BKKS National Koi Show this weekend!

The BKKS National Koi Show is back after a two-year break, taking place on June 22-23 at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre near Coventry, Warks.

There will be the opportunity to see some of the finest Koi, and there are plenty of other attractions including dealer stands, wet sales, craft stalls and a full programme of seminars.

There will also be a show party on the Saturday from 7pm to midnight, which includes a fundraising Koi auction. Visit the show website to book.

This year's show sponsors include Evolution Aqua, Hikari and ProfiDrum.

The show is open from 10am-5pm on Saturday and 10am-3pm on Sunday.

Entry costs £6 for adults with under 16's free. There's also free entry for BKKS members on production of a valid membership card. Parking is free.

For more information visit the show website.

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July treat for Koi fans

Don't forget to put a date in your diary for the East of England Koi Show, which takes place over the weekend of July 20-21.

This year’s show, sponsored by Koyoshi Premium Koi Foods, The Japanese Koi Company and RotoInnovations will have 50 vats of Koi being displayed in the centre ring, which is being exclusively sponsored by the UK Ogata Koi Dealers Network via their representative UK dealers of Coastal Koi, Dock Koi, Koi Logic and Koi Masters.

The organisers anticipate having around 350 of the best Koi in the UK being exhibited from just 15cm/6" right up to nearly 1m/40" in length for you to cast your eye over!

Once you’re done looking over the Koi and trying to work out for yourself which one is going to take the Grand Champion prize you’ll find a wide array of Koi dealers selling both all the dry goods you could possibly need for your pond as well as a wide range of Koi for you to choose from and a selection of craft and plant stalls offering you another chance to spend your Koi tokens!

The trade stands include:

Auld Langstone
Birmingham Koi
Chiyu XL
Coastal Koi
Dock Koi
Fuji Fish and Foods
Heat Pumps 4 Pools
I Koi
Isle Of Ely Koi
Jammy Fold Koi
Koi Carp Magazine
LE Koi
Lee Koi
Norfine Nets
Okayama Koi
Purdin Koi
S & C Koi
Show Koi
Steve Cleverdon Acers and Maples
Sunny Bank Koi
Walcott Koi
Walsh Glass Design
Wooden Koi Company
Yume Koi

There will also be regular demonstrations on how to create a bonsai from a stock plant as well as the ability to bring your own along for a trim, reshape and health check up if required.

There will be a display of another Japanese fish — the Ranchu — at this year's show by the United Kingdom Ranchu Association who will be bringing along some of their show quality fish.

You’ll also find the attendance of the Japanese Akita Welfare Trust, who will be promoting the work they do in helping rescue and rehabilitate Akitas in need.

There’s a range of catering options available should you find yourself craving something to eat, and for those of you that aren’t driving, there’s a licensed bar on site for the weekend as well.

The show is being held at The Huntingdon Racecourse, Brampton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire,  PE28 4NL which is just minutes from the A14, A1 and M11 on July 20-21. Entrance is just £5 with under 16’s free when accompanied, making it a cheap day out for all the family.

For the latest news and updates as well as directions to the show, please visit the show website.

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New Sea Life Centre opening in Manchester

A new Sea Life Centre is opening in Manchester tomorrow (6 June) at the city's Trafford Centre.

Sea Life Manchester boasts 30 displays including an underwater ocean tunnel, an interactive rock pool and a sea bed walk, Sea Trek, which is the first of its kind in Europe.
There are more than 5,000 sea creatures on display including the blacktip reef shark, common octopus and children's favourite: clownfish.
The Sea Trek is a unique experience allowing visitors the chance to dive with the inhabitants of an 11.5ft tall tank, including a giant green turtle called Ernie.
The aquarium is open from 10am-7pm with the last admission at 5pm.
For ticket prices and more informations, please visit www.visitsealife.com/Manchester.

Heiko Bleher to appear at Maxi Zoo, Leopardstown

A world leading fish expert is to appear at Maxi Zoo in Leopardstown on 15 June.

