October 12-13, 2019 | Saturday 10 am - 6 pm | Sunday 10 am - 4 pm
Secaucus, NJ | Meadowlands Exposition Center

First International Betta Congress-Sanctioned Competition

Aquatic Experience Hosts Its First International Betta Congress-Sanctioned Competition


For the first time in Aquatic Experience history, the show will feature a competition sanctioned by the International Betta Congress (IBC), an overarching organization that promotes the keeping, breeding, and showing of all varieties of betta fish. Presented by Betta Breeders United—a chapter of the IBC—and sponsored by Hikari and Aqueon, the competition will showcase over 300 dazzling bettas as they compete in dozens of classes within the broader categories of competitor-bred, purchased, and wild species. With a diverse array of bettas displayed by breeders from all over the world, Aquatic Experience attendees will be mesmerized by the beauty of these timeless fish. Many of the bettas that participate in the competition will be available for purchase after judging has been completed.

“Every fish in this show is the product of careful planning and hard work,” said Holly Rutan, who serves as the President of the IBC, Vice President of Betta Breeders United, and an apprentice judge in the competition. “From a balanced diet, to daily water changes, to flare training—their owners dedicated months of effort culminating in this moment.”

Formerly known as Siamese Fighting Fish, betta fish used to be kept for sport due to their fighting tendencies. The IBC, however, does not condone the fighting of fish and instead encourages admiration of bettas’ beautiful appearances and unique personalities. Founded in 1966, the IBC is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting and researching bettas. The IBC is now active worldwide, providing training for judges and establishing standards for shows organized by affiliated local betta chapters such as Betta Breeders United.

Betta Breeders United began in 2015 as a Facebook group focused on responsible, science-based betta breeding. The group became an official IBC chapter in 2018. Today, Betta Breeders United has over 17,000 members around the world and constantly strives to showcase the incredible variety of the betta species with national events, such as Aquatic Experience and the 2020 International Betta Congress Convention.

For Aquatic Experience, Betta Breeders United is expecting bettas from throughout the U.S. and Southeast Asia to be entered into the competition, with 100 or more available for purchase after the judges have made their decisions. Siegbert Illig will serve as head judge for the event. He has been breeding bettas since 1994 and showing his fish in IBC-sanctioned competitions since 1995. Certified as an IBC judge since 2003, Illig has won numerous awards for his work, participated in developing the show standards for the halfmoon betta, and has been integral in the acceptance and popularization of the grizzle color pattern. Other judges for the Aquatic Experience competition will include: Rich Creighton, who has judged numerous international shows in his eight years as an IBC-certified judge, Bob Plenge, a two-time recipient of the IBC Outstanding Service Award, Kurt Bihlmayer, who joined the IBC in 1978 and also serves as a judge for the American Killifish Association and apprentice judge, Holly Rutan.

For more details about how to enter this exciting competition, visit https://www.ibcbettas.org/show/betta-breeders-united-at-aquatic-experience/. Betta Breeders United is looking forward to sharing the beauty and diversity of the betta species with Aquatic Experience attendees.

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