Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2017


Monday, February 9, 2015


As I learn about ranchu standards and grooming techniques, I train my eye to recognize qualities of a good ranchu. In Japan, each ranchu master works on its own line (bloodline) that will ultimately reflect the master's vision for a "perfect" ranchu. Through a scrupulous process of selection, the breeder seeks fish that carries one or several desired qualities. By carefully selecting parent fish with such qualities and breeding them, followed by many years of selection, the goal can be reached. It truly is a "living sculpture".

A preference for my own "perfect" ranchu is now more clear. My vision is shaped by studying the many looks of ranchu and recognizing what is most pleasing to my eye. These are as follows (looking at the ranchu from above):
  • long rectangular body outline
  • rectangular head outline with funtan slightly protruding on the right and left of the head (I call it a hammer shark look)
  • not much headgrowth development on top of the head
  • thick tail peduncle and bracelet
  • triangle shaped tail with supportive shoulders, that are only gently curved, with side lobe tips curved slightly more
  • when swimming the tail must take a rounder shape and return to its original shape when fish isn't moving
  • small uniform scales
  • bright reds

Early bloomers might not look as good at an older age, with their headgrowth overdeveloped, ruining the overall balance. Vise versa, those not fully developed tosai can turn into a beautiful fish when older.

All of the above must be in balance. Proportions between head, body and tail are very important and rely on personal perception. I am very interested in creating a ranchu that blossoms slowly, reaching its desired shape by the end of nisai and maintaining that look through its oya years. This, in my opinion helps to raise a healthier fish, that can live longer. In most cases, ranchu that are judged at the All Japan Ranchu Show, are groomed for a specific age category - tosai, nisai or oya. In all of the competition's history, it is very rare that a single ranchu is able to win the grand prize in all three categories tosainisai and oya in three consecutive years.

Ultimately, my "perfect" ranchu must be a great swimmer, projecting calm, power, strength and balance.

Through digital manipulation, I have created an oya ranchu of the shape and proportions I desire. To make this composite, I took various parts from several of my ranchu and exaggerated the parts that I still need to work on. Hope one day, I can match my drawing board fantasy with an actual ranchu in my pond. The vision in the making.

Friday, February 6, 2015


At eleven months my High Ranchu are developing well. Although, faults are present, there is a lot of positive traits that I really like and want to use in my future breeding. In each of these nisai there are qualities that I am thrilled to observe. Besides good body shape and uniform scaling, the red color is very intense. The "white" female nisai is acquiring a light canary yellow sheen. I am curious to see what she is going to be. It could be my first yellow ranchu. I have never seen one before.

High Ranchu nisai 

High Ranchu nisai 

High Ranchu nisai 

High Ranchu nisai 

It is very educating to rear them, learning and polishing my grooming techniques along. They are under my constant watch with their diet, water quality, light, etc. In return for the tremendous amount of attention I have given them, I get tremendous joy watching them evolve.