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Re: Aquascaping Competition

Hello Everyone,

First of all, its gratifying to see so much enthusiasm for my idea of an
aquascaping competition. Now, if we can only translate that enthusiasm into
concrete action...

As I stated earlier, I am willing to organize this and co-ordinate the many
people who will be required to see it through. As I see it, the first order
of business to discuss and decide is the purpose and scope of the contest,
who may enter, how submissions are to be made and how the entrants are to be
judged (and who those judges will be). Topics such as categories, prizes,
etc. can wait until later. A number of folks have posted stating their
willingness to help - I'm going to need each and every one of you and your
input and ideas. In order to spare the APD from a probably endless series of
messages concerning this, I propose to set up a mini-mailing list consisting
of just those people who actually want to get involved in this and/or those
who wish to provide some input. Please send me a private e-mail message
(jpurch at interlog_com) if you wish to participate. As the APD and the AGA are
both international in scope, hopefully we can obtain input from people from
all parts of the world. This private mailing list will allow the APD to get
back to its usual business.

I don't expect this initial discussion stage to last very long - I intend to
keep things tightly focused on the issues at hand. Once the group reaches a
concencus, I propose to submit a summary of our initial discussions and our
findings to the management committee of the AGA in order to obtain their
input and approval - in my way of thinking, the active participation and
approval of the AGA as an organized body will be vital for this to work -
especially if we have any hopes of approaching manufacturers and commercial
vendors in search of prizes.

My thoughts, at least for now, concerning this run along the following

1. The competition should be open to aquatic gardeners from any country in
the world (i.e. I don't want to see this limited to just North America.
Depending upon numbers of submissions, we might be able to manage regional
sub-competitions). But I think we should limit it to freshwater planted
aquariums (possibly brackish) and rule out ponds and the reef community.

- should there be an "entry fee" of at least a minimal amount (like $5.00)
to offset any costs which will be attached to running this contest??? I
think that requiring that amount from at least non-AGA members might be a
way to go, but I need input.

2. All submissions shall become the property of the Aquatic Gardeners
Association and the AGA shall have the right to publish any or all (or none)
of the material submitted, provided that credit is given to the original
hobbyist. Material submitted will NOT be returned (too expensive to start
mailing things all over the place, especially if we waive entrance fees to
encourage submissions).

3. All submissions are to be in the format(s) specified by the organizing
committee (I have lots of thoughts on this - I would like the competition to
be open to both the electronic and traditional hobbyist, but I don't wish to
end up having to scan and colour correct hundreds of ratty 4"X6" snapshots
or deal with poor quality video camera images. With the wide availability of
Service Bureaus which can scan photographs, I don't see any reason not to
require entrants to do that part of the work for themselves. They will then
be in full control over the quality of the resultant scan and cannot point
blame on me or someone else if an image doesn't scan well.) The nature and
required format of the "submission package" can be published along with the
official announcement of the contest and should be strictly enforced.

4. As many of you have pointed out, this could become as much a photography
competition as it is an aquascaping competition. With the availability of
highly capable image editing software, we could also end up receiving "fake"
photos which exist only in the minds of the creator. I think that each
submission should be composed of multiple shots of each aquascape and should
be accompanied by full details of how the tank was set-up and maintained. A
"plan drawing" of the aquascape should also probably be required as well as
a brief "statement" by the hobbyist/artist. If this material ends up being
posted to the KRIB, or elsewhere, such additional information would be a
valuable learning resource for everyone.

5. At least in North America, several major cities have little groups of
plant nuts who get together on a semi-regular basis - Toronto, Vancouver and
San Francisco come to mind, there may be others. I would like to have input
from at least one member of each oganized group, as well as a wide swath of
the International membership of both the APD and the AGA involved in the
planning and execution of this.

- I think that the active participation of people from all over is vital to
get "the word out" to local aquarium societies and to encourage submissions
from as many people as possible. There may be more Amano's out there lurking
in the brooks and streams...

6. Judges will be selected from (???) and their decisions will be final. It
would be nice, especially for archival purposes (the KRIB again) if the
judges could provide comments on at least the finalists and winners which
could be attached.

7. I am looking for a concencus on how this contest should be organized and
run and am actively seeking everyone's input, however I am not hopeful that
I can please everyone. If you have a suggestion (or a caution for that
matter) please submit it and let's talk about it but don't get in a snit if
not all of your suggestions can be adopted. It won't be anything personal.

8. If we play our cards right, and organize this properly, I can envision
going to the major equipment companies looking for prize donations - an
initial list of companies on my "hit list" would have to include Eheim,
Dupla, Tropica, Seachem, LaMotte, Hach,  Hagen, Tetra, TFH (their book
publishing division). As well, the major mail order companies could be
canvassed for Gift Certificates. In return, we could list these companies as
"sponsors" of the contest, but it must be made perfectly clear that this is
an AGA event and no company may use entrants' photos in any commercial
advertising without prior permission (and payment) to the hobbyist involved.
This should maintain the AGA's arm's length relationship with commercial

- Awarding prizes, especially things like aquarium equipment, would cost
money for shipping and insurance - this is another arguement in favour of an
"entry fee" to cover those costs. I don't want this to end up being a net
drain on AGA coffers (not that I know anything at all about the AGA's
financial situation).

Again, these are just my initial thoughts - if you would like to discuss
this further, let's take it OFF of the APD and send me a message requesting
that you be placed on my mini mailing list.


James Purchase