Heiko Bleher, 69, will visit the Maxi Zoo store at the Leopardstown Retail Park to share his knowledge with local pet owners.
Alice Cross, Executive Director of Maxi Zoo, says: "We can not believe the interest that Heiko's visit is already generating.
"This is a rare opportunity for Irish fish keepers to meet something of a living legend."
Bleher started learning about fish at age four when he travelled with his mother to Africa and across Europe.
At eight, he lived with his mother in deep jungle of South Africa for six months. Here he gained a deep knowledge on ornamental fishes, their life and behaviour.
He studied at the University of Florida on courses such as ichthyology, biology, limnology, oceanography and parasitology as well as others.
In 1965 he discovered the Hemigrammus bleheri, or the Rummy-Head Tetra, which is now one of the most widely sold aquarium fishes in the world.
Cross says: "Customers visiting the store on Saturday will have an opportunity to meet and talk to Heiko face to face, to ask questions, and to learn all they can about caring for all varieties of fish."
Bleher will arrive at Maxi Zoo at 12pm and the first 100 people through the door will have the opportunity to meet him and have a photograph taken with him.
He will give a presentation on his expeditions from 12.30pm to 2pm and will also conduct a biotope demo.
The event will conclude with a presentation on Discus and a half hour Q&A.
Admission is free and customers are advised to arrive before 12pm.

Evolution Aqua to sponsor BKKS National Koi Show

Evolution Aqua have confirmed that they are the headline sponsor and partner for this year's BKKS National Koi Show.

Phil Jolly, Sales and Marketing Director for Evolution Aqua says: "It's fantastic that we are once again the main sponsor and show partner of the BKKS National Koi show.
"After two years without this premier event, it's great to have it back on the calendar.
"We are already well ahead with our plans for the show and are very much looking forward to seeing friends old and new.
"It will be a great weekend in June that's not to be missed for anyone who loves the hobby."
Evolution Aqua will be showcasing their products including a "wet demo" of the Nexus and EazyPod filtration systems.
Members of the Evolution Aqua team will be available to offer help and advice to visitors about their products.
The BKKS National Koi Show will take place Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre, Fillongley, Warwickshire.
For further details go to www.thenationalkoishow.co.uk

AQUA 2013 to include a number of new exhibitors

An array of first-time exhibitors will appear at AQUA 2013 in October, alongside established show regulars.

The show, opening at the Telford International Centre on 9 October, is set to be larger than its 2011 event with over 97 per cent of floor space already taken.
New names at the show include Interpet, who will be launching several new products,  Certikin International, Rolf C Hagen, Beaver Plants, FishScience and American company, Brightwell Aquatics, amongst a range of others.
Certikin International will use the show to promote its newly signed agreement as the exclusive supplier of Heissner's brand of pond, koi and decorative products to the UK market, as well as Certikin's other products.
The largest stand at the exhibition has been booked by Rolf C Hagen.
Paul Trott, marketing manager of Rolf C Hagen (UK) says: "Following the growing success of the AQUA show in recent years, we have made the decision to support this important industry event.
They will be showing their latest aquatic, reptile and pond ranges.
Brightwell Aquatics will be crossing the Atlantic to attend AQUA 2013 to establish contact with retailers already aware of their aquarium water-care products.
Chris Brightwell, company president, says: "We can tell [retailers] about our company's philosophy and unparalleled quality of the products we offer.
"I am British by heritage, and the UK market is extremely important to me, so I hope to improve our market presence there."
FishScience, launched by a well-known industry figure, will be unveiling a line of aquarium and pond fish foods at AQUA 2013.
Visitors will be able to browse regular attendees like Aquadip, Aqua Pacific UK, JMC Aquatics, Mars Fishcare, Oasis Atlantis Lotus and more.
AQUA 2013 also features a full programme of free seminars, free lunches and New Products Showcase and Awards.
Full details can be found at www.aquatelford.co.uk.

New categories for this year’s Readers’ Poll!

It’s that time of year again, where we want your votes on the best stores and products around the UK.

