Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ranchu Finesse ~ 蘭壽謙禮

Experience is what allows us to repeat our mistakes, only with more finesse!

~ Jessamyn West

Blessed with a cooler weather in the beginning of this year, I was able to spawn all the Ranchu seed-pair combinations according to plan. This year's Ranchu breeding has been my personal best so far. Having more spawns, I kept only a few of the better spawns within the capacity that I can manage. 

In fact, with greater improvements this year, I became more worried if I could repeat the same feat for the subsequent years. Breeding Ranchu for 10 consecutive years do make me more confident, but it also taught me to be humble, for the Ranchu never fails to impart a nasty lesson if one become lax and complacent. 

Spawn C as video on 12th March

Every Ranchu spawning season, all the Ranchu breeders in Japan, even the very experienced Ranchu Masters, starts with a clean slate. Ranchu breeding is like live sculpturing, every stage of a BBR's development requires meticulous attention; one wrong cut and the artwork may be fouled beyond repair. Besides having good skills and bloodline,  there are factors that the breeders can't control, like the weather and whether their best seed fishes will spawn successfully every year. 

After the BBR stage, the young Ranchu's structure are more stable but how they turn out would still very much depends on the owner. It is emphasized by some Japanese Ranchu Masters that to make good Ranchu, 30% is nature (bloodline) and 70% is nurture (owner's skill). Experience hobbyists would not jump to conclusions about the quality of their Ranchu as it changes everyday. A plain looking fish will develop beautifully if given good care; similarly, acquiring a prize winning fish does not mean it would win in every competition as it will deteriorate in the wrong hands. 

Some of spawn C taken on 17 March, always amazed by
their rate of growth and change

Different Ranchu bloodlines also have their merits and demerits and different breeders have their preferences and styles. There is another consensus in the Japanese Ranchu circle : "got the head but not the tail; got the tail but not the head". Nature's Law of Conservation is about balances and trade-offs and no respectable Ranchu keeper can claim that they have the best bloodline or Ranchus.

The art of Ranchu is also about the virtue of respect. As a breeder myself, I have a tacit respect for all serious Ranchu breeders because I feel for the blood and sweat in making every Ranchu. Though there are Ranchu politics in every part of the world and different clubs and groups may have certain degrees of contention, the orthodox Ranchu etiquette expects good finesse and mutual respect among Ranchu hobbyists in public. 

Some of Spawn E, cousin line of Spawn C

One of the bigger fish in spawn C,
head and torso are OK to me but
having a simpler tail configuration.
My BBRs are changing to their adult colour now. Their head wen and funtan have shown signs of development at this stage. A Ranchu that has not develop head growth after colour change will be more challenging to build on good head growth in later part of its life. On the other hand, if head growth is not controlled and excessive, they become "big heads" and grown out of proportion, sometimes when the head (wen) grew too big, it covers the eyes and "blinded" the Ranchu - definitely a big minus for its aesthetics and decorum. 

Going through my recordings in this blog, not every year is smooth sailing. Even when we are most prepared, things could happen otherwise as life has always been unpredictable - not everyday is Sunday :)

Let's all focus on good finesse and just let our fishes do the talking. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Birds of a Feather ~ 同羽鳥

It is better to be alone, than in the wrong company.
~ George Washington

Most people are enchanted by more than one variety of Goldfish, and naturally it is common for hobbyists to ask if they could mix other varieties of Goldfish with their Ranchus. 

Though all the Goldfish varieties are mutated from the crucian carp, they have over centuries of selective breeding, evolved both in physical and behavioural traits distinct from one other. For example, the Oranda and Ryukin are fast swimmers and requires a rather aggressive feeding regime in order to grow the body depth and the muscular hump, while most of the short tail varieties are slow swimmers with lower metabolic rate that does not require such an aggressive feeding regime compared to the Oranda or the Ryukin.

In a habitat endowed with ample food and space, different Goldfish varieties may strive peacefully, but when there is any imbalance, the more regal varieties will loose out in the competition. In the very extreme cases, cannibalism may prevail. Moreover, different varieties require different techniques of grooming and may not be well suited to co-exist in the same habitat.

Thus, it is important to consider what varieties of Goldfish you would mix with your current collection: the slower and more regal varieties like the Pearlscale, Dragon Eyes Butterfly and Ranchu may be kept together while the Ryukins are best to be kept only with other Ryukins. Notwithstanding this, each Goldfish has its own character and in fact, we just need one "bad egg" to screw up the whole harmony of the group :D

For me, I just feel so happy and serene watching a school of cute baby Ranchus swimming and hunting for food :)) 

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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