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Be warned that I am no expert in showing fish but I do go to a few open shows but before you go enter your club table show and gain a little experience 

I am just going to try and say the things that work for me the first thing I ask myself is what is a show Quality fish? This is the most difficult question someone has to answer. 

Fish judging is based on finnage, Size and colour and deportment and presentation you do some judging when you pick a fish from the tank at fish shop and you decide that some fish was better than the rest

Start your search for Entries a couple of months before the show season starts Check your choices for obvious flaws such as deformities ripped fins, scales missing, and scars and check the dorsal fin have a good look is it the correct shape are any of the rays bent ? If you started early enough fin damage can be corrected earthworms are good for this ,but you can be  wasting your time entering a damaged fish. If the general condition is good you are ready to check other requirements. Start with a good book or your associations norm size book and check the size for your species of fish and remember the tail is not include in the size although the biggest fish does not always win. Colour is Hard to help you with because it depends on the species and if itís a variety of the species and if it s a man made fish so its Back to your books again If the description and picture are not too clear check with a fellow hobbyist. We have Many good hobbyists in our club use all the resources available to you because it is in the club interests if you win as you will be flying the flag for the club Deportment means how your fish behaves in regards to the species

If your Fish is a surface dweller and is on the bottom of the tank with his fins clamped down, it is safe to say his deportment is not too great The Way you care for your fish all year determines if you have a winner. A fish that is bright eyed and swimming around with erect fins is going to make a good impression on the judge. Presentation is making sure your tank is clean and tidy

After choosing your Fish put it in its new home several hours before the show this will help the fish adjust. Rules usually state an appropriate size container. (Ours do.) If you put your fish in a container where it cannot turn around the tank is not appropriate

If you put your fish in a tank which is too small for it . The fish will always show some signs of stress And can sometimes die this is not only foolish it is cruel And it is best not to feed your show fish for at least 24 hours before a show And remember to put the fish in the correct class you could have the best fish in the show but if itís in the wrong class it may be disqualified. Sometimes the judges sort this but if itís a big show or class they will not have the time and they are not required to do this The onus is on you to make sure it is in the right class and I have seen great fish in the wrong classes before And if a judge comes to give a talk at your club get him in a corner and interrogate him about what he thinks makes a good show fish J