UKAPS Aquatic Plant Layout Contest?

Would you like to see a UKAPS hosted Aquatic Plant Layout Contest?

  • Yes

    Votes: 47 88.7%
  • No

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 5 9.4%

  • Total voters
    53

Tim Harrison

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Dogging and used condoms aside (never, ever, ever thought I would start a comment on here like that 😂)...

Where is the divide between folks who will demonstrate the aptitude and attitude that determines the altitude that’s required to enter the IAPLC/EAPLC and those that can’t? Trick question; there are no prior requirements to enter.

But it does demand a broad set of skills which most people don’t currently have on their own for whatever reason. With a bias toward a community spirit, reckon you could upskill a lot of folk with a more friendly attitude and organised communication regarding the required skill sets. This argument sits aside from whether you value aquascaping as a ‘thing’ or not, by having a following ‘it’ is.

Personally, I like Josh Sim’s attitude towards his first and second scape. According to Josh, that improvement happened being part of a small self selecting group with the sole purpose of improving through a healthy amount of competition. Get that certain folks are against the idea of competition in something like aquascaping. However, those that see how rivalry generally up’s your game, your motivation and time investment... it’s a largely positive experience. It drives results that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. It also introduces a deadline for the procrastinators amongst us which is not to be overlooked. There’s the ‘best’ aquascape you can produce and there’s the one that is ready on time. Don’t let the best become the enemy of the good, there’s always another chance next time around. This is a process.

The entirety of the ‘categories’ and ‘rules’ argument can be put to bed simply by adopting EAPLC rules if that is possible without legal repercussions, if you discount biotope’s. It at least sorts the annual comp side of this discussion with minimum effort unless someone fancies a rather long and arduous period of argumentation, an argument that will ultimately only end up in a disorganised jumble of people’s biases and preferences. The existing rules of the EAPLC allow for creativity whilst coercing a general sense of order that doesn’t stifle creativity... if it ain’t broke there’s nothing to fix. The only side of the hobby that would require a category with its own unique judgements would be biotope, the judges would require detailed knowledge of what they represent for comparison.

@glasscanvasart ’s suggestion of Tank of The Month is brilliant in that it’s decided by community opinion, easy and cheap to implement, facilitates further discussion about why people find it justified and is inclusive to as broad amount of people as possible. It isn’t mutually exclusive to the idea of a well thought out UK based competition though.

Time for a reality check based on the current status of the poll:

35 yes
1 no
3 maybe

Playing devils advocate... You ain’t got a competition so far folks. It’s a house party at best. There’s still plenty of ground left in order to figure out what people want. Also waiting to hear back on how this whole endeavour would benefit UKAPS funding? Something we all share a vested interest in for the future and ultimately incentivises the forum to even consider hosting such an event. Incentive works both ways and feel this point needs underlining for it to be a realistic prospect.

On the plus side, the human catapult idea can now be disbanded 😂

We know that a lot of the top scoring scapes come form Southeast Asia. From what I can gather scaping is a very popular pastime there and many scapers are members of clubs which foster hands on sharing of skills and knowledge, including the unique set needed to do well in competitions.

I'm not sure we have enough interest here in the UK to form such clubs. But it could be something folks might want to think about after this Covid business is over with; most of us don't mind revealing our location or travelling. And if any such regional clubs do form I'm sure we can host them on the forum.

A competition scaping forum might be a possibility where more experienced scapers share knowledge and offer constructive criticism. But it's difficult when competitions don't allow images of scapes to be published beforehand. And most experienced competition scapers don't often frequent forums. But we might be able to invite guest scapers to comment.

However, we were trying to arrange a UKAPS meet up at AG over the summer with a BBQ and scaping competition etc, but again Covid put paid to that. We thought if it was successful we could arrange meets more frequently, maybe biannually or even quarterly. Something we can pick up again later, hopefully in the not too distant future.

I guess the EAPLC judging criteria could work with different categories for Nature Aquarium, and Diorama. But we'd need a more detailed breakdown of the (95%) points available for overall impression; it's a bit of a blunt instrument without.

Scape of the month is a great idea too. It's as good as a done deal. With regards to funding, the forum is kind of run on a shoestring and donations are always gladly received and new fund raising ideas are always welcome. But it tends to get overly complicated if we start to charge folk for entering competitions and the like, especially since there are more senior comps out there which are free to enter, for instance.

But members can make one off or regular monthly donations, it's easy to do, just click on the yellow "Donate" button, righthand side of the Forums page under Members online :)

Perhaps the best we can hope for is an ever increasing and ever more active membership and more sponsors who are also willing to donate prizes, like Dave at AG. UKAPS is definitely headed in the right direction. It's a testament to the friendly nature, enthusiasm, and amazing knowledge of our members that UKAPS is still thriving when most other similar forums have bitten the dust.
 

dw1305

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Wookii

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Minus the skid marks...
And the used condoms Tim.......,
Title: Dogging vista

I turn my back for half a day . . . 😂

Where is the divide between folks who will demonstrate the aptitude and attitude that determines the altitude that’s required to enter the IAPLC/EAPLC and those that can’t? Trick question; there are no prior requirements to enter.

