It’s time to help contribute for biggest aquarium gallery online


This work had the most visual surprise among the top winning works in this contest. This is not the first time to see a mirror used in a layout. We have seen it in the past. However, this work used the visual effect with a mirror to the maximum. Although opinions might be divided about using a mirror, it is important to pay attention to the creator's excellent skills to create the well-thought out layout composition as well as the tricky expression with the use of a mirror. In regards to the choice of fish, Inlecypris auropurpurea is primarily chosen. The pattern of the fish brilliantly matches with the reflection of small branches on the mirror. That's where the creator's aesthetic sense shines. A judge from Chinese Taipei, Mr. Huang chose this work as his Best Aquarium, and his evaluation comment is as follows.

IAPLC 2020 Gallery - Look back history - World Ranking 0002 - Gold Prize


Author: Steven Chong / United States

Aquarium Size/W120×D50×H50 (cm)

Aquatic Plants

Eleocharis parvula

Lilaeopsis brasiliensis

Pilularia globulifera

Hydrocotyle verticillata

Taxiphyllum sp.

Riccardia sp.

Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba'

Micranthemum sp. 'Monte Carlo'

Myriophyllum matogrossense

Myriophyllum sp. 'Guyana'

Microsorum sp. 'Trident'

Hygrophila pinnatifida

Anubias sp. various

Bucephalandra sp.

Rotala sp.

Microcarpaea minima

Helanthium tenellum

Fissidens fontanus

Fish & Invertebrates

Inlecypris auropurpurea


World Ranking 0002 Gold Prize IAPLC 2020

2nd place & Most Innovative AGA 2020 Aquatic Garden 220 ~ 320L


This year was extremely unique because we did not receive results by mail, but instead by stream. On one hand, I really liked the concept because it meant a fair experience shared by all- where in previous years, we folks in Japan were lucky to get our results first. On the other hand, it was extremely nerve-wracking for someone aiming at the top ranks, because you would be both praying that your name didn't appear YET but also praying that your name would appear SOMEWHERE. The night of the Youtube stream I was up with 3 screens on- main living room TV set to Youtube for my wife and daughters to watch. I had one laptop set up and joined into a facebook group with the Tokyo Aquascaping Union (TAU), and another laptop set up joined into a different face- book group with the The Aquascaper's Collective (TAC) in North America. It was hectic with all that going on, and impossible to deeply appreciate/analyze any of the layouts that appeared, but it was a high energy and deeply communal way to enjoy the festival of IAPLC presentation. Going into the top 7, with my name not appearing yet, of course I was wracked with nerves-but we had also gauged the overall level of the works so far. Masashi Ono said, "Ah, don't worry about it Steven, at this point you won't be dropping out. Let's look forward to seeing it!" A part of me agreed with that and was already settling in, but another part was still on high nerves that my name might not appear at all! Of course when my name did appear in the gold rank-it was an incredible rush. The TAC group erupted in cheers! The TAU group had more of a "See, nothing to worry about congrats" vibe. My daughters and wife rushed over, and I was surrounded by warm congratulations. My phone also started exploding with messages too, and I picked up an incoming telephone call from Hungary to give the Green Aqua team an interview right away. Definitely, the IAPLC results were a fantastic event, and I was filled with gratitude and joy. Also, thank you to the 900 new folks who subscribed to my Youtube Channel, SteveScapes, and 500 who followed me on Instagram after the YouTube stream! It is an honor! But... of course there is also the edge of disappointment to come so close to #1. I won't give up on the Grand Prize. Yeo, Josh, Fukada-san, Ono-san, Mr. Prayogi, be ready because I'm not going to lose

Comment of Mr. Huang Yu-Fa (Chinese Taipei)

This work looks fresh and natural because of the layout composition and placement of materials. The simplicity and solid look are effectively expressed with innovative techniques instead of using a stacking up method. Although there is no sand at the bottom of the aquarium tank, the shape of a river is effectively created with the reflection of light. This technique is very interesting and a good point to learn. Among many works, this work is my favorite because of the unique and solid look. I gave my Best Aquarium to this innovative work

Comment of Mr Kris Weinhold

The mirrored reflections in this aquascape are truly fantastic!

Comment of Mr Andre Longarco

Very interesting work that arouses curiosity with the effect of the mirror. Apart from this technique which is not new I don't see much hardscape and plant development work.
Undoubtedly it is a good job but I see disconnections between the force vectors and little fluidity in the hardscape. Each group of logs has its own and unnatural meaning.
The high point of the work is the center of the vanishing point where the composition of the plants is very natural.
Speaking of plant health as it is almost all mosses and carpet plants their health could be much better for a aquascaping contest.

Comment of Mr Juan Puchades

A step further a new way of creating aquariums without losing traditional concepts but evolving in techniques with the use of a reflection that evokes the surface of the water. Controversial or not its use is a very effective technique that in this assembly combines perfectly with the powerful yet light structure. Simply wonderful.

Comment of Mr Masashi Ono

Very impressive layout!
We have such strange feelings from the mirror effect.
Wood composition and fish selection & position are perfect.
I regret the plants have not grown enough...


Leave your comments
Lastest on News & Press
  • [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] 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
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] TURO DE L'HOME - Bernat Hosta Rovira / ANDORRA - IAPLC 2018

    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.
  • [TheStoriesOfTop7] Butterfly Hideaway - Steven Chong / United States - IAPLC 2018

    The composition creates an image as if you were looking up at a land erosion from a cave. Making hanging vines and spreading roots with fine branches is a commonly practiced technique nowadays, but it is tastefully done in this layout. The creator tactfully emphasizes perspective by attracting your eye to the space overlapping between the V-shaped open space located at the top of the aquascape and the smaller open space on the right side. On the other hand, the presentation of plant arrangement, that is mostly composed of mosses and ferns, looks flat and unappealing