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The 4th place in the world rankings went to the work, “Deep Nature" by Mr. Paulo Pacheco from Brazil. It is a dramatic composition by using cosmetic sand in a meticulously created layout, which is relatively common among entries from Brazil. This work was chosen as the Best Aquarium by two judges: Mr. Yu-Fa Huang from Taiwan and Ms. Defeng Wang from China.

IAPLC 2015 Gallery - Look back history - World Ranking 0004

Deep Nature

Author: Paulo Vitor Pacheco / Brazil 

Aquarium Size/W120×D45×H45 (cm)

Aquatic Plants

Marsilea hirsuta

Marsilea angustifolia

Eleocharis parvula

Rotala rotundifolia

Rotala wallichii

Rotala sp.

Rotala nanjenshan

Bolbitis heudelotii

Microsorum pteropus "Windelov"

Microsorum pteropus "Mini"

Hydrocotyle tripartita

Hygrophila pinnatifida

Staurogyne sp.

Anubias barteri var. nana

Echinodorus tenellus

Bucephalandra sp.

Fissidens fontanus

Vesicularia sp.

Taxiphyllum sp. "Flame Moss"

Fish & Invertebrates

Danio choprai

Danio margaritatus

Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi

Hyphessobrycon amandae

Sawbwa resplendens

Neocaridina heteropoda sp.


World Ranking 0004 Silver Prize IAPLC 2015

Best of Show & 1st Place AGA 2015 - Aquatic Garden 200~320L 


It was on August 17th. During the day, I noticed that several of my Brazilian friends started to send messages saying they have already received their letters, so I knew that my letter would probably be waiting for me when I got home. In the afternoon, I called my wife to ask to check it for me since she was home earlier. She called me back and said that I got a big envelope from Japan. I couldn't wait and asked her to open it. "Be Careful with the enve- lope!" I said hoping she would preserve the integ- rity of my IAPLC's letters collection(!). "Sorry, I already ripped it..." She said. (Later I discovered she was just joking with me...) "I will send you a picture, she said. When I got the picture, I couldn't believe... World Ranking: 4th!!! I celebrated this great achievement together with my friends.

Comment of Mr. Huang Yu-Fa (TAIWAN)

I feel that this layout has an outstanding composition and it was more impressive than anything else. The composition materials used for this layout are stones like Ryuoh Stone and they are in a fine balance with the driftwood thanks to the idea of using only short aquatic plants for the slopes at both sides of the layout. Sta- bility is felt from the entire layout. In contrast to the general stone layouts which often look wide and cold, this layout is filled with natural feel. In this powerful-looking layout which was created using out-of-the-box ideas, the mild curve drawn with white sand delivers a great visual effect. I can enjoy the smell of nature when I look at this layout.

Comment of Ms. Wang Defeng (CHINA)

This layout has natural elements as a whole and is filled with a feeling of vitality. When looking at its right expression of nature, I knew that the creator of this layout has his unique philosophy on living organisms and his very own aesthetic sense. The composition is well-formed with visual impact. This layout shows a graceful sense of frontier and makes us feel that we are in a true enchanted land. Every aspect, including perfect composition, transparency, sense of balance and golden ratio, is fully used for expressions of this layout. I can see how much energy the creator devoted to this layout. At the same time, I knew the creator's focus on the expression of fine details and his perspective of the layout. The combination of stones and driftwood is very delicate and skillful. The stone arrangement is made with the perfect balance. The line drawn with sand adds a deep impression to the layout with its natural color and flow direction, evoking the imagination of those who see the layout. The aquatic plants and fish in this layout are in the tip-top conditions and it tells us the creator's high skills in Nature Aquarium. We can see that the environment created in this layout is a beautiful and harmonious world where is optimal for fish and aquatic plants.

Creator used special dimensions of the tank to make the typical layout become a strong effect Nature Aquarium. This truly genius.
— Long Tran Hoang

Wonderful expression of a concept that has evolved in recent years but in this case with new expressions perfectly done. The depth obtained thanks to the substrate elevation allows the scape to obtain multiple levels. The interrelation of rock wood sand and planted areas is 100% natural. In a novel expression he accompanies a perfect technical execution with right choice of plants. Number species and shoal position are perfect. Photography is very striking it shows very good management. Undoubtedly a masterpiece.
— Juan Puchades Rufino

Awesome layout with a superb hardscape layout and excellent plant selection to soften the edges in the aquascape. The layout has excellent depth and the different types of plants are blended well and look natural in their locations. Well done!
— Bailin Shaw

