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Aquascaping Competition

Aquarium plants, stones, and substrate take the spotlight 

Competing with aquascapes was a new event in 2022, and it was a hit!


Here are details about the 2023 Aquascaping competition:

  • 12 Aquariums will be aquascaped

  • Tanks will be between 15-20 gallons

  • Sand, driftwood, rocks, and plants are provided

  • Live stock may be put in the aquarium by the competitor.  Competitor may remove live stock at end of competition or donate to the Keystone Clash.

  • Aquascaping will be done Friday evening, and Judging will be done Saturday afternoon.

  • Prizes:

    • Prizes details TBA

  • After the competition has been judged, competitors can keep their aquascaped tanks.



Cost will be $75 per entry. There are only 12 spots, so act fast!



Sponsorships help us defray the costs of expenses for the competition.  12 Sponsorships total are available, so get one before they're gone. 



The 2023 Keystone Clash Aquascaping Competition is sponsored by Oase, That Fish Place,Monster Pets, Tropica, Hygger, and Cuboid Nature Aquarium. We will provide to each contestant one complete setup to include a rimless aquarium, Hygger light, and Oase BioStyle 20 HOB filter. Competitors are to use the equipment provided, with no substitutions. In addition, hardscape materials (stone and wood), substrate, and plants will be provided for the group. While we will not be providing tools for each contestant, a limited number of items will be available to share. We recommend bringing any tools you feel as though you may need, if possible. Scissors, tweezers/pincettes, glue, thread for tying plants, a brush to clean substrate from hardscape, a spray bottle for water, and hand towels are all handy items to have. 

The hardscape will be laid out in an organized fashion at the start of the contest, 2pm on Friday. It will be a free-for-all style gathering, where all competitors are released at the same time to go through and pick what they would like to use. Please be respectful of your fellow competitors and try to avoid hogging materials just to have them. Plants will be displayed at the same time, and you can choose to take them with you to your station or we will have containers for each participant to place their plants in for contest administrators to care for until you are ready. We also can help with prepping plants should the need arise. If you take your plants to your station it is your responsibility to ensure they are kept properly until you are ready to use them. 

You may use whatever methods of build you prefer for your hardscape. We will provide limited amounts of glue, if this is your preferred method consider bringing your own to ensure you have enough. 

REMEMBER: These completed layouts will be transported to their new homes. Please be mindful of this when setting your layout and ensure it is as secure as possible. 


Contest begins at 2pm on Friday. Contestants will have six (6) hours to complete their layout, with “tweezers down” at 8pm Friday evening. Additionally, we will allow for one hour to make final adjustments on Saturday morning, between 9–10am, this time is intended to be used for tweaks such as repositioning plants or hardscape that may have shifted during filling or other minor adjustments. Winners will be announced during the awards ceremony (Saturday 6:15-8pm). Completed setups belong to the competitors at the end of the event. If the competitor wishes to place the setup in the auction it must be a donation. Please note, any materials or equipment left in the contest area after 9am on Sunday will become property of Keystone Clash. 

Tear down of contest aquariums may begin after the awards ceremony Saturday night, to maximize viewing for attendees. Should you need to remove livestock early, please inform the contest chair or another volunteer beforehand. 


In order to avoid bottlenecks for fill water, contest administrators will fill each tank at the conclusion of the allotted time on Friday. Should you finish sooner and wish to fill your own tank you may, but after time is up you will not be allowed to touch your aquarium again until Saturday morning. 


Livestock is NOT mandatory, but encouraged. No livestock will be provided for any contestant by the contest. While you will not be penalized for not having livestock, points will be given for appropriate use of animals in the layouts. (See judging criteria for more information about point structure). To note, however, points will be deducted for unhealthy or inappropriate inhabitants.


Judging will be performed by a pre-selected panel. It will occur between 11am–1pm on Saturday, during which time contestants will not be allowed in the contest area. 

The categories for consideration are as follows: 

1. Overall Impact 50 points 

● General impression of layout. Originality, creativity, natural feel. 

● If used, does livestock appear healthy and enhance the overall feel of the layout? 

2. Composition 25 points 

● How well were materials used? 

● Is the space used wisely for maximum impact? 

● Is there a good use of scale and positive/negative space? 

● Technical skills of creator. 

● Was color used well to enhance layout? 

3. Selection of Materials – Hardscape, Plants and Livestock 25 points 

● Is hardscape a good representation of aquatic habitat and natural foundation? 

● Do the plants, hardscape, and livestock work harmoniously together? 

● Could this layout realistically be maintained and managed long-term (plant choice/placement)? ● If used, is livestock appropriate for this size aquarium and specific layout?


Wio Tanks donated by Cuboid

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Copy of cuboid-aquarium-logo.jpg


Lights provided by Hygger

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Plants donated by Animal Idols

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Filters provided by Oase

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