Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2015


Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Now I can look back and reflect on my first breeding experience with TVR. After my nisai, Matsuyama x (Matsuyama x Oishi) bloodline, have neared their sexual maturity, I realized that I had four females and only one male. I also realized that I didn't have good enough quality fish to breed. Each of the five individuals had one or a combination of major faults manifested in asymmetrical tail position, small head frame, poor back and tail peduncle curve, weak tail shoulders among other defects ...

After receiving two additional nisai males, Suzuki x Kageyama bloodline, with some flaws as well (asymmetrical anal fins and tail position), I was left with not so perfect parents. The desire of having that "perfect" ranchu had prompted me to develop my own line, by adding and improving characteristics that I find attractive in Japanese top view ranchu. However, I had to start working with what I had and through selection to achieve my goals.

Selection started with the parents. I had my eye on the best female to be "paired" with my two best males. But even that wasn't completely under my control. The female that possessed the best qualities wasn't breeding. Instead, the two Suzuki x Kageaya males chased and bred with the Matsuyama x (Matsuyama x Oishi) female with the poorest qualities.

Breeding female with poor back and tail peduncle curve, thin tail peduncle,
weak tail and narrow head with late head-growth development

Breeding male #1 with asymmetrical anal fins

Breeding male #2 with asymmetrical anal fins and asymmetrical placed tail

The resulting offspring are hybrids, F1 generation, and as a hybrid they display a vigor and physical superiority compared to their parents. Not all, of course, from the nearly 700 hatched. Only 20-30 BBR had acceptable features, which is more or less to be expected. Limited by space, I kept only six of these ranchu for myself. Collectively, these six had features that I was looking for - wide and more rectangular heads, broader backs and thicker tail peduncles, longer bodies, stronger tail shoulders, symmetrical fins and tail placement. Next spring I intend to breed between the best out of the six siblings and see if I get any further improvements.

I learned so much more about the selection process, which is of utmost importance in creating a bloodline. I also learned that even not so perfect parents will give enough offspring variety to be able to select a good quality fry to work with and improve upon. It is a long process and it takes years to see the results. It can be rewarding and equally disappointing. The chance of achieving that perfect ranchu is slim, but the road leading there is full of wonderful experiences and can be traveled as long as one desires. One thing I am certain of is that there is no dead end in this journey.