Impressive deep in only 45 cm!
The balance between plants and hardscape is just perfect. Very dynamic work with cosmetic sand.
Congratulations in my TOP10!
— Luca Galarraga


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  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Whispering Shadows - Luis Carlos Galarraga / Brazil - IAPLC 2020

    The last Bronze prize goes to an aquascape that showcases a unique rock arrangement. Skillfully stacking rocks, the creator captured a scene where the uppermost layer of bedrock has protruded, caused by crustal movement. It represents the earth's dynamism that reminds us of orogenic activity. A wide variety of aquatic plants are cleverly planted behind the rocks and in the gaps between them to enhance the presence of the rock composition. Though the aquascape looks simple, it is an elaborate work. As the title implies, the shades under the rocks give a deeper impression as if they are whispering the history of the earth.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Leaping through time - Jheng Yu Lyu / Chinese Taipei - IAPLC 2020

    The second Bronze prize goes to an aquascape that features an old fallen tree created with driftwood. There is a large tree on both sides, and the fallen tree in the center. The passage of time is expressed with vines creeping aver the fallen tree, and moss and ferns growing on it. There is a tunnel-like space under the fallen tree, and through that space a "path of cosmetic sand" leads far beyond the mountains. The sense of depth created in this aquascape is fantastic, being emphasized by the contrast between the fallen tree in the foreground and the mountains in the distant view, and a clearly defined open space. A natural feeling, which is expressed by the arrangement of plants, also enhances perspective
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Leading The New World - Roger Goh / Singapore - IAPLC 2020

    The first Bronze prize is awarded to a forest style aquascape, a popular theme of the contest. Thick driftwood pieces are used to create trunks, branches, and roots of the trees that form the hardscape of the composition, and thinner driftwood branches represent aerial roots and creeper plants. On top of the trees, thick canopies are created with Bolbitis, and at the base of the trees, the combination of moss and Bucephalandra depicts the vegetation of the forest floor. Such a powerful expression of forest is eye-catching. In addition, the open space that is clearly outlined in the center looks like an exit leading to a new world.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Katsushika Hokusai - Albert Escrihuela Cáceres / Spain - IAPLC 2020

    This aquascape won the second Silver prize for its incredible visual presentation. As the title indicates, the dynamic composition, which looks as if swirling toward the central open pace, was inspired by Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) of Katsushika Hokusai. This aquascape represents the dynamism of the earth with a sense of nature and an underwater feeling that are expressed in an extraordinary manner. In that sense, the green of the aquatic plants planted in strips along the rock arrangement and the bright red color of Puntius denisoni swimming in groups can be remarked as elements that contribute to the beautiful visual presentation.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Pure - Josh Sim / Malaysia - IAPLC 2020

    The first Silver prize is awarded to a mysterious aquascape, mainly using shade-loving plants such as ferns and moss. The dynamic arrangement of large driftwood, which is the framework of the aquascape, looks matched to Pterophyllum altum while creating a powerful impression and an underwater feeling. In addition, Eleocharis acicularis and the relatives of Nymphaea in the background add perspective to the aquascape. However, the black background may give a deep and dark impression to viewers, although it matches the mysterious atmosphere of this aquascape. In that respect, this work received mixed reviews.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Undying - Steven Chong / United States - IAPLC 2020

    The Gold prize winning work presents a remarkable driftwood composition. The depth that goes beyond the size of this aquarium is created by expanding the central open space towards the far right side, along with the drastically arranged driftwood. In addition, a mirror embedded in the substrate gives an interesting visual effect; it looks as if a river is running in the aquascape, or the driftwood is floating in the air, depending on the viewer's viewpoint. The visual impact is enhanced by the skinny branches placed behind the large driftwood that makes up the framework of the composition, and the subtle and low-key planting of epiphytes
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Eden - Siak Wee Yeo / Malaysia - IAPLC 2020

    This year's Grand prize goes to an energetic driftwood aquascape. When this type of composition is made, rocks are often glued together to form the framework, but in this work, large driftwood pieces are boldly used to build the aquascape's foundation. Driftwood is also used for the stalactite-like extensions that hang down from above. This gives a softer impression to the aquascape than making them with rocks, and helps match their texture with that of the driftwood framework.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Creek in Forest - Qi Zhang / China - IAPLC 2019

