If it weren’t for the tiny fish swimming around, one would think these gorgeous designs are huge real-life underwater landscapes. The aquascapes mimic small pine forests, zen gardens, canyons and desert environments. Looking at the sloping bare terrain of one tank scattered with cactus plants, you can almost feel the scorching desert sun. Another aquarium looks like an enchanted forest from Grimms’ fairy tales, with intertwining roots and looming branches.
Hundreds of aquascaping experts from around the world submit their designs to the annual International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC), which awards the most inventive landscaping projects. Top slots are usually dominated by Asian and Eastern European countries. Check out our gallery for a selection of these fantastic works of art, and head over to the competition’s official page for more.