Aquascaping Contest – AGA 2018 Winners

Reading Time: 16 min

Everybody loves some new cool aquascaping pictures, and this year, during the AGA Aquascaping Contest, almost 600 competitors submitted their entries.

Here’s all the 9 categories of this year:

  1. Aquatic Garden, Smaller than 28L
  2. Aquatic Garden, 28L ~ 60L
  3. Aquatic Garden, 60L ~ 120L
  4. Aquatic Garden, 120L ~ 200L
  5. Aquatic Garden, 200L ~ 320L
  6. Aquatic Garden, 320L or Larger
  7. Biotope Aquascape
  8. Paludarium
  9. Dutch Aquascape

Aquatic Garden, Smaller than 28L

1st Place: Forgotten Forest

Heri Amir, Malang Jawa, Timur, Indonesia

aga aquascaping-contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 30 x 18 x 24 cm (12 x 7.1 x 9.4 in)
  • Volume 13L (3 gallons)
  • Background white paint
  • Lighting ADA Aquasky Moon LED 301
  • Filtration SUNSUN HW-602B
  • Title Forgotten Forest
  • Plants
    • Buchepalandra
    • Mini Christmas
    • Weeping Moss
    • Ricardia
    • Flame Moss
    • Rotala Walichi
  • Fish/Animals
    • Neon Albino Tetra
  • Materials

More about this winner


2nd Place: One Faith Part 2

Matthew Israel O. Manes, Paranaque City, Manila, Philippines

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 40 x 25 x 26 cm (16 x 9.8 x 10 in)
  • Volume 26L (7 gallons)
  • Background no
  • Lighting DYMAX Rex led light full spectrum
  • Filtration Sunsun 603b
  • Additional Information I put less light in front to create shadows and to achieve the depth

More about this winner


3rd Place: Spring

Thiago Eloi, Recife Pernambuco Brasil

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 35 x 30 x 25 cm (14 x 12 x 9.8 in)
  • Volume 26L (7 gallons)
  • Lighting Maxspect Razor
  • Filtration Eheim Classic 2215 
  • Title Spring
  • Plants
    • Fissidens Fontanus
    • Taxiphillum Barbieri
    • Spike Moss
    • Round Pelia
    • Rotala Francisco
    • Rotala Nanjenshan
    • Eleocharis vivipara “mini”
    • Eleocharis Japan
    • Staurogyne Sp.
    • Bucephalandra
    • Anubias petit
    • Hygrophila Pinnatifida
    • Hidrocotyle maritima
    • Phyllanthus fluitans
    • Pistia stratiotes
  • Fish/Animals
    • Paracheirodon simulans
  • Materials
    • Roots
    • Maxxi
    • and collected rocks

More about this winner


Top 10 Winners

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Aquatic Garden, 28L ~ 60L

1st Place: Great Root

Chonlatee Jaturonrusmee, Bangkok, Thailand

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 30 x 45 x 30 cm (12 x 18 x 12 in)
  • Volume 41L (11 gallons)
  • Background light
  • Lighting LED
  • Filtration Eheim 2213 
  • Title Great Root
  • Plants
    • New Large Pearl Grass
    • Taxiphyllum sp. Flame
    • Vesicularia ferriei (‘Weeping moss’)
    • US Fissidens Fontanus
    • Ranunculus inundatus
    • Riccia sp. ‘Dwarf’
  • Fish/Animals
    • Boraras uropthalmoides
  • Materials

More about this winner


2nd Place: Chasing Lights

Matthew Israel O. Manes, Paranaque City, Manila, Philippines

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 45 x 30 x 29 cm (18 x 12 x 11 in)
  • Volume 39L (10 gallons)
  • Background no
  • Lighting DYMAX rex led light
  • Filtration Sunsun 603b
  • Additional Information Seachem ferts and Aquavitro 
  • Title Chasing Lights
  • Plants
    • Christmas moss
    • Hydrocotyle tripartita
    • Brazilian microswords
    • 2 different sp. of Bucephalandra
  • Fish/Animals
    • Amber tetra
    • 2pcs Cherry shrimp
  • Materials
    • Tweety wood and local driftwoods
    • local stone
    • white sand

More about this winner


3rd Place: Amor Patris

John Pini, Libertyville, IL, USA

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 40 x 32 x 28 cm (16 x 13 x 11 in)
  • Volume 35L (9 gallons)
  • Background None
  • Lighting Custom LED
  • Filtration Eheim cannister filter
  • Additional Information
    • This work is for my daughter, Emilia, who was born not long before its creation. She has brought overwhelming joy to our family. 
  • Title Amor Patris
  • Plants
    • Bucephalandra sp.
    • Hemianthus callitrichoides
    • Hemianthus micranthemoides
    • Hydrocotyle tripartita ‘Mini
    • Micranthemum “Monte Carlo”
    • Microsorum pteropus “Trident”
    • Rotala “Green”
    • Rotala “H’ra”
    • Rotala “Pink”
    • Isopterygium sp.
  • Fish/Animals
    • Boraras urophthalmoides (7)
  • Materials

