Originally Posted by PeterE
I think a NPT and a biotope category would be great.
Its too easy to 'cheat' on an NPT. You can plug in some CO2 and Ferts and get your plants to explode without anyone knowing. You could have ADA or branded aquatic soil and noone knows what's under there...... In a column ferted tank, you could replant any plant you dont like how it grew out... remove the bottom (ugly looking) stems and just replant the beautiful growing tips. You can't do much of this in a true NPT without getting soil and algae all over.
Besides, NPT is not an Aquascape technique/category. Its more of a keeping method. And although it is far more challenging to make an NPT look good (no CO2, very difficult to uproot, replant, re-arrange, harder to manage sunlight etc); I believe with great planning and understanding, a good aquascaper can still make a stunning NPT that competes fair and square with other tanks.
Its harder to plan and takes more patience... but easier to keep long term (and cheaper!). I dont think this can be 'graded' in an aquascape contest based on a couple of pictures.
Just my humble opinion......