It's fine for the more experienced fishkeepers in the Club but as we get more new members, we have to assume that they might not be so well-versed in certain aspects of Club life.

A case in point is the Show Class Lettering System which still remains a bit of a mystery so some folk.

It's a bit like shorthand really, once you know it, you can never imagine being without it so, on the principle of you've got to learn it sometime, here goes.

Applied to the exhibiting of fish at Shows, whether it is a Club Table Show or a fully-fledged Open Show, the Lettering System simply divides fish up into convenient main groups - Barbs, Characins, Cichlids, Catfish etc.

In some cases, where the group is massive, Classes may be sub-divided into more specific divisions. For instance, Cichlids have Angelfish, Dwarf Cichlids, African Rift Valley as separate sub-divisions, Characins can be divided into Tetras, Pencilfish groups and so on.

An Open Show has to have a minimum of 20 Basic Classes before it gets Show support from the Federation, but these Classes may be sub-divided if the Show Secretary so wishes, for instance, where a special interest Class may be featured at the Show.

Here is the Basic System, with a few sub divisions included as examples:

A - Furnished Aquaria & Aquascapes              O - Guppies
                                                                       O a-q - male Guppies                                                                        O s-y - female Guppies
B - Barbs                                                         P - Cultivated Livebearers
C - Characins                                                   Q - Swordtails (not cultivated types)
      Ca - Tetras (Hemigrammus, Hyphessobrycon etc)
      Cb - Pencilfish (Nannobrycon, Nannostomus)
D - Cichlids                                                      R - Platies (not cultivated types)
      Da - Angelfish
      Db - Dwarf Cichlids (Apistogramma etc)
      Dc - Rift Valley Cichlids
E - Betta sp (excluding Siamese Fighters),       S - Mollies (not cultivated types),
     Gouramies                                                        Limias       
F - Killifish                                                       T - Any Other Species Livebearer
G - Catfish                                                       U - Single-tailed Goldfish
H - Corydoras, Brochis etc                               V - Twin-tailed Goldfish
      Ha - Brochis & Aspidoras
I - Betta splendens only
J - Rasbora                                                     W - Any Other Species Coldwater
K - Danio (W.C.M.M. now Class W)                   X - Breeders teams (generally 4 per entry)
L - Loaches (some now Class W)                      X (b-m) - Breeders Teams Egglayers
M - Any Other Species Egglayer                     X (o-t) - Breeders Teams Livebearers
      Ma - 'Sharks, Flying Foxes'                      X (u-w) - Breeders Teams Coldwater
      Mb - Ricefish (now Class W)
N - Pairs of Fishes                                          Z - Aquatic Plants
      N (b-m) - Pairs of Egglayers
      N (o-t) - Pairs of Livebearers
      N (u-w) - Pairs of Coldwater Fishes

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