Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Pursuit for Perfection ~ 精益求精


美麗的東西是永不完美的。
~ 埃及諺語

A Beautiful Thing is Never Perfect
~ An Egyptian Proverb


Back to continue on the Pompom Dragon Eyes Pearlscale - when the F1 Pompom hybrids attained sexual maturity in early part of 2009, I attempted inbreeding and back-crossing different breeder combination for F2.



F2 Male Pompom Dragon Eyes Pearlscale ~ Oct 2009

The three most important spawns are :


Spawn 2009-IA:
Inbreeding the F1 Pompom hybrid - 40% short tail specimens. Only some long tail fries inherited the pearl-scaling (poor quality scaling due to incomplete dominance). All short tail fries have normal scales. I kept a few long tail males with Pearl scaling as next generation breeders.

Spawn 2009-BA:
Back-crossing a F1 Pompom hybrid female to the stable line Dragon Eyes Pearlscale male - more than 80% short tail specimens with varied degrees of pearl-scaling traits. The best short tail female in the F2 was a red-white female with faint traces of pompom and big rounded eyes (pictured below).

Spawn 2009-BB:
Back-crossing a F1 Pompom hybrid male to the stable line female - more than 80% short tail specimens with varied degrees of pearl-scaling traits. An almost full red male fish with  slightly more obvious Pompoms, big balance eyes and pearl-scaling is the most important F2 breeder.

All the progenies from both the spawns are lacking in my desired features and structure. Specifically, they have longer peduncle joints, bad quality scaling and flatter back curves. The overall traits have all gone haywire after a major out-cross like a stack of scrambled poker cards - it will take a few generations to "tune" them back again. 

The next breeding plan for F3 will be to enhance and improve the desired features by crossing the best male from spawn 2009-BB with the best female from spawn 2009-BA. Since this F2 male has a stronger Pompom trait and  better quality pearl-like scaling amongst the F2, I would backcross it again with females of the stable Dragon Eyes Pearlscale line to improve the F3's scaling and structure. Hopefully, the Pompom trait will not become diluted in the F3.



I think I really got carried away talking about goldfish. With this last posting for year 2009, I would like to wish all my readers a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. Thanks for all your kind support of this blog and the emails!

I would be busy with the Oozeki Annual Ranchu Show (OARS) on New Year's day. Look out for the Oozeki Ranchu Club website for the OARS 2010 updates soon.


Pictures:

1) Male fish from spawn BB

2) Side view of the same male fish from spawn BB.

3) Female from spawn BA.

4) Another female from spawn BA

5) Long tail progeny from spawn IA (inbreed)








Monday, December 21, 2009

Hope for the Best & Prepare for the Worst ~ 怀最好的希望,做最坏的打算。

子曰: 工欲善其事,必先利其器。

He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
~ Confucius


Extreme hot and cool weather become more prevalent in Singapore now then ever. These drastic changes in atmospheric readings and temperature often trigger Goldfish to spawn. Though the sexes are segregated into different ponds, some of the female Pearlscales had started to spawn even without the courtship chasing of the males. As usual, it is much more difficult for the TVR to spawn than the Pearlscales. There are still no sign of the TVR breeders showing any interest to spawn as yet.


In retrospect of 2009's Goldfish breeding, I am quite happy with the progress of the new breed Dragon Eye Pearlscales. Three new colours - the black, the calico and the blue-brown have been created. Next year will be devoted to further fine-tuning the features and the development of the new line of Pompom Dragon Eyes Pearlscales. I could feel my adrenalin rush just by thinking of all the exciting combination next year :P

I wasn't as lucky for the TVR breeding this year compared to the Pearlscales. In fact, I have not done better than my previous 2 years. The Pearlscale and the TVR are groomed using totally different techniques from two distinct cultures - China and Japan. Actually, I am very curious to study the differences and appraise what could have gone wrong. From September, I had also earmarked the seed fishes and paying more attention to their dietary needs. I plan to spawn the TVR after the Ozeki Annual Ranchu Show 2010 (OARS 2010). For next year's TVR breeding, I have also planned an out-cross to a new bloodline from Japanand acquired a pair of female TVRs of related bloodline from my Hong Kong friend. Hopefully, these females conditioned in Hong Kong could produce better eggs this year.



