Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2017


Friday, March 28, 2014


I just acquired two new ranchu Suzuki X Kageyama cross, spawned and raised by Jeff Thompson (Ranchu Notes). Jeff, produces quality ranchu and I definitely think that one of his assets as a ranchu master is being an artist. Decisions made during the culling process are crucial in producing a high quality ranchu. The ability to recognize future potentials in very young fish, requires years of experience and an artistic eye. I believe this is what makes one ranchu master more successfully than another.

Here is a short story about how this ranchu strain came to the USA. The parent fish from bloodlines developed separately by two notable Japanese ranchu masters Mr. Kazuo Suzuki and Mr. Shigeru Kageyama were imported to Thailand by Mr. Boss (Boss Ranchu Nursery) in 2009. They were cross-bred by Mr. Boss resulting in Suzuki X Kageyama cross, also known as SxK. The offsprings were imported to the USA in 2010 by Paul (Ranchumaniax) and spawned later the same year. Since then, these ranchu were bought, sold and distributed among US ranchu breeders and keepers.

The ranchu I received, were spawned by Jeff in the Summer of 2013 and I hope with the right grooming they will turn into even more beautiful fish. Here they are, so please see for yourself:



With the purchase of these ranchu I got a surprise present from Jeff - two glass medallions with Japanese ranchu design.

Jeff makes these glass medallions in his glassblowing studio and individually colors them to give each a unique look. I quickly found a good place for them - on the bottom of my ranchu pond.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I have been grooming my ranchus since October, 2013. Finally, I am starting to see some noticeable changes that I can share here. Their sex is also recognizable now. Here is their progress report side by side. The ranchus have grown quite a bit and are now measuring 4 to 4.5 inches from the mouth to the tip of the tail.






All that feeding with bloodworms and brine shrimp, besides everything else, is starting to pay off. There is a considerable head-growth development on some of the ranchu and it is taking a very nice shape. 

Next week I am anticipating the arrival of two new ranchus. Very exciting! Until next progress report.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Japanese top view ranchu main body parts are identified as head (KASHIRA), body (DOU) and tail (O). The head starts from the mouth to the edge of the gill cover. The body is from the gill cover to the vent underneath the tail. More specific body parts are identified below, including their Japanese names. Grooming techniques have a great impact on the shape of the ranchu head, head-growth, body and tail. The right grooming is especially important during BBR and CBR stages of development. These techniques include: water maintenance (depth, volume and quality), feeding (amount, frequency and variety), stocking density and amount of swimming.

Diagram defining body parts of a Japanese top view ranchu as viewed from above, side and underneath:

original art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2014
1 - cheek growth protrusions (FUN-TAN
2 - top of head (ATAMA)
3 - gill cover (ERA-BUTA)
4 - pectoral fin (MUNA-BIRE)
5 - tail shoulder (O-GATA)
6 - tail peduncle scale bracelet (O-TSUKE)
7 - tail core, midrib (O-SHIN
8 - tail side lobe tip (O-SAKI)
9 - tail peduncle (O-TSUTSU)
10 - back (SE)
11 - gills (ERA)
12 - eye (ME)
13 - mouth (KUCHI)

original art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2014
1- back (SE)
2 - waist (KOSHI)
3 - back curvature (SE-KOSHI)
4 - tail (O)
5 - anal fin (KAJI-BIRE)
6 - pelvic fin (HARA-BIRE)
7 - pectoral fin (MUNA-BIRE)
8 - cheek growth protrusions (FUN-TAN)

original art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2014
1 - abdomen (HARA)
2 - pelvic fin (HARA-BIRE)
3 - anal fin (KAJI-BIRE)
4 - under-tail plate (O-ZARA)
5 - tail (O)
6 - vent
7 - pectoral fin (MUNA-BIRE)
8 - head (KASHIRA)

Sunday, March 16, 2014


With water temperatures now above 64 F (18 C) I feed my ranchu more with pellets (Ranchu Lord and Saki-Hikari Purple) and once a day bloodworms. Also, I can finally give them Saki-Hikari Red for "extreme" color enhancement. Color enhancing food combined with more sunlight that they are now receiving, has already produced brighter colors. I am also noticing more head growth development and on some fish funtan (cheek protrusions extending forward on both sides of the mouth) becoming more pronounced. As far as their bodies, I am seeing that backs and peduncles are becoming wider and more muscular. Their body remains desired elongated shape, primarily due to their bloodline (read my post on bloodline), but also positively effected by grooming in 10 inch deep water. Overall, I am happy to see that the ranchus are making a good progress.

My nisai ranchu videoed today. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Not just any Pandanus. There is only one species of Pandanus amarillifolius or Pandan Leaf, as it is commonly known, that is admired and treasured by many in Southeast Asia for its unique quality - aroma in its leaves. When wilted or dried the leafs give out a very characteristic smell. To me it is very earthy, and warm. Closest I can come up with to compare its smells is the smell of expensive basmati rice. The leaves are used to flavor foods and drinks and in addition will give bright green color.

This plant is often cultivated among flooded fields as semi-aquatic, eventually growing up to 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) tall. I got interested in this plant not only for its culinary qualities, but the fact that it can grow in the water. My idea was to use it in my ranchu pond, where it will utilize nitrate, a byproduct of the nitrogen cycle. Besides it is a quite attractive plant to have.

Pandan Leaf plantation in Sri Lanka

I purchased my Pandan Leaf from the plant nursery as a plantlet grown from the tissue culture. After receiving the plant on November 13, 2013, I took it out of the soil and washed the root system. I started to prepare the plant to grow hydroponically in my ranchu pond. I constructed a support from bamboo to hold the plant at just the right depth and to be able to adjust it when water level changes.

Pandan Leaf affixed to a bamboo support showing developed root system

Then I placed the plant in the corner of my ranchu pond, making sure that the roots are covered with water. The plant triple in size since I bought it almost 4 month ago. I expect it to start growing even faster, as the water in the pond is getting warmer. Judging by the growing root system, the plant seems to like its place. Lucky, my ranchu do not try to eat it and occupied with munching on the algae instead.

Pandan Leaf plant in my ranchu pond

One plant was an experiment. Now I need to get more plants of Pandanus amarillifolius to have any effect on the amount of nitrate in the water..