In Moo2, I've been trying out a new quick-pop creative strategy where you try to leverage having both cloning and soil with the aquatic pop modifier. Your food planets won't need many farmers so you can dedicate more citizens to research and production. It seems to work but it is a bit slow at first compared to a strong production race like Unification-Tolerant-Production+1.
The key seems to be finding enough wet planets to hold the population until you are able to expand.
Unification Aquatic Large Home world Creative -20 Ship Defense -10 Ground Combat -Repulsive
Tech Order: Research Labs, Reinforced Hull, Auto-Factories, Biospheres, Soil/Cloning, etc.
Try to maximize expansion and use of your first colony ship. Scout the surrounding planets first to find the largest wet planet to colonize. The ideal first colony is a huge ocean planet with abundant minerals with a few medium sized rich planets in the same system.
Your population will grow extremely fast once you have clones so you need to start building colony ships soon after having auto-factories built. You also will need a lot of freighters to move your citizens to new colonies.
You need to pre-build well in advance for your research labs and auto-factories because you won't have any production bonuses until you build auto-factories.
Don't bother with building colony bases for tiny, toxic, and radiated planets. This waste too much time.
In the early game, build Cloning Facilities only on your housing planets and do Soil Enrichment only on your food planets. It would waste too much time to build soil where you aren't farming and clones where you aren't doing housing.
Remember that housing planets only need one citizen building housing. With this method your housing planets should produce a new citizen about every 3-4 turns. Move them to another colony the turn they appear to maximize growth.
Once you have established 2-3 new colonies, it’s time to start thinking about your defenses and eventually going to war.