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.

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.

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.

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)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

玩物喪志 ~ An Obsession with Pets Degrade One's Ambitions (Chinese Idiom)

You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets. ~Nora Ephron

I was fascinated with ornamental fishes since I was a child. My penchant for fishes never grew out of me as I found everlasting love with the goldfish hobby. When I finally get my hands on breeding goldfish, it was a road of no return.

At certain juncture of my life, all I could think of was just goldfish. The goldfish hobby had messed up my life, my family and my job like a gambler, helplessly drawn to his compulsion.

Fortunately, I have a very supportive wife who stood by me all these years. We work things out so that I could see that that life is not just about the goldfish. I don’t know how she managed to put up with me and my hobby during those years. Today, my wife is fairly good about telling the quality and varieties of goldfish even though she has not touched them all her life. Perhaps I have always drifted our conversations to goldfish, or perhaps, too many of my analogies were drawn from the goldfish. Even the children's projects I helped to supervise were bias towards goldfish

My sincere advice to people who embark on the goldfish hobby: Be mindful of the lethal goldfish fever and be responsible for the people around you. The hobby is best enjoyed with people whom you love - your family and your friends.


1) My elder boy and the goldfish kite project.

2) My youngest boy "helping" to catch some fishes.

3) The mess at home in the peak of the goldfish breeding season.

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.

  © Blogger template 'External' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP