Aquariums are great and all, but sometimes we have to wonder, “Why bother?” They’re expensive, impossible to move, and can take a ton of energy and time to maintain. Are they even worth it? It all boils down to taste, I suppose, but one absolutely unavoidable fact is that aquariums are simply gorgeous. We’ve all seen aquariums, but most people don’t really understand just how absolutely beautiful aquariums can be.
The International Aquatic Plant Layout Competition (IAPLC) is an annual event that invites aquascapers to create stunning displays for a fat cash prize. I’m usually a bit chatty in these posts, but this time I’m going to let the pictures largely speak for themselves. The finalists in the the IAPLC’s 2011 competition may just motivate you to go start your own aquarium.
5. “Karst” — Zeng Qing Jun of China
Rocky, moss-laden cliffs are the main motif in this bright aquascape. The brilliant blue-red fish provide bursts of color in this seemingly sunny scene. I love how the left corner of the glass seems to glow, as if from the light of a distant sun. All you’d need is a few clouds, and a casual observer might look at the picture and mistake those fish for birds.
4. “The View” — Yutaka Kanno of Japan
This looks like a scene from the “Avatar” movie, with unnaturally dense plant growth and an unearthly glow emanating from beyond. The fish in this aquarium seem almost like an afterthought, with the our eyes so irresistibly drawn to the tree-like formations.
3. “Colour of Life” — Xuan Thuy Nguen Thi of Vietnam
Green is certainly the main color in this aquarium, but an array of yellows, reds, and whites add a bit of variety to the scene. The stark black background provides a powerful contrasts to the colorful fish and plants. If not for the fish floating through the center of the aquarium, you’d probably think that this is just a normal photograph of land.
2. “Loess Plateau” — Zhang Jian Feng of Macau
The Loess Plateau is in China, but when I look at this aquarium the first thing that comes to mind is the Grand Canyon. This looks like something straight out of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. I’m amazed by how well the creator handled the background of this piece. The soft yellow light makes it look as though the sun is rising on this rocky landscape.
1. “Forest Scent” — Paul Boutin of Russia
No, this is not a picture of a forest. It’s an actual aquarium. The artistry on this piece is so accurate and gorgeous that it’s difficult to describe. It’s so perfect that I have to try to convince my mind that it’s not a real-life forest. Who would have ever thought that plants could be the most beautiful attraction of an aquarium?