TOP OF THE WORLD 2020 #01 Siak Wee Yeo 

TOP OF THE WORLD 2020 #01 Siak Wee Yeo 

Editors of Aqua JournalEditors of Aqua Journal


Siak Wee Yeo 
Malaysia /Eden
Aquarium Size W120×D60×H50(cm)
Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Petite’
Anubias minima
Fissidens fontanus
Riccardia chamedryfolia
Vesicularia montagnei ‘Christmas Moss’
Micranthemum sp. ‘Monte Carlo’
Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’
Rotala wallichii
Rotala sp. Hra
Limnophila sp. ‘Vietnam’
Eleocharis acicularis
Eleocharis acicularis ‘Mini’
Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Mini’

Trigonostigma heteromorpha
Crossocheilus oblongus
Otocinclus sp.
Caridina multidentata
Caridina cf. babaulti var. ‘Malaya’
Dynamism that the large pieces of driftwood possessed became the work’s true power, and the work had power to mesmerize viewers. Although the expression of hanging tress and aquatic plants itself is not so novel, it is well-balanced and well-structured, and the impression of this work is beautifully characterized by the expression. Furthermore, the way spaces were created and the way the perspective was expressed, were very skillful. And the layout was composed as all the camera angles (even shooting the fish position) were carefully calculated beforehand. I can even feel the creator’s confidence from the finished photograph. The level of the completed work is high, and the work certainly has a charm to be chosen as the Grand Prize among the top works that are all unique and skillful. 3 of the judges chose this work as their best aquarium. The work has the creator’s extraordinary passion for the planted aquarium hobby not to mention his previous achievements in the IAPLC. I think it was the perfect Grand Prix work for the 20th anniversary.

Tsuyoshi Oiwa
Chairman of the IAPLC Steering Committee


Aquascaping is a part of my life. I learn with my kids about nature and share this hobby with them.

Age : 37 years old
Occupation : System Administrator
Years of experience in the aquarium hobby : 13 years
Hobbies besides aquarium: Photography, jungle trekking and gardening or planting
Record of awards in the past IAPLC :
IAPLC2009  19th
IAPLC2012  2nd
IAPLC2013  9th
IAPLC2014  23rd
IAPLC2017  17th
IAPLC2019  5th
AJ    Please describe the moment when you first found out your ranking in the IAPLC2020.

This is a special year for the result announcement due to covid-19 pandemic. Previously we received the notification letter before the announcement of world rankings. This year, the result was announced through live streaming of ADA YouTube channel. On the announcement day, I prepared myself ready in front of TV and my laptop was connected with friends in our private video conference. I still remember my heart beep was getting faster and faster when the top ranked was announced accordingly. The feeling was getting complicated before top 7 announcement. At that point of time, I hoped I could be in 1 of the top 7 prize winners but my second feels, I hoped I  could get even better ranking than ranked 7. It was a hard time for me to pass through every moment started from Top 7 result announced. Until Gold prize was announced and pending for the Grand Prize announcement. All my friends from video conference told me the moment of my face was very funny and almost cramped. Finally, it was announced that I received the Grand Prize, I felt almost empty for few minutes and started to receive the wish and congratulation from friends through video conference, text message and call. My family members were jumping around for my result and my daughter shed tears down after she heard the result through live streaming. Because, she accompanied me time to time during my setup period and she understands how many hours and minutes I spent to complete this work. I am finally fulfilled my dream which I have been hoping  for 13 year since 2008 my first participation in IAPLC. I hope to share my happiness with all the participators around the world and appreciate this wonderful contest where accompanies us year by year.


AJ Tell us what you wanted to express with your layout work; layout theme, motif, ideas behind your winning work.

My layout is made by two large elements of driftwood. In fact, the inspiration came from a limestone mountain which is a scenery landscape. During research of one of my favorite jungle plants Begonia, I started to realize they are growing in wet area or high humidity area. Interestingly, I got to see many limestone mountains where the home of begonia is. I started to do more research by internet and many of idea came into my mind and I started to create a layout using limestone mountain as the theme. Few months later, I was invited to visit one of the limestone mountains located at east coast of peninsular Malaysia. After this trip, I gained more ideas to structure the layout and had a new thought of this layout in order to combine the plant and hardscape. The whole process took me around 6 months to complete and this is a fruitful journey that I had never had.
Many tropical plants grow as if they are holding on to prominent limestones.
Begonia is one of my favorite plants, and several species can be found on the Malay Peninsula.
With friends who accompanied the jungle trekking. Discovering plants in their natural habitat is a great pleasure.
AJ What was the most difficult aspect of creating and maintaining this layout work?

The layout was made by two very big driftwood elements. And the center wood is extremely huge. During the process of structuring this center driftwood, I used more than 20 smaller driftwood pieces to combine to one. The challenge is to maintain this part to sustain the whole layout composition. Other than this, I did find it challenging to maintain this layout. Because there were many “hanging” driftwood on this layout, during maintenance like water change or plant trimming, I needed to pay special attention to avoid the woods to collapse.


AJ Tell us about the layout materials (rocks and driftwood) which were used for this layout work.

I used two huge Malaya driftwood to sit on the substrate at the center of this layout. I used smaller special texture driftwood to form in to a huge one to express the big impact in the whole composition.


AJ What fascinate or attract you the most about the planted aquarium hobby?

I have been falling into this hobby more than 16 years since secondary school. The main reason I like this hobby is because I have always been a person who likes a lot of natural activity like gardening, plant collection and trekking. For me, aquascaping is a part of my life. It’s joyful to look at the plants and fish swimming in an aquarium. It is always my method to relieve the stress  from heavy workload. After I matured and have kids, I further express this hobby, it brings a lot of fun together with kids as well. I teach my kids about nature and eco system from an aquarium as well as bring them walking in nature habitat to touch the green that is created from the god.

The production process of the Grand Prix work.

AJ Do you have any tips for winning in the IAPLC?

To win in IAPLC, you need to put 100% hard work 200% passion and 300% luck. In short, there is no winning tip. But you need to have a good attitude continuously every year. To share your passion, work hard for your work. And waiting for the luck to arrive.


AJ What kind of aquascape do you want to create in the future? Do you have any dreams relating to the aquarium hobby?

I hope I can create a pure Nature Aquarium in near future but not for a contest. I would like to enjoy the pure aquascaping experience to suit my home design. I have a dream to have a large aquarium with large angel fish swimming like the one created in the living room of Mr. Amano’s house.


AJ If you belong to any aquarium circles or clubs, please tell us about their activities.

In Malaysia, the most active or well-known aquascape club is Little Green Corner. In this group, we always discuss aquascape layout. 4 years ago, we started to have private seminar for hobbyists who were interested in contests. Unfortunately, there weren’t many players who retained the interest until submission. We are still trying to inspire more new players in Malaysia into this amazing hobby.


AJ What do you think about the IAPLC?

IAPLC has become one of the important events in my life, among so many contests in the world. IAPLC is the most recognized one and it is the highest honor contest for all the aquatic layout contestants in the world. However, the new judging method in general effects on the transparency of IAPLC. Before 2015, IAPLC published the total score from each judge in contest booklet. But since 2015, the total score has been withdrawn. As a contestant, the score from judges is very important. This can help us analyze the level of preference from judge of each layout. Anyway, I respect the decision of changing the judging method from IAPLC committee.