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The Goldfish Council Show Program

The Goldfish Council Show Program

Author: Gary Hater

Contributors: Joshua McWilliams and Mark Rausa

Editors: Amy Sims-Shonka

The Goldfish Council TM is a nonprofit 501c3 charity that is designed to educate and promote the goldfish hobby. Part of our education program is having events and judging shows and workshops. In 2016, we instituted new goldfish standards and provided the hobby with certified judges. After working on several workshops and operating numerous shows we are launching our show program.

Philosophically, TGC wants all competitions to be fair and enjoyable for the exhibitors and the visitors. TGC shows will be a learning opportunity for all involved. To promote these philosophies, we have developed several show and workshop protocols;

  1. TGC will supply one or two certified judges. In the event of more than 100 entries, a third and fourth judge may be added.

  2. Open reasoning judging is preferred. The judges will openly discuss the attributes of many fishes out loud so the public can listen to the judging process. This discussion is not interactive, but designed to be educational.

  3. When/if the judge knows the fish entered, either because they assisted someone with a purchase or the bred the fish entered etc., the judge may recuse themselves from judging those entries. In those cases, another judge will take over judging those entries.

  4. Shows allow for hobbyist fish, recently purchased from a vendor fish and breeder’s fish. All three types of these fish provide unique opportunities for the audience and the exhibitors.

  5. TGC currently provides for four types of container formats; a bowl show, a small tank format (7-10 gal.), medium tank format (20 gal. high or long) for one to three fishes and a combination tank and bowl format.

  6. For all TGC shows we offer a minimum of three major awards;

  7. Best in Show (Grand Champion)

  8. The Goldfish Council Award (best in show fish that was bred in North America and is raised by the breeder or hobbyist)

  9. Reserve Grand Champion (fish <3” body length).

  10. Awards typically include a “rosette” and a food donation for the top three. It is possible to have people donate trophies to supplement the awards or replace the rosettes or food prizes.

  11. Other awards may include; best Veiltail, best single tail, best eyed fish, best in sub show Grand Champion (most often given to a Ranchu Bowl show), audience pick, rare goldfish award, and other numerous best in class/honorable mentions.

  12. The judges have large latitude to handle fish, move from one class to another (<3” or >3”), disqualify sick fish or late entries. Often the disqualifications are conducted without the audience being aware.

  13. TGC has developed standards and a judging form based on points and fish condition.

The above bullets are detailed below;

Certified Judges:

TGC has trained and appointed several judges as of July 1, 2018. The non active judges largely took the training in order to increase their knowledge of the hobby and to allow for wiser purchases . Certified judges are committed to use the TGC standards and scorecards. They are also committed to a code of conduct which makes great efforts to prevent bias and ensure integrity of the show.

Open Judging:

Open Reasoning Judging is a procedure that allows the judges to discuss the positive attributes of each fish out loud so the audience can listen and learn. In Open Reasoning Judging, it will be customary for a judge to recuse themselves if they know the fish, the breeder, or perhaps helped the individual select the fish for purchase.

Fish come from three main areas:

A fish show should provide a glimpse to the event participants of what fish are the best in the hobby. To provide the best fish, TGC encourages fish from several segments of the hobby. These include;

  1. Hobbyist raised fish. Purchased from any source and raised by hobbyist.

  2. Vender fish brought for the event

  3. Amateur bred fish that are being raised by the breeder or by another hobbyist.

*Note it is unethical to borrow/rent a fish for entry.

We (TGC) provides the Best in Show, The Goldfish Council and Reserve Grand Champion awards. The Best in Show award often goes to an imported recently purchased fish, these are often giant and extreme quality fish that everyone loves to see. Historically the breeders felt short changed or cheated by allowing these fish to often win, because the hobbyist put little effort into this specimen. The recently purchased fish provides the event participants the opportunity to see the best show fish in the hobby regardless of source, and it promotes fish keeping. It also encourages the vendors at the show to bring the best quality stock available for sale and viewing.

The Goldfish Council has created the TGC Award for hobbyist bred fish. These fish can be entered by the breeder or the hobbyist raising the fish. From a status point of view the TGC Award represents high achievement by the amateur breeder.

An amateur bred fish can win Best in Show and if it does the next best amateur bred fish wins the TGC Award. Also note the TGC Award can go to a fish <3”.

It should also be noted that some shows allow entries to be mailed to the event for entry in the show. Typically, this is designed for Ranchu or Breeders small fish shows, it is not extended to importers and brokers.