This year we’re running many of the old favourite categories, including cichlid and catfish retailers of the year – often some of the busiest sections that we need to plough through and count up.

There are also still the regional votes, so whether your in the highlands of Scotland, or dipping your toes into the seas of Cornwall, you can give feedback on those stores local to you.

In the wake of changing trade, we’re also adding two new categories to this year’s poll.

The first – Shrimp retailer of the year – applies to any online or brick build UK store, and reflects what has been considerable growth in this area over the last couple of years. Shrimps are becoming big business, with an even bigger following, so it’s high time we found out who wins your invertebrate votes.

The second – Club, Society or Association of the year – is wide reaching, and will hopefully provide us with a snapshot of the vibrancy and diversity of the UK club scene. Whether long established, big or small, ultra-specialist or just a fan club for the humble guppy, we want to hear which organisations out there float your fishkeeping boat.

All entries into the Readers’ Poll carry the chance to win a prize, and with some excellent Hagen equipment to be snapped up by a few lucky voters, there’s no better time to have your say on who you rate in the fishkeeping hobby.

The poll opens up as of our next issue, hitting the shops on June 10, so keep eyes peeled and get involved. If you’ve had good experiences with stores, clubs or products this year, then it’s a perfect chance to give something back. Every shop that comes top of its category can hold its head high and know that it has a fleet of happy customers and supporters, and that counts for a lot.

And ultimately, it’s your vote. We get no say in who wins, we just count up the entries, so get involved!

European Shrimp Contest offers the 'best of the best'

The second annual European Shrimp Contest is set to take place on September 7-8 in Piacenza, Italy at the Piacenza Expo.

The shrimp contest will form part of the Italian Pets Festival which spans over 13,000 sq m and has become Italy's largest trade fair for the aquatic industry. Last year the shrimp contest alone attracted over 11,000 visitors with participants from a wide range of European countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and Holland.

This year's show is set to be even bigger with many more breeders participating and also featuring UK breeders for the first time.

With a large number of Asian bloodlines being shown last year, this year promises to be even more spectacular in terms of quality of the shrimp on show. With many Japanese lines such as Benibachi, Ebiten and Crimson now being kept in Europe, the quality on display is unlikely to be found anywhere else!

Thirteen different categories make up the contest, ranging from high grade PRL shrimp to popular starter shrimp such as Cherry and Yellow fire. Whatever your shrimp of choice, the European Shrimp Contest guarantees to show the best of the best.

Trade fair entry is just 9€ which grants access to the shrimp contest and all exhibition areas.


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Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.

Great turnout for Ryedale show

Worries about clashes with a festival for 'foodies', plus other fish shows in Scotland, appeared to be unfounded as the Ryedale AS Open Show at the weekend was a busy one - with more entries than previously seen at this venue and standing room only at the auction, reports Dr David Ford.

Sunday, May 19 was the usual date for the North Yorkshire Fish Club, Ryedale Aquarist Society, to hold its Open Show and Auction...held as before in the Old Malton Memorial Hall in Malton ("no smoking and no alcohol", but two large halls and good parking).  

However, the Club Committee were worried about attendance because it coincided with the annual Malton Food Lovers Festival (over 150 stalls of exotic foods from Yorkshire and the World) and Scottish clubs' Open Shows, taking aquarists from Cumbria and Teesside as well as Scotland.  But there are many supporters of this busy Club and over 100 turned up for the auction (pictured at the top of the page) with 213 entries in the 40 Classes — more than previous years at this venue.

There was hot and cold food available all day and a stand by Fishphilosophy. Many sponsors supplied prizes and free samples for this OS including Seaquarium, Waterlife, Reef One, JMC, Ferrybridge Aquatics, SAK fish foods, as well as the FBAS Support Packs by Tetra and Hagen.  

Ryedale AS is actually part of the Yorkshire Association of Aquarist Societies and it was their judges that pointed the fish: Trish Jones, Trevor Douglas, Kevin Webb and Paul Brown.  

