The Incredible Underwater Art of Competitive Aquascaping

These photos were taken from the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC). This is a contest where people compete to design the best aquarium, literally taking months to grow the beautiful aquascapes. They’re amazing.

Forest Morning: designed by Pavel Bautin of Saint Petersburg, Russia. The 400 liter tank is pictured after 6 months of growth. There are 8 types of plants.

Forest Morning: designed by Pavel Bautin of Saint Petersburg, Russia. The 400 liter tank is pictured after 6 months of growth. There are 8 types of plants.

Whisper of the Pines: designed by Serkan Çetinkol of Istanbul, Turkey. This 150 liter tank is pictured after 4 months of growth.

Whisper of the Pines: designed by Serkan Çetinkol of Istanbul, Turkey. This 150 liter tank is pictured after 4 months of growth.

Whisper of the pines, Serkan Çetinkol. Turkey. 2013

Whisper of the pines, Serkan Çetinkol. Turkey. 2013

Pilgrimage, Shintaro Matsui. Japan. 2013 IAPLC Fifth Place

Pilgrimage, Shintaro Matsui. Japan. 2013 IAPLC Fifth Place

The Mini Mountain Range: designed by Melinda Koncsik of Nagykőrös, Hungary. This 20 liter tank is pictured at 3 months of growth.

The Mini Mountain Range: designed by Melinda Koncsik of Nagykőrös, Hungary. This 20 liter tank is pictured at 3 months of growth.

Looking Up: designed by Irina Kryshtopa of Alchevsk, Ukraine. This 250 liter tank is pictured at 4 months of growth.

Looking Up: designed by Irina Kryshtopa of Alchevsk, Ukraine. This 250 liter tank is pictured at 4 months of growth.

Stones Dance: designed by Alexander Moscalenko of Khartsyzk, Ukraine. This 160 liter tank is pictured at 3 months of growth.

Stones Dance: designed by Alexander Moscalenko of Khartsyzk, Ukraine. This 160 liter tank is pictured at 3 months of growth.

The Arms of Naiad: designed by Laszlo Tart of Herend, Hungary. This 247 liter tank is pictured at 1 year of growth.

The Arms of Naiad: designed by Laszlo Tart of Herend, Hungary. This 247 liter tank is pictured at 1 year of growth.

The Green Grand Canyon: designed by Igor Kapitan of Slovenija. This is a 63 liter tank.

The Green Grand Canyon: designed by Igor Kapitan of Slovenija. This is a 63 liter tank.

Pandora (the land of flying sparks): designed by Marko Velikonja of Slovenia. This 450 liter tank contains small floating islands made of lava stone and epoxy resin.

Pandora (the land of flying sparks): designed by Marko Velikonja of Slovenia. This 450 liter tank contains small floating islands made of lava stone and epoxy resin.

Stairway to Heaven: designed by Timucin Sagel of Istanbul Turkey. This is a 270 liter tank.

Stairway to Heaven: designed by Timucin Sagel of Istanbul Turkey. This is a 270 liter tank.

The Pillars of the Earth: designed by Pasquale Buonpane of Italy. This is a 400 liter tank.

The Pillars of the Earth: designed by Pasquale Buonpane of Italy. This is a 400 liter tank.

Mountain Flowers: designed by Zhenzong Su of China. This is 350 liter tank.

Mountain Flowers: designed by Zhenzong Su of China. This is 350 liter tank.

The world’s largest nature aquarium and aquatic plants layout competition is the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) which annually ranks hundreds of competitors from around the world with Asian and Eastern European countries generally dominating the top slots. Above are some amazing  aquariums from the last few years.

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