In the pursuit to improve on Goldfish breeding, I know that I have to be prepared to be disappointed over and over again - Particularly so that the tropical climate is never the natural habitat of the Goldfish. There will be many more questions than answers to come along the way and numerous brainstorming to improve on techniques of Goldfish breeding in the tropical weather.



Pictures:
1) New colour this year - 3 months old calico and  blue-brown Short Tail Dragon Eyes Pearlscales.

2) Seed female #1 from Hong Kong.

3) Seed female #2 from Hong Kong.



Friday, December 11, 2009

Doing Nothing ~ 無為

Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency.
~Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind

Finally I am back home from China again, this time round, I was in Beijing with my family. We missed the snow which was just a week before our arrival, much to the dismay of my kids who have yet to experience snowing. The trip had been wonderful - lugging two kids to scale the Great Wall of China, visiting must-go places like the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and our first skiing experience.


Having gotten used to the routine of rushing and juggling time with family, work and fish, I suddenly feel strange and restless not doing anything much. In fact, overseas traveling is becoming more and more stressful for me, particularly so when I almost always have some baby fishes at home.

Healthy adult Goldfish will do fine without food for a week or two, but not for the developing fries. The first few weeks are particularly important for the foundation of the fish. Nonetheless, nothing major happen for the 2 sessions of overseas trip, it merely slow down the development of the fishes. One major advantage about the green water is that it acts as a food supplement too. The water maintained with a healthy green provides both food and oxygen for the few days after all the food in the automatic food timer were dispensed.



Of course, being a Goldfish fanatic, I cannot forget about the Goldfish anywhere I go, especially so when I am in Goldfish country :) I managed to steal some time to visit the Goldfish display in the ZhongShan Garden (just beside the Forbidden City) and one of the nearby Ornamental fish market in Beijing Lady's Street. Taking quick snaps with my camera as my kids complained: "Hey pop... not Goldfish again please!"



China continues to fascinate me, I mean not only about the Goldfish, but the rich culture and historical heritage. I feel very proud to be part of the culture that created the Goldfish.


Pictures:


1) Great Wall of China - Mu Tianyu.


2) Calligraphy "Wu Wei" (doing nothing) by Emperor Kangxi.


3) Pagoda and Goldfish display tanks alongside the walls of ZhongShan Garden.


4) Close up of one of the Goldfish display in ZhongShan Garden.


5) A LFS setup in Beijing Lady's Street.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stage 2 - 2nd Time Out-cross ~ 二次雜交


真正穩定的系統必須預料意外、承受分裂與期待演變

A truly stable system expects the unex
pected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.
~ Tom Robbins (American Novelist)


The Chinese Pompom Fantail Goldfish (绣球文魚 "xiu qiu wen yu" or 花房 "hana fusa" in Japanese) is one of my favourite varieties emanating a strong oriental flavour. In the Chinese culture, the Pompom is an auspicious token associated with love and hope. Often portrayed with powerful legendary beasts like the Chinese Dragons, Qilins (麒麟) and the stone lions guarding important premises, the Pompom symbolises the benevolence amidst power.

When the features of the Short Tail Dragon Eye Pearlscale was more or less stable in late 2008, Stage 2 of the project plan was kick-started to add in the Pompoms (Narial Bouquets). My idea is to create 2 cute and obvious pompoms but not too large that it will put too much weight on the head of the fish.

In the best practices of out-crossing, the breeder selects two stable lines to propagate their desirable traits into the new line. I borrowed a rare male Dragon Eyes Fantail Pompom from Alvin to cross with my all-white Short Tail Dragon Eyes Pearlscale. The Dragon Eyes Fantail Pompom is a very stable ancient bloodline with long slender body and having a pronounced nasal growth like a pair of Chinese Pompoms. I selected a few females from my most stable and consistent line of Blue Berry Dragon Eyes Pearlscales to pair with this male. The F1 of this combination produced 100% long tail Sakura Dragon Eye Pompoms. There were also about 50% metallic scales and 50% nacreous Sakura.

