HIGH RANCHU MON

HIGH RANCHU MON
Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2017

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

A WAY TO RAISE RANCHU ● GROOMING KUROKO AND TOSAI


read introduction here


Defining Body Parts

The main body parts are identified as follows: head is from mouth to the edge of the gill cover, body is from gill cover to the vent below tail. The environment and grooming techniques will have a big impact on developing ranchu head, body and tail.

For body part names please refer to this article.


Building Ranchu Foundation

There is an old Japanese saying “Good ranchu head is created before the color change”. For the head-growth to develop properly, it needs a good scull structure, as a foundation. A good foundation must be selected and formed in kuroko before the change of color. During this time it is important to achieve balanced Dragon or Lion Head (more about ranchu standards here). 

If any combination of head-growth below occurs, the head will appear unbalanced:
  • growth on the top of the head, no growth on the gill plates 
  • growth evenly develops over the entire head  
  • growth develops on cheeks and under eyes only 
Delays in water changes help to suppress active fish movement and aids in developing head-growth at an early stage.

To Promote Head-Growth Development

Food is very important in developing head-growth. Feeding protein reach diet is a must. Silkworms, earthworms, bloodworms (can be frozen) are all high in protein and effective. Genetic background is also important.

Suggestions on promoting head-growth development:
  • feed plankton, bloodworms, green water 
  • reduce water changes to suppress movement 
  • make sure the body develops properly 
Pond depth is not known to effect head-growth development. To develop a good ranchu, balancing of the whole body and head must be achieved, and not just the head-growth.


To Promote Funtan (cheeks)

Feeding bloodworm and green algae will help in developing funtan. Suppress movement by extending intervals between the water changes and raising ranchu in green water.


To Promote Body & Head Development

It is important to develop a good skeleton in kuroko before the color change. Good balance between the head and body is very important. Preference should be given to longer bodies with wide back and peduncle, which will balance well with the size of the head.

To make back wider and increase the width between the eyes:
  • feed enough 
  • use green water 
  • slightly increase the stocking density to suppress active movement 
Beware that with increased stocking density vertical body growth will be suppressed.


How to Make Good Back

Water depth is very important in formation of a good back shape in fry. There is an old Japanese saying “Shallow water gives gently curved back, deep water gives round back” makes a good point. 

Water depth at 4 in (10cm) during the fry development produces gently curved back, while water depth around 3.3 ft (1m) gives more rounded shape. Genetics are also important in developing the right back.


Tail Tension

Tail shape is very important and is greatly dependent on grooming technique. However, if you only pursue creating a good tail, you will loose on fish health and overall quality. It is a trade-off to make a good tail and to keep fish health. It is difficult to do and one has to find a balance.

Factors that loosen tail tension:
  • weak tail shoulders 
  • excessive exercise 
  • large pond size
  • pond with no shade or over shaded 
  • strong aeration 
  • often water changes 
  • appropriate or slightly lower stocking density 
Factors that improve tail tension:
  • strong tail shoulders 
  • less exercise 
  • small pond size
  • pond with sun/shade balance 
  • weak aeration 
  • use of green water 
  • high or low stocking density 


Making a Good Tail Before the Color Change

To create a good tail, you must select kuroko with tail shoulders that are open at 160-180° and have a strong tail core.


                                                          

To make a tail shoulder curve like in a bow (bow and arrow), the fish must swim moderately to finish formation before the color change. If the curve increases it may result in weak tension and possible collapse of the tail shoulders.


Making the Tail Core

Water depth will effect the tail core in fry. The depth at 4 in (10cm) during development is necessary. There is a tendency for the tail core either to fall lower if the water depth is too shallow or rise up if the depth is too deep.

After the tail is formed and the core is established in kuroko stage, it is not effected as much by the water depth. Still, as a general rule, it is a good idea to keep the water depth at 6-8 in (15-20cm) during ranchu development. Also, increased exercise may result in softening of the tail core, as well as loss of the tail tension.




Monday, October 16, 2017

A WAY TO RAISE RANCHU ● RAISING AND GROOMING FRY


read introduction here


Keep A Diary

Write down everything that has to do with breeding and progress of your ranchu. Documenting when and what is a good practice and creates an important database for your future reference.


Water Temperature During Hatching

68 F (20°C) is optimal water temperature for developing fertilized eggs. If the temperature is lover, fry will not hatch all at the same time and there will be a high percentage of malformed fish. Temperatures above 68 F (20°C) will induce egg development, resulting in higher percentage of tail regression to original "wild" carp. Controlling water temperature by shading and/or using a heater is necessary. 

