Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stage 2 - 2nd Time Out-cross ~ 二次雜交


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

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.

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.

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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