Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2017


Saturday, May 16, 2015



Aor is a top view ranchu line-breeder. He uses the same method for creating and maintaining ranchu bloodline, as it is done in Japan. Line-breeding is when animals are selectively bread for desired features by mating closely related individuals. Over time this creates a bloodline with breeder's desired characteristics. This method requires great dedication and skill. Bloodlines can be line-bred for decades to continually improve and develop characteristics that sets them apart. On occasion, line-breeders will introduce ranchu from a different, but often related bloodline to boost vigor and to minimize the negative effects of inbreeding. 

Over six years that Aor has been involved with ranchu, he has achieved a tremendous success and respect among ranchu keepers and breeders in Thailand, as well as Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and here