Earlier this week, we took a look at the most beautiful aquariums from Japan’s International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest. The IAPLC accepted entries from all countries, but Japanese entreats accounted for about half of the total number of submissions. We don’t want to be too Asia-centric with our recent features on Wabi-Kusa displays and shishi-odoshis, so we’re going to even things about a bit with my top 10 picks from the 2012 Hungarian Aquascaping Contest.


Freshwater Aquarium by David Zoltan

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

I love the balance between the heavily planted half of the aquarium and the open half. The simplicity of the right side of the aquarium gives my eyes a chance to rest after the natural chaos to the left.


Hungarian Aquascaping Contest Aquarium

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This aquarium does a spectacular job balancing the warm reds against the cool greens. The bright red-blue fish provide a striking contrast with this aquarium’s intermingling colors.


Hungarian Aquascaping Contest

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This aquarium perfectly captures nature’s chaos. Beautiful!


Hungarian Aquascape by Naggy Nikolett

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

The rocks in the lower right portion of the aquarium remind me of weather-worn wood, like the type that you would find at a pier. That combined with the white sand makes this aquascape resemble a beach cliff with overgrown tropical plants.


Cliff Aquarium Aquascape

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

Most aquascapes start with a flat bottom and then draw the eye upward with plants and rocks. It’s extremely rare to find an aquarium that starts high and brings the eye downward with canyon-like crevices.


Hungarian Miniature Aquarium

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This aquarium may be small (you can tell it’s tiny by looking at the shrimp), but it still packs a visual impact. The tree is practically coated with miniscule bubbles. I would love to see this aquascape after the carpet plants grow out a little bit more and cover the dark sand.


Hungarian Freshwater Aquascape

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

If the other aquascapes are underwater forests, then this one is an underwater jungle. If only it had a lionfish and a tiger shark to complete the image.


Hungarian Aquascaping Contest Winner

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This aquarium took first place in the Hungarian Aquascaping Contest, and for good reason. The diverse plant life cleverly explores the length, height, and depth of this aquascape.


Freshwater Aquascape

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

The thin plants, bright sand, and tiny plants give this aquascape a lighthearted feel. It isn’t quite as visually overwhelming as some of the more complex aquascapes.


Bright Freshwater Aquascape from the HAC

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This luminous aquascape is practically overflowing with light. The bright, leafy plants and floating islands of plant life draw the eye upward towards the sunlight.