Workshops and Ranchu shows often have different rules and awards. For example, a Ranchu show is typically in bowls and there are three classes Tosai, Nisai and Oya.

The Goldfish Council is open to new formats for events, but require a Board of Director’s discussion and vote.

Containers for show:

We have used four type of container configurations for shows; Bowls for individual fish, 7 to 10 gallon tanks for individual fish, 20 gallon tanks for one to three fish per tank, combination shows where most fish are in tanks and select varieties are in bowls. Photo references are below;

Combination bowl and small tank show in Beavercreek, Ohio.

A 20 gallon show in Orlando Florida. (not a TGC show, but TGC supported.)

All variety, 2017 bowl show, West Coast Palooza I, San Jose CA.

Ranchu Competition in bowls, Cincinnati Ohio

Combination tank and bowl show Richmond VA.

Small tank show Mechanicville VA


As of summer, 2018 typical shows rarely have one hundred fish entered. As the shows get large the rosettes are gradually replaced with sponsor based trophies. Presently the Rosettes are generally complimented with food awards.

Show rosettes from a recent Virginia show.

Grand Champion Award West Coast Palooza II, Jan Jose CA

Cumulative Points:

In 2019, The Goldfish Council will record points for placement in sponsored and supported show that our members participate in. Below are the points that are awarded per show for placement. At the end of the year, exhibitor of the year will be announced. The following sponsored or supported shows are in play;

Orlando, FL – March 2019

Austin TX – April 2019

Louisville KY- May 2019

Beavercreek OH- June 2019

Raleigh NC- June – 2019

San Jose CA- June/July 2019

Additional shows and workshops can be added. On line shows and competitions are not included.

We realize that some of the supported shows do not have a The Goldfish Council Award.AwardPointsBest In Show/Grand Champion100The Goldfish Council Award100Reserve Grand Champion50Class (es)10 each classNovice25Friendship Award25Best -Tosai, Nisai, or Oya (Ranchu)50 eachJudges Award50Best Pond Fish/Single Tail25

Note, as we gain sponsors we may have additional sponsorship awards, these awards will be awarded 25 points each.

In the fourth quarter of each year the Board will announce The Goldfish Council Exhibitor of the Year Award.

The Set Up

With a few exceptions, the show typically rents tables, chairs, and tents.

Here is the typical set up list;

  1. Tables

  2. Chairs

  3. Bracing for tables (self-made)

  4. Aeration manifold and pump

  5. SAFE – water conditioner ( or PRIME)

  6. Entry forms, judging forms, vendor forms a set of standards

  7. Registered and paid spreadsheet

  8. Oxygen, bags and rubberbands

  9. Trophies & Ribbons

  10. Tents (if outside)

  11. Extension cords

  12. 2 certified judges (one is acceptable)

  13. Recording person for Judging

  14. Cash box with change

  15. Drinks and Food

  16. Hoses and potable water

  17. Liability Event Insurance depending on the venue

  18. Dedicated Photographer

  19. At least 4 volunteers

  20. Night Security if outside

  21. 2 to 10 vendors ( a fee is generally charged)

  22. A minimum of three local people to assist with set up and tear down.

Entry forms, Judging forms, Vendor Forms

TGC has developed a series of forms for use at shows and events. Additionally, we have a staff that can set up Pay Pal payment on the web site for advance payment.

Electricity, Water and Rectangle table, & 2 chairs will be provided for each vendor. You will need provide all materials needed to pack your fish for transport, display and holding tanks, (if you are selling live fish). This is an outdoor event and a tent is recommended.

Vendors may sell anything they deem appropriate for this type of event including but not limited to live fish, hard goods, plants, art & setups.

We ask all vendors to be respectful of our Host and his facilities especially when it concerns anything of Bio-Security and health of his Koi and Goldfish.

Tradeshow space can be reserved for $300.00, additional tables and chairs are available upon special request and will be $25 per table and $10 per chair.

Please email this completed form and a file containing your company’s logo to our West Coast Goldfish Palooza Chair

Payment can be sent via PayPal to

Please have this form submitted as soon as possible our cutoff date for getting your Logo in printed material for the event is May 31st 2018.

If you have any questions, contact is provided below for the Committee Chair and members;

Mark Rausa – Committee Chair,

Gary Hater –

Joshua McWilliams –

Example Event Survey Form: (either handed out at the event or emailed)

Goldfish Palooza I – San Jose, CA

August 25-27, 2017

We ask that you complete this survey before you leave the Genki facility today. We hope you were satisfied with this event and hope to use this brief survey to make future educational projects better. Thanks for coming and we hope to see you again soon.