More about this winner


Top 10 Winners

View all entries in this category


Aquatic Garden, 60L ~ 120L

1st Place: Follow Me 3

Heri Amir, Malang Jawa, Timur, Indonesia

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 60 x 35 x 30 cm (24 x 14 x 12 in)
  • Volume 63L (17 gallons)
  • Background white paint
  • Lighting DIY high power led 100 x 1watt
  • Filtration JBL e 902 
  • Title Follow Me 3
  • Plants
    • Mini Christmass
    • Flame moss
    • Weeping moss
    • Buchepalandra
    • Rotala walichi
    • Eleocaris sp mini
    • Mini bolbitis
  • Fish/Animals
    • Hyphessobrycon amandae (Amber Tetra)
  • Material
    • Santigi wood
    • Seiryu stone

More about this winner


2nd Place: Pan Shen’s Maze

Chenqinqun, Shantou City, Guangdong Province, China

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 65 x 45 x 35 cm (26 x 18 x 14 in)
  • Volume 100L (26 gallons)
  • Background Ha Sha
  • Lighting 60W Light Disk
  • Filtration Sensen 403B 
  • Title Pan Shen’s Maze
  • Plants
    • Shuijingmosi
    • Tianhu
    • Pepper Ficus
  • Fish/Animals
    • Red nose scissors
  • Materials
    • Volcanic stone
    • Azalea root

More about this winner


3rd Place: Good Morning Greg

Rodolfo Provenzano, Maringa, PR, Brasil

Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 60 x 40 x 26 cm (24 x 16 x 10 in)
  • Volume 62L (16 gallons)
  • Background For the photo, a white background with continuous studio light was used
  • Lighting Razor F 160w (7.500k), with power of 70%, 8h/day
  • Filtration Eheim Ecco Pro 2234
  • Additional Information
    • [SUBSTRATE] Amazonia Mbreda
    • [CO2] 35ppm, 8h/day
    • [Fertilization] Daily Fertilization with JBL ProScape Kit
  • Title Good Morning Greg
  • Plants
    • Anubia barteri var. Nana “Petit”
    • Bacopa cf. Reflexa
    • Bucephalandra sp.
    • Eleocharis minima
    • Hemianthus callitrichoides (cuba)
    • Hydrocotyle tripartita
    • Limnophila sp. (Vietnam)
    • Lobelia cardinalis (Small Form)
    • Macaya sellowiana
    • Marsilea quadrifólia
    • Micranthemum sp.
    • Myriophyllum matogrossense (Amano)
    • Myriophyllum sp. (Guinea)
    • Myriophyllum tuberculatum
    • Rotala indica
    • Rotala rotundifolia
    • Rotala sp. (Nanjenshan)
    • Rotala sp. (Waynad)
    • Staurogyne sp.
    • Taxiphyllum Barbieri
    • Taxiphyllum sp.
    • Vesicularia montagnei
  • Fish/Animals
    • Hyphessobrycon vilmae
    • Paracheirodon simulans
    • Hyphessobrycon amandae
    • Caridina pareparensis parvidentata
  • Materials
    • Rocks of the type Cloudy Stones and
    • Cosmetic sand La Plata of the ADA

More about this winner


Top 10 Winners

View all entries in this category


Aquatic Garden, 120L ~ 200L

1st Place: Turo de l’home

Bernat Hosta Rovira, Barcelona, Catalunya

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 90 x 50 x 44 cm (35 x 20 x 17 in)
  • Volume 198L (52 gallons)
  • Background Wall painted with sky color and a transparemnt plastic sheet
  • Lighting 2x HQI lamp of 70W, 6500K color
  • Filtration FLUVAL 406
  • Additional Information
    • I just wanted to transmit the same pacefull and relaxing atmosphere that Grygoriy Polishchuk tramsited with his painting “ BIOTOPE AMANO”, I found this picture full of expression of a nature view with a nice structure and depth to be done in an aquarium. The painting is a picture of the garden done by Takashi Amano San in his home at Niigata. The pond efect is done using a piece of mirror. 
  • Title Turo de l’home
  • Plants
    • Hemianthus Callitrichoides ‘Cuba’
    • Micranthemum ‘Monte Carlo’
    • Rotala rotundifolia
    • Bucepahlandras variety
    • Ceratopteris siliquosa
    • Criptocoryne parva
    • Criptocoryne petchii
    • Hydrocotile tripartita
    • Eleocharis parvula
    • Anubias pangolino
    • Anubias barteri nana
  • Fish/Animals
    • 20x Rasbora espei
  • Materials
    • Slate river rocks
    • Briar wood

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2nd Place: Forest of the ages

Chen Han-Hsuan, Tainan City, Taiwan

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 90 x 50 x 40 cm (35 x 20 x 16 in)
  • Volume 180L (48 gallons) 
  • Title Forest of the ages
  • Plants
    • Limnophila sp
    • Weeping moss
    • Riccardia chamedryfolia
    • Eleocharis sp
    • Glossostigma elatinoides
    • Microsorium pteropus var
    • Cryptocoryne parva
    • Hottonia inflata
    • Hygrophila difformis
    • Anubias petite
    • Fontinalis antipyretica
    • Flame moss
  • Fish/Animals
    • Hyphessobrycon elachys

