Czech Labyrinth-fish Association
Anyone who has somehow found their way to the Betta splendens, or other similar commonly-available species, is usually surprised by the variety of colours and shapes that are possible from even a single spawn, as well as the the fishes' fascinating behaviour. Acquiring any new species and getting to know them is a challenge for any new breeder.
The journey isn't always easy. Although the unlimited capacity of the Internet, which nowadays can provide us with nearly everything, offers us a wide variety of ways to reach our goal, sometimes, through hard work and determination, we find our feet on the right path. The desire for new information and the exchange of ideas (and fish) is an impulse that encourages us to visit an exhibition or show, in addition to the prospect of meeting people with a common interest.
This brought us together in 2004. Because information alone is never enough, with the saying “more heads are better than one” in mind we started toying with the idea of establishing our own group. In 2005 we were finally ready. The name was obvious, and so the Česká labyrintkářská asociace (CLA), or Czech Labyrinth-fish Association, was born.
The principle objectives of the CLA are to propagate expert fish keeping and breeding methods, to promote tropical freshwater fish and to create a basis for the future co-operation of people like-minded people in the Czech Republic, to represent and defend the interests of club members, to co-operate with other similar organisations abroad, to support and promote scientific knowledge of the natural laws of this group of fish and to make the case for the careful handling and breeding of them, and to publish a newsletter and other informative publications for its members.
A strong part of the CLA was dedicated to breeders specialising in the breeding and keeping of Betta splendens. With time, the CLA ceased to be enough to satisfy those of us who had fallen in love with Betta splendens, so, under the auspices of the CLA, a new project was started – the Splendenspower.cz forum, founded under the motto “Your bettas. Our passion”. It is the largest forum for Czech or Slovak speakers dedicated only to the breeding and keeping of Betta splendens, including the wild forms of the splendens group.
The form and content of the forum inspired so many people, that soon this noble hobby was gaining traction. This was, in no small part, also thanks to the efforts of the Slovakian Aquarium Club Klub.Akva.Sk, which in 2007 managed to organise their first Betta Exhibition during a traditional Aquarium Fair. The competition was judged according a new standard, which had been developed after taking other popular standards into account (IBC, EHBBC, B4A). The standard reflected the modern forms, but didn't disadvantage breeders' efforts. The new standard retained the traditional approach of judging fish well known to our breeders from previous shows, which until that time had been organised according to the standard of the German Regional Group Cottbus, a chapter of the German group IGL (Internationalen Gemeinschaft für Labyrinthfische).
The standard found its place among breeders, and shows soon followed in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. Targeted breeding and selection of the modern forms of Betta splendens gained more supporters and began to be more accepted as its own specialisation within the aquarium hobby.
In 2010 the Pilsen-based group IRIS organised their ninth exhibition of aquarium fish, including an international competition divided into 3 categories: Guppy trios, Molly pairs and Betta splendens males. In addition to judges from the organisations CLA and Akva Martin, the group invited Marion Schultheiss from the German group Kampffischfreunde.de (IBC Chapter), who stepped in for Peter Bärwald after he had car troubles on the day of departure. Her visit became another turning point for us. Marion is a certified IBC judge. Her passion and knowledge so impressed us that the following year we visited one of the largest IBC-sanctioned shows, in Friedrichshafen in Germany. From that time we contemplated the idea of establishing our own IBC chapter.
Splendenspower.cz forum – Chapter of IBC
Splendenspower.cz forum remains an open community of breeders with the principle objective of sharing vital information, breeding methods and our own experience. The forum has become a unifying platform for new and experienced breeders throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia, uniting them through new information, encouragement and love of the hobby.
Let us now focus on what the future may hold. The impressive achievements of our breeders can be seen with each passing show here in the Czech Republic and Slovakia as the quality of the fish on offer increases. In order to ensure the continued growth in quality and contribution to our community, it was decided that in April 2012 the Splendenspower.cz forum would become its own IBC chapter, representing both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. After a few unforgettable years we are now embarking on a new journey. Our next step is approaching fast – our first IBC-sanctioned to be held on the 15th and 16th of September 2012 in Bratislava.