The results were:
Best in Show - Mr. and Mrs. Nelson with a Metriaclima (Pseudotropheus) lombardoi that scored 86.6 points. Ashby Fishkeepers.
1st Runner-up - Mr. Alan Northcliffe with a Protopterus annectens that scored 86.4 points. Sheaf Valley Aquarist Society.
2nd Runner-up - Mr. Dave Kirk with a Hara longissima 86.33 points. Ferrybridge Aquatics Show Team.
Best Exhibit - Mr. Kerry Hardy with a pair of Betta albimarginata. Sheaf Valley Aquarist Society.
Best Goldfish - Mr. Jim Haworth. Castleford Aquarist Society.
Ryedale AS is a busy fish club and if you are a Northern aquarist you would be welcome at their monthly meetings - the venues change but are always around the Pickering area. Details are available on the Ryedale AS website

Diary date: Fun day in September

A special meeting will be on Sunday, September 8 when there will be a 'Fun Day' at Middleton Village Hall, Pickering, N. Yorks YO18 8PA. Start time 10am.  Reptile and amphibian expert Mr. Martin Lees will present a talk entitled 'creating a vivarium with running water' and the PRO from The Deep at Hull will be presenting a talk on the work of the aquarium. There will be a 10 Class fish Open Show, plus much more.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.


Don't miss Cambridgeshire's largest ever Koi show!

The East of England Koi show takes place over the weekend of July 20-21 at Huntingdon Racecourse — and the organisers say that this year's event will be the largest Koi show ever staged in Cambridgeshire.

There will be a fantastic display of Koi to see at the show. With regards to the centre ring and the exhibition Koi there are nearly 50 vats currently booked, which should house in the region of 350 Koi, with some of the best known names on the show scene bringing fish from the best breeders of Japan.

Once you’re done looking over the Koi and trying to work out for yourself which one is going to take the Grand Champion prize, you’ll find a wide array of dealers selling dry goods, plus plenty of Koi for you to choose from as well as a selection of craft and plant stalls.

In fact, due to unprecedented demand the amount of marquee space has had to be increased to fit everyone in who wants to attend!

Koyoshi Premium Koi Foods, The Japanese Koi Company and RotoInnovations are show sponsors for this year, along with the UK Ogata Koi Dealers Network via their representative UK dealers of Coastal Koi, Dock Koi, Koi Logic and Koi Masters who have agreed to sponsor the centre ring in its entirety.

There will be a choice of catering outlets on site including a licensed bar to keep visitors fed and refreshed.

The show is taking place over the weekend of July 20-21 at the Huntingdon Racecourse, Brampton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 4NL — which is easily found directly off the A14 and is only a few minutes from the A1 and M11.

Keep up to date with the latest news by the East of England Koi Show's website.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.


Open weekend at Reading store

Maidenhead Aquatics@Reading is holding an open weekend on May 18-19, to celebrate the store's fifth anniversary.

Following the huge success of last year's open weekend, the Reading branch of Maidenhead Aquatics is holding another this year, with talks and presentations from top names in the industry:

Saturday, May 18
Paul Tapley (to be confirmed)

Sunday, May 19

Also attending, but still to confirm which day will be:
Bracknell fish club
Red Sea

There wil be special offers across the store including 15% off all JBL products and discounts on livestock.

There will be free goodie bags with all purchases over £2 (subject to availability), plus an in-store facebook 'check in' competition.

The open weekend will also be in support of Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres and other events include*:
Bouncy castles
Face painting
Balloon release

*Please note that charges will apply and all events are subject to availability.

The shop is located at Henry Street Garden Centre, Swallowfield Rd., Reading, Berkshire, RG2 9JY. For more information tel. 0118 976 2300.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.



Breaking news - no Aquatics Live 2013

The organisers of the UK's aquatic consumer show have told PFK it won't go ahead this year.

"I just wanted to give you the heads up in advance of a general announcement that Aquatics Live 2013 won't be taking place in November," said show organiser Tom Spencer, of On Show Productions Ltd.

