Aquabird Vietnam (ABV) recently released their results for their regional annual aquascaping contest called the Aquadesign Contest (ABV Contest). This contest was first organized in 2005 by the administration team of the Aquabird Vietnam Forums and has grown tremendously each year.
The contest is financially supported through voluntary donations from the Vietnamese aquascaping community and the administration team. One particular member, Dui Manh Tien (Tienbm), has been one of the primary sponsors and active organizer of the contest.
During the six years of ABV existence, the contest has been developed each year with the leadership of Tran Quang Hung (Aquatichung), who manages the judges and organization committee for the contest.
ABV invites Vietnamese aquascapers from all over the world to participate in the Aquadesign Contest. The entry form and official rules are published several months beforehand to allow aquascapers to develop their best aquascapes to present to the panel of judges.
The winner of the competition receives a Trophy Award and $300 (USD) prize. Some winners may receive aquarium supplies as prizes through local aquarium stores and their donations. However, the best prize of all is priceless. The winners and participants of the competition achieve bragging rights and increased reputation among the local aquascaping community.
To be ranked among the TOP 3 or even the TOP 50 is highly honored and a significant achievement for aquascapers.
AVB contest is evaluated by an esteem panel of aquascapers who have had international success in aquascaping competitions such as the Aqua Design Amano International Aquatic Plant Layout Completion (ADA IAPLC) and the Aquatic Gardeners Association Contest (AGA). This year accomplished Vietnamese Aquascaper Ngo Truong Thinh sat on the panel alongside other aquascapers such as Sylvain van Waerebeke, Uttoshi Guillermin, Diego Sandoval, Bjorn Hoorelbeke, and Luis Navarro.
The AVB judges look for creative and unique aquascapes, that employ a good use of materials and planting skills which ultimately bring a sense of Asian Culture in their layouts. Balance, harmony, depth and attention to detail are among the criteria used to evaluate the aquascapes.
This years contest held some of the best aquascapes the contest has ever seen. Each year the quality of entries gets better and better due to aquascapers finding new ways to develop a new style and a fresh aquascaping perspective. Some of the top aquascapes included rich colors, highly defined visual lines (through plant trimmings) and efficient use of depth and space. When compared to other countries aquascapes, Vietnamese aquascapes often include specific features native to the land of Vietnam. From rocks, driftwood, stones, and even plants, Vietnamese aquascapers use the locally available resources in their aquascapes to bring a personal meaning to their layouts. In addition, the aquascapes featured in this competition make the best use of photography and painting rules (Golden Rule) to provide the most optimal visual layout in terms of depth and space. When these rules are combined with the personal touch, Vietnamese aquascapes become much more than a visually designed layout. These layouts become homage to country and represent the level of aquascaping Vietnam has to offer to the world.
In the past three IAPLC, Vietnam has slowly risen among the ranks of international recognition. Vietnamese aquascapers have been honored with a number of honorable rankings and TOP 3 rankings including Bronze Prize 2008, Grand Prize 2009 and Silver Prize 2010. Some of these winning layouts feature and use Vietnamese materials such as rocks, stones, and driftwood.
In Vietnam, the aquascaping hobby has fluctuated a lot with many ups and downs, in terms of planted aquarium supplies and interest. The future of planted aquariums and aquascaping in Vietnam remains bright as evident in the many young members who have joined the ABV forums in recent years.
The aquatic shops and stores located in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are highly supportive of planted aquaria, and they continue to provide hobbyists with access to an abundance of aquarium plants and materials. In addition, many hobbyists continue to explore the local mountainous areas and waterways for aquatic plants and experiment with them in the aquarium.
One of the most important goals of the ABV forums is to help new aquascapers improve their planted aquarium design skills and to maintain our success in the international contests.
The next Aquadesign Contest will be scheduled in mid-2011. While the competition is mainly financially supported through our membership, as AVB gains additional sponsorship support from aquarium companies and local stores, the contest is surely to expand across the region.
In the next contest, the AVB administration team expects an increase number of participants, more innovative aquascapes, and more aquascapes that capture the intricate beauty of nature.