More about this winner


3rd Place: Fairytale Forest

Lazar Tereza, Uzhgorod, Transcarpathia, Ukraine

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 90 x 50 x 40 cm (35 x 20 x 16 in)
  • Volume 180L (48 gallons)
  • Lighting LED
  • Filtration Aquael Multikani 
  • Title Fairytale Forest
  • Plants
    • Fissidens Fox
    • Barbula sp. MILLIMETER MOSS
    • Riccardia chamedryfolia
    • Vesicularia sp. Mini Christmas moss
    • Weeping Moss
    • Hemianthus micranthemoides
    • Hemianthus callitrichoides cuba
    • Rotala macrandra ‘Butterfly’
    • Rotala “Sanset” (Ammania sp. Sulawesi)
    • Rotala sp. ‘Colorata’
    • Eleocharis sp. mini
    • Anubias barteri var. nana “Petite”
    • Cryptocoryne parva
    • Hydrocotyle verticillata
    • Staurogyne repens
    • Hymenasplenium obscurum (Asplenium cf. normale, Crepidomanes auriculatum)
    • Bucephalandra
    • Moss sp. 610
    • Taxiphyllum sp. “Flame”
    • Marsilea quadrifolia
  • Fish/Animals
    • Boraras brigittae
    • Neocaridina heteropoda var. Rili carbon
  • Materials
    • rocks
    • driftwood

More about this winner


Top 10 Winners

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Aquatic Garden, 200L ~ 320L

1st Place: High Hopes

Renan Selingardi do Amaral, SÃO PAULO, Brazil

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 120 x 50 x 45 cm (47 x 20 x 18 in)
  • Volume 270L (71 gallons)
  • Lighting
    • 2x Fluor T5HO 54W Giesemann Midday
    • 1x Fluor T5HO 54W JBL Tropic
    • 1x Fluor T5HO 54W JBL Color
  • Filtration 2x Canister Eheim Ecco Pro 2236
  • Additional Information
    • Substrate ADA Aquasoil Amazonia, Power Sand Special M, and Tourmaline BC 
  • Title High Hopes
  • Plants
    • Micranthemun Sp. Monte Carlo
    • Marsilea angustifolia
    • Eleocharis minima
    • Hemianthus Callitrichoides “Cuba”
    • Staurogyne sp.
    • Echinodorus tenellus “Blood”
    • Microsorum pteropus “mini”
    • Hygrophila pinnatifida
    • Hemianthus micranthemoides
    • Limnophila sp. “Vietnam”
    • Rotala wallichii
    • Rotala indica
    • Rotala rotundifolia
    • Rotala sp. “Pink”
    • Rotala Sp. “Green”
    • Rotala sp. “Ceylon”
    • Rotala sp. “Francisco”
    • Rotala Sp. “Butterfly”
    • Taxiphyllum sp.
    • Fissidens fontanos
    • Vesicularia dubyana
  • Fish/Animals
    • Danio margaritatus
    • Danio choprae
    • Nannostomus marginatus
    • Tucanoichthys tucano
    • Paracheirodon innesi
    • Paracheirodon simulans
    • Hyphessobrycon elachys
  • Materials
    • ADA Ryuoh stone
    • ADA Aqua Gravel
    • ADA LA Plata Sand

More about this winner


2nd Place: III

Francisco Jose Parraga Garcia, Valencia, Spain

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 120 x 45 x 40 cm (47 x 18 x 16 in)
  • Volume 216L (57 gallons)
  • Lighting 6x 54w T5 6.500ºk
  • Filtration Cristal Profi 1501 (Lily Pipe P-6) 
  • Title III
  • Plants
    • Eleocharis acicularis mini
    • Anubias pangolino
    • Anubias barteri petite
    • Bucephalandra sp. mini catherinae
    • Bucephalandra Deep Purple
    • Bucephalandra sintag
    • Luwdigia arcuata
    • Rotala sp. Green
    • Rotala Orange Juice
    • Rotala indica
    • Rotala rotundifolia
    • Rotala colorata
    • Rotala H´Ra
    • Rotala wallichi
    • Mayaca fluiviatilis
    • Cryptocorine Hobbit
    • Hemianthus callichitrioides “cuba”
    • Hemianthus micranthemoides
    • Micranthemum Monte-Carlo
    • Marsilea crenata
    • Staurogyne repens
    • Riccardia chamedryfolia
  • Fish/Animals
    • Paracheirodon axelrodi
    • Paracheirodon simulans
    • Ottocinclus sp.
    • Crossocheilus siamensis
    • Ancistrus sp.
    • Caridina multidentata
  • Materials
    • Power Sand Special M
    • Aquasoil Amazonia
    • Colorado Sand

