The Aquatic Gardeners Association is pleased to announce the results for the 2020 International Aquascaping Contest, the 20th anniversary of this distinguished contest. Our contest started in 2000 as the first aquascaping contest of its kind with a mere 70 entries and has grown today to over 700 aquascapes entered in 11 different categories. The AGA is incredibly proud of what we have accomplished throughout the years and is ready to continue to represent the best aquascapers in future contests.

After an incredibly difficult year dealing with the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, what could be better than revealing some of the most stunning aquascapes of 2020 created by some of the best aquascapers in the world? But the contest also saw many first time aquascapers participating, something which is very exciting to us. We hope to continue to improve and expand the accessibility of the contest to benefit hobbyists at every level of expertise.

As in years' past, the success of the contest depends on the hard work of our esteemed panel of judges and this year was no exception. Participating as a judge for our contest takes time away from their very busy schedules and our contest would not be the success it is today without their efforts. For this year’s Aquatic Garden categories, we have returning as expert judges, Andre Longarco (Brazil), Esther Mous (Netherlands), Juan Puchades Rufino (Spain), Kris Weinhold (USA), and first-time judge Masashi Ono (Japan). We were again very fortunate to have Marco Aukes (Netherlands) and Phil Edwards judge our Dutch category, joined this year by Vin Kutty (USA). Vin Kutty and Phil Edwards also judged the Biotope category with Ted Judy (USA). In the Paludarium category, we had the expertise of Cory Nudelman (USA) and Tanner Serpa (USA), joined by the AGA’s Karen Randall (USA), who was especially busy lending her hand judging a wide variety of categories. The judging of the Wabi-Kusa category was handled by Jo Ann Fujii (USA) in collaboration with Karen, Esther and myself (USA). The contest committee is incredibly thankful to our judges for taking time in their busy schedules to participate in our contest!

The contest would not be the success it is without the generosity of sponsors. The outstanding companies supporting this year's contest are Seachem, Oase Living Water, Ultum Nature Systems, INTAQO, Amazonas Magazine, and the Chicago Aquatic Plant Society. Thank you!

Finally, I would also like to thank Jen Williams of the AGA for providing our beautiful contest graphics. And especially this year, I would like to give a huge thank you to Erik Olson, the AGA’s tech guru, who not only handled the aquascapes as they were received by the contest and the frequent and challenging technical questions as they came up, but also spent an enormous amount of time redoing the various websites, which all the judges agree, works beautifully with much less effort than in years past. Thank you Erik, Jen, our judges, sponsors, and the AGA Contest Committee for your hard work!

So, without further ado, enjoy this year's aquascapes!

Bailin Shaw, AGA Contest Chair

See an error?

Contact us by February 17, after which the placings are finalized.


I could enjoy and am surprised by every wonderful work.
So many works show me their beauty and good composition of hardscape. But I can not find so many well balanced aquarium between fishes and plants.
I hope to find more brilliant fishes in well balanced beautiful plants, wood and rocks as like in their habitat.
— Masashi Ono
Unfortunately, in the history of contests, we always live with some attempts at cheating and ways to take advantage illegally.

Sometimes, in their eagerness to seek perfection, people forget that Nature is not perfect, and that’s exactly what makes it so fascinating...They forgot that perfection is a virtue created by man, and that nothing resembles Nature.
"The Wabi Sabi" concept justifies and explains this with mastery.

I want to believe that after these disqualifications, this unprecedented search for victory, glory or perfection will be banned forever from aquascaping contests, because at this way, we lose the main course, the goal and the real reason for all this.
We do not compete with against other, but against ourselves. Year after year we want to prove to ourselves that we can be better and that the evolution is inevitable.

The result is just the result, what really matters is what was learned during the process.

Those who do not have Nature in their own hearts cannot recreate Nature and walk through it.
Aquascapers, please, believe more in your talent, in your soul, and forget the easy way.
More simplicity, more connection with Nature.
Less superb and vanity.
In conclusion, this year's edition was marked by the advent of the COVID-19, which devastated the planet and kept everyone at home, isolated. However I can say that aquascaping and aquarism were decisive so that we could go through this difficult period in harmony and well being.
Each aquascaper who dedicated their time and care during the pandemic to caring for and developing their layout was able to feel and enjoy the benefits of Nature.
Thank you very much to the entire Aquascaping community worldwide for believing and participating in this renowned contest. It is indisputable proof that together we are stronger.
See you in the next edition.
— Andre Longarco
Many friends still ask me why I prefer to be a judge in AGA and lose the opportunity to participate as a contestant. Wow ... what a paradox, right? There is no instant of doubt, the honor of being part of the AGA family as a judge, and the possibility of evaluating the great masterpieces presented this year, is something that cannot be expressed only in words, it is an honor and a responsibility that it's a gift from heaven.

In this harsh year of pandemic, I observe that the level of the aquariums has increased, perhaps a longer stay at home has favored this situation. I am excited to see that AGA is a contest that each year brings together the best aquariums of each year.

Now I must talk about a really bad month in my life, during that period each of the aquarium disqualifications appeared, many of them from close people, who invaded my heart with restlessness and hopelessness. The illegal editing of photography, the addition of elements in an artificial way, must be pursued and part of our hobby. The competitions should be an engine to promote the creation of great works, the connection of aquascapers with Nature and an escape valve to everyday life. Let's be competitive, with honor. Let's be creative with passion and respect for Nature and above all for the rules. Let's enjoy this hobby being honest with ourselves, and let's not fall into vanity and ego. It is said by someone who for many years made a mistake in the way of approaching the fans, someone who did not enjoy as he should and made a mistake on the way.

I wish all the participants the best of luck, we hope that the comments made will serve to enhance your skills.
An honor that 2020 has given me, judging the 20th anniversary of AGA.
— Juan Puchades

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