Water temperature and timing from spawning till hatching:
  • 57 F (14°C) - hatching on the 7th day 
  • 61 F (16°C) - hatching on the 6th day 
  • 64 F (18°C) - hatching in 5 ½ days 
  • 68 F (20°C) - hatching on the 5th day 
  • 71 F (22°C) - hatching in 4 ½ days 
  • 75 F (24°C) - hatching on the 4th day 
Watch the water quality, as it can deteriorate quickly after spawning, due to unfertilized eggs and milt remains. It is best to transfer the eggs or change water right after spawning and keep the temperature constant at 68 F (20°C). In some cases, adding drops of methylene blue helps to prevent fungal growth on ranchu eggs.


Feeding The Fry

The fry are born with a yolk sac that provides them with nutrients for a couple of days. Start feeding the fry on the 2nd day after hatching. 

It is very important to provide enough food for the fry to keep up with their high growth rate. When feeding live food, the portion size is not important. The fry must eat as much as they need and any time they want. Digestion time is short. There should be a constant supply of live food, as it gets eaten from morning till evening. One of the most accessible live foods for fry is freshly hatched brine shrimp. Read more on brine shrimp here.

When feeding frozen food or micro pallets, the portion size need to be observed, as overfeeding can spoil the water fast. A single dose should be of what fry can eat in 5 min. Digestion time is longer. Intervals between feedings must reflect digestion times, but feeding must be preformed often.


Water Changes & Fry

It is very important to keep constant temperature during the water changes. Even small temperate fluctuations may weaken or kill very sensitive at this stage fry. Also, watch the aeration. Strong aeration can damage the fry, adequately adjust air pump pressure to minimize any water turbulence. 

Its best not to transfer very young fry during the water change, but scoop as much water as you can and replace it with fresh. When fry has grown a little it will handle the transfer better, still be very carful scooping it during the water change, to prevent any injury. At this time it is best to have two containers and alternate them during the water change.


Filamentous Green Algae & Fry

Due to higher stocking density and/or food left in the water, filamentous green algae or Spirogyra can grow very rapidly. This algae produces long hair-like strings and if eaten by fry will get stuck in their small bodies, coming out through the gills or vent. It can not be removed and will eventually kill the fry.

Adjusting stocking density, regular water changes and cleaning the container will keep it under control.


Growth Rate

Learn to determine proper stocking density. This will insure that the fry doesn’t die and will promote faster development. Balancing the amount of food and stocking density is important for a healthy development of the fry and to prevent a number of diseases.

It is important to make fry growing as fast as possible. For example, for the fish hatched in April, a goal would be to have the fish reaching 4 in (10 cm) in length by the fall. 

Growth rate of the fry indicating its healthy development:
  • 1st week - 3/8 in (10mm) 
  • 2nd week - 1/2 in (13 mm) 
  • 3rd week - 5/8 in (16 mm) 
  • 1st month - 6/8 in (20 mm) 
  • 7/8 in (22 mm) increase in the 2nd month - 1 5/8 in (42 mm) 
  • 1/2 in (13 mm) increase in the 3rd month - 2 1/8 in (55 mm) 
  • 5/8 in (15 mm) increase in the 4th month - 2 6/8 in (70 mm) 
  • 5/8 in (15 mm) increase in the 5th month - 3 3/8 in (85 mm) 
  • 1/2 in (12 mm) increase in the 6th month - 3 2/8 in (97 mm) 
  • 5/16 in (8 mm) increase in the 7th month - 4 1/8 in (105 mm) 
If you have achieved the above growth rates, look for more ways to improve. If you are behind these growth rates, increase one or all of the following: 
  • food amount 
  • water changes 
  • adjust stocking density

Effect of Stocking Density On Tosai Ranchu

Always pay attention to stocking density for the fry in its first year. High density will cause illness in fish and delays in development. During this period you want for the fish to grow lengthwise and loosen stiffness in their tails. Do regular water changes before water spoils. Regularly remove waist and uneaten food.

High Density:
movement is restricted, high probability of gill disease, growth is slow, rapid water quality deterioration, tail shoulders and core remain hard and make it difficult to swim

Somewhat Low Density:
water quality is maintained, chances of illness are low, growth is higher in width and normal in length, competitive spirit and appetite is good, only tail core softens.

