Have you ever walked through a fish show and said, "I have fish
at home that could have taken this class!"? Well maybe so but a
lot of entrants put a lot of work into their entries so they just didn't
happen to look that good. If you are interested in showing prize fish,
here are a few helpful hints.
The fish you want to show must first conditioned with the correct foods
to bring out the best color and finnage. Lots of meaty live foods and
flakes food rich in carotene should do nicely. One trick used by at
least one who has won many trophies is to shine a flashlight into the
tank as the fish are being fed daily. This way the fish will associated
the light with feeding time. Why? So when the judges shine their lights
into the show tank your fish will dart to the front of the tank expecting
to be fed and display their very best to the judges. I know this sounds
silly but if you carry a clipboard along just like the judges do, that
won't hurt either. This way your fish won't hide in the corner of the
tank while the judging is in progress.
Read the show rules carefully! Use a small sponge filter to keep the
water clean if one is allowed. Those sold for goldfish bowls are just
the right size. If a background is allowed, use one. Usually a blue,
green or black one will contrast with your fish. Try lots of different
colors at home until you find one that shows you fish to its best advantage.
Some shows even allow you to put in your fish's favorite clay flowerpot
to make him or her comfortable. Some shows supply the tanks but if you
must take your own, don't use one that is too large. Use the smallest
size possible to make your fish look large but not cramped
Your show supply box should contain the following: fish net, siphon
hose, a few feet of airline tubing, plastic wrap to cover the tank,
tape to hold down the covering, cloth or paper towels, pail, sharp knife
or a pair of scissors, air stones, sponge filters and colored tank backing
(if allowed), extra fish bags & rubber bands. You probably won't
have to buy all this as mostly likely it is already part of your fish
room but you will need it all at the show site.
At least 36 hours before the show day, stop feeding the fish you are
planning to take with you. This will give them enough time to clear
their bodies of waste material so your show tank stays clean. When bagging
my fish I always siphon the water from the tank through a brine shrimp
net to keep any floating debris from getting into their transport bag.
When trying to capture the fish it is best to coax them into a plastic
bag rather than risking fin damage using a net. Next, filter some more
water into another bag or pail and upon arrival at the show location,
transfer your fish from the now cloudy water they are in due to more
waste debris to the clean extra water. It's a good idea to have the
air stone or filter running before even thinking of placing the fish
in the tank and run you hand or net along the inside walls of the tank
to remove any tiny bubbles that have accumulated.
After releasing your fish, cover the tank so your prize doesn't get
out and wipe the front of the tank clean of all water and spots. Then
just sit back and wait for your name to be announced as the winner in
your class! □