPLC 2004 - Look back history

IAPLC 2005 - TOP 27 IAPLC 2005 - Look back history

IAPLC 2006 - TOP 27 IAPLC 2006 - Look back history

IAPLC 2007 - TOP 27 IAPLC 2007 - Look back history

IAPLC 2008 - TOP 27 IAPLC 2008 - Look back history

IAPLC 2009 - TOP 27 IAPLC 2009 - Look back history

IAPLC 2010 - TOP 100 IAPLC 2010 - Look back history

IAPLC 2011 - TOP 200 IAPLC 2011 - Look back history

IAPLC 2012 - TOP 100 IAPLC 2012 - Look back history

IAPLC 2013 - TOP 300 IAPLC 2013 - Look back history

IAPLC 2014 - IAPLC 2014 Gallery - Look back history

IAPLC 2015 - IAPLC 2015 Gallery - Look back history

IAPLC 2016 - IAPLC 2016 Gallery - Look back history

IAPLC 2017 - IAPLC 2017 Gallery - Look back history

IAPLC 2018 - IAPLC 2018 Gallery - Look back history

IAPLC 2019 - IAPLC 2019 Gallery - Look back history

IAPLC 2020 - IAPLC 2020 Gallery - Look back history

IAPLC 2021 - IAPLC 2021 World Ranking Announcement

IAPLC 2022 - IAPLC 2022 World Ranking Announcement

IAPLC 2023 - IAPLC 2023 World Ranking Announcement



IAPLC (The International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest) is organized by ADA - Aqua Design Amano Co., LTD - from Japan.  

The participants submit one picture of their aquascapes taken in the current year, and submitted works from all over the world are evaluated by judges who are well-versed in the industry. Thatʼs how the Grand Prix of the year is determined. The contest started with 19 participating countries and 557 works in total entered in 2001, and the total application number and participating counties are increasing every year. Currently, with participating countries more than 60 and the total application number about 2,000, history of the IAPLC is being made as a worldwide contest.

Not only enjoy the planted aquarium as a personal hobby, but enjoy sharing your aquascape with people around the world and enjoy it together. The expansion of the contest is shared not only among those participating the contest but also with people who are interested in the planted aquarium hobby. As a result, the IAPLC has grown into something that attracts a lot of attention.


Starting Date: The contest opens on April 1 (JST)

Closing Date: May 31 (JST)

Result announcement: August 28th (JST)

Result notification: Beginning of September

Contest Prize

Grand Prize
1 person 
Prize: 1.000.000 JPY (~ 8700 USD)
Extra: Trophy, Top 100 Medal, Certificate

Gold Prize
1 person
Prize: 300.000 JPY (~ 2600 USD)
Extra: Trophy, Top 100 Medal, Certificate

Silver Prize
2 people
Prize: 100.000 JPY (~ 870 USD)
Extra: Trophy, Top 100 Medal, Certificate

Bronze Prize
3 people
Prize: 50.000 JPY (~ 435 USD)
Extra: Trophy, Top 100 Medal, Certificate

Honour Prize
20 people
Prize: 10.000 JPY (~ 87 USD)
Extra: Top 100 Medal, Certificate

Winning Works
73 people
Extra: Top 100 Medal, Certificate

  • The top 7 works will be featured in the succeeding yearʼs contest poster, which is posted at the ADA retail shops around the world.
  • Top winning entries will be published in the IAPLC Book 2021 (to be published in December, 2021) and various media, such as magazines and websites published by co-sponsors.

Guidelines and Rules

Free for all contest entry

Entrants must submit image data created with a compact digital camera, smartphone, tablet, or others. Photographic film, recording media and printed photograph are not acceptable.

Image data file to be submitted must be in JPEG format (less than 5MB). RAW data is not accepted.
*If the image data is resized for submission, the original image data must be retained. The original data is required for top-winning entries.

Image must not be processed by way of trimming, reversal and retouching, etc. Do not delete the Exif information.

Use entry form on the official IAPLC website for entry. Online entry process is very simple - just fill in the form and attach your image data.
* Starting with the IAPLC 2021, only online submission is accepted. Photographic film, recording media and printed photograph are not acceptable.

Use entry form on the official IAPLC website for entry. Online entry process is very simple - just fill in the form and attach your image data.
* Starting with the IAPLC 2021, only online submission is accepted. Photographic film, recording media and printed photograph are not acceptable.

This contest is open to everyone who has a planted aquarium. Only the work created by the entrant (individual) is accepted.
There is no restriction in aquarium tank size.
The picture of the layout can be taken by any person other than the creator of the layout.
* Those individuals who are involved in administration of, or judges of international aquascaping contests are unacceptable (This condition does not apply to IAPLC-authorized contests.)
* Applying under a name other than the name of the creator of the layout, including name of family members and others, may be subject of disqualification.