More about this winner


3rd Place: Silver Winds

Juan Puchades Rufino, Valencia, Spain

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 120 x 55 x 45 cm (47 x 22 x 18 in)
  • Volume 297L (79 gallons)
  • Background White background
  • Lighting ADA RGB SYSTEM x 2
  • Filtration ADA SUPER-JET FILTER 1200EX
  • Additional Information
    • This work is inspired by erosion, that phenomenon in which water and wind acting in common, are capable of creating beautiful formations on the stone. It is the solid element, worn out by constant struggle, which creates an environment in which living beings can find scaffolding where to grow and a place in which to coexist, feed and take refuge. 
  • Title Silver Winds
  • Plants
    • Rotala sp. Green
    • Rotala rotundifolia
    • Rotala sp. “Gia Lai / H´ra”
    • Micranthemum micranthemoides
    • Hemianthus callitrichoides “Cuba”
    • Eleocharis sp. minima
    • Cryptocoryne parva
    • Hygrophila pinnatifida
    • Microsorum pteropus var. trident
    • Crepidomanes malabaricum
    • Bolbitis heteroclita difformis
    • Riccardia chamedryfoli
    • Java Spring moss
    • Anubias nana var. Pangolino
    • Bucephalandra sp.
  • Fish/Animals
    • Hemigrammus rodwayi
    • Hyphessobrycon amandae
    • Corydoras pigmaeus
    • Caridina multidentata
    • Red cherry shrimp
  • Materials Phoenix stone

More about this winner


Top 10 Winners

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Aquatic Garden, 320L or Larger

1st Place: Soul

Luis Carlos Galarraga, Sao Paulo, Brasil

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 120 x 60 x 45 cm (47 x 24 x 18 in)
  • Volume 324L (86 gallons)
  • Background none
  • Lighting Maxspect Razor F175w
  • Filtration ADA Super Jet 1200
  • Additional Information
    • Seachem Flourish complete line
    • CO2 45 mg/l
    • partial water changes twice a week 30%
  • Title Soul
  • Plants
    • Rotala wallichii
    • Rotala nanjenshan
    • Limnophila Vietnam
    • Hygrophila pinnatifida
    • Eleocharis minima
    • Micranthemum Monte Carlo
    • Glossostigma elatinoides
    • Bucephalandra sp.
    • Microsorum sp. “mini”
    • Microsorum windelow
    • Anubias pangolino
    • Echinodorus tenellus
    • Marsilea angustifolia
    • Vesicularia dubyana
    • Fissidens fontanus
    • Phyllanthus fluitans
    • Limnobium laevigatum
  • Fish/Animals
    • Dicrossus filamentosus
    • Rineloricaria lata
    • Paracheirodon simulans
    • Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi
    • Hyphessobrycon elachys
    • Nannostomus trifaciatus
  • Materials
    • ADA Ryuoh stones
    • Driftwood

More about this winner


2nd Place: Faith

Sim Kian Hong, Taman Teknologi Johor, Senai Johor, Malaysia

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 150 x 60 x 50 cm (59 x 24 x 20 in)
  • Volume 540L (143 gallons)
  • Background None
  • Lighting ONF FlatOne 60cm x 4 unit
  • Filtration Eheim 2217 x 2 
  • Title Faith
  • Plants
    • Aponogeton crispus
    • Aponogeton ulvaceus
    • Blyxa japonica
    • Cryptocoryne sp. parva
    • Fissidens japonicus
    • Monte Carlo
    • Eleocharis acicularis 
    • Echinodorus tenellus
    • Nymphae micrantha
    • Rotala sp. goais
    • Vesicularia dubyana
    • Vallisneria natans
    • Ranunculus papulentus
  • Fish/Animals 
    • Caridina japonica
    • Neocaridina denticulate
    • Trichopodus leerii
    • Otocinclus affinis
    • Crossocheilus oblongus
  • Materials
    • Malaysian Drift wood
    • Lava rock

More about this winner


3rd Place: Ocarina of Time

Roger Goh Yu Quan, Singapore

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 180 x 60 x 60 cm (71 x 24 x 24 in)
  • Volume 600L (159 gallons)
  • Background Nil
  • Lighting ADA Grand Solar I x 3
  • Filtration 2x Eheim PRO
  • Additional Information
    • FULL Seachem FERT DOSING
    • Seachem POTASSIUM
    • Seachem EXCEL
    • Seachem AQUA VITRO PROPEL
    • Seachem AQUA VITRO ENVY
    • Seachem AQUA VITRO SYNTHESIS
    • Seachem AQUA VITRO ACTIVATE
    • Seachem AQUA VITRO MINERALIZE
    •  Seachem AQUA VITRO CARBONATE
    • Seachem PRIME + Stability & Pristine 
  • Title Ocarina of Time
  • Plants
    • Micranthemum sp. Monte Carlo
    • Riccardia chamedryfolia
    • Myriophyllum mattogrosense
    • Fissiden sp.
    • Bolbitis sp.
    • Taxiphyllum sp. Flame
    • Vesicularia sp. Christmas
    • Ranunculus
    • Staurogyne repens
  • Fish/Animals
    • Green Neon Tetras x150
    • Otocinclus sp. x30
    • Amano shrimps x50
  • Materials
    • Grey River Rocks
    • Old Black Drift Wood
    • Tiny Vines
    • Spider Wood
    • Slim Branches
    • ADA Amazonia
    • ADA Powersand
    • ADA Mekong sand
    • ADA Congo sand
    • ADA Aquagravel
    • ADA La Plata
    • Misc. pebbles
    • Rocks

