We have a bowl show each month
at our regular meeting. This is a chance to share with other members the
fish we're keeping, and to get some experience showing fish. All members
get points for entering fish, and more points for placing or winning the
How to Enter
Bring the fish in a flat-sided drum bowl or a very small rectangular aquarium. It is very hard to judge a fish in a round-sided container because the glass is very distorting. The easiest way to do it is to bring them in the drum bowl with some plastic wrap over the top and a rubber band to keep it in place. This way you don't have to transfer the fish into or out of the bowl at the meeting. Be sure to give the fish plenty of room and keep the water level less than 2/3 full to allow for plenty of oxygen exchange. Ideally, the judge would be present before you arrive and sign in your fish when you get there, but you can make things easier by having ready a slip of paper with your name and the species of the fish you are entering.
How Fish Are Judged
The fish are judged on standard criteria --basically, size, finnage, color, deportment.
Size is the best single indicator of the conditions in which the fish has grown--bigger size suggests more optimum food, filtration, and water conditions.
Intact fins with full extensions are desireable and often quite difficult to retain if the fish are nippy or combative. Keeping your show fish separate can really help. A minor rip in the fin of a normally nippy and aggressive tetra will be penalized less than bent, rays in an angelfish--the one is almost impossible to avoid in normal conditions, but the other may suggest a fish kept in a too-small tank or a poorly healed injury to a young fish.
Healthy, well-fed fish will show better color, and those who have some exposure to sunlight or better yet, a natural diet outdoors can really make them bloom. A female who is unusually bright for her species can beat a brighter male who is nevertheless drab for his kind.
Deportment is the most variable thing, because it will vary by the natural temperment of a particular species, as well as by the individual fish's ability to cope with being isolated in a small bowl. The judge is looking for a fish that is not hanging out in a corner with clamped fins. A fish of a more outgoing or pugnacious species should be aggressive; a fancy guppy should show off those long, flowing fins; a loach may sit quietly on the bottom of the bowl but will not be penalized if it is alert and appropriate. Permanent defects like bent spines will count more against your fish than temporary things like one or two missing scales or washed out color. There is an official judging sheet for MASI which will be scanned and linked here when a copy can be found.
If you have questions about the judging, just ask! And if you have a particularly unusual fish, please feel free to educate the judge. If your dwarf cichlid is so large that it might be mistaken for a small individual of a closely related but larger species, or if you're entering a female who is so colorful that she might be mistaken for a male of the species, let the judge know. There are so many fish, and so little time, that we can't be experts on all of them.
Monthly Bowl Show Classes
You must show in at least 7 monthly Bowl Shows to compete for the new Annual Bowl Show Champion Award. The winner will be determined by the entrant with the most points overall for the year.
Points earned for each entry: 5 points for first place, 3 points for second place, 2 points for 3rd place, one point each for all other entries up to 5 non-placing entries per month.
All entries are sight-judged.
Each month there will be one special class and one open class. Below are the special classes for each month. The Bowl Show entry forms are HERE.
Cyprinids: Barbs, Danios, Rasboras, Minnows, Goldfish
Sharks, Loaches, Eels, and Oddballs
Characins: Tetras, Pencilfish, Piranhas, Pacu, Silver Dollars, etc.
Anabantoids: Bettas, Gouramis, Ctenopomas, etc.
Aquatic Critters: Aquatic Invertebrates, totally aquatic amphibians (Pipid frogs/toads, Caecilians)
No show in December at the Holiday Party.