Monday, July 27, 2009

奇貨可居 ~ Rarity to Treasure

捡了芝麻丢了西瓜

Concentrate on small matters at the expense of more important ones (literally: to lose the water melon while picking sesame seeds).

~ A Chinese Idiom

Fed-up with mostly white fishes last year, I made more spawns with the few calico breeder stocks this year. Finally, there are more exotic calico and even a few solid black individuals. The solid black comes from the maternal ancestry of the Chinese Calico Short Tail Dragon Eyes, which is related to the stable line of the Black Short Tail Dragon Eyes.

On the flip side, the smaller eyes of the calico breeders have propagated into many progenies. I do not like the shape and size of the eyes of most fishes this year so in the next iteration, I would select fishes with bigger eyes from other sub-lines to cross with these calico and black fishes. If I am lucky, I will need another 2 to 3 years to stabilize the new breed Calico Dragon Eyes Pearlscale.

Though I prefer the eyes of my Dragon Eyes Pearlscales to be bigger, I am wary that the extra weight on the headset may affect its balance. I believe that the balance problem can be mitigated by selective breeding to fine tune the body structure. A flat back line, for example, would almost always render the fish to topple head down, especially if it is a short tail variety.

In developing ornamental qualities of the fancy goldfish, many attributes essential for the survival of the crucian carp in the wild have been bred out. For example, the vibrant colours and the double caudal tails in fancy goldfish have replaced the grayish camouflage colouration and streamline single tail, making it too conspicuous and too slow for the fancy goldfish to escape from its predator.

Granted that the fancy goldfish is created for domestic keeping under man’s close protection and care, I feel the breeder still has the moral obligation to ensure that the basic functionality and health of the animal is not overly compromised in the quest for ornamental qualities.

Pictures:
1) One of the special black fringe Calico Short Tail Dragon Eyes Pearlscale (new breed).

2) A pair of blue-brown Short Tail Dragon Eyes Pearlscales (new breed).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Eye Opener 大開眼界

許多人慣以本身視野的極限為天地的極限。

Many people take the limits of their own vision for the limits of the world.
~Arthur Schopenhauer

video

Harvesting an Oranda pond in GuangZhou, China (circa 2005)


I think it is important for the avid goldfish hobbyist to make at least a “goldfish pilgrimage” to China or Japan. No doubt it is easy nowadays to access pictures and videos of goldfish and the goldfish farming facilities with a few mouse clicks, visiting the farm personally would be an eye-opening learning experience. I have always known that goldfish farms in China are big but I could not imagine how big until I visited some of Southern China’s biggest goldfish farms.

Most of China’s goldfish farms produce in quantity and export many goldfish to the world. Not much attention is focus on refinement of quality as the revenue to produce low or medium range quality goldfish is lucrative in labour-cheap China. Of course, there are also Chinese farms producing high quality goldfish and in recent years, more Chinese farms are becoming more focus on quality and compete to produce new varieties to wow the consumers.

I was also fortunate to visit some of the Japanese hobbyists to see how they groom the TVR. With many goldfish competition throughout the year and high prestige endowed upon the winner, goldfish clubs sprouts in Japan and delve into the depth to improve existing breed standards. Most of the top grade goldfish are still produce by Japanese hobbyists owning just a few ponds in their compound. There are also some commercial breeders in Japan but the scale and size of their farm is much smaller than in China. The size of a big concrete pond in China can be a few times bigger than the Japanese farm!

Another interesting goldfish haven is the Land of Smiles - Thailand. The scale of goldfish farming is between China and Japan and although it is greatly influenced by both the Chinese and Japanese goldfish culture, it has also evolved its unique and beautiful strains of goldfish pertaining to the Thai aesthetic values.

I hope to complete my eye-opening tour of China with the visit to Northern China one of these days. The Northern farms are famous for the Pearlscales, the Dragon Eye Butterfly, the Bubble Eyes and Pompom varieties.

Video
1) Big Round up in a oranda farm (note the sheer size of the mud pond)

2) Fishes trapped in the net after round up from video for selection

3) One of the biggest commercial ranchu farms owned by Mr Omatsu (Asumi Ranchu)

4) Chatuchak market in Bangkok

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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