More about this winner


Top 3 Winners

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Biotope Aquascape

1st Place: Stream of Mount Lao After a Rain in Summer

Sun Kai, Qingdao Shandong, China

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 120 x 60 x 40 cm (47 x 24 x 16 in)
  • Volume 288L (76 gallons)
  • Lighting LED 50w
  • Filtration Filter bucket
  • Additional Information
    • As a biotope aquarium lover living and working in Qingdao for a long time, I always want to find opportunities to show the amazing underwater world around me to my fellow hobbyists around the world. I also want to show our charming natural streams to local people in Qingdao, so they could understand that the beauty of nature is ubiquitous and deserve our care. I love the gobies, and I am particularly fascinated by Rhinogobius brunneus. I am very fortunate to have this beautiful species living around me. Creating a stream biotope tank to keep Rhinogobius brunneus has always been my own plan. The stream of Mount Lao is the main destination for my snorkeling in the summer. In a few days after a heavy rain, I was shocked by the booming biological community there: All the newly broken Pterocarya stenoptera are washed down and stuck together by the powerful water. Dried Pterocarya stenoptera leaves are soaked in water and then stay on the bottom. Phragmites australis along the shore are expanding enthusiastically. Opsariichthys bidens are constantly challenging the rapids, looking for preys. Male Rhinogobius brunneus are shuttling through the pebbles dexterously, and sometimes ostentatious displaying the dorsal fins to show off, in order to win the favor of the female with eggs. Although the stream is chilly after the heavy rain, I was just too fascinated to leave, as almost a part of this community, completely integrated into nature. At that time, I hear my heart, isn’t this the best aquascaping inspiration? So, here comes this work. In order to maintain the real natural scene of the aquascape, all the materials were hand-collected from the very stream, including the branches of Pterocarya stenoptera. 
  • Title Stream of Mount Lao (China) After a Rain in Summer
  • Plants Phragmites australis
  • Fish/Animals
    • Rhinogobius brunneus
    • Opsariichthys bidens
    • Cipangopaludina cahayensis
    • Pseudorasbora parva
  • Materials
    • stream sand and stone
    • Pterocarya stenoptera
    • woods and leaves

More about this winner


2nd Place: Sandy sedimentary bottom area in Ndole Bay, Zambia, Lake Tanganyika

Walter Vázquez, Avellaneda, Buenos Aires, Argentina

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 100 x 40 x 50 cm (39 x 16 x 20 in)
  • Volume 200L (53 gallons)
  • Background The tank background is a light blue vinyl designed by me.
  • Lighting The lighting of the aquarium is based on 6500K LED tubes, and individual LEDs for the search of sub aquatic color temperature.
  • Filtration It is filtered by an Atman 3336 canister with biological and mechanical material. The water heating is given by an Eheim Thermocontrol of 200w.
  • Additional Information
    • Lake Tanganyika is the largest of the three large lakes of the African Rift Valley, with a surface area of 32.600 km², with 673 km of length, 72 km in it’s widest point and with a coastline of 1,828 km. Its the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume and the second deepest after lake Baikal in Siberia, with 1470m. and an average depth of 570m. The lake is surrounded by four countries; Burundi in the Northeast, Democratic Republic of the Congo in the West, Tanzania in the East and Zambia in the South, forming a surface of 231.000 Km². Nearly one-sixth of the world’s freshwater is located on Lake Tanganyika. The lake is an important freshwater resource for people living in its vicinity.
    • The lake contains at least 250 species of cichlid fish (Cichlidae) and 150 other species of non-cichlid fish, most of which live on the shore of the lake, at a depth of 180 m. The lake is also an important site of study on the evolution of species. Almost all (90%) of the cichlid species of Tanganyika are endemic to the lake. This high degree of endemic species also occurs with many lake invertebrates, such as molluscs, crabs, copepods, shrimp, jellyfish, leeches, etc. This aquarium represents the Ndole Bay area in Zambia, which is adjacent to Nkamba Bay in Nsumbu National Park on Lake Tanganyika. Ndole Bay is part of Cameron Bay. It is located at 8 ° 28’1.14 “S of latitude and 30 ° 28’29.45” E. of longitude.
    • Lake Tanganyika has different habitats: – Shallow, no sedimentary and sediment-rich shallow shores. – The sand bottom, with little plant life. – The muddy bottom near the rivers in flow. – Pelagic waters, which are open waters rich in phytoplankton and zooplankton that support large banks of non-cichlid fish. – Benthic Waters, zone of depletion of deep oxygen. At a distance of tens of meters, the habitats of Ndole Bay change drastically, and different species evolved to adapt to them.
    • In front of the beach, it’s found an habitat based on large rock and sand plates. Followed by these large rock plates, begins a great plain of sand.
    • To the east, as the depth increases, the bottom of the lake has a new change, a dense area of sand and fine sediment with fields of Neothauma snail shells.
    • In the North of the beach, two small habitats were created, each with its set of species, a coast filled by a dense canefield and rocks of little size.
    • On the south coast there is also a reed, but without rocks with a thick base of mud. Rock structures resembling a reef run parallel to the beach and are separated by bands of sand for only a few meters. It is a shallow area with a good water movement. A large number of fish inhabit rocky and sandy areas where they find protection, food, and their breeding grounds.
    • Different species have different requirements in terms of territory. Some species find protection among the rocks, and get their food from them like the Tropheus and Eretmodus; Others need sand to build their nests like Xenotilapia. Already about 200 meters from the beach is the sector of fine sand and sediment covered by a layer of empty shells of snails Neothauma tanganyicense.This sector is represented in my aquarium, trying to resemble the habitat aesthetically and functionally to the cichlid species that inhabit it.
    • The water in Lake Tanganyika is alkaline, with a pH between 8.5 – 9.0 depending on the depth and alkalinity surrounding the 650µS. The water temperature of the lake is very stable, due to the large body of water. The surface temperature of Lake Tanganyika ranges from 23-27°C, and the hypolimnion temperature ranges from 23–24°C, although most fish inhabit areas with a temperature of 24-27°C.
    • Sources of information: Limnology and hydrology of Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi – Ruud C. M. Crul; The Hydrology of Lake Tanganyika By C. GILLMAN – Bulletin No. 5 of GEOLOGICAL SURVEY DEPARTMENT.
    • To make this aquarium inspire me and visualize many hours of uncut video from the LightSearch channel, for example this video: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=_kPNFcE_gzk&t=17122s
    • Also, to know the area corresponding to Ndole Bay, I had talks with Alfredo Reis Deus, director of the sub aquatic films and the documentary. 
  • Title Sandy sedimentary bottom area in Ndole Bay, Zambia, Lake Tanganyika.
  • Plants N/A
  • Fish/Animals This aquarium is inhabited by a species of shell dwellers. This is Lamprologus multifasciatus (Boulenger, 1906), this small species forms colonies around shell formations, where a male lives and reproduces with several females. The parents live together with their young, who care until they become young and then integrate into the colony.
  • Materials For the decoration of the aquarium use sands of various sizes, looking more natural. Look for a visual presence with a single rock, which also acts as a delimiter of territories. The empty shells of snails used were chosen for their correct functionality, since in my country it is not possible to get empty shells of Neothauma snails.