"We have some very interesting new exhibitors such as Brightwell from the US and Dennerle, and many of our regular supporters have given us verbal commitments, but sadly not enough companies have signed up in advance to generate an adequate cash flow."
"We are planning to organise the event again in 2014 but for now, and with regret, we are putting it on ice."

Lack of support
The UK does suffer from not having enough people attend its aquatic shows, where as in mainland Europe the aquatic show and event scene is very much alive and well, with some 30,000 people attending a show just for Discus.

Aquatics Live enjoyed visitor numbers of around 4000 after its initial launch in 2011 at London's Olympia, but getting enough companies to take paid-for stands for this year has proved too difficult.

Rival shows
PFK has heard of two consumer shows (not including The FBAS Festival of Fishkeeping,) which may rival, and may have taken marketing money out of the Aquatics Live pot.

The first is rumoured to be being held at the NEC, involving a major aquatic retailer and supported so far by some well known pond companies, and another is a potential consumer extension to a popular aquatic trade show.

Both shows are to be confirmed although several of PFK's advertisers have been approached and told about at least one of the above.

Not quite right
PFK was approached very early in the planning stages of the first Aquatics Live event in 2011, and the feedback from many of the suppliers who didn't attend in a paid-for-stand capacity, and potential hobbyist visitors, was that they thought the location in London was wrong.

Many hobbyists don't want the hustle and bustle of London, or the travel charges. Other hobbyists called for a much more central location in the Midlands, or even separate shows in the North and South.

Hobbyists are also used to being able to buy fish at shows, whereas this wasn't allowed at Aquatics Live.

For traders Olympia means expensive parking and expensive hotels for staff, so the extra costs on top of paying to take a stand itself may also have a bearing.

What's your view?
We want to know what you think about it. Are you a hobbyist or a trader, and did you attend previous Aquatics Live shows? If not, why not, or what would make a show just right for you? What would make you attend an aquatics show, and should PFK hold its own show?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Goldfish Association announces dates for 2013

The Association of Midland Goldfish Keepers is holding a number of events this year.

Sunday, May 12: Adult/Prettiest and Bluest/Non-Standard Fish Table Show
Sunday August 18: Baby Fish Table Show (bred in 2013)

Sunday November 3: A.G.M. and Presentation of Awards

The Association of Midland Goldfish Keepers, the only pure goldfish society in the Midlands, meets on Sundays from 1-5pm at Binley Church Hall, Brinklow Road, Binley, Coventry CV3 2DT, with newsletters, fish shows, specialist talks and films, information and advice.  

They are a friendly bunch comprising a mixture of experienced goldfish keepers and breeders and all sorts in between.

Everyone is welcome to attend, young or old, beginners or expert fishkeepers.

Open Show
The Annual Open Show will be held on Saturday, June 29 2013 West Orchard Church Hall, Baginton Road, Stivichall, Coventry CV3 6FP. 

If you require further information on any of the above please contact Linda at linda.malpas@ntlworld.com

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Fish show may be the only one in Essex this year!

Southend, Leigh and District Aquarist Society is holding an open fish show on May 18.

The show takes place at Temple Sutton School, Eastern Avenue, Southend-On-Sea.

Many fish not normally seen in the shops will be on display.

The Society believes this fish show will be the only one in Essex in 2013.

Exhibits are expected from a wide area, in the past there have been competitive entries from as far as Port Talbort in Wales, Sheffield and Corby.

Society members will be on hand to give advice and answer questions. There will be raffles, sales tables of members' fish and plants etc.

The Society's President Gary can be contacted at garysnell@hotmail.co.uk

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.



FBAS Festival of Fishkeeping announces new venue for 2013

The Festival of Fishkeeping will be held at Hounslow Urban Farm, MIddlesex on September 7-8 2013.

The long running event is the biggest in the FBAS calendar and attracts the UK's best fish show-goers and their prized tropical and coldwater fish.

According to the event organisers, this year there will be the UK’s biggest display of hobbyist owned fish and independent traders.

Japanese Koi and Discus displays, a pond display, furnished aquariums, demonstrations on how to set up, furnish and maintain various types of aquariums and advice on all aspects of fishkeeping will also be there.

