Editors of Aqua JournalEditors of Aqua Journal
IAPLC Creator’s File interviews top winners of the IAPLC, the world’s leading planted aquarium contest, and introduces the secrets of their progress and their passion for the planted aquarium hobby.
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Aquarium Size W900×D500×H400(mm)

This hobby brings you pleasure and makes you happy.

Q What made you get into the planted aquarium hobby?
My grandfather instilled in me a love of aquariums when I was a child. I used to visit him and always admired his aquariums, then I received an aquarium and fish as a gift from him. I liked taking care of the aquarium and the fish. After I got married and had a son, my mother gave my son fish and an aquarium. It became my passion and favorite hobby which I had not imagined in my life.

Q What do you find attractive about planted aquariums?
Plants add life to an aquarium. Color, brightness, movement – all these elements make the aquarium dynamic and alive. I like to see the development of plants, create a landscape, and see how it changes. It is very exciting and at the same time requires skills and abilities.

Q Where do you get themes, motifs, and ideas for your layouts?
I love nature, I like to walk by rivers and in the woods. I take photos of interesting landscapes in the forest. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, I am always inspired by nature. I collect dried roots and stones. In all my works, I use roots that I collected in the forest. I also like to look through photos on Pinterest, where I find interesting ideas for myself.

Q Do you have any special items that you use when creating layouts?
In almost all my aquariums, I use tree roots that I collected in the forest. I also like to make details in the aquarium, every little stone or root has to have its place. Detailing takes me a lot of time.
Inspired by nature, she designs detailed compositions.
Favorite ADA products. These are necessary to create a stable environment in the aquarium.
Q In the process of creating your work, are there any difficulties or points you had to devise?
The main difficulty I had in designing was when I chose the materials. Because there are not many options of materials on the market, I have to design with materials what I can order on the internet or what I have collected in nature.

Q Please tell us about the key points in selecting aquatic plants and fish?
The aquariums I have at home are small tanks. One is 72 liters and the other is 180 liters. So the main thing I pay attention is the selection of plants. I use small plants so that they fit into the scale of the aquascape. I do not focus on fish because they should only emphasize my work, not draw attention to themselves. They have to be small fish and always those that swim in schools.

Q Is there anything you always keep in mind when creating layouts?
Yes, I always think about the observance of scale in creating an aquarium; the stones, roots, trees, plants, fish, and shrimps should be selected in the appropriate scale.

>Q Do you have any secrets for winning awards on the contest?
I don’t have any secret, I just love my hobby very much and put all my love into it. I create my works not according to any rules, but as my inner feeling tells me.

Q Why did you enter the IAPLC and what doyou think is the best part of the contest?
This is a global, IAPLC, where the works of all aquarists in the world are presented. I like competing with famous aquarists, being judged by famous judges, it is always interesting to see their assessments, it stimulates me to new achievements

Q If you belong to an aquarium club, please tell us about its activities.
I am the chairman of the Transcarpathia Aquarists Club, a club that unites aquarists in our region. Since 2015, we have held various exhibitions of mini aquariums in our city. We often gathered to discuss our hobby and exchange plants. Over time, this competition attracted aquarists from all over Ukraine, and participants from other countries joined it. These were very fun meetings, as all aquarists came to our city and created aquariums in a friendly atmosphere. Ten we went to the mountains, then we were relaxed and inspired by the mountain scenery. It was very fun and exciting. But the war in Ukraine has affected the development of our club, we have not gathered together for two year and have not held exhibitions. I hope that next year we will all get together and have a good time.

Q Please give a message to all planted aquarium enthusiasts around theworld.
Aquascaping is a creative process that does not like to be rushed. The main thing here is to invest your feelings, have patience on the process, and enjoy it. And it doesn’t matter which rank you place in the competition, but you will notice that this hobby brings you pleasure and makes you happy. I wish everyone inspiration, creativity by the aquarium creations that bring you only positive emotions.