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Dutch competition

Robert H wrote

>>How can you judge an aquarium with pictures? In Holland, a judge checks everything (filter, light, water quality...). >>Sometimes, he asks the permission to put his hand in the tank to check the roots. Cheating is very
easy and difficult to see. >>So with a picture...
>>I think it is a good idea but not really realistic. In one day I can make you an amazing aquarium. We go back to the >>"Kleenex-concept" from Amano and we speak about a picture contest

>Yikes! Obviously a photo contest couldnt go that far..but a photo contest can still be valid.

After Wright Huntley's comments, are you sure?

>I would be interested to know what guidelines they use to judge the appearance. Such criteria might be useful.

I don't want to discourage initiative, so I stop being negative. I will answer succinctly to the question. Maybe it can also provide suggestions to local society.

In The Netherlands, competitions are organised each year by the NBAT. It starts inside of each club. The best aquariums from each 147 societies go to the district competition and the 15 districts go to the national
competition. This circuit last about a year. So the best aquarist is the one who is able to maintain a beautiful aquarium in balance for a long time.

Judges are semi-professional. To become judge, they have to follow a course and pass an exam. The first times, they go together with a hold judge to train.

There are different categories within the competition:

A1 = decorative aquarium
A2 = geographic tank (fish and plant)
A3 = "beautiful fish"
B1 = reef aquarium
B2 = geographic tank (see water)
C1 = terrarium
C2 = terrarium + aquarium (paludarium)

The famous Dutch aquarium is the A1 type.

They are about 30 judges who are specialised in 1, 2 or more categories.

Participants have to fill an official form, which must contain the following information:
Name, address...
Dimensions of the tank
Latin name and quantity of each animal
Latin name and numbered map of the plantation
Number of light, type and lighting time
Filter description
Water analysis (made by one official and independent person)

A judge evaluates 15 criteria’s. Each criteria has a different coefficient. This coef also changes with the category (A1, A2…). At the end you have 2 marks: the total and the biological total. If these numbers are good
enough, the participant gets a diploma. The best of the competition is the one who has the highest points for the 2 totals. Logical.

Official criteria’s divided in 3 parts:


1 General impression
2 animal choice
3 decoration elements
4 composition


5 animals’ composition
6 animals’ health
7 animals’ behaviour
8 animals’ quantity
9 vegetation’s choice
10 vegetation’s health
11 vegetation’s development
12 general biological environment


13 technical resources
14 material’s choice
15 general state

Warning!!! Some criteria might be not very well translated. My English is not so good.

Each criteria is detailed in 2 to 9 points. So in total 63 points are checked!
It would cost me too much time to translate (from Dutch to French to English) the 63 points and to give you all the coefficients. Maybe a Dutch aquarist can do it for you if necessary. Hugo, are you here?
Or you could ask directly the NBAT ( http://neerland.boa.nl/nbat/ )
You could also explain your idea to the NBAT. Maybe an official Dutch judge might be a jury member?
Hope this help

Stéphane André
The Netherlands