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AKA Judging System
The AKA has a quite comprehensive judging system that, I think, reduces to
an acceptable level, any excessive subjectivity or bias towards any one
particular characteristic that the fish does or does not display. Charlie
Nunziata is certainly far better qualified than I am to speak on this system
since he is primarily responsible for developing it. However, in summary the
AKA judging system works as follows for pairs of the same species:
Male specimens can receive a maximum of 55 points from the following
categories and subcategories:
Fins: Anal (max. 6 points), Dorsal (max. 6 points), Caudal (max. 6 points),
Others (max. 4 points).
Body: Size (relative to maximum size attainable, max. 6 points), Shape (max.
6 points), Color (max. 6 points).
Deportment: (max. 5 points).
Condition: (max. 10 points).
Female specimens can receive a maximum of 35 points from the following
categories and subcategories:
Fins (all): max. 11 points).
Body (shape, size, color): (max. 9 points).
Deportment: (max. 5 points).
Condition: (max 10 points).
The pair is also awarded points for:
Compatibility: (max. 5 points).
Breeding potential: (max. 5 points).
Total points = 100
Fish can be disqualified for reasons of: Hybrid, Death or near death,
Disease, Deformity, Extremely poor condition.
With the above in mind, let me attempt to address some of the aspects raised
by Wright Huntley and John Wubbold:
>AKA has usually wanted to reward the distribution
>and exhibition of rarer fish, so extra judging consideration
>(points) will often be given for such things as a collection ID.
>That is, wilder fish are deliberately given an edge over larger,
>more colorful, selectively-bred fish. Cool!
This is not the case at all. There is no way in the AKA judging standards to
award extra points for a fish being wild or for having a collection ID - and
that is the way it should be.
Certainly, when I judge I will ensure that the fish has been identified
properly (i.e. has the correct species designation) because that constitutes
grounds for disqualification. Remember the fish are auctioned off and to
distribute a fish with a wrong species ID could have disastrous results. I
also check, and correct if necessary, the collection code designation if the
fish has one (although that does not constitute grounds for
>I was wondering on showing fish. Isn't there five
>criteria's that a fish is to be judged on. And certain
>aspects for actually disqualifying fish in shows,
>such as size health and things like that.
As you can see from the above, there are many more than 5 criteria on which
the judging is based. Fish can be disqualified for reasons of extremely poor
health but NOT for size. A very small immature fish still has to be judged
even if it ends up falling into the category of "Entry not pointed because
total is under 70".
>At a livebearer show a few years ago, we actually
>were able to eliminate entries on the fact that they
>weren't adult fish, they had some kind of rule that
>fish had to be 2/3 adult size to qualify to be judged.
Different associations will have different judging rules and standards, but
fish would not be eliminated for this reason at the AKA conventions.
> Well this leads me to ask what are
>the AKA criteria on judging fish. I've seen immature
>Nothos win over Adult sized fish. I was told that
>these younger fish showed better colors even though
>they were half sized.
As you will see from the above, all other things being equal, an undersized
male specimen could only lose a MAXIMUM of 6 points (out of 55) for being
undersized. The judging of size in the case of the female is lumped together
with shape and color but would, in practical terms amount to a maximum of
about 3 points out of 35. So, it is quite possible for a small, but
otherwise perfect fish to score higher than a monster with poor color,
ragged fins, etc.
>Are we judging on colors or size or (of ?) mature fish.
Both, plus a whole lot of other characteristics.
>I always assumed that adult sized fish with good
>fins and deportment would win over smaller less mature fish.
As explained above, this is not necessarily the case.
>I even heard and participated in an arguement
>about fish that were older versus younger fish
>that would make better breeders. That the older
>fish because they were past breeding age were
>not as good a show fish because they weren't
>good breeders any more.
Points for Breeding Potential are awarded for the pair on the basis of 1 to
5. Therefore, if a pair were old, on their last, and had no breeding
potential, but were otherwise perfect, they could theoretically score 95 out
of 100 points. That score would probably win best in show. For a fish to be
eliminated out of hand from competition on the basis of breeding potential
alone is due either to incompetence or unacceptable subjectivity on the part
of the judge.
>In my opinion standards need to be established
>and followed by all the judges irregardless of particular
>tastes. Just my opinions
The AKA already has a very good system in operation that goes a long way
toward minimizing subjectivity on the part of the judges and in avoiding too
much emphasis being placed on any one characteristic shown by the fish.
One final comment, about wild specimens in shows. It is my opinion that wild
specimens should NOT be allowed in shows (such as the AKA convention show)
because they might have an unfair advantage over tank raised specimens. The
quality of the fish entered into a show should reflect the fish keeping
abilities of the hobbyist entering them and this is not the case with wild
fish because they have generally had the sort of start in life that we
cannot give them in our fish-rooms (for whatever reason).
Brian R. Watters
University of Regina
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 0A2, Canada
Ph: (306) 584-9161 (home); (306) 585-4663 (work)
Fax: (306) 585-5433
E-mail: bwatters at sk_sympatico.ca