    The third Bronze Award winning aquascape gives an interesting impression made by a nice blending of its diorama like aspects and underwater appearance. Among many entries showcasing forest landscapes, this layout rather represents a fairy tale scenery than depicting a realistic forest image. It leads us to enjoy this layout simply as an underwater scene where fish live. Great planting details; especially the presentation of red plants is exquisitely effective, which enriches the visual presentation and creates a fantasy like atmosphere
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Flood Season - Quang Minh Nguyen / VietNam - IAPLC 2019

    Here is the second Bronze Prize winning layout characterized by its gentle wood work. The maker mainly used moss for the layout, but he has avoided a monotonous manner by planting lighter green plants in spots. The white decorative sand laid under driftwood branches helps prevent the aquascape from becoming too gloomy, and it also successfully enhances the underwater appearance. This layout is highly acclaimed for making a moderate amount of open space and the well-balanced composition. What makes it unique is the sense of serenity found in the expression of natural feel.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Fallowness - Siak Wee Yeo / Malaysia - IAPLC 2019

    Interestingly, the first Bronze Award winning aquascape uses straight driftwood pieces similar to the ones in the Grand prize work. Making the most of the characteristics of driftwood, the layout forms a unique composition by emphasizing the horizontal lines. The layout showcases a wonderful underwater presentation with its perfect positioning of fish and a pleasant sense of water flow given by the driftwoods and supporting rocks oriented in the same direction. The maker intentionally photographed the aquascape in the way, making the water surface look like an open space, and this worked favorably for the evaluation.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Guardians - Martial Hervy / France - IAPLC 2019

    An authentic concave aquascape won the second Silver Award. Its radially-arranged wood work is reminiscent of Takashi Amano's Nature Aquarium layouts while planting details and the color tone are nicely done in European style. The nice blending of these characteristics is, indeed, the originality of this aquascape. The execution of the layout is outstanding in terms of the composition balance and plants' conditions. However, the maker could improve the presentation of fish habitat by putting more emphasis on the fish's presence.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Summer Solstice - Fuhong Guan / China - IAPLC 2019

    The first Silver Award is given to a magnificent layout work presenting a circular opening in the center of the tank. The entries with eccentric compositions usually polarize the judges' opinions, but this aquascape received favorable responses from the majority of them. We can assume that this is because of its balanced composition work, finely adjusted on both sides, and beautiful color combination. Although the aquascapes that mainly consist of moss often give a gloomy impression, the maker avoids it by effectively presenting the red colors of plants and fish in this layout. The blue gradation background is also visually effective.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Tankei - Takayuki Fukada / Japan - IAPLC 2019

    Mr. Takayuki Fukuda (Japan) won the Gold prize with his aquascape layout. What is most striking about his work is its representation of the cliffs protruding from both the left and right sides of the composition. Using massive rocks projecting strong shadows alone could impart an oppressive impression, but he prevented it by tactfully making an open space in the center through the upper section. The stem plants shown in the opening under the cliffs also soften the image. These are adept strategies of a creator who is an expert of layouts of this sort
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Dream On - Josh Sim / Malaysia - IAPLC 2019

    This year's Grand prize goes to Mr. Josh Sim of Malaysia. What inspires us the most about this work is its novel and powerful approach to the composition brought out by fine planting details. This aquascape was created faithfully to the teachings of Takashi Amano, founder of Nature Aquarium and this contest; "Go bold with your composition, but careful with planting." Although the driftwood pieces used as the primary layout material of this aquascape are rectilinear and relatively large, their combination and arrangement are creating smart visual effects. The making of eccentric layouts in a deliberate manner seems to be one of the latest trends in contest submissions, but we believe that this layout is highly regarded because it achieves a strong impact while appearing less suggestive.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Home - Jin Liang / China - IAPLC 2018

    This layout is highly regarded with its dynamic composition, giving a strong sense of perspective. We can find it in the shadows on the central pillar and at the right corner of the scene, the series of arches that run from the front left section to the right back corner, and the wall-like structure behind the arches, that is built along the left front and the right rear side. Every aspect of the composition is intricately calculated to create depth in the layout, but regretfully, this also makes the layout almost look artificial
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    The layout is finely crafted with small tree branches and rocks, and is in many ways more like a painting. Although this work seems antithetical to this year's Grand Prix layout, it should be highly regarded as a wonderful planted layout with the precisely calculated composition and the meticulous arrangement using a variety of aquatic plants. There is a pleasing depth of field ratio between the foreground and background. Moreover, the layout's lively style gives a positive impression. A refreshing aquascape that makes you feel like you enjoy a view of a nearby pond from a bright green forest in early summer.