A few weeks ago I had heard about the Any Other Caudal category at the upcoming PPGA (Pan Pacific Guppy Association) show. I had been wanting to enter fish in an IFGA show since about, well, forever. (Like the 1990s) But there’s always an excuse not to. I might have a guppy that looks great, but he looks great in December, when there aren’t any shows. Or I have some fish that look “ok,” but who wants to start showing with “ok” fish? When I heard about this Any Other Caudal category, I knew I had to put the energy into supporting this category. I’ve been obsessed with European guppies like speartails, pintails, flagtails, roundtails with high dorsals, etc. And I had avoided putting the time, money and effort into these kinds of lines because, why bother if I’m the only person who ever sees them? You want to have an audience to put your fish in front of. Even if it’s a non-point class.
I decided I was at least going to send a bunch of Any Other Caudal entries. I figured I most likely wouldn’t win anything, because I hadn’t really been working on a line specifically for something like this. But I did have plenty of fish that technically fit this category, even if they aren’t my dream fish (yet). Since I was already packing and shipping fish, I figured I might as well throw in a couple other fish that were decent. Certainly not Best of Show quality. But I thought I could at least place at least ONE fish in a Novice category.
Between about a year and two years ago, I was determined to create a good line of HB AOC fish (half black, any other color). I was working with a couple lines of HB AOC, and bought some really nice variegated snakeskins. I was going to experiment with crossing the snakeskins into the HBs to improve the pattern. Meanwhile, I kept the snakeskin line going just the way it was, in addition to using it for experimental crosses. (In other words, I moved the males between two groups of females, variegated snakeskins and HB.) Over the last few weeks, I noticed I had two pretty good male HB AOCs from that cross. They weren’t perfect fish, but I thought they were good enough to enter in IFGA. I was debating whether to enter them in the Novice Delta category, or the main HB AOC category. They basically looked identical. I decided to enter one into each of those categories. I wasn’t sure how this fish would perform in the Novice category, because it’s an HB AOC as opposed to say a standard blue or red delta. I thought there was a better change of winning in the Novice category than the regular HB AOC class. But it turns out, the Novice fish didn’t place, and the other one placed 4th in the HB AOC class.
Meanwhile, I had a pair of identical snakeskins that I thought were good enough to enter IFGA, but probably not good enough to win or even place. I view this as a fairly competitive category. They are really good snakeskins, but I thought they were just a few weeks too young and didn’t have enough size. I was shocked to find out they placed 3rd and 4th in the main Variegated Snakeskin category. These guys may be headed to the next show in October.
I entered SEVEN fish in the Any Other Caudal category and didn’t think I would place. I only found out I placed 2nd and 3rd in this category after the fish arrived back with the colored stickers. I probably only placed this time around because Alan Bias’ fish in this category were accidentally electrocuted and unable to attend. Even though this is a non-point category, I was really excited to see I placed. (That’s an understatement.)
I had been debating about whether or not to enter some of my beloved lower sword guppies. I really didn’t want to send any of my best breeders. And I wanted to stay out of the main swordtail category for this first show. At the last minute, I decided to ship two lower swords for the Novice category. I selected one pretty good fish that I thought was good enough to place. And a second sword that was decent, but maybe not perfect. (I thought the dorsal was a little short.) I ended up getting 2nd and 4th places in this category. That means this is the only time I will have entered as a Novice. Since I placed in the main categories, I’m no longer considered a Novice.
All in all, I ended up having 7 fish place in various categories at my first show. One of my goals was to just get ON the scoreboard (anywhere, just one fish!). So that goal has been accomplished. Considering I wasn’t sure I’d be entering an IFGA show until 2014, this was really exciting.
Back to the Any Other Caudal category. I picked a lot of random fish, instead of a couple similar fish. I specifically picked one or two Ginga Sulphureus because they have good body size, good color and nice dorsals. I thought if one of my fish were to win, it would be one of these. I had a few others that were very colorful, including a shorttail snakeskin. I figured if I had a wide variety, it might be helpful and could strike a chord with a judge. As I was filling my second box of fish, I had enough space for one more guppy. A platinum/champagne type roundtail caught my eye at that moment. He was young and still developing, but the color intensity was great. I remembered “color intensity” was on the list for this category, so I thought what the heck, he could make a good wildcard fish. The larger Ginga got second place and the champagne guppy got 3rd. Here are photos of these two:
I feel like I could probably write a book about all of this. You know how hard it sounds to pack fish for your first show? I had no idea! But I think it’s one of those things, after you go through it from start to finish one time, it’s much easier. When the clock is ticking away, you can sure bag fish fast!