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3rd Place: Banks of the creek “El espinillo” in the dry season, Magdalena Buenos Aires, Argentina

Walter Vázquez, Avellaneda, Buenos Aires, Argentina

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 150 x 60 x 60 cm (59 x 24 x 24 in)
  • Volume 540L (143 gallons)
  • Background The background of the aquarium has a black vinyl
  • Lighting The aquarium lighting is based on 3 led 6000k reflectors.
  • Filtration The aquarium is equipped with 2 Atman 3338 canister filters, with biological and mechanical material.
  • Additional Information
    • The creek “El Espinillo” is a tributary of the Río de la Plata, it is tlocated in the Magdalena district, province of Buenos Aires, in Argentina. The location coordinates of the stream are 35°08’08.7″S, 57°42’35.2″W. It is approximately 30 kilometers long with an average depth of 60 or 70 cm approximately in its deepest part in the dry season. It flows into the Río de la Plata. It is of slow course and the clarity of the water varies according to the zones and the amount of water that it drags. During periods of heavy rain, it can reach heights in the depth meter, causing it to overflow and flood the surrounding fields. It has a scarcely sloping channel, the substrate is characterized by the predominance of silty-clayey sediments, with abundant organic detritus, dug in Cenozoic sedimentary deposits of scarce current. The edges are determined by slight ravines. In general it is fed by rains fallen in the vicinity and by springs, contributing also the contribution of groundwater in some areas of the basin.
    • The Espinillo creek has the peculiarity that in its middle section develops the “Cañada de Arregui”, a group of poor drainage areas, interconnected by more depressed areas of permanent and temporary regime. In its middle sector, it forms a flat depression, permanently flooded of scarce depth, the lagoon of Arregui.
    • Its waters are slightly alkaline in natural form, with 8pH and a hardness of water of 8 ° dh. due largely to the calcareous substrate (Tosca). The hardness of the water is high and also the conductivity, which can fluctuate depending on the land it crosses, by contributions of the groundwater that in some cases can be strongly mineralized, by the existence of exposed coastal strips, after the descent of the old “Querandinense Sea”, which have a large percentage of shell in its composition, or because of the influence of pollution by intensive livestock in the area.
    • The temperature of the water in the dry season in the middle of March gave a value of 22ºC.
    • The values ​​of NO2 resulted in 0 mg / L and the No3 values ​​with an approximate value of 12.5 mg / L. (These values ​​were surveyed with tests for aquariums). The contribution of plant detritus from the creek “El Espinillo” generally comes from the grasslands and bushes that surround it during its course. However, the scarce slope causes the stagnation of the water in the dry season and increase in transparency, which favors the development of numerous submerged and floating plants in the backwater area.
    • At the edge of the creek there are reedbeds of Schoenoplectus californicus, associated with other marsh plants such as Typha dominguensis and Solanum malacoxylum. Among the submerged or floating plants we can find Ceratophyllum demersum, Myriophyllum elatinoides, Potamogeton striatus, Potamogeton sp., Chara sp., Lemnaceas, Ludwigia peploides, Hydrocotyle ranunculuides and Ranunculus apiifolius.
    • Associated with the vegetation can be found bivalves like Gundlachia concéntrica and ampullar as Pomacea canaliculata. It is common to find on the substrate a good amount of empty shells of the latter mentioned because they are the food of several species of birds that live in the vicinity of the creek. There are also abundant cladocerans and copepods, as well as dipterous larvae.
