TOP OF THE WORLD 2021 #02 Minh Toan Nguyen

TOP OF THE WORLD 2021 #02 Minh Toan Nguyen

Editors of Aqua JournalEditors of Aqua Journal
Aquarium Size W120×D50×H50 (cm)

Micranthemum sp. ‘Monte Carlo’
Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Rotala rotundifolia ‘Green’
Rotala rotundifolia ‘Red’
Hottonia palustris
Cabomba caroliniana
Taxiphyllum alternans
Fissidens splachnobryoides
Fissidens sp. fontanus
Taxiphyllum barbieri
Vesicularia ferriei
Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’
Riccardia sp. ‘Chamedryfolia’
Elatine Hexandra
Eleocharis acicularis
Marsilea hirsuta
Echinodorus Tenellus
Eriocaulon sp. ‘Vietnam’
Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Petite’
Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Pinto’
Anubias barteri var. glabra ‘Minina’
Bolbitis heudelotii

Nematobrycon palmeri
Hyphessobrycon amandae
Minh Toan Nguyen 

Age/ 29 years old
Occupation/ Engineer 
Years of the experience in the aquarium hobby/ Approximately 6 years
Record of awards in the past IAPLC/
          – IAPLC 2018: World Ranking 2 – Gold Prize
          – IAPLC 2019: World Ranking 59 – Winning Prize
          – IAPLC 2020: World Ranking 263 – Fine Work
Other hobbies besides aquarium/  Guitar, Singing, Traveling

I want to send a message: “Always protect our Nature Mother”

AJ: Tell us how you feel now that you won the Gold Prize in the IAPLC 2021.
Honestly, until now, I still feel nervous and happy. This year, I didnt have any target of winning, I just wanted to try a simple layout but can show how familiar the nature can be, as well as the diversity of natural ecosystems of rivers and streams in the central Vietnam. I wanted to use the beauty of materials, the beauty of plants to touch people’s hearts. This year, the quantity of tanks is highest in the 20 years history of the IAPLC, I feel very lucky because my tank was highly appreciated by many judges. This is my fourth year participating in the IAPLC, but this is the first time my tank was chosen to be “Best Aquarium” by a judge. This is the biggest honor to me until now. This will be my motivation to keep working and creating new tanks in the future. Nature Aquarium and IAPLC are now indispensable spiritual food for me.

AJ: Tell us what you wanted to express with your layout work; layout theme; motif; idea behind your winning work.
About my work this year, the idea came from a heavy rainy day. It made me think of typhoons from the East Sea that devastated Central Vietnam in 2020. In addition, there are many reference images from my trips with my friends, which we went into deep forests. I saw big old trees, which were swept by floods, laid in streambeds. With those ideas in mind, I created a layout as an old tree, which was hit by a storm and lied in a streambed. The image of waving water surface as a storm is coming, the fish flock is finding their shelter under the cold, dark water, and the name “Storming” came from this. Through this work, I want to send a message: “Always protect our Mother Nature”, because most of the natural disasters nowaday are the consequences that humans did to themselves.
Many organisms coexist in the forest, and an ecosystem is established. The diversity is inspiring and gives an idea for the work.
AJ: What was the most difficult aspect of creating and maintaining this layout work?
At the time I started to create this layout work, the Covid 19 pandemic in Vietnam became the worst. All big cities as well as my city got lockdowned, that is why finding materials and components to create this work was very difficult. I could not go out or order to get those things I needed. The maintenance was in April and May 2021, it was right before the due date. And those were the hottest times of the year in the Central of Vietnam, summer. It affected a lot to the growing of the plants in the tank. I tried very hard to keep the temperature at 25-27 celsius, so that all the aquatic plants can be in the best shape.

AJ:  Tell us about the layout materials (rocks and driftwood) which were used for this layout work.
Rocks: I used rocks which I collected from natural streams in the Middle of Vietnam, because they have very special surfaces due to many years of corrosion. This helped my layout to look as natural as possible.
Driftwood: I used root shape driftwoods, which still have bark on them, to create an old tree trunk. I tried to make it look as realistic as possible. Also, I used a big old driftwood, which was naturally rotten, to create a big hollow rock cliff under the water.
To make the aquascape look like nature, the quality of stones and driftwood is highly valued.
AJ: What fascinates or attracts you the most about the planted aquarium hobby?
The most fascinating thing about aquatic tanks to me is that I can re-create a real natural scene, a tranquil stream or a dark forest. Sometimes, it can be a massive cave. Via those, I learn a lot of things from nature, and it makes me appreciate nature more. Everyday, I have chances to watch my plants growing, fish flocks swimming in the water, I love this life even more.  

AJ: What do you think about the IAPLC?
 To me, IAPLC is the biggest contest with reputation. With 20 years of experience, judges are people who are the most professional, always working with heart and fairness to choose the most deserved works. My gratitude to ADA, who created this platform to connect all people who love aquascape around the world. This contest has brought a message to everyone: “Always protect the nature”.
The aquarium space in a corner of the room where the green color of aquatic plants stand out.