An interview with Antoni Dimitrov…

Describe the design of your aquascape from the first round? What inspired it?

The design of the “Through the Rock” was inspired by the picturesque landscapes of Snowdonia. I love mountains and I am out hiking, as often as possible. I haven’t recreated a specific place, I just had a picture in my head – a mixture of different details from all the lovely places I have visited in the mountain and I have tried to bring it to life through that scape.

For the design I have used mini landscape rock(aka seiryu) as it has very defined and interesting textures, with lots of features, cracks etc. I have used probably 30 kg of rock to build the gorge. To recreate the roots growing in the cracks and on the rock surface, I have used red moor  branches, which I have glued to the rock.

The plant choice was determined by the object of creating depth of field and perspective which was difficult in such a small tank 60x30x30 cm. So I have chosen plants with small leaves and mosses – The hemianthus “cuba”, fissidens fontanus and Thailand moss, were the main plants used and were complimented with some Anibias, Rotala Rotundifolia, Eleocharis acicularis “Mini”, Rotala “Goyas”, Gratiola Viscidula and some Cladophora Aegagropila.

Tell us about your ideas behind the ‘live scape off’ scape? Did you have a title/theme for it?

The scape, that I have done during the live scape of at the Aqua 2015, was a bit of an improvisation. Initially I had a different idea and planned a nature aquarium style scape, with lost of wood and stones. However when I came to the show and saw all the materials, hand picked by Emma, Purchasing Manager at J&K Aquatics (who was really helpful and patient with me, selecting the materials and sending pictures to me) Thanks Emma! I have got inspired to do yet another rock dominated scape – a mountain range, but this time viewed from the distance.  The rock that I have used, was a new stock and it’s called Grey Mountain. Fantastic rock, with lots of features, beautiful colour and easy to scape with.

How was your experience of taking part in the first UKASC?  

Taking part in the UKASC was an amazing experience. I was quite lucky to have the scape ready in time and managed to do a photo shoot and submit the picture before the deadline of the first stage of the competition. The organisation was very good and I have met wonderful people during the live aquascaping contest. The challenge and the experience gained during the live scape off is invaluable! You have to create a design, to plant the tank, to fill it up with water and to manage to get it crystal clear in less than 6-7 h. That pushes you out of your comfort zone, decisions need to be made quickly, as contrary to scaping at home, where you can tweak and change things later on, at the scape off, you don’t have this luxury – everything needs to be spot on on the day. Everything needs to be well planned and executed well in a very short time. It is tiring and demanding, but the satisfaction of creating a nice scape is great! And least but not last, it is great fun, especially when working among lovely people!

What were your highlights?

Highlights…The award winning ceremony. I didn’t expect that and was  really happy, when the results were announced!  It was great winning both stages!

How does it feel to be the first ever UK Aquascaping Champion?

I feel really lucky and extremely happy! It is a great honour for me. I did hope to make it to the top 10, but I have never hoped that I will manage to win the title! So it is wonderful. Great achievement, that now motivates me to start working on new aquascapes and to try to learn and improve my skills further.

Do you plan to enter next year’s championship?

Definitely! And I really hope that next year, more people will get involved and it will be even bigger and stronger competition!