Please rate the following Seminars from 1 to 5

(1=too basic, 3= about right, 5 = too advanced)

SEMINAR 0NE – Detailed DIY food, Steamed Eggs and Gel Food


CIRCLE ONE 1 2 3 4 5

Was the content clear? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Was the enough time for questions? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Would a live DEMO be better? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

SEMINAR TWO – The Art and Nutrition of grooming for show and competition.


CIRCLE ONE 1 2 3 4 5

Was the content clear? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Was the enough time for questions? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Would a Case History be beneficial? CIRCLE ONE Yes/ No

SEMINAR THREE – Using standards to buy breeding or show fish, Top View Ranchu, Side View Ranchu, Butterflies, Orandas, and Ryukins (Don’t know if the varieties need to be written since most all are listed? )


CIRCLE ONE 1 2 3 4 5

Was the content clear? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Was the enough time for questions? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Should we have gone over each standard form the web site? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Was there a variety that you would have liked to have discussed that wasn’t mentioned? Variety:____________________

SEMINAR 4 Fundamentals of breeding and raising fry


CIRCLE ONE 1 2 3 4 5

Was the content clear? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Was the enough time for questions? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Does the culling section bother you? CIRCLE ONE Yes / No

Please rate the Q &A by Jennifer Lynx


CIRCLE ONE 1 2 3 4 5

Does it need anything? _________________________________________________________

Please rate the Discussion by Neil Teitler


CIRCLE ONE 1 2 3 4 5

Does it need anything? _________________________________________________________

Please rate the Bowl Competition (X =all that apply)


CIRCLE ONE 1 2 3 4 5

Too Small ____, About expected for a first year event ____, Better in Tanks _______

Should be expanded to more varieties _______, Liked the judging _______

Did you like the Raffle? Yes / No

Would you expand it? Yes / No

Did you enjoy the Vendor Sales? Yes / No

Will you be likely to attend again? Yes/No

Please feel free to write comments on the back of this form or send comments to

Thank You for joining us.

Registration and Payment Form:

The Judging Form: Below is the standard judging form and a copy of a used Judging form. Each variety has a form developed a part of the standard. Under Criteria the judge rates the individual fish according to the following; Head, Back/Hump, Deportment, Body Conformation, Tail, Fins, Condition, Eyes, Scales. Each of the Criteria are rated and these ratings for each of the criteria become the multiplier. Rating choices are;

Excellent – Exc (5)

Very Good – VG (4)

Good – G (3)

Fair – F (2)

Poor – P (1)

Then each of the criteria are multiplied by the Weight. The Weight or the points are slightly different for different varieties. Once the Criteria is multiplied by the Weight these values are accumulated to get a grand total for each fish. There is is room for Remarks and Judges Initials.


The Goldfish Council

Show: ____________________________________ Date:_______________________________

Breed:_Ryukin Variety:______________________________

Entry No.__________________________________ Bowl No.____________________________

Class Restrictions: Body length X Age X Tail type X Scale type/Color X


No. in Class:______ Place:______ No. of Exhibitors:_________CriteriaExc(5)VG (4)G(3)F(2)P(1)WeightHead15Back/Hump15Deportment15Body Conformation15Tail15Fins10Condition5Eyes5Scales5Total Points Awarded

**Disqualifications: A judge may disqualify a fish based upon any of the following generally accepted criteria unless specifically allowed for under the breed standard. Additionally, certain breed-specific faults may warrant disqualification per the breed standard.

Deformities such as missing, or partial fins, missing eyes, collapsed mouth, missing or curled operculum, anal prolapse, dorsal spines in dorsaless breeds, twisted spine. Very poor condition, e.g. torn or ragged fins, sores on body, areas of missing scales, evidence of fungal, bacterial or parasitic infection, dropsy.



Below is an actual judging form that is completed and has remarks and the judges’ comments. AS you can see the Tosakin won the TGC award. It also had a perfect score for its’ class/variety. One might ask why it did not get Best in Show? The

answer lies with the size and coloration of the fish.

Entry Form: Below is the entry form for an exhibitor. It allows for a person to enter as many fish as they desire and these can be <3” or >3”.

Current Certified Active Judges

Rob Crosby

Gary Hater

Joshua Mc Williams

Ted Tai

Billy Tai

Bryan Rhodes

Arielle Wright

Chris Sotherden

Amy Sims-Shonka

Daniel Young

Nathan Sylvester

Chris Stufft

Tony Reynolds

Matt Lyon

James Alderson

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