But it does demand a broad set of skills which most people don’t currently have on their own for whatever reason. With a bias toward a community spirit, reckon you could upskill a lot of folk with a more friendly attitude and organised communication regarding the required skill sets. This argument sits aside from whether you value aquascaping as a ‘thing’ or not, by having a following ‘it’ is.

This for me is the essence of this forum - the supporting community spirit in creating an aquatic habitat whatever form that takes, and the ongoing aftercare required to look after it and develop it, and everything involved there in . Aquascaping is always a 'thing' for anyone setting up an aquarium. Everyone wants a nicely laid out tank that is pleasant to look at, even if they have no direct interest in competitions, or even want to apply the lofty label of 'aquascape' to their 'fish tank' - so the dissemination of many of the skills you refer to will always be useful and transferrable to anyone setting up a new aquarium no matter the form it might take.

Personally, I like Josh Sim’s attitude towards his first and second scape. According to Josh, that improvement happened being part of a small self selecting group with the sole purpose of improving through a healthy amount of competition. Get that certain folks are against the idea of competition in something like aquascaping. However, those that see how rivalry generally up’s your game, your motivation and time investment... it’s a largely positive experience. It drives results that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. It also introduces a deadline for the procrastinators amongst us which is not to be overlooked. There’s the ‘best’ aquascape you can produce and there’s the one that is ready on time. Don’t let the best become the enemy of the good, there’s always another chance next time around. This is a process.

The entirety of the ‘categories’ and ‘rules’ argument can be put to bed simply by adopting EAPLC rules if that is possible without legal repercussions, if you discount biotope’s. It at least sorts the annual comp side of this discussion with minimum effort unless someone fancies a rather long and arduous period of argumentation, an argument that will ultimately only end up in a disorganised jumble of people’s biases and preferences. The existing rules of the EAPLC allow for creativity whilst coercing a general sense of order that doesn’t stifle creativity... if it ain’t broke there’s nothing to fix.

Seems like a good place to start - I'm not familiar with the EAPLC scoring criteria, I'll have to look it up, but do they stick to it more rigidly than IAPLC do theirs?

The only side of the hobby that would require a category with its own unique judgements would be biotope, the judges would require detailed knowledge of what they represent for comparison.

I don't think we can afford to be so rigid in such a small community, otherwise I don't think you would end up with a single entry under a Biotope section. That's why I overemphasized the term 'Style' in my previous categories suggestion. For me, as I peruse the journals section of this forum, there are many tanks that follow the Nature Aquarium 'style' - and by that I mean the heavily planted, neatly curated layouts we usually associate with Amano, commonly high tech with CO2 injection etc. Whilst we refer to them as a Nature Aquarium, I think we all accept they are not trying to recreate a true aquatic habit but more a naturalistic underwater garden.

However there are other aquarium journals that go for a much more wild style, something you might more reasonably expect to see on a river or lake snorkelling session. There are some great scapes that, for me, fall within this section, particularly on the low tech side and blackwater set-ups etc. They might not be heavily planted enough to score highly in a 'Nature Aquarium' section, but are equally great tanks that might do well in a Biotope 'Style' section, without being rigid Biotopes in the true definition. Perhaps we need a different word to 'Biotope', perhaps 'Wild style'? Ultimately we don't want to be excluding such tanks because they have certain plants or fish from differing geographical locations, nor do we want to be excluding them because they don't line up exactly with what we usually see in a Nature Aquarium style layout.

Time for a reality check based on the current status of the poll:

35 yes
1 no
3 maybe

Playing devils advocate... You ain’t got a competition so far folks. It’s a house party at best.

. . . and they're just the people that think a competition is a good idea, not necessarily the number of people who might consider submitting an entry! I'd wager if you asked those 35 people if they planned to enter, the resulting total would be less than half.


Also waiting to hear back on how this whole endeavour would benefit UKAPS funding?

Sponsorship and advertising revenue seems the obvious option here. The likes of Oase and Twinstar seem more than happy to sponsor YouTubers, surely they'd be tripping over themselves to have their name associated with a national UK Aquascaping competition. If you can get coverage in the national fishkeeping press for it also, it would likely draw more users here as a side bonus; a larger user base leads to more sponsors and donations etc.

Obviously all that requires a huge effort and input from the volunteers who run this forum, so I don't want to presume that it would be an easy ask of those folks.

On the plus side, the human catapult idea can now be disbanded 😂

Dammit - that would have been @George Farmer's highest view YouTube addition to date, particularly if you could have landed him directly into an EA1200! 😂
 

Kezzab

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Good discussion. For my tuppence worth, I think we could keep our ambition in check a bit and think of this more as a club competition, not an 'open' or 'national' competition. Premier League comps already exist, this could be more National League 2 - a training ground so more people feel inclined to have a go at the big'uns.

The idea of getting a pro/experienced comp scaper to provide proper, detailed, feedback is great, and would be prize enough really. And it might be doable given there'd probably be no more than 50 entries to judge. Not much in it for them maybe, but you never know.