"Because of the 'competitive' aspect of some displays, you will be able to see the very best quality of fishes all in full adult size and in prime condition," says the FBAS.

"What better place to go and learn about fish, before you commit time and money at your local aquatic store?

"The new venue has a lot of scope to make Festival of Fishkeeping a truly family weekend.

"We are very grateful to all our sponsors because without them there would be no Festival. We are pleased to welcome back as a sponsor Mars Fish Care (Aquarian).

"Over the weekend there will be Aquarian /API Kids’ Zone for children of all ages, from Face Painting, Bouncy Castles, Find the Fish Hunt, Colouring Competitions with prizes for 1st 2nd and 3rd place winners. There is also a Petting Zoo, Birds of Prey displays, Feed the Animals and Animal Rides.

"There will be goody bags for the children and lots more. Come and spend the whole day with all the family.

"There are lots of hotels and Travel Lodges within easy reach of the Farm. For those that will be staying for the weekend there will be a barbeque on Saturday evening, with cabaret entertainment."

For more information contact Joe Nethersell, Festival Organiser on 020 8847 3586 or email joenethersell@gmail.com

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.


Another successful catfish convention

For the 34th year the Catfish Study Group held its annual conference with three days of wining and dining and lectures by catfish specialists.

Based for the third year at the prestigious Kilhey Court Hotel in Wigan, Lancs., it was held from March 15-17. Over 50 guests stayed at the hotel and the Saturday evening dinner was booked by 70 catfish enthusiasts.

The exhibition hall was filled with stands by Mars Fishcare (Aquarian, Rena, API), New Era Fish Foods, BT Trading with accessories for fishkeepers, plus the wood carvings of Brian Walsh.

Other fish clubs attending with stands included the British Livebearer Association, British Cichlid Association, even a Marine Aquarium display.

Catfish Study Group members had the traditional raffle stand, Breeders' Competition and Members’ Catfish Sales (pictured at the top of the page).

The lecturers were also traditionally international, including Ingo Seidel, the German catfish specialist and author, Dr Mark Sabaj Perez, the taxonomist from the USA, Dr Martin Taylor, senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia, Julian Dignall, of PlanetCatfish.com and Dr Ralf Britz from London’s Natural History Museum

The Conference has many sponsors to bring such World-wide experts.  These include the major sponsor Pier Aquatics, plus Aquarian, Tetra, Sera, Eheim, Midland Waterlife, Aqua One, Aqualife, Yorkshire Brine Shrimp, NT Labs, Wharf Aquatics, JBL, Arcadia, Tri-Mar Aquaria, Barlows Aquatic Trading, and, of course - Practical Fishkeeping magazine.

Many other fish clubs help too: British Cichlid Association, International Loach Association, Anabantoid Association of Great Britain, British Killifish Association, British Livebearer Association and the British and International Discus Keepers Association.

The CSG members also prepared a memorial display to their past President and Chairman Trevor (TJ) Morris and the famous breeder Alan Vaissiere. Judge John Cowan too was remembered – plus a special CSG Award called the Derek Lambourne Trophy (pictured above) carved by Brian Walsh.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.


Star Fisheries open day this Sunday

These fabulous Ranchu, bred by Jinchu-kai member Andrew James in the UK, will be among the fancy goldfish on sale at Star Fisheries' open day on Sunday, March 24.

Andrew James' fish are bred to very exacting standards and he has been featured in PFK magazine in the past. There was a time when his fish were not available to anyone outside Jinchu-kai, so this is a fabulous opportunity to buy some top quality Ranchu. Star Fisheries has secured 50 nisai (fish bred last year) from Andrew, which will be on sale along with a large shipment of Chinese fancies at the open day next weekend.

Star Fisheries is at 94A Benhill Road, Sutton, Surrey SM1 3RX.


Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.


Catfish and cichlid meetings this weekend

If you’re looking to inject more fish into your life, there’s a couple of events you need to know of this weekend.

