Phyllostachys edulis is an amazing variety of bamboo. The young shoots of the bamboo takes 4 years to grow a mere 3 cm. However, from the 5th year onwards, it grows 30 cm everyday. Within 6 weeks, it reaches 15 metres and became a towering bamboo tree! Most people only see the amazing changes in the last 6 weeks but were not aware that the secret to this amazing feat lies in the first 4 years.
Spawn B 46 days old
The first 4 years of the bamboo was not spent idling; it was actually weaving a vast network of roots deeply (扎根) and firmly onto the ground over hundreds of metres, building a strong base foundation for future growth. While the spirit of the bamboo is frequently used to refer to one who persevere to grasp the basic foundation before aiming for greater heights in the future, it is also an allusion that patience is needed to make a good piece of craft or artwork.
In the art of making Ranchu, we know the importance of good progressive growth for the BBR. However, making Ranchu is not only about water changing and pushing aggressively for growth. As the body of the Ranchu is the easiest and fastest to develop, the overall proportions of a Ranchu can be distorted easily if the head and tail development are neglected.
Veteran Japanese Ranchu keepers often emphasize on the importance of a good foundation and balance rather than to push too aggressively for growth. Accordingly, a balance growth rate allows time for the fish to build the density of its tissues and bones gradually so that they will be healthy and beautiful throughout their adult life. Ranchus that are grown in a more controlled pace will also have a more refine finishing as well.
Spawn B 85 days old
The advance of fish food technology and the use of greenhouse to breed ranchus earlier in the year are the main reasons that tosai ranchus are getting bigger in the All Japan Ranchu Show (AJRS) held annually on 3rd November. Nevertheless, in recent years, the Japan Ranchu Association (JRA) has imposed a curb on the size of tosai in the AJRS. Oversized tosai Ranchu bigger than 16cm are deemed oversized and called HIDAI-GYO(肥大魚), literally meant "fat and big fish", they are disqualified immediately and will not be judged in the AJRS.
References on keeping Japanese Ranchu: