New dates for the 2020 Aquatic Gardeners Association Aquascaping Contest have just been announced! It also happens to be a 20th anniversary contest! August 15, 2020 is the date to keep in mind so get yourself a spiffy new tank or work on an existing grown in tank to get it contest ready.
The Aquatic Gardeners Association, Inc. is an international nonprofit organization of aquatic plant enthusiasts, which appeals to both beginners and experienced hobbyists alike. The AGA publishes a (paper) quarterly journal called The Aquatic Gardener (or
TAG), the only English language journal devoted to aquarium plants and planted aquaria.
Guidelines for participating in the contest can be found here.
Is this a Photo Contest?
No. The winners of the Contest portion of this event will be the best aquascapes, not necessarily the best photographs. It is important, though, that your photos be sharp and clear so that the judges (and the viewers) can see your aquascape as well as possible.
Are amateur and beginner submissions judged right along with those from advanced and professional aquascapers?
Yes, we don’t try to decide who is advanced, novice, etc. Each submission is judged on it’s own merits. One year a beginner even won best of show.
What are the Awards?
Ribbons and cash for first, second, and third place in each category, plus best of show and most innovative. Cash awards will be made via PayPal, to the e-mail address registered for the entrant.
It is completely free to enter the AGA Aquascaping Contest this year — no entry fee!
Why are marine tanks not eligible to be entered?
This event was organized by a group of aquatic gardeners, whose main interest (and expertise) is planted freshwater aquaria. Our goal is to provide freshwater aquascapers with a forum to display their efforts, and compare approaches used in different parts of the world. We have widened the eligibility rules of the event to include all types of freshwater, brackish water and paludarium set-ups. This means that a hobbyist who is interested in African Rift Lake Cichlids or one who is interested in Mudskippers or other brackish tank inhabitants, or even someone who uses plastic plants in their tanks can also become involved.
However, the inclusion of saltwater tanks will require an immense amount of extra work, and goes beyond our areas of expertise, so we have chosen not to include marine aquaria.
Message from the Contest Chair
It is hard to believe that the AGA contest is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and that we have grown so much since our humble beginnings in 2000 as the first online aquascaping contest so many, many years ago. We started the contest with fewer than 100 aquascapes submitted in 6 categories for and now have more than 600 aquascapes submitted in 10 different categories! Throughout the history of our contest, there have been many additions and changes that make the AGA contest what it is today. However, we are constantly striving to improve and grow our contest and reach more aquascapers worldwide. That is definitely the case this year and for the future as big changes are coming!
With the recent issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the people who run the contest discussed how best to accommodate hobbyists having a hard time building and prepping their aquascapes due to quarantines, social distancing, or other factors beyond their control. To make the contest more accessible for everyone, we have decided to delay the opening of the AGA contest for 2020 instead of canceling the contest. After considerable discussion, we decided on the following dates:
Friday, August 15th 2020 – Contest opens for submissions
Sunday, October 18th 2020 – Contest closes
January 2021 – Results are announced
The additional time should allow aquascapers the needed time to complete and refine their entries, especially as the impact of the virus subsides and our participants are able to obtain materials for the contest. We hope that aquascapers will take the added time to create new and novel entries that can be seen for the first time when the results are announced in 2021. Imagine starting the aquascaping year with the excitement of having a new aquascape revealed to the public! As the coordinator of the contest, I am excited to oversee these changes and hope our participants will see the benefits as well.
As we draw closer to the opening date, updated information including the rules, guidelines, entry forms and other important information about the contest will be provided on the website: www.aquatic-gardeners.org.
Good luck and happy aquascaping! I am excited for the future of the contest and the changes that are coming!
Aquascaping Contest Chairperson