Aug 152013

ABC RuralOriginal story by Amy McCosker, ABC Rural

If you thought the Ekka was just for led livestock competitions you’d be mistaken.

Every year 10,000 animals come to the show and breeders and enthusiasts of all kinds come from far and wide to show off their animals.

Pisciculturalist Steve Banes with his entry into the Ekka.

Pisciculturalist Steve Banes with his furnished community tank entry at the Ekka pisciculture competition. Steve called this tank his ”Community Sink”.

Fish enthusiasts, or pisciculturalists, have gathered with 200 fish and other aquatic wildlife ranging from common goldfish to tropical species, as well as Australian freshwater natives, crustaceans, and amphibians.

Fish lover Steve Banes has literally bought everything including the kitchen sink in an attempt win the competition this year.

“I’ve replicated a kitchen sink with the tap constantly running and it’s see through on the front so you can see the fish swimming amongst the dishes,” he says of his contribution to the show.

“The judges are looking for the ability of the fish to live harmoniously together as a community.

“People ask why we have fish as pets but they don’t don’t bite the postman, they don’t pee on the carpet and they don’t annoy the neighbours.”

It hasn’t always been an easy ride for the aquatic breeders who have had to fight to be taken seriously.

“A few years ago we approached the RNA, they have champion cow, champion horse, champion goat so we said ‘why can’t we have a champion fish?'”

“We marched in the grand parade for the first time four years ago and we definitely get the best cheer.

“We all dress in full suits and we get our face painted to make it a bit colourful and as you walk around you dodge the cow and horse poo.”

Mr Banes says leading a fish around a parade takes some ingenuity.

“We have the fish in a cup on a lanyard around out neck and we have it well covered with cling film.”

Kept a safe distance from the fish is the Poultry, Pigeons, Birds and Eggs display.

While the traditional runner ducks, laying hens and turkeys are always interesting it’s the birds known as ‘dinosaurs’ that many come to see.

Desley Krause is the owner of the chickens officially known as Australian Game which stand upright at almost a metre on strong, powerful legs leading to their prehistoric nickname.

“I was walking past one one day and I said ‘oh that’s ugly but I’ve got to have one,’ and that was twenty years ago and I’ve still got them,” she says.

“Temperament wise they are just absolutely beautiful, there is nothing drastic about them.”

Kept all the way over on the other side of the show are the dogs.

These pampered pooches have their own show ring so together with their owners they can display some skills for the judges.

Italian Greyhound breeder Maureen Friend whose winning pup was wearing a sparkling collar made of crystal beads that would make many human divas jealous.

“I won best of breed with my girl, she’s the love of my life,” she says.

After many years showing horses and now dogs Mrs Friend says there are perks to breeding smaller animals.

“It’s definitely easier, there is less mess to clean up.”

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