If you'd like to go beyond just having a few guppies to watch, perhaps you'd be interested in show guppies. Learn what makes show guppies special and how you can get involved in this rewarding hobby.
Guppy Expert Luke Roebuck
Luke Roebuck has been raising show guppies since the 1970s and is currently an International Fancy Guppy Association (IFGA) certified judge who maintains over 250 tanks. His show quality guppies are sold worldwide, and he has won various IFGA breeder awards over the last ten years.
LoveToKnow (LTK): Luke, what exactly is a show guppy?
Luke Roebuck (LR): Show guppies, as compared to pet store quality guppies, are bred over many generations to meet specific standards of perfection for competitive showing.
Similar comparisons exist in other animal husbandry hobbies such as dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, etc., where you have common "mutt" quality animals versus pedigreed, show quality animals.
LTK: How prevalent are guppy shows and how many people typically attend such events?
LR: The International Fancy Guppy Association (IFGA) is the local USA association of clubs and hobbyists nationwide as well as other countries. These clubs sanction, manage, and provide oversight and set up of the shows. They also maintain guppy standards and judging standards as well as judges for shows nationwide.
Affiliated clubs hold annual shows in their local community each year as part of the show circuit. These shows are a part of the competitive circuit in which breeders enter their guppies in national competition to garner trophies and points to annual breeder awards.
LTK: How are guppies judged?
LR: Just like at other types of pet shows, guppies are judged for their conformance to specific standards and physical characteristics which are developed by the IFGA. These standards are documented and published in the Judging Rules and Standards booklet available at the IFGA.
Guppies are judged by teams of qualified judges at the IFGA sanctioned competitive shows. These shows can have several hundred entries from all over the nation shipped in as well as hand carried and entered in their specific classes. There can be up to 76+ classes that are entered with judging standards for each type. More detailed information can be had at the IFGA website at ifga.org.
LTK: How can someone get into showing guppies?
LR: Someone interested in showing and breeding guppies can contact the IFGA and become a member or become a member of a local club which will offer additional mentoring and strains available for breeding and showing.
LTK: Is raising show guppies an expensive hobby?
LR: Raising show guppies can be an expensive hobby or a relatively modest investment. It will greatly depend on how involved you get and how many tanks and guppies you plan to maintain as well as how intensely involved you want to be in the hobby and IFGA organization.
Several breeders maintain garage or basement fishrooms with several hundred tanks, and many breeders get by with one or two strains and a one or two dozen tanks. Many can afford to travel and ship entries to all shows. Many cannot and just show at their local show. Many don't show at all but maintain interest, friendship and camaraderie.
Tips and Resources
LTK: What are some tips for raising winning show guppies?
LR: Start with the best guppies you can buy or acquire. Give them the best available foods, water quality and tank space. Learn how to breed guppy strains by using inbreeding, line breeding and outcrossing methodologies.
Develop a friendly relationship with a mentor (IFGA Master Breeder) who can help by answering all your questions. It takes months and years to become proficient in raising show winning guppies - many years if you want to raise your own strains of show winners and not just someone else's strains!
LTK: What resources do you recommend for people who want to learn more about raising and showing guppies?
LR: Read everything that you can about these fish, and check out the IFGA website as well as some of the other club websites, Try to connect with a mentor, acquire his or her guppies, ask questions and get involved at club events.
LTK: Anything else you'd like to add?
LR: Show guppies can be fun and very addicting and provide years of pleasure and challenges. You will make many new friends in this hobby! Anyone who is seriously interested can contact me through my website, Luke's Show Guppies, for further details.
A Rewarding Hobby
Raising and showing guppies is a fun and rewading hobby. With so many strains of guppies available, you may also find it difficult to choose which one you want to begin with. Start small and learn all you can from experts like Luke Roebuck, and soon you may be winning awards of your own.
LoveToKnow would like to thank Luke Roebuck for taking the time for this interview.