Finally, a sport that tests your biology, design and photography skills, along with your patience. Aquascaping—competitive aquarium design—is a completely real thing and the finished products are amazing. Hundreds of competitors flock to The International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest year after year to show off their water gardening skills.
The landscapes come off more dream-like than anything else—only when you notice tiny fish and other aquarium dwellers in the nooks and crannies of the photos that you're convinced it's real. I bet many of you, like me, shudder at the thought of how long it takes to clean the tank; an award-winning aquascape can take months to years to complete.
Based on the photos, it almost seems like you could fall upon scenes like these on a hike—aquarium floors seamlessly take on the appearance of forests and path-ridden zen gardens. It's safe to say that those fish have much nicer living quarters than I do (and they probably cost more, too).
Read on for more photos of notable contest entries. You can also check out more noteworthy entries here.
Erika is the editorial assistant at Core77. When she isn't covering design, you can find her writing about music, food, and healthy living habits. But mostly music. She also has a strong affinity for hedgehogs, bowling, and bands with goofy names.