    • The waters of this creek have good aquatic diversity, abundant in the dry season. Can be found some families of fish included Characidae such as Astyanax stenohalinus (Messner, 1962), Bryconamericus iheringii (Boulenger, 1887) and Oligosarcus oligolepis (Steindachner, 1867); Crenuchidae as Characidium rachovii (Regan, 1913); Cichlidae such as Australoheros facetus (Jenyns, 1842), Crenicichla scottii (Eigenmann, 1907) and Gymnogeophagus meridionalis (Reis and Malabarba, 1988); Erythrinidae as Hoplias malabaricus (Bloch, 1794); Callichthyidae as Corydoras paleatus (Jenyns, 1842) and also species of the family Heptapteridae as Pimelodella laticeps (Eigenmann, 1917).
    • Also found in large quantities, crustaceans such as Palaemonetes argentinus (Nobili, 1901). In its surroundings you can also find a diverse terrestrial fauna. Many species of birds inhabit the place, such as Ciconia maguari, Cisne coscoroba, Pseudoleistes virescens and Sturnella superciliaris. The area is also inhabited by populations of Myocastor coypus, which make their caves and nests along the banks of the creek and the reed beds. All the information gathered in this work comes from the personal on-site survey of this water system, which was turned into a web page and a Facebook fan page. In them you will find photographs and videos of the area made by me and my partner in the project.
    • https://www.facebook.com/proyectoarroyoespinillo/
    • https://proyectoespinillo.wixsite.com/proyectoespinillo
    • https://youtu.be/uyjRLrXabC8
    • The specific information on the Limnological characteristics was consulted in the following links and articles.
  • Title Banks of the creek “El espinillo” in the dry season, Magdalena Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Plants
    • Ceratophyllum demersum
    • Ranunculus apiifolius
    • Schoenoplectus californicus
  • Fish/Animals The fish species that inhabit this aquarium were collected directly from the water system. These species are:
    • Astyanax stenohalinus (30)
    • Australoheros facetus (3)
    • Bryconamericus iheringii (1)
    • Corydoras paleatus (8)
    • Gymnogeophagus meridionalis (2)
    • Pimelodella laticeps (2)
  • Materials All the elements used in this aquarium, such as the substrate, wood, plant detritus, stones, rocks, empty shells of snails and bivalves and plants, were collected from the aquatic system and arranged to imitate the chosen biotope and also be able to maintain and learn more about it through a wild aquarium at home.

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Paludarium Aquascapes

1st Place: A Deep Forest

Yelizhi, Yiwushi Zhejiang, China

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 200 x 80 x 160 cm (79 x 31 x 63 in)
  • Volume 256L (68 gallons)
  • Lighting LED30w*16
  • Filtration 1000L/H*2 
  • Title A Deep Forest

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2nd Place: The Ink Mountain

Yong Guo, Meihekoushi Jilinsheng, China

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 60 x 50 x 90 cm (24 x 20 x 35 in)
  • Volume 43L (11 gallons)
  • Background White cotton
  • Lighting The water dance RGB 90W
  • Filtration Crazy stone CS800 
  • Title The Ink Mountain
  • Plants
    • Cloud bamboo
    • BB grass
    • Fu lu tong
    • Red checkered grass
    • Fern green cloud
    • Qi li xiang
    • Golden grass
    • Short-staple moss
    • Triangle moss
    • Chili rongping
    • Mini rongping
    • Pepper, grass
  • Fish/Animals Silver tip lamp

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3rd Place: [Unnamed]

Juan Fco Aba Serra, Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 45 x 45 x 70 cm (18 x 18 x 28 in)
  • Volume 141L (37 gallons)
  • Lighting Led 1.000 lumens
  • Filtration Eheim 2211 
  • Plants
    • Christmas moss
    • Bromelia
    • Helecho
    • Anubias nana
    • Bucephalandra
    • Micratemoides
  • Fish/Animals Betta
  • Materials Troncos de vis y fibra de coco