The most interesting thing to observe in this major out-cross is the lack of pearl-scaling in all 7000+ fries. This contradicts the prior findings from out-crossing the Chinese Short Tail Dragon Eyes with the Pearlscales, where there was a small percentage of fries having pearl-like scalings. It seems to suggest that genetic co-dominance is dependent on the types of varieties in the out-cross.

Usually, we do not expect the hybrids from a far out-cross of different varieties to yield good results because the desire traits in each variety are often weakened from incomplete dominance or co-dominance. Though I was disappointed that there were no progeny with pearl-like scales, I was lucky to get a few show-grade hybrids with Pompoms. These Pompom hybrids displayed a deeper body and Sakura colouration rarely found in the paternal lineage. The pompom, though obviously present, is also much smaller than the parent male due to "trait dilution" in the out-cross. In fact, one of this F1 hybrid had also won the second prize in the Aquarama 2009 OPEN category.

Now with the genetic codes scrambled once more, the plan for the next iteration is to back-cross the F1 hybrid to the pure line of Dragon Eyes Pearlscales and inbreed the F1. In the course of this project, I have to stay very focus with my original goal instead of being distracted by these interesting hybrids. Most of these hybrids are culled or given away, leaving only a few to propagate in the subsequent iterations. Time, space, cost and energy are the limits in this game of unlimited outcomes.

Stay tune to this track in my future postings.





Pictures and Videos:
1) A traditional art of Chinese Lions and Pompoms.

2) Alvin's Dragon Eyes Fantail Pompom with strong variety characteristics - firm, round Pompoms

3) Far out-crossing - the lucky Pompom fantail and his concubines.

4) Blue Berry Dragon Eyes Pearlscales from the stable line #1.


5) Some of my stable line #1 of with consistent features.

6) F1 Sakura Pompom #1 @ 4 months old

7) F1 Sakura Pompom #2 @ 4 months old

Video:
1) The F1 Sakura Pompom @ 4 months old. This fish won the CATEGORY B OPEN class in Aquarama 2009.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

古都取經 ~ Goldfish Pilgrimage

觀今宜鑒古﹐無古不成今。~ 唐太宗
A study of contemporary events is best supplemented by comparative analyses on histories of bygone eras.

~ Tai Zong Emperor (Tang Dynasty)


I knew I would have a very fruitful trip visiting the Goldfish hobbyists and breeders in Northern China. In the few days of eye-opening expedition, the Vermillion Goldfish Club members covered many Goldfish farms in Rugao, Nantong, Yangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing.

We were exposed to the Goldfish keeping techniques of the North and its ancient Goldfish art and cultures. Having a cooler climate than the south, the breeders in the north employ much more shallower water to groom their Goldfish. Most of the northern farms also specialise in the Classical Pearlscale, Lionhead, Bubble Eyes and the Dragon Eyes Butterfly.

We are also very fortunate to establish contact with a group of very avid Goldfish hobbyists from the Nanjing Goldfish Club. Like us, they also rented ponds in the outdoors to further their skills in advance goldfish grooming techniques. In recent years, a few of them had retired, leased a plot of land and build their own ponds to keep Goldfish.

I was most pleasantly surprised and honoured that the stone bridge leading to the Nanjing Goldfish Club's office was carved with some of my Goldfish artworks! Besides creating new varieties of Goldfish, the Nanjing Goldfish Club members are also very passionate in re-creating and maintaining various ancient varieties, some of which, like the Imperial Goose Head Phoenix is at the blink of extinction due to less popular commercial demands.

We had the privilege to tour one of the last few places in Northern China with backyard Goldfish breeders keeping Goldfish in their roof-top. Unfortunately, with rapid urbanisation, many breeders have stopped breeding the Goldfish. Our hosts also extended their hospitality to show us their proud heritage - the breath-taking Zhou Mansions of Suzhou!

