Aquascaping Contest FAQ’s

Where is the contest held

At AMERICA’S FAMILY PET EXPO! April 24-26, 2020.  OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626   Go to, click on Hotel & Travel tab to see the Event Center map and directions.

What time do we set up the aquariums?

Friday, April 24th beginning at 10:00am until 6:00pm & Saturday, April 25th beginning at 10:00am until 2:00pm.  All aquascaping must be complete by 2:00pm on Saturday, April 25th.

Where should we park?

Enter the fairgrounds through Gate 8 off Arlington Dr. and enter the show through Arena Gate. The Aquascaping Contest will take place in Huntington Beach Bldg. – 12.  For a detailed map of the facility, go to and click on the Show Floor tab.

What should we bring along for set up?

For setup, you will need to bring your Blue Wristband, Move-in/out pass, Parking Pass and all hardscape materials, live plants, any fish/invertebrates, aquascaping tools, design materials, and an exciting aquascaping  design! It would be best to bring your fish bagged or in a bucket to carry the fish to and from the show.

What is provided by the Aquascaping Contest?
  • A 15 gallon Fluval Rimless Glass Aquarium (15”D x 15”W x 15”H)

  • Fluval Aquaclear 20, hang on back Filter

  • Fluval Nano LED with Bluetooth Lighting

  • Fluval Tool Set

  • Fluval Stratum Substrate (up to two 4.4lb bags) or Eco-Complete black (one 20lb bag) and/or light sand (amount(s) must be specified on the entry form; up to 10lbs)

If you use rocks, do we have to do anything special with them?
  •  Pre-rinse all rock and driftwood used in the contest.

Do you suggest a good way to plan for the contest?
  • Yes, taking the time to plan for the contest is a great way to prepare for the event. Build a diagram of the design, take a trip to your local fish store and discover ideas online. Remember to keep in mind the type of hardscape and plants that you are planning to use in the aquarium design.

What kind of fish should we choose?
  • Fish and invertebrates are not required for the Aquascaping Competition. However, all participants are able to use livestock in order to enhance the aquarium design. In order to gain the most points during the judging process, please be sure that any livestock is in line with the overall theme of the aquascape.


When will the contest judging take place?

  • Judging will take place on the show floor, Saturday, Apr. 25, 2020 2:00-4:00pm.

When will the winners be announced?

  • Winners and prize money will be announced and awarded on the show floor, Saturday, Apr. 25, 2020 4:00pm.

How do the judges choose the winners?

  • Aquascapes will be judged off of 3 criteria: Composition, Selection of Plants and Hardscapes, and Aquarium Viability. Please review the Aquascaping Contest Rules for Judging page for further detailed criteria.

Pick up:

What should we bring along for aquarium pick-up?

  • On Sunday, April 26th between 6:00pm – 8:00pm Make sure you bring your Move In/Out pass so you may remove your aquarium.  The tanks are cumbersome and heavy so a wagon is an IDEAL way to transport the aquarium and supplies to your vehicle.

We already have several fish habitats in our home; do you have a suggestion if we want to donate our aquarium?

  • There are several rewarding options for you. Some of our aquatic friends have donated their works of art to their school classroom, retirement homes and even area hospitals.  If you need assistance in finding a great home for your aquarium, don’t hesitate to contact us.

To sign up for the Aquascaping Contest click here.

More questions?

If you have further questions regarding the Aquascaping Contest at America’s Family Pet Expo, do not hesitate to contact our office:

Telephone: 626-447-2222  FAX: 626-447-8350

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