KOI SHOW ETIQUETTE
The rules for entering a koi show are fairly obvious: arrive on
time, pay the entrance fee, bring a photograph of your fish,
bring your own nets and bowls, don’t feed your fish for 3-4 days
prior to the show.
The rules for viewing a show are not as obvious but need to be
reinforced for the safety of the koi (or goldfish, if at a
goldfish show). The rules are:
• Do not touch the water in any tanks, ever.
• Do not share nets or bowls from one tank to another.
• Do not try to feed the fishies.
• Do not let children wander alone among the show tanks where
they may be tempted to make a “wave pool” out of them or try to
pet the nice fish.
• Take all the photos you want and talk to the owners (if you
know who the owners are).
• Take time to learn about judging and the finer points of koi
• Do not lean over tanks with food in your hands or drop
anything into the tanks. (At the recent Phoenix show, I watched
as a visitor accidentally dropped their souvenirs into the tank
of one of the show contenders! And the visitor's immediate
reaction was to grab a net-- any net!-- to fish it out. Luckily
there were club members handy to intervene and no cross-tank
• Do not try to chase the fish over to where you can take a
better picture. The fish and the owner are already stressed just
by coming to the show.
• Do be a good neighbor and let somebody know if a fish looks
like it is in trouble but do not try to help a fish yourself.
The reason for this is the disease that can be spread at shows.
It was at a show on Long Island, NY, in 1998 that the Koi Herpes
Virus (KHV) first reared its ugly head and nearly wiped out the
contestants’ ponds in a brief time.
Prior to that date we used Japanese-style show format, where we
put all the same type fish into the one tank. Now we do
English-style, each owner puts his or her fish in one tank and
there is not cross-contamination between ponds.
It makes judging a much longer and challenging task to do
English-style, but we have opted for safety over convenience
So, when attending a show please adhere to these simple rules
for the safety of these beautiful, sometimes irreplaceable fish.
Let’s keep koi shows fun!
by Carolyn Weise
More KOI Show Photos -- Click Here
BACK TO DIRECTORY