Like any aquarium equipment supplier, Aqua Design Amano can set you up with tanks, lights, and filters. The Niigata Prefecture-based company goes one step further, though, by also seeking to cultivate the creative spark necessary to transform a purely functional aquarium into a beautiful creative endeavor.
Every year, Amano sponsors the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest. In 2013, entries came from 2,164 aquarists (which we didn’t know was a real word until just now) from around the world. For 2014, 100 creators will receive a certificate of honorable mention, with another 27 being awarded monetary prizes totaling 1.46 million yen, with one million yen going to the grand prize winner.
While the results of the 2014 contest are yet to be finalized, if the efforts showcased in previous iterations of the contest, seen here, are anything to go by, we can expect another batch of intricately detailed, otherworldly surreal backdrops for aquatic life.
While many of us are satisfied with tossing a sunken chest of pirate treasure or toy sea monster into our aquariums, many of the contest entries draw their inspiration from somewhere other than the briny depths of the seas. Many recreate what looks like a dense forest from a fantasy role-playing game.
Others bring to mind lush jungles, with schools of tropical fish looking almost like flocks of migratory birds. With the proper lighting, the ripples on the surface of the water produce an effect like stratus clouds.
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