With my job and baby fis
h commitments, I couldn't have continued the expedition together with my fellow members. They are still having hell of a great time touring the Goldfish farms in Southern China. As I eagerly await for their stories and pictures to update the Vermillion Goldfish Club's website, I couldn't help relishing the awe and wonders of the Goldfish hobby that had forged so many friendships Internationally.

Pictures:
1) The beautiful Zhou Mansions in Suzhou.


2) The stone bridge decorating the Nanjing Goldfish Club HQ with my artwork.

3) The school of cute northern Classical Pearlscales.

4) Rare Imperial Goosehead Phoenix with Red Cap Lionheads kept by a Nanjing Goldfish Club member.

5) New creation - short tail rare colour Bubble Eyes Goldfish bred by the Nanjing Goldfish Club members.

6) One of the disappearing roof-top backyard farms.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

3 Men Create A Tiger ~ 三人成虎

结论是个厌倦思考的地方。
A conclusion is a place where you got tired of thinking.
~ Arther Bloch



The translated Chinese idiom of "3 Men Create A Tiger"
can be found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_men_make_a_tiger

How often are we guilty of stereotyping and unfairly judging people and things, only to find out later that it is not what we had initially perceived? Sometimes, we formed our opinions based on our life's experiences or from what we like to believe, but unfortunately, most inherited our views from others' opinions where information is often warped intentionally. We therefore constrain ourselves to bias views, missing out the full picture after we have conveniently arrived at our conclusions without further thinking. We become defensive and start to denounce other contradictory beliefs, in the course of which, relations are strained and we said things that we shouldn't have. Respect and courtesy are the least in our minds in the midst of proving our points.

With the exception of individuals who had intentionally chosen to canvass for their own agenda at all costs, even for the few of us who eventually found out the truth usually became prisoners of our own words. We are victims of "escalation of commitments" because we had preached so strongly in our initial beliefs, we continue to persist that we were never mistaken - all in the name of pride. We found ourselves becoming contradictory, hypocritical and jealous, cooking out excuses to justify our failures and blaming everyone and everything except ourselves. We do many bizarre stuffs just to uphold our pride, spreading rumours, mucking up half-truths and obscured facts to support our precarious ideologies.

These are the real-life social problems from working relations, friends, family and even the Goldfish hobby. Managing differences in the human society plays an important role in social and world peace. Till the day that the human race could finally embrace differences with an open mind and learn about respect and humility, there will never be, as it had never been a day of peace in our little world. While what I have said would not change the world, why not take life with a positive light? Isn't life boring without the things that we love to hate? Sometimes, they do spur us to keep improving ourselves and provide a good laugh now and then :)

In the game of Goldfish breeding, it is important for the breeder not to fall into the trap of "escalation of commitments". Although good brood stock should create good babies, we cannot always expect this to be true. A lot of factors are dependent on the breeder's aesthetic values and culling skills. If a subline does not yield results after a few iterations. It will be better to assess the problem objectively, admit our mistakes and move on.

I will be away for a highly anticipated goldfish expedition in Northern China with some of my avid hobbyist friends. My biggest worry now is the 4 batches of baby Dragon Eye Pearlscales spawned in August and September. I hope to cull away more fries to provide more space for the better ones. Focusing on the structure and the features, if I am lucky, I may be able to achieve some breakthrough this year.

Video:
三人成虎
~ the testimony of three men create a tiger in the market — repeated false reports will lead one astray. Translation :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_men_make_a_tiger

Pictures:

1) The most sexy blueberry eyes still come from the all-white sub-line.

2) Dragon Eye Pearlscales spawned on 26 September.

3) Dragon Eye Pearlscales spawned on 31st August.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Taming A Ranchu ~ 蘭疇の馴育

子不教﹐父之過。
The father is to be censured for his uncouth child.
~ Excerpt from the Chinese "Trimetric Classics" - 三字經

One of the most important milestones of cilvilisation was domestication. The principal aim of animal domestication was to fulfill man’s need for food and to leverage on their field work. As society progressed, selective breeding of animals extended beyond gratifying basic needs to sensory appreciation. Animal shows like dog shows, song bird shows and fish shows all have one thing in common – besides the ornamental qualities, the animals must feel comfortable in the new environment for them to outperform their peers.



