A global pandemic isn't great for tropical fish clubs which rely on person-to-person interaction to foster support for and interest in the hobby.
The exchange of fish, especially Breeder's Award Program fish, is important for clubs.
Recently, I took helped plan and run two Covid-friendly bag swaps. These events took place outside with safe social distancing practices employed.
The Greater Chicago Cichlid Association had about 20 participants and The Chicago Livebearer Soceity had about ten participants.
The events were fun and easy to pull off and folks really enjoyed them.
The Chicago Livebearer Society held a bag swap on June 20th, 2020. Over 30 bags of fish were exchanged.
How does it work?
The Bag Swap is essentially a bag raffle which takes place outside. We met in the parking lot of the hotel where we normally meet.
Your members bring fish and receive a raffle ticket for each bag they bring. After all the bags are collected and raffle tickets distributed, the bag drawing takes place in random order.
We had considered doing an auction, but money handling is a high-touch activity and should be avoided to reduce risk.
For safety reasons, insist that attendees where face masks.
What do I need to pull this off?
The Bag Swap is easy to run. Here's what you need to do:
- Promote the event via email and social media to your members
- Set up one or two tables in the parking lot where you meet.
- You'll need two-part raffle tickets and a bucket to draw them from
- Hand sanitizer
- Sharpie Markers
Below is the text of an email you can use to promote the event, including sample rules and an image of the email.
Parking Lot Bag Swap
Safely exchange fish with your livebearer friends!
Date and Time
Insert date/time here
Insert Name/Address here
Insert Google Maps Link
Swap bags of fish and have fun!
NAME_OF_CLUB is holding a Bag Swap in the parking lot of the NAME_LOCATION
Bring up to six bags of fish (no more than two bags per species) and receive a raffle ticket for each bag. Please bring pairs or groups only.
Raffle numbers will be called in random order. When your name is called, you can choose a bag from what is available!
This is a great way to move out some fish and bring home some new ones!
Bring your BAP fish! You can Download the BAP Form PDF [insert link to your BAP form].
Social Distance, Please!
Please practice social distancing. We insist that you wear a mask and maintain distance from other individuals.
Bag Swap Rules
- The event takes place rain or shine outside in the hotel parking lot.
- Only NAME_OF_CLUB paid members may participate.
- Limit of six bags total, no more than two per species.
- Fish should be double bagged.
- Please clearly label the bags with:
Location if known
Your Name and Phone
- Pairs or groups of juveniles only. No single fish, please.
- Please bring desirable species only.
- You will receive a raffle ticket for each bag you bring. Raffle tickets will be randomly selected. If your number is called, you can choose any bag from a designated table.
- Please wear masks and maintain social distance. Hand sanitizer will be available.
- NAME_OF_CLUB personnel handling tickets will wear gloves and masks.
Image of Sample Email
Here's an image of the email sent by the Chicago Livebearer Society.