Rules for participation in the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2020

Who can participate in the contest?

Any interested person can become a participant of the contest, regardless of citizenship, nationality and place of residence. The contest rules are the same for everyone. Each participant has the opportunity to submit to the contest up to five biotope aquaria. Design elements in different aquaria by the same participant should not be the same. Only freshwater aquaria with salinity up to 25 ppt are accepted.

Short contest regulations

  • August 1st to 31st. We accept entries and necessary information about aquaria from participants.
  • September 1st to 10th. We process data and publish information on our website. It is the last opportunity to correct mistakes the organizers can point out.
  • September 11th to 20th. The organizers will evaluate the entries according to the criteria 4, 5, 6.
  • September 21st to 31st. The members of the jury will evaluate the entries according to the criteria 1, 2, 3.
  • October 1st to 31st. We process points and comments by the members of the jury.
  • November 1st. The results of the contest will be published officially on our website.
  • What information should be included in the application?

    Dear participants! Every year we try to optimize the rules of the contest, to make it even more interesting for the audience. At the same time, we try to make sure that you understand how you can get the maximum points. Please read the rules for completing the application, as well as the evaluation criteria for biotope aquaria.
    Please note! The more complete and accurate information you provide, the more points you will receive. Data not confirmed by references to reliable information sources will not be taken into account!

    Biotope title. No more than 10 words

    A correctly formed title should include: the visual characteristics of the biotope (1), the type and, if available, the name of the reservoir / watercourse (2), the toponym indicating the exact location of the biotope (3), the name of the country, where the biotope is located (4). Example: Wetland (1) creek (2) near the mouth of the Yangtze River (3) in Hunan Province, China (4).

    Biotope description. Not less than 100 words

    A correct biotope description should include:
  • Visual characteristics of the underwater landscape: depth, relief, appearance of soil, stones, driftwood. If you have the exact coordinates of the biotope, specify them please.
  • Physical and chemical parameters of the environment: light, color, transparency, temperature, hardness, acidity of water.
  • List of aquatic organisms living in the specified biotope (including those used in your aquarium): reptiles, amphibians, fish, plants, crustaceans.
  • Description of the environment surrounding the biotope and factors that significantly affect the ecosystem. For example, branches of trees hanging over the water, etc.
  • Ecological aspects. They are taken into account when choosing the winner in the ECO Trophy category. If the biotope you have recreated is in danger, be sure to tell about it in your application form.
  • Information sources

    All the information specified in the description of the biotope should be confirmed by references to reliable sources of information. For example, photos, videos, articles, blogs, entries in social networks. If you have used books, magazines, be sure to include the title of the publication, the author, and the chapter in which the information was found. If you made a personal research, it should be published on any website, forum, blog or social media posts.

    Information about your aquarium

    To evaluate the correspondence to the biotope and the viability of the system, we need a little information about your aquarium.
  • The volume and dimensions of your aquarium in liters and centimeters.
  • A complete list of inhabitants of your aquarium in Latin: fish, plants and large invertebrates.
  • Technical equipment of your aquarium: filtration, flow, lighting.
  • Decorations and grounds used: type, particle size, origin.
  • Water parameters: temperature, color, GH, KH, pH.
  • Interesting facts about your aquarium. Surely your aquarium has some special features. Tell about the most interesting ones, and also explain the controversial nuances that may affect your points.
  • Aquarium photos

    High-quality photos are one of the most important components of successful participation in the contest. You are allowed to upload to your contest form up to six photos in a resolution of at least 2000 pixels by the longest side in JPEG graphical format. Each file should not exceed 4 megabytes. Blurred, fuzzy photos and photos with easily distinguishable defects are not allowed. We accept only uncropped photos with visible edges of the front glass. We will crop original photos (1) by the front glass of the aquarium (2) if there are plants above the water in it. ATTENTION! The members of the jury will evaluate only underwater part of your aquarium (3). The part above water can only affect the overall impression. Additional drawing and cloning parts of the photos are not allowed! If the organizing committee members or the members of the jury suspect that editing was used, the participant will be disqualified immediately. Colour and white balance correction are allowed only to compensate shortcomings of your photo. IMPORTANT! The main photo and video should not be published anywhere before the official publication on and on the official YouTube channel. Due to the transfering video and photo materials to the organizers, participant also transfering the rights to its futher use. When evaluating the quality of your photo, the following aspects are taken into account:
  • The photo should be clear and not too light.
  • The aquarium glasses should be clean. There should be no reflections on them.
  • The equipment should be hidden or removed when taking photo.
  • All listed aquatic animals should be visible in your photos. And "aliens" should not be visible.
  • The fishes should be located nicely and naturally. For example, they should form a beautiful school.
  • Crop

    Aquarium video

    A participant should take video of his aquarium. Please add this opening to your video: DOWNLOAD HERE: №1 - 16:9 - , №2 - 16:9 - , №3 - 4:3 - . This will greatly simplify our work on processing your entry. If you can’t edit videos, don’t worry, we’ll do it for you. Voice comments and other features that can reveal authorship are not allowed. Your video will be posted on the contest channel on YouTube. CONTEST CHANNEL Posting of your video in other websites and social networks before the announcement of the results of the contest is not allowed!

    Authorship confirmation

    We accept only photos of aquaria existing at the time of submitting application. To confirm your authorship please upload to your contest form a photo of your aquarium with a sheet of paper with "Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019" written on it. This photo is only for the organizers of the contest and will not be published. We also ask participants to send photos of aquaria not submitted to other competitions.

    How will the entries be evaluated?

    All entries will be judged by the organizers, the members of the jury using special criteria. Also prizes will be awarded to several additional categories, the winners of which will be determined by the members of the jury and the participants themselves from the 10 variants selected by the organizers.

    Evaluation criteria for submitted applications

  • Criterion 1. System viability.
  • Criterion 2. Natural beauty of the aquarium.
  • Criterion 3. Conformity to the nature biotope.
  • Criterion 4. Quality and reliability of information about the biotope.
  • Criterion 5. Quality of information about the aquarium.
  • Criterion 6. Quality of photos.
  • Additional categories of the contest

  • TEAM TROPHY - For the best aquarium in the opinion of the participants.
  • PHOTO TROPHY - For the best photo.
  • SHOT TROPHY - For the best additional photo.
  • COVER TROPHY - For the photo selected for the magazine cover.
  • VIDEO TROPHY - For the best video.
  • INFO TROPHY - For the best text.
  • ECO TROPHY - For the best aquarium with a destroyed or endangered biotope.
  • WILD TROPHY - For the best aquarium with rare species.
  • COOL TROPHY - For the best aquarium with cold-water species.
  • BIOTOPE TROPHY - For the best correspondence to the biotope.
  • DESIGN TROPHY - For the best natural design.
  • LIFE TROPHY - For the most viable aquarium.
  • NORTH AMERICA TROPHY - For the best NA biotope.
  • SOUTH AMERICA TROPHY - For the best SA biotope.
  • AFRICA TROPHY - For the best African biotope.
  • EUROPE TROPHY - For the best Europe biotope.
  • ASIA TROPHY - For the best Asian biotope.
  • AUSTRALIA & OCEANIA TROPHY - For the best A&O biotope.
  • If you have any questions about the rules of our contest, we will gladly answer them. Send them to the e-mail address: