TOP OF THE WORLD 2021 #07 Juan Puchades

TOP OF THE WORLD 2021 #07 Juan Puchades

Editors of Aqua JournalEditors of Aqua Journal
Origin. Dawn lights
Aquarium Size W120×D60×H55(cm)

Anubias barteri var. nana
Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Pangolino’
Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Petite’
Bolbitis heudelotii
Fissidens fontanus
Microsorum sp. ‘Trident’
Riccardia chamedryfolia
Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’
Littorella uniflora
Bucephalandra sp. Velvet Entikong
Bucephalandra sp. Red Velvet
Bucephalandra sp. Mini Belindae
Bucephalandra sp. Belindae
Bucephalandra sp. Mini Coin
Bucephalandra sp. Catherine
Bucephalandra sp. Mini Catherine
Bucephalandra sp. Cherry Mini
Bucephalandra sp. Lamandau Mini Red
Bucephalandra sp. Lamandau Purple
Bucephalandra sp. Theia
Bucephalandra sp. ‘Bukit Kelam/Sintang’
Bucephalandra sp. Angel Tears
Bucephalandra sp. Kedagang Mini
Micranthemum sp. ‘Monte Carlo’
Cryptocoryne parva
Eleocharis sp. Minima
Rotala rotundifolia ‘Colorata’
Rotala sp. Hra
Rotala sp. Orange Juice

Hemigrammus erythrozonus
Trigonostigma hengeli
Crossocheilus oblongus

Juan Puchades

Age/ 37 years old
Occupation/ Dentist (Periodontist)
 Years of experience in the aquarium hobby/
Previously I have been 3 times in honour prizes. During the last ten years always on top50 places.
Any other hobbies besides aquarium/ Actually free time for hobbies is limited to the aquarium.

The enthusiasm to participate IAPLC year after year forces me to continue developing as an artist.

AJ: Tell us what you wanted to express with your layout work; layout theme, motif, ideas behind your winning work.
Over the last few years, I think I have matured as an aquascaper, which has led me to try to create aquariums with a very marked theme or stamp. My main intention was once again to give a lot of importance to the environment, to the atmosphere that surrounds the work. For this reason I kept the line of the previous year’s Twilight, African nights, where the title of the work situates the moment of the capture of the image. Origin. Dawn lights simply focuses the viewer on a certain time of day, the early hours of the morning, the lights of dawn. As for the subject matter, it was very clear in my head that I wanted to develop a cave style, I had never tried that concept before. The Spanish coast is full of cliffs that break into the sea, but there is a magical place “La playa de las catedrales” in the north of Spain. Without pretending to reproduce, it did allow me to focus on the concept of the aquarium to try to obtain the grandeur of a Christian cathedral, with its tall columns and vaulted ceilings. It was a very gratifying challenge to find solutions for a healthy planting of rotalas in the upper region, which was a key element. On the one hand it had not been done before and this would differentiate the aquarium from other similarly themed aquariums of the past (great masterpieces such as Fukada’s similarly themed aquariums). But more importantly, the reddish and orange tones of the rotalas were necessary to reproduce the atmosphere of the work. The study of colour became the backbone of the design.

AJ: What was the most difficult aspect of creating and maintaining this layout work?
Without a doubt, the great challenge was to develop a stone structure of such a size that it would not collapse under the weight, that it would reflect dynamism and curve, and that it would be able to house Amazonia inside it to allow the healthy development of the rotalas. I must point out that I failed again and again to find a way to give the structure the necessary curve and dynamics to transmit the erosion of the water, as well as to allow enough substrate to be housed inside. A semi-rigid scaffolding was the key to a collage technique in which small pieces of stone were attached to each of the structures, creating a “snakeskin” over the base. I created a total of 6 pieces which were then assembled inside the aquarium.

AJ: What fascinates or attracts you the most about planted aquarium hobby?
The planted aquarium hobby is undoubtedly my link to what I don’t have. I grew up surrounded by space and always with nature close by. However, with the arrival of university life and later work, it was the planted aquarium that allowed me to develop my love for animals and nature, in a limited space and in the interior of my urban flat. It is also essential to say that the planted aquarium has allowed me to expose an artistic facet that I have discovered over the years, and the IAPLC has had a major influence on this, since the enthusiasm to participate year after year forces me to start new projects that provide new experiences and opportunities to continue developing as an artist.
This stone structure was the hardest part.
AJ: If you belong to any aquarium circles or clubs, please tell us about their activities.
I belong to a country that has developed a strong community of scapers, with close links between several participants. Today I see a very interesting mix of talented and experienced scapers of 7 to 10 years or more, together with new enthusiasts who break the mould with their youth, dedication and good advice from the more experienced ones. For this reason, I believe that the results of Spanish team have a solid base and are not the result of chance. Twelve years ago the top 100 barrier was broken, seven years ago the top 27 barrier was broken and recently the top 7 barrier has also been broken. I can only be proud of the work, effort, dedication and talent of many of my colleagues.

AJ: What do you think about the IAPLC?
I think this is something that is implicit in my interview. The IAPLC, along with some people who I consider to be great ambassadors of the contest, have transformed my life. The competition has become an annual event, which governs and divides the year into stages. The concept and idea development phase, the structure execution phase, the planting development phase, and the tense moment of the days leading up to the final photograph. Once it is done, the satisfaction will never depend on the position obtained, but on the process carried out. All this allows my mind, for many months of the year, to escape from work and external problems.  And after 10 years, and although the result is not the most important thing, the contained happiness, the calm satisfaction of a dreamed result after an intense dedication throughout the year, is an experience that I wish all the participants could live. I have already been able to feel it, and I feel very fortunate for it.
Inspiring each other with friends about planted aquariums.