Ranchu Judging in AJRS 2005 (Osaka).
Note the transfer of fish in between judging
and the intense human interaction for the fish.


The essential factor to perform in competitions for any animal (including the human being) is what psychologists refer to as
“cognitive conditioning”, where the subject’s mindset and behaviour is tuned to response favorably to a familiar set of stimulus. In similar ways as dogs are trained to be obedient and song birds to sing unrestrained amid strangers, goldfish can also be trained to be accustomed to the show environment too!

This is particularly crucial in the case of the Japanese Top View Ranchu shows, where a Ranchu’s swimming aesthetics is the most major component of the judging criteria. During the Ranchu competitions in Japan, show Ranchus are transferred by hand from the staging tubs to a round show bowl surrounded by judges. After the Ranchu is released into the show bowl, it has about 20 seconds to show off its best to the judges. If the Ranchu became stressed and stayed stationary or ducted around in the show bowl, it would flunk badly in swimming aesthetics.



Taming my Ranchu.
Bred in 2008 (Tosai Tategyoji, Ōzeki Annual Ranchu Show)


The Japanese coined the term “jun iku” (馴育) - “taming and cultivating” to underscore the importance of training the Ranchus. Competition Ranchu hobbyists devise various methods of taming the Ranchu, all with the objective of getting them accustomed to human presence and contact. One of the easiest methods was to hand feed the Ranchu in the show bowl. A trained Ranchu would eventually associate the roundish show bowl with its meal time, swimming around leisurely and expecting its favourite treats to be served.


Picture:
1) This effective "taming" tool found in almost any traditional Chinese household with children, epitomise the dawn of social civilisation of the East.


Videos:
2) Judging scene in the AJRS 2005. Note how each Ranchu is transferred from the staging tubs to the show bowl surrounded by a panel of judges. Within 20 seconds, the Ranchu will be judged.

3) My tamed and happy Ranchu.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tradition & Creativity ~ 復古與創新

Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship.
~ Zeuxis (c. 400 BC)


My family and I had a joyous weekend in the Mid Autumn Goldfish Show. It was a small but very well themed event to tie in the mid autumn activities and the traditional way of showcasing the beauty of the goldfish from the top view - thanks to the passion and hard work put up by the organisers - RafflesGold and SamGoldfish.

I had supported the show with one Dragon Eye Butterfly (1st prize) in the Butterfly Category and two Short Tail Dragon Eye Pearlscales (1st and 3rd prizes) in the Open Category. The same fish that won 1st prize in the Pealscale Category of the recent Fish-Hub Competition had won the 1st prize in the top view open show. It is just over 2 years old now and I hope I can keep it healthy and show ready for as long as I can.

I was also very honoured and humbled to rep
resent The Ōzeki Ranchu Club as one of the judges in the TVR category. Being a goldfish hobbyist myself, I know how easy it is to put our judgments on a fish within that few minutes compared to the time, passion and love that the hobbyists put into their fishes. As such, we feel the great responsibility and treated our judging duty as a very solemn affair.

It was great that the TVR hobby has been maintaining strong and getting better and better over the years within a dedicated group of TVR hobbyists in Singapore. I had a great time chatting with the group and frankly, I am very impressed that many have attained good skills to keep their fishes healthy and in show standard! With due respect, I think all participants are winners as they have moved a step higher in this hobby by proudly showcasing their fishes in a competition. Winning or losing is secondary to the spirit of continual self-improvement.

For more pictures of winning entries and scene of the show, please check out the RafflesGold Forum:

http://www.rafflesgold.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=6650


I had also put the winners' pictures in the Verrmillion Goldfish Club's website.


Pictures:
1) Public enjoying Mid Autumn activities amid the goldfish show.

2) My 1st prize black butterfly (bottom fish). One of my only two butterfly collection earlier this year.

3) The aunt and niece - 1st and 3rd prize Dragon Eye Pearlscales.