Each entrant can submit only one entry with the picture of an unpublished layout work, taken within a year prior to submission
Entry must be a picture of the entire aquarium taken from the front side.
* Entry that violates this may become subject to disqualification, before and after the determination of the world ranking. The submission of an identical work to the IAPLC-authorized contests is accepted only if the contestant shall not release any images of the work on the internet, publications or any distribution media prior to the official result announcement and release by Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
* Once image data has been submitted, it cannot be replaced.

Subject of point deductions
Reuse of similar motif that has been demonstrated in any work formerly submitted to this contest (including use of the same composition materials, rearrangement of any past layout through mere change of plants and reversal of any past layout.)
Layout remarkably resembling any of the past top winning entries is subject to point deductions.
Plants growing above the waterline are not subject to evaluation. Use of houseplant, marginal plant or other plants which hardly survive in water, and layout materials that are difficult to maintain for a long period of time.
Pictures taken at an angle and/or showing only a part of the aquarium. 

Copyright of IAPLC entries
The copyright of the entries belongs to Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd. Use of any entry for advertisement and/or publication purposes without consent of Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd. is strictly prohibited.
Private disclosure of entry on social networking media must take place only after the official disclosure by Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

Your application may be invalidated if it violates the Guidelines and Rules, doesnt meet application requirements, or if the IAPLC ʼ steering committee deems it inappropriate.
In regard to issues related to similarity between works, and simultaneous submission of an identical work to a non-IAPLC authorized contest, the decision taken by the IAPLC steering committee is final.
The number of works showcased in the contest book hasn't been decided, yet. Lower-ranked entries may not be included in the booklet.
Please note that the IAPLC steering committee does not take any questions regarding the grading and results of the contest. Also, please refrain from contacting individual judges about the contest or specific work(s).
The IAPLC-authorized contests and co-sponsored Magazines are subject to change. Please check the latest information.

Please note that any works that are determined to fall under the following may be disqualified;
●Same work as past years
●Multiple applications from the same contestant
●Same work registered under several different applicant names (e.g. same photo / same layout photographed from different angles, different cut, or same layout photographed at different times)
●Simultaneous submission to Non-IAPLC-authorized contests
Submitting the same work (including a photograph of the same work taken from a different angle) to other contests is not allowed (This condition does not apply to IAPLC-authorized contests)
●Works that are hard to identify as planted aquarium or that could hurt the dignity of this contest

Judging Criteria

For the parameters in the judging criteria, a focus is placed on “Recreation of natural habitat for fish” which is deeply associated with the origin of planted aquarium. These judging criteria do not limit the scope of layout expression of contestants. Their objective is to clearly define an essential feature of planted aquarium; recreating a comfortable environment to fish in a tank.

Screening Process 

1. Preliminary Screening Evaluation

The top 100 entries are selected by ADA.

2. Primary Screening

Each judge independently rates the top 100 entries on a scale of 1 to 100.
*The 1st ranking receives the highest score of 100 points, and the following ranking layouts receive points in increments of -1. The top 10 entries selected by each judge move on to the Secondary Screening.

IAPLC Primary Screening

3. Best Aquarium

The layout that received the highest eveluation at Primary Screening from each judge

4. Secondary Screening

Each judge conducts the Secondary Screening of his / her top 10 entries in accordance with the Judging Criteria described on the below.

Recreation of natural habitat for fish (Maximum 50 points)

  • Creation of a healthy fish habitat
  • Expression of its underwater environment
  • General condition of the fish and aquatic plants
  • Blending of the fish type, size,and ecology in the layout

Long-term maintenance of layout work (Maximum 10 points)

  • Maintenance capability of the aquascape for a long period of time
  • Whether its expression is temporarily created only for photos

Creatorʼs technical skills (Maximum 10 points)

  • Comprehensive techniques in creating / maintaining the layout

Originality and impression of layout work (Maximum 10 points)

  • Creatorʼs originality and creativity
  • Its perfection and attractiveness

Presentation of natural atmosphere in layout work (Maximum 10 points)

  • Expression based on concerning natural ecosystem
  • Presentation of a sense of timeʼs passage
  • Creatorʼs interpretation of nature

Overall composition and planting balance (Maximum 10 points)

  • Completeness of layout composition
  • The balance of planting

5. Secondary Screening 

A competitorʼs final score is the sum of Primary Screening + Best Aquarium (extra 10 points) + Secondary Screening

How to apply

Go url 

Contact Information


IAPLC Steering Committee

8554-1 Urushiyama, Nishikan-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata, 953-0054 JAPAN
PHONE: +81-256-72-6666
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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