The first involves the superb Catfish Study Group convention, over at Standish, Wigan. With a huge range of speakers including Dr Mark Sabaj Perez, Ingo Seidel and Julian Dignall, it’s a catfish fan’s perfect weekend. There’ll be fish on show, and stalls selling goodies on the day.

It’s over the whole weekend, too, starting today. So if you’ve only got the one day free, there’s still no excuse. Go. Enjoy.

For more details, have a look at the Catfish Study group website.  

If you’re more southern based, or more of a cichlid fan, have a think about the British Cichlid Association, who are holding an inaugural convention this Sunday 17th, from ten until five.

With Dr Wolfgang Staeck presenting a talk on the fishes of Tanganyika, and with cichlid auctions throughout the day, it’s one event that an enthusiast should thoroughly enjoy.

For more details, have a look at the BCA website.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.


Buy Andrew James ranchu from Star Fisheries at open day

Like fancy goldfish? Want to buy some Japanese style ranchu? Star Fisheries have 50 on sale from Jinchu-kai member Andrew James.

Get into koi and goldfish circles and when people talk about obtaining new stock to breed from, it's all about the bloodline.

Famous ranchu breeders in Japan include Suzuki, Kashino, Nogi and Takao but we have some excellent, extremely dedicated ranchu breeders here in the UK, with Andrew James of Jinchu-kai being one of them.

Andrew James lives and breathes ranchu and his fish are bred to very exacting standards. Every goldfish club member in the UK knows him and PFK have published an article on him and his set up, and other Jinchu-kai members in previous issues of the magazine.

Andrew's fish are kept and bred in a huge poly tunnel equipped to his specifications, and in Japanese ranchu culture its all about quality, not quantity.

There was a time when his fish were not available to anyone outside of Jinchu-kai, so to be able to buy these as you would any other goldfish from Star, is a real bonus.

Open day
Star have secured 50 nisai (fish bred last year,) from Andrew James and they will be on sale along with a large shipment of Chinese fancies at their open day on Sunday 24th March 2013.

Quiet weekend? Fill it with a fish gig…

What are you up to over the weekend? Tinkering with the motor? A bit of spring cleaning? Or just sobbing into cupped hands at not having a fishier life? Get out, says Nathan Hill...

Why not come out to one of two events that hobbyists are congregating to. If you’re in the west, you could opt for the Pleco Sales and Swap meet, at Rare Aquatics in Crewe, Cheshire. I went to the last one, and it rocked. I even got to fill up on other people’s cake without getting slapped, which is always a result.

I’ll be there again this year, too. I met some great heads at the last event, and managed to put a few faces (and voices) to names that I knew. Julian Dignall even turned up and gave a talk on his South American catfish hunting exploits.

Oh, and there was 10% off of everything at Rare on the day, just like there is this time. Except this time, it coincides with Colombia’s pleco season, so there’s shedloads in stock.

If you’re a catfish nut, you’d be insane to miss this.

If you’re in the south, you might want to venture over to Romsey World of Water, where they’re having their annual tropical aquatic event. There’ll be experts from all around the industry there over the weekend, so any technical query you have about pretty much anything will be answerable. As long as it’s something fishy, that is.

Romsey also has a range of discounts over the weekend, and competitions to enter, too. If you’re lucky, you could be leaving with an Eheim Scuba Cube 125, or a JBL canister, or even a bundle of Sydeco plastic plants.

So, wipe away those tragic tears, grab the satnav and fill the fuel tank. Get out to and meet some other aquarists, and get yourself some discount gear while you’re at it. It beats staying in with weekend daytime trash TV.

Pleco Sales or Swap meet at Rare Aquatics takes place Sunday 17th of February, from 10am to 4pm. Address: Rare Aquatics, Unit 7 Atec Court, Lancaster Fields, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 6FF. Call 01270 589006 for more details.

Romsey World of Water’s aquatic event runs over the 16th and 17th of February. Address: Romsey World of Water, Greatbridge Road, Romsey SO51 0HB. Call 01794 515923 for more details.