4) A beautiful TVR in the show that did not win any prize because it refused to "dance" for the judges.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Golden Mean ~ 中庸

Life is like riding a bicycle. To find your balance, you must keep moving. ~ Albert Einstein

Fortunately for the goldfish hobbyists in Singapore, there are two goldfish shows these two months to tide through the usual quiet months after the Aquarama. The Fish-Hub Flower Horn and Goldfish Show is currently held in the East Point Mall till this Sunday, 20th September while the Mid Autumn Goldfish Show will be held on 3rd October.

I entered 2 self-bred Dragon Eye Pearlscale for the Fish Hub Show. The same fish which won the 3rd Prize in the Aquarama 2009 Pearlscale category, came in 1st in the Pearlscale category.

It isn't that encouraging for my other entry of the Black Dragon Eye Pearlscale. This fish has a structural problem that causes its head to dip whenever it stops swimming. To keep balance, it has to keep swimming. It is my mistake for not checking on its deportment before sending it for shows. It was kept it in a pond with 6 other fishes and never displayed it in an aquarium.

I have also found some time last evening to update the show winners' pictures in the Vermillion Goldfish Club website. It has also been a great challenge for me to balance work, family and hobby these few weeks.

Pictures:
1) Fish-Hub Flower Horn & Goldfish Show in East Point Mall.

2) My 1st Prize winner.

3) A Short Tail Ryukin that I am most impressed in the show. This guy has the potential to grow more beautiful in future shows.

4) My Black Dragon Eye Pearlscale with structural problem.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Synergy ~ 众志成城

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
~ Henry Ford

Few years back, I used to be the "scout" for my goldfish club members to recce on new shipment of goldfish. Every week, I would wake up very early on certain weekdays, drove from nearly one end of Singapore to the other just to check out the newly imported Chinese goldfish. Then I have about 20 minutes to select and made my purchases before rushing to work by 8:30 am.

We would all meet up in the evening after work to distributed the fishes. I went on this routine for almost 5 consecutive years, every week without fail. It was madness, but very enjoyable; as I drove through the long journey in the early dawn, I was always excited about the suspense of guessing what varieties of goldfish the dealer would import for the week. These "reconnaissance sorties" had trained me to be quick and sharp to scan for the fishes I want amongst the thousands of newly arrived goldfish.

The learning continues long after the purchases. My friends would feedback on the fishes that I bought for them and as we grew the fishes, we continuously studied their development in order to refine the selection criteria. We also adhered to a strict quarantine regime for newly purchased fishes, where we learned through practical experiences on handling various goldfish diseases. The strong synergy resulted in accelerated learning. As we learned from each others' mistakes, we brainstormed for solutions and made rapid progress together in this hobby. Eventually, we became confident to form the first goldfish club of Singapore - the Vermillion Goldfish Club in 2003.

Nowadays, my work commitments and the goldfish breeding projects leave me with much lesser time to join my goldfish club members on their fish hunting trips. However, the teamwork and close knitted sharing stays strong in both the goldfish clubs I am associated with - the Vermillion Goldfish Club and the Oozeki Goldfish Club.

I am really looking forward to the 2 imminent goldfish shows - The FishHub Show and the Mid Autumn Goldfish Competition to meet up with my friends again. What "secret weapons" would they field in for the Goldfish competition?


The Oozeki Ranchu Club and the Vermillion Goldfish Club welcome anyone who wants to know more about the hobby to contact them.

Pictures:

1) My amateur cartoon of the Goldfish Fanatic
2) Photo taking and chit chat sessions
3) Pair of rare scarlet dragon eye pompoms, one of the most memorable catch in 2003
4) Harvesting goldfish to study the development
5) Oozeki Ranchu Club JMIFY 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly ~ 黄金三镖客

He hasn't any enemy in the world, and none of his friends like him.
~ Oscar Wilde

The odds of having good show fishes from goldfish breeding is always tough. From the thousands of fries, not many will be good. Breeding goldfish is a game full of hopes, disappointments and surprises - many young fishes that look promising do not develop more beautiful; some inconspicuous fishes suddenly stands out from the thousands and develop into more beautiful specimens. Breeding goldfish is the ultimate game of patience and hard work, it also "sharpens the eyes" - overtime, the breeder will develop a good feel of how features changes and the eyes to "see" the future potential of very young fishes.


