Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2017


Friday, May 23, 2014


While studying and working with orchids in my past career, I was fascinated to watch how orchid flowering buds develop into one of the most structurally complex flowers in nature. Under favorable conditions, each orchid will take its time to open their flowers until reaching perfection.

Phalaenopsis flowers at different stages of development

During raising ranchu fry, I noticed similar tendency in developing tails. At first the tail is narrow and small, opening slowly into that desired shape. It is true, not every fry will have that "perfect" tail, but with little or no experience it is easy to overlook what is good, while culling at an early stage.

Tail development in ranchu fry. From left to right: 11, 16, 21 and 35 days from hatch

For me these were the first culls and despite of a lot of reading and studying many photos, I was hesitant. One thing I learned is NOT to look for all imperfections at once. Each stage of ranchu development will open to more strength or weaknesses. As a novice, I used a method of choosing and culling poor fish, instead of seeking out fish with high quality and leaving the rest behind. This method is more forgiving and I had a better chance of keeping good quality fish and not overlooking it. However, with this method it is harder to keep the quantity down and it is very easy to overstock. The fry is growing fast and more culls must be performed. It is a must to maintain the right stocking density! As the number of BBR is reduced, I will be able to implement the reverse selection method and choose the best quality ranchu out of the rest.

Looking ahead, I think it might become more difficult to select, when BBR will start transitioning into CBR. Besides the physical standards one must seek perfect swimmers that ranchu are famous for and don't forget to pay attention to each fish personality.