Editors of Aqua JournalEditors of Aqua Journal
Red alert 
Aquarium Size W1,200×D600×H500(mm)

Aquatic Plants
Nymphaea rubra / Bolbitis heudelotii / Vesicularia dubyana / Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Petite’ / Cryptocoryne willisii / Bucephalandra sp. / Fissidens fontanus / Taxiphyllum sp. / Marsilea hirsuta / Micranthemum sp. / Hygrophila pinnatifida / Eleocharis montevidensis / Eleocharis acicularis / Hydrocotyle verticillata / Pogostemon helferi / Myriophyllum mattogrossense / Rotala sp. ‘Vietnam’ / Microsorum sp. ‘Trident’

Fish & Invertebrates
Carnegiella strigata fasciata / Paracheirodon axelrodi / Boraras maculates / Crossocheilus oblongus
Nobphacha Yimyou
Country: Thailand
Age: 42 years old
Occupation: Aquascaper
Aquarium experience: 17 years
Hobbies besides aquarium: Watching movies, Listening to music, Camping, Gardening, Taking photos
Record of awards in the past IAPLC:
IAPLC 2010 59th
IAPLC 2013 29th
IAPLC 2018 71st
IAPLC 2019 14th
IAPLC 2021 58th
IAPLC 2022 178th

“The most important thing to get a good aquascape is to create with discipline, consistency and love”

AJ      Tell us what you wanted to express with your layout work; layout theme, motif, ideas behind your winning work.
I wanted to make another lotus tank dedicated for IAPLC2023 again. My target was to make the best lotus tank with a most natural look. When I looked for a image for new inspiration, I found a photo taken by a nature underwater photographer. I was very excited once I saw the photo, but there were many lotus leaves at the center of the photo so I needed to think about the surrounding area. I had never seen any lotus tank that expresses the beauty of lotus at the floor of the tank, mid of tank and on the water surface in one tank. I made hard scape by stones to express the edge above lotus pond without 3:2 ratio. It was because my first idea was making semi-circle on left and right sides of the tank with smaller stones for illusion to reduce the symmetrical of the 2 semi-circle. In both sides of the tank, I didn’t arrange stone to the front to leave space for more detail with foreground plants. Even though I concentrate with the hardscape, the most important part is keeping varieties of plants harmonized like in nature. And before planting various types of plants, I spent 2 weeks DSM ( Dry Start Method ) using US fissiden moss on all hardscape structures. I wanted moss to grow all over the stones to look like natural algae and reduce the flashiness of the stone color.

AJ     What was the most difficult aspect of creating and maintaining this layout work?
Even though I have good experience with Nymphaea rubra, but using Eleocharis montevidensis, Hydrocotyle verticillata, Nํymphoides hydrophylla was a challenge as it was my first time to use them to enhance natural feel of the lotus. The long leaf of Eleocharis montevidensis on both sides extending from background to foreground that might not follow the principles of making a layout but I took the risk to make this layout look more natural. Just keeping lotus in a planted tank is not difficult for me but how to control size and direction of leaves and keeping the lotus stalk not too messy while taking photos are my tough task. I controlled appropriate number of leaves and not to block the light for other plants.
To bring out a natural feel, adjustments to the stone arrangement and the selection and placement of the aquatic plants are made whilst keeping an eye on the overall balance.
AJ    What are the key points when you select aquatic plants and fish species?
Of course lotus is the focal point of this tank, in the same time, I didn’t want the lotus to look beauty in good condition but feel lonely. I also used many variety of plants mixed together around the lotus. Nymphoides hydrophylla with smaller leaves were used behind to emphasize dimensional depth. Regarding fish selection, I had never kept Carnegiella strigata before and got information from fish store that it tend to jump from a tank but I believe the lotus leaves on the water surface might make them feel safe and prevent them from jumping out of the tank. As I believed, they all swim happily under the lotus leaves. I used Paracheirodon axelrodi to match with color pairing of the blue background and the red of lotus leaves. Release some Boraras maculates, the smallest fish to add natural feeling of ecosystem.

AJ     What fascinate or attract you the most about the planted aquarium hobby?
I love keeping fish and plants since I was a child. Discovering a hobby that combined both plants and fish became my passion.

AJ    Do you have any tips for winning in the IAPLC?
Although there are so many procedures, materials and planning to get a good aquascape, this contest evaluates every entry with a photo. I need to present a novel idea to judges or anyone who see the photo so that they understand without any explanation. With my experiences, the most important thing is to do it with discipline, consistency and love.

AJ    What are your favorite ADA product(s) and why?
It is ADA Cube Garden because it has special crystal clear glass, very neat assembly, super thin but strong silicone adhesive, and long lasting. ADA Cube Garden is much different from other brands.

AJ    What kind of aquascape do you want to create in the future? Do you have any dreams relating to the aquarium hobby?
I have no idea so far, but it should be a new idea that I or anybody has never done before. In case if I can’t get any new idea, I may get back to the natural style as Amano sensei’s style. My dream when I was a child was to open the biggest and best aquarium store in my hometown Pichit province. Although I can’t make my dream come true, working as an aquascaper is very close to my dream and makes my life so happy.

AJ    What do you think about the IAPLC?
IAPLC is the world oldest and greatest planted aquarium contest. I used to be curioud why people who are not in top 100 or top 27 want to attend IAPLC award ceremony until I had my first chance to attend IAPLC2016 award cermony and I did understand why. The ceremony, so professional and so grand, made me thrilled. I got so much inspiration from high ranked aquascapers in that year and I could attend again as a IAPLC2019 top ranker.
In his production room adorned with certificates from previous competitions, daily maintenance is carried out in preparation for the contest.