Low Density:
water may deteriorate causing illness even though it looks clean, growth in length is much suppressed, vertical growth is slower. Due to lack of competition between the ranchu, their appetite is lower, they swim less and because of that both tail shoulders and core remains stiff

Appropriate Density:
water quality is maintained, growth is accelerated in both length and width, better appetite and good competitive spirit, swims more. Both tail shoulders and core softening which helps to swim better. Adjust stocking density by culling. It is important to identify quality ranchu as early as possible to maintain appropriate stocking density. 

Appropriate ranchu count per 3.3 ft² (1 m²) container that is 4 in (10 cm) gradually increasing to 10 in (25 cm) deep:
  • up to 0.6 in (1.5 cm) long fish - up to 100
  • 0.8 in (2 cm) long fish - up to 60
  • 1 1/8 in (3 cm) long fish - up to 50
  • 1 5/8 in (4 cm) long fish - up to 40
  • 2 3/8 in (6 cm) long fish - up to 20
  • 4 in (10 cm) long fish - up to 5 



Thursday, October 5, 2017

A WAY TO RAISE RANCHU ● BREEDING AND SPAWNING


read introduction here


Choosing a Breeder Ranchu

There is on old Japanese saying in ranchu circles “Chose male ranchu for its good tale and female ranchu for its thick body and head”. Another old saying is “Choose ranchu with a good tail from the right environment”. 

A good tail of a first-class ranchu doesn’t only come from its genetic heritage. The environment, where the ranchu was raised will effect the tail quality and strength. The key is to combine a good genetic foundation with the right environment.

Grooming ranchu in the right environment will help to develop a great quality fish. It is not necessary to breed a show champion ranchu to get first-class offsprings. Raising fry with a perfect tail in a poor environment will not yield good results either.

A good tail is considered when the line in the center of the tail or tail core, or midrib (o-shin) is straight and extends outward firmly. Also, tail shoulders (o-gata) should be at 160-180° and not too stiff, but also not too soft. Please refer to "Defining What Is What" to identify ranchu body parts.





Mistakes Made In Selecting Seed Ranchu 

Tail shape is often overlooked and the preference is given to the head shape and overall looks while selecting a breeder fish.

The head shape and proportion to the rest of the body is important, but if you really want to breed a first-class ranchu, great attention must be given to choosing a good tail. That is where true art of ranchu breeding is.



Friday, September 29, 2017

A WAY TO RAISE RANCHU ● FEEDING REGIMENT


read introduction here


Amount of Food & Water temperature

Ranchu's physiological functions are greatly affected by the ambient water temperature. It is very important to adjust food type and amount in accordance with the water temperature. If not fed correctly, ranchu might develop indigestion problems and their immune system may get weaken, making them prone to decease.

  • 32-43 F (0-6°C) - fish hibernate, no food is required
  • 44-54 F (7-12°C) - physiological functions are slow; give only small amount of easily digestible food
  • 55-64 F (13-18°C) - physiological functions are not to their fullest; increase the food amount carefully; use easily digestible food
  • 65-75 F (19-24°C) - fish is active, food amount must be increased 
  • 76-86 F (25-30°C)- very active growth; provide enough food, but watch for signs of obesity 
  • 87-97 F (31-36°C) - fish appetite is lower; provide appropriate amount of food
  • 98-100 F (37-38°C) - upper limit of water temperature for ranchu
  • above 100 F (38°C) - temperature is harmful for ranchu


Feeding Depends On the Weather & Seasons

Adjust amount of food according to the weather and season, especially for the fish kept outside. If the water temperature changes due to the air temperature drop or rain, reduce the amount of food. Feed 2 hrs before the rain forecast. When temperature rises back up, increase food amount.

During hot summer days feeding in the morning is preferable due to cooler water temperature. In colder seasons, when water temperature starts to drop in the afternoon, feeding late may cause indigestion. Suggested feeding times during the sunny weather for ranchu that are kept outside:

  • spring - from 7:30am till 3pm 
  • summer - from 6am to 4pm; watch for the rain that will lower water temperature; to make ranchu grow faster, give food 2 hrs before it gets dark. 
  • fall - from 7:30am till 3pm 
  • winter - at low temperatures no food is usually given; if given, should be around noon 


Amount of a Single Feeding

Ranchu has no stomach. In order to provide proper digestion time, the single food portion must be eaten within 5 min. Try to avoid food leftovers, as it will effect the water quality.


Number of Feedings

It is best to feed after previously given food has been digested. In the warm temperature you can feed as soon as previous food has been digested, up to five feedings per day for young fish, when a single portion can be eaten in 5 min. Remember different foods have different digestion times.