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Dutch Aquascape

1st Place: My Dutch Ditch

Bart Laurens, Zoetermeer Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 310 x 65 x 50 cm (1.2e+02 x 26 x 20 in)
  • Volume 1000L (265 gallons)
  • Background Jewel artificial background
  • Lighting
    • Philips 830 2x 2 58 watt TL8
    • Philips 840 1x 2 58 watt TL8
    • Philips 865 1x 2 58 watt TL8
  • Filtration 2x Eheim 2080 each 1.700 lts/hr
  • Additional Information CO2, KNO3, PO4, Easy Life fertilizers 
  • Title My Dutch Ditch
  • Plants
    • 01 Thaise lotus
    • 02 Hygrophila guyanensis
    • 03 Tonia fluviatilis
    • 04 Alternanthera rosefolia
    • 05 Aponogeton robinsoni
    • 06 Hygrophila balsamica
    • 07 Ludwigia glandulosa
    • 08 Rotala macrandra mini
    • 09 Bacopa monnieri
    • 10 Nymphaea lotus “groen”
    • 11 Eriocarulon seiboldanium
    • 12 Bacopa carolina
    • 13 Tonia Belem
    • 14 Ammannia gracilis
    • 15 Lobelia cardinalis (mini)
    • 16 Blyxa japonica
    • 17 Lymnophila aromatica “green”
    • 18 Cryptocorine bullosa
    • 19 Ludwigia inclinata verticillata var. Cuba
    • 20 Staurogyne repens
    • 21 Hydrocotyle tripartitum
    • 22 Barclaya longifolia
    • 23 Alternanthera reineckii minor
    • 24 Hygrophila corymbosa smal
    • 25 Rotala rotundifolia “super red”
    • 26 Lobelia cardinalis (wave)
    • 27 Hygrophila difformis
    • 28 Potamogeton schweinfurdi
    • 29 Eriocarulon vietnam
    • 30 Miriophyllum
    • 31 Althernanthera spec.
  • Fish/Animals
    • Epiplatus annulatus
    • Pseudomugil luminatus
    • Aphyosemion bivittatus
    • Colisa chuna
    • Hyphessobrycon amandaes
    • Hyphessobrycon elachys
    • Stiphodon atropurpureus
    • Otocynclus affinus
    • Pseudogobius javanicus
  • Materials no hardscape materials

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2nd Place: A Native Garden

Timothy S. Gross, West Mifflin, PA, US

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 48 x 18 x 21 cm (19 x 7.1 x 8.3 in)
  • Volume 284L (75 gallons)
  • Background Black Velvet
  • Lighting 4-48″ HO T-5 6500K, 2-48″ HO T-5 5000K, 8hrs/day
  • Filtration Fluval 406
  • Additional Information
    • Pressurized CO2
    • Bubble Magus BM-T01 Dosing Pump
    • Daily dosing of KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4
    • Seachem Flourish Trace
    • Seachem Flourish Advance
    • Seachem Flourish Excel
    • Seachem Flourish Iron 
  • Title A Native Garden
  • Plants
    • Eleocharis sp. ‘Murphy Grass’
    • Shinnersia rivularis
    • Proserpinaca palustris
    • Clinopodium brownei
    • Fissidens fontanus
    • Persicaria hydropiperoides
    • Myriophyllum heterophyllum
    • Sagittaria filiformis
    • Hemianthus glomeratus
    • Amblystegium serpens
    • Sagittaria subulata
    • Ludwigia polycarpa
    • Didiplis diandra
  • Fish/Animals
    • 14 Southern Redbelly Dace (Chrosomus erythrogaster)
    • Palaemonetes kadiakensis
    • Neritina reclivata
  • Materials
    • CaribSea Super Naturals Peace River 1.0mm-2.0mm
    • CaribSea RhyzoMat
    • Soil Master Select
    • Mopani driftwood

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3rd Place: Upstream Color

Joe Harvey, Athens, AL, USA

aquascaping contest
Image courtesy of AGA

Aquascaping specs:

  • Tank Size 122 x 46 x 56 cm (48 x 18 x 22 in)
  • Volume 284L (75 gallons)
  • Background
    • Plastic mesh base
    • Christmas moss
    • Bucephalandra sp.
  • Lighting 4x 54w T5HO
  • Filtration Two lg canisters
  • Additional Information
    • DIY Ferts
    • Tap water
    • Pressurized CO2
    • 60% weekly water changes 
  • Title Upstream Color
  • Plants
    • 1. Limnophila chinesis
    • 2. Hyptis lorentziana
    • 3. Helanthium bolivianum angustifolia
    • 4. Ludwigia sp. red
    • 5. Ludwigia polycarpa
    • 6. Pogostemon kimberly
    • 7. Hygrophila siamesis 53B
    • 8. Hemianthus callitrichoides Cuba
    • 9. Lagenandra meeboldii red round
    • 10. Limnophila indica
    • 11. Acmella repens
    • 12. Blyxa japonica
    • 13. Cabomba furcata
    • 14. Nymphoides hydrophylla Taiwan
  • Fish/Animals
    • 19 Harlequin rasbora
    • 14 Neon Tetra
    • 6 Cherry Barb
    • 5 Albino Corydora
    • 50-ish Pink Ramshorn snails
  • Materials Manzanita covered with Fissidens Fox

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Find out more about the Dutch Aquarium


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There you go folks, these are the most stunning aquascapes from this year’s AGA Aquascaping Contest. So now that you’ve been inspired, go ahead and create your own aquascape and maybe next year you’ll be one of the winners.

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