Editors of Aqua JournalEditors of Aqua Journal
Aquarium Size 1,200×D500×H450(mm)

Aquatic Plants
Marsilea hirsuta / Marsilea crenata / Helanthium tenellum ‘Red’ / Staurogyne repens / Hygrophila pinnatifida / Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’ / Micranthemum sp. / Cryptocoryne spiralis‘Red’ / Eriocaulon sp.‘Social Feather Duster’ / Eriocaulon malayatoor / Eleocharis montevidensis / Eleocharis acicularis / Bucephalandra sp. / Riccardia chamedryfolia / Vesicularia dubyana

Fish & Invertebrates
Melanotaenia praecox / Oryzias woworae / Caridina pareparensis / Caridina multidentata
Philip Schwarz

Country: Austria
Age:  years old
Occupation: Self-employed (Co-owner of Liquid Nature – Aquarium Shop & Gallery)
Aquarium experience: 12 years
Hobbies besides aquarium: Surfing, Hiking
Record of awards in the past IAPLC:
IAPLC 2016 160th
IAPLC 2018 37th
IAPLC 2019 154th
IAPLC 2021 131th

“I am very happy to see many great fellow Austrians and their layouts coming up and more austrian participants to the IAPLC every year”

AJ   Tell us how you feel now that you won the Prize in the IAPLC 2023.
It is hard to find the right words! I am honored and very happy of course. After following and participating in this great contest for some years, it seems like a big goal is achieved – a dream came true! I am grateful that the judges and ADA staff liked my work. This incredible feedback increases my motivation to try to create the best layouts possible for future contests. When I first found videos of Master Takashi Amano creating his beautiful layouts and started to try replicating something similar, I thought I was the only one in Austria. After some years I met other aquascapers and we started to exchange our knowledge. Without their persuasion I probably never would have participated at the IAPLC. Thank you! For now, I celebrate and enjoy the privilege of being selected as one of the few bronze prize winners!

AJ   Tell us what you wanted to express with your layout work; layout theme, motif, ideas behind your winning work.
With this aquarium I didn’t have a detailed idea or special source of inspiration. It was more a development than a genius plan. Still, I wanted to create a natural feeling of flow and many areas for the fish to explore. Due to the tank being a show tank in our gallery, it also needed to look nice from different perspectives and to be easy to maintain for a long time.

AJ    What are the key points when you select aquatic plants and fish species?
I selected the plants to keep up with the maintenance and still get a good first impression. Therefore a lot of rather slow growing plants were used. Still, the feeling of depth needed to be achieved, which worked out nicely with the different grass-type plants in the back. The different front- to midground plants filled out these areas and brought diversity to the layout.
Melanotaenia praecox is a very colorful, but rather small, rainbow fish and I was impressed since I saw them in some of my friends’ aquascapes a while ago. I had the opportunity to get some locally bred juvenile specimens and since then, I kept them as the main highlight. The second species, Oryzias woworae, almost looks like offspring of M. praecox, which was a spectacular combination when we took the pictures. The smaller fish followed the bigger ones, creating the illusion of a school of fish coming from far away through the valley of the aquarium. The german synonym of M. praecox is ‘Diamant-Regenbogenfisch’ which translates to diamond-rainbowfish, therefore I chose the title ‘Diamonds’ .
Using ADA tools for regular maintenance
AJ    What are your favorite ADA product(s) and why?
There are many great products and as the co-owner of an aquarium store, I have the privileged opportunity of using a few of them in our gallery. I regularly use the Pro Pinsettes, Pro Scissors and the Pro Razor. Once one uses ADA tools on a regular basis, you really start to enjoy the quality of these products. Another highlight (literally) are the Solar RGB lights. I am not using them in this particular aquarium but we do use them on other setups in our aquarium gallery. In my opinion it is still the best lamp for a planted aquarium. It makes the colors of plants and animals lookamazing and the plants grow perfectly. We are looking forward to the new version of this lamp!

AJ   If you belong to any aquarium circles or clubs, please tell us about their activities.
The Liquid Nature – Aquarium Shop & Gallery is a shop, not a club, but we want to be a contact point for all aquarium enthusiasts. We have a wide range of products related to the planted aquarium and share our experiences and methods about keeping the aquarium healthy and beautiful. Occasionally we organize a come-together for everyone who wants to join, to share information and essentially have a good time with other hobbyists. I am very happy to see many great fellow Austrians and their layouts coming up and more austrian participants to the IAPLC every year.
The Liquid Nature – Aquarium Shop & Gallery