Aquascaping Live! 2016 Small Planted Tanks

10 Nov, 2016

Inside a winning aquascape from the Small Tank division at the 2016 Aquascaping Live! competition.

Inside a winning aquascape from the Small Tank division at the 2016 Aquascaping Live! competition.

After sharing the results of the Large Tank competition, our coverage of the 2016 Aquascaping Live! competition at the Aquatic Experience–Chicago, continues. This competition, sanctioned by the Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA) and sponsored by Fluval, is a chance to show off the growing planted tank & aquascaping hobbies.

We turn our attention now to the Small Tank category. A first-come, first-served competition limited to 25 entries, it represents a great way to get your foot in the door in the world of aquascaping competitions. It’s also an avenue to meet fellow aquascapers, as well as a venue for the aquarist who prefers to work alone.

Entrants were each furnished with a 7.9-gallon Fluval Nano Tank, Fluval Aquaclear hang-on back filter, Fluval Aura High Output LED Lighting, Fluval CO2 “88” System, and Fluval Stratum Substrate and/or light sand. Aquascapers were responsible for the hardscape, plants, and animals used in the competition, with the tank set-up occurring on-site. Of course, plants and other elements of the aquascape could be grown and prepared ahead of time, for reconstruction on-site during the scheduled times (you couldn’t simply set up the tank at home, bring it, and fill it up with water).

For all their effort, not only did entrants get to keep most all of the equipment used for the contest, but winners received cash prizes of $100 for 6th or 5th place, $200 for 4th, $300 for 3rd, $500 for 2nd, and $700 for the winning aquascape. You can learn more about the Small Tank contest in the official rules.

The show floor is a flurry of activity as small planted aquariums are set up.

The show floor is a flurry of activity as small planted aquariums are set up.

Aquascaping contestants work furiously to get their creations set up.

Aquascaping contestants work furiously to get their creations set up.

Given the more open nature of the Small Tank competition, entries ranged from the rather simple to the utterly sublime. A total of 21 tanks were entered into the competition. Spoiler Alert: it is probably fair to say that one aquascape simply stole the show, so much so that it was stopping many people in their tracks. This winning ‘scape deserves more detailed coverage at a later date!

We invite you to weigh in on this pictorial review of the entrants and winners of the 2016 Aquascaping Live! Small Tank competition at the Aquatic Experience–Chicago. What did you like? Did you agree with the judges? Which is your favorite?

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #1

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #1

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #2

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #2

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #3

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #3

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #4

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #4

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #5

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #5

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #6

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #6

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #7

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #7

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #8 - Second Place Award Winner, by Hiep Hong

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #8 – Second Place Award Winner, by Hiep Hong

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #9 - Sixth Place Award Winner, by Ted Judy

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #9 – Sixth Place Award Winner, by Ted Judy

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #10

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #10

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #11

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #11

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #12 - Third Place Award Winner, by Marvin Lo

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #12 – Third Place Award Winner, by Marvin Lo

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #13 - Fifth Place Award Winner, by Shawn McBride

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #13 – Fifth Place Award Winner, by Shawn McBride

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #14 was noted as "Exhibit Only - Do Not Judge"

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #14 was noted as “Exhibit Only – Do Not Judge”

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #15 - Fourth Place Award Winner, by Kim Moreau-Gronewald

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #15 – Fourth Place Award Winner, by Kim Moreau-Gronewald

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #16

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #16

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #17 - First Place Award Winner, by John Pini

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #17 – First Place Award Winner, by John Pini

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #18

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #18

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #19

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #19

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #20

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #20

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #21

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #21

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #22

AGA Aquascaping Live 2016 Small Tank Entry #22

There is no shortage of inspiration from this year’s Aquatic Experience-Chicago. Beyond the Aquascaping Live! competition, vendor booths overflowed with diverse, and often stunning examples, of the modern freshwater aquarium. There’s still more to come…

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About the author

Matt Pedersen
Matt Pedersen

Matt Pedersen is a Sr. Editor and Associate Publisher with Reef To Rainforest Media, LLC, including AMAZONAS & CORAL Magazines. Matt has kept aquariums for 34 years, has worked in most facets of the aquarium trade, is an active aquarist and fish breeder (both marine and freshwater), and was recognized as the 2009 MASNA Aquarist of the Year.

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