I saw some pics from a local asian comp recently, maybe 40 entries. Some were great, some were valiant but failed efforts and some were not good at all. But they'll all have learned from it. I think that's a good goal.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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The idea of getting a pro/experienced comp scaper to provide proper, detailed, feedback is great, and would be prize enough really. And it might be doable given there'd probably be no more than 50 entries to judge. Not much in it for them maybe, but you never know.

“Wooo-eeee... You’re gonna sing like a canary!!”

1605884347891.jpeg
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Cambridgeshire
. . . and they're just the people that think a competition is a good idea, not necessarily the number of people who might consider submitting an entry! I'd wager if you asked those 35 people if they planned to enter, the resulting total would be less than half.


I saw some pics from a local asian comp recently, maybe 40 entries. Some were great, some were valiant but failed efforts and some were not good at all. But they'll all have learned from it. I think that's a good goal.

There’s contradiction between the above posts. On one hand, small numbers are viewed as a problem. On the other, a small group of 40 people, of varying skill levels, all competing and learning together is viewed as valuable.

Optimistic that even with small numbers there can be large benefits in a cooperative learning model.

The idea of getting a pro/experienced comp scaper to provide proper, detailed, feedback is great


Not much in it for them maybe, but you never know.

Therein lies the rub. Why would they freely give away their knowledge and expertise for no return? I think the teacher/student model would have a very limited run, unless it’s as you proposed, they provide commentary on the end results.


Scape of the month is a great idea too. It's as good as a done deal.

Is this speculation Tim or has it been given the green light?
 

Wookii

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There’s contradiction between the above posts. On one hand, small numbers are viewed as a problem. On the other, a small group of 40 people, of varying skill levels, all competing and learning together is viewed as valuable.

Optimistic that even with small numbers there can be large benefits in a cooperative learning model.
I don’t really see a contradiction Geoff. It just depends where you want to draw the lines. 40 people is plenty for a competition - 17, not so much?
 

Kezzab

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I think im right on saying there were a few more people that entered the hardscape comp than said they would in the original poll.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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I think im right on saying there were a few more people that entered the hardscape comp than said they would in the original poll.

Yep. Final figures when polling shut:

1605902257621.jpeg


Everyone already knows the entry levels despite the polling.

40 people is plenty for a competition - 17, not so much?

Couldn’t say @Wookii . Depends on whether this is a one off, or is being pushed as an annual thing or something else. UKAPS has already run hardscape challenges in 2016 and 2020. Given the lack of mod activity on this thread it’s highly probable people wish I would just shut the hell up about it 😂

Started this poll for two reasons:

- Firstly, there’s an endless commentary across time about the faults with current competition rules; it’s confused, dioramas don’t belong, the scoring criteria doesn’t add up etc. It creates an opportunity to envisage a different, more robust competition with a clear purpose.

- Second, personally going into the comp realm for 2021 with back to back scapes I can see the downsides to it. The journal has had to come down to obey the competition rules, there’s no means of sharing all the learnings about design, maintenance, lighting, photography and final shot without a personal cost, it drives you away from sharing experiences solely for the benefit of the competition organiser.

Could be way off the mark here on many things. But one take away from talking to others who are going for entries this coming year there is one thing that sucks: being unable to share/having to be secretive.


A competition scaping forum might be a possibility where more experienced scapers share knowledge and offer constructive criticism. But it's difficult when competitions don't allow images of scapes to be published beforehand. And most experienced competition scapers don't often frequent forums.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason competition scapers don’t often frequent forums is by design. Change the design, change the outcome.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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That’s good news Tim, a solid result.

As for a reply to the retracted comment, it’s all to play for, nothing is written in stone. Just have to find a more benevolent means of appealing to our lesser demons.

Gonna bow out moving forward.
 

Witcher

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What about plant layout growth contest? There are so many competitions depending on how we can layout the plants etc. (which I personally think is bizarre), but I doubt if there is any competition relaying on plants led to perfection in terms of growth, shape and other things. And this is what could make this competition very unique.

I mean competition not depending on plants you can buy, quickly lay out, make a photo shoot and torn them down, but the competition really depending on the plants growth (and grower skills) in relatively long (or short) period of time. No space for cheating here (and cheating seems to be quite common nowadays).
 
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Geoffrey Rea

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Alright, encore...

Now a good time to tell him Tim hes been chosen to go around check no ones cheating🙂

No need. The whole community would be viewing the works as photoshop detectives... so good luck getting that one passed everyone given recent events 😂


Tank of the month tilts its hat to every conceivable area of the hobby and should be community voted for in theory. Gives everyone a chance to delve into other areas of the hobby they might not have otherwise come into contact with. Something different every month.


The idea of getting a pro/experienced comp scaper to provide proper, detailed, feedback is great, and would be prize enough really. And it might be doable given there'd probably be no more than 50 entries to judge.

Seems even more possible today than yesterday morning @Kezzab

Current voting count:

45 yes
1 no
4 maybe
 
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