In some ways, goldfish are like friends. From the many people we met in our lives, not many will become bosom friends. There will be friends who disappoint us and there will be friends who surprise and touch our hearts. However, unlike goldfish, it is not always easy for one to develop good eyes for assessing friends.

One of the greatest joy for me is to appreciate and learn about goldfish together with good friends - a pleasant surprise from TVR breeding comes over the weekend when I checked with Alvin about the Tosais that he is grooming. Earlier this year, I had helped to spawn from Alvin's selected pair of parent fishes and handed him the fries after they are hatched. Alvin has managed to develop the head very well for all the Tosais this year and I was also very happy to see a promising piece of show grade fish! It is through such teamwork and mutual sharing of notes that enable us to progress faster than we could have achieved alone.

The raining season is here again and I am feeling the itch to spawn my goldfish. I normally spawn my Pearlscales in this period but I am also contemplating to do a trial spawn of TVR. There are some interesting things I would like to experiment before the actual TVR breeding season next year.


Picture:
1) New variety Dragon Eye Pearlscales 2009 - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

2) A promising piece of Tosai groomed from day 1 by Alvin, my good friend/mentor.

Video:
1) One of my favourite theme songs from my childhood Wild West Movie - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Let the Fishes Do the Talking ~ 金魚物語

If skill can be gained by watching, then every dog would become a butcher.
~ A Turkish proverb


The beauty of the TVR can be appreciated in all 3 milestone stages in its lifespan: the youth of the Tosai, the vigour of the Nisai and the grace of the Oya. No doubt that every breeder should aim to improve his Ranchu breeding skills every year, it is also a very important skill to master the technique of keeping Ranchus as beautiful and as long as possible. Without keeping his fishes till they are matured, the breeder would not be able to see the potential of the bloodline he is working on. Some bloodlines of TVR are most beautiful in the Tosai but some bloodlines become more beautiful in the Nisai and Oya.

I have been breeding the TVR for 6 years but have not been particularly successful in it. Every year, I do not have many fishes with features that I want to propagate to the next progeny, so I often have to use my best fishes as breeders. However, everything has a price to pay - while breeding the best fishes has the advantage of passing on the best genes, it can be very stressful for them as well.

The care and maintenance of seed fishes is a profound skill as with any animal, healthy parents will give healthy babies that will develop well eventually. Although the stress and injuries to the TVR can be reduced by hand-spawning, they are often weakened after spawning. In the tropical weather, female Ranchus that had been spawned are also particularly prone to egg engorgement problems in the later part of the year. Many would deteriorate or perish eventually. By the time of the Oozeki Annual Ranchu Show (OARS) at the end of the year, I am mostly left with more Tosai (yearlings) to compete than with the Nisai (2nd year fish) or Oya (3rd year and above) fishes.

Inspired by many Japanese breeders who can keep their fishes big, beautiful and competition-ready for years. I was in a deep dilemma in the beginning of the year on whether I should breed my best fish that came in third in the Tosai class. On one hand, I was worried about not having better babies than the year before, on the other hand, I reconciled that the skill of keeping fishes big and beautiful should come even before attempting to breed them. Quote my good friend and mentor, Mr Geert Coppens who also keeps many big and beautiful Ranchus: "Do not worry about what others think about you; just do what you need to do and let the fishes do the talking." I think he helped me to decide on what I want to do with my best fish. I hope I can develop it well and it will be able to compete in the year end OARS again.

Pictures:
1) My best Ranchu bred in 2008 (Tosai)
2) Same fish in 2009 (Nisai)
3) Fish bred by Ying, my Hong Kong friend in 2008 (Tosai).
4) Same fish in 2009 (Nisai)

Breeding the TVR

Breeding the TVR
Breeding and maintaining a bloodline of the Japanese TVR since 2003.

Goldfish Artwork

Goldfish Artwork
Marriage of 2 of my passions - Goldfish and Art.

Creating a New Variety

Creating a New Variety
My dream of creating a new variety of goldfish in 2006 has proven to be more than just an impulsive fantasy.

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