Feeding On the Day of Water Change

There is an old saying: “Refrain from food on the day of new water”. With a large water change the fish is stressed and its physical condition is weakened. 

“Refrain” however, doesn’t mean to completely avoid food. Right after the water change the fish' somatic nerve system is stimulated by the fresh water, making them more active. At the same time gastrointestinal function is reduced. After 30 minutes of fish being in the new water, somatic nerve system usually calms down, normalizing functions of gastrointestinal tract and releasing stress. At this time you can give a single portion.


When Fish is Not Eating

Not eating can be influenced by several factors. It is important to quickly determine what causes it and take an action:

  • fish condition - improve the way you feed, check for disease or start a treatment 
  • food quality - change the food type, change the way the food is stored 
  • water quality - watch for water quality deterioration, perform regular water changes 
  • environment - make sure water temperature is between 64-86 F (18-30°C), improve aeration and shading, adjust stocking density of the fish 

Prevention of Fish Obesity

  • moderate diet, restrain from giving too much food
  • let wall algae to grow, use green water 
  • balance wider variety of foods and use high quality pellets
  • extend interval between water changes
  • exercise fish, but care not to lose the tail tension and shape 
  • observe water temperature and seasons and adjust the food regiment accordingly
  • maintain appropriate stocking density to keep fish competitive 




Thursday, September 21, 2017

A WAY TO RAISE RANCHU ● FOOD


read introduction here



Ranchu are omnivores and prefer a wide variety of foods. To insure health and reduce obesity, their diet has to be balanced with proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.

Foods high in protein:
  • live or frozen brine shrimp
  • daphnia
  • bloodworm
  • pellets

Foods high in vitamins and minerals:
  • algae
  • duckweed
  • chlorella and phytoplankton
  • spirulina
  • pumpkin
  • spinach
  • wolffia

Food Types And Digestion Times

Food with less moisture content takes longer to digest. A safe interval between feedings can be placed at 2 hours, however digestion time will change depending on the amount of food given. Approximate digestion times:
  • daphnia, brine shrimp, wolffia, duckweed - 1 hr
  • bloodworm - 1 ½ hr
  • pellets - 2 hrs. 

Daphnia

One of the foods that is central to ranchu development. Easily digestible and highly absorbent, daphnia is high in nutrients and contributes to a maximum fry growth potentials.

Bloodworm

Another food that is very important to ranchu. It has superior digestion and absorption rate. High in protein, it promotes head-growth and overall development.

Brine Shrimp

With excellent absorption rate and nutritional value it is a good alternative to daphnia. Newly hatched brine shrimp is excellent for feeding fry.

Vegetables

Low in fat and protein, vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and organic pigments, and are very important supplement. They promote colors and overall health, especially at young stages. Most used vegetables are: phytoplankton, green algae, chlorerlla, spirulina, duckweed, pumpkin, wolffia and spinach among others.

Commercial Pellets

Due to low moisture content, digestion rate is the slowest, up to 2 hrs and more. Best if pellets are alternated with easily digestible foods, e.g. bloodworm. Due to high nutritional value and longer digestion times, feeding only with pellets may cause obesity and requires carful observation. There are many brands that offer ranchu pellets. However, not all of them are equal in quality and value. My own preference is Azayaka Brand ranchu pellets. Here is my article on different brands of pellets, their comparison and analyzes.

Pigments

Organic pigments or carotenoids like luteins (for yellows) and astaxanthin (for reds) are very important for developing fish coloration. Incorporating spinach, pumpkin, duckweed, wolffia and color enhancing pellets is beneficial.

Wolffia

Wolffia is the world’s smallest flowering plant that belongs to a group of duckweeds. It is easily digestible, contributes to color development (especially yellow) and overall health of a young fish. It also helps to maintain a slim belly. Wolffia can be easily substituted with duckweed.

Benefits of Wolffia or Duckweed:
  • promotes head-growth development
  • promotes slim belly and good physical shape
  • easily digestible
  • rich in vitamins and minerals
  • high in protein
  • positively effects color development
  • shades the water and helps to lower water temperature
  • removes access of oxygen and supplies carbon dioxide
  • utilizes ammonia 

Cultivating Wolffia or Duckweed:
  • requires a lot of sunlight
  • tap water can be used
  • provide light aeration
  • will propagate very rapidly in 86 F (30°C)
  • keep water temperature under 97 F (36°C)
  • in winter, if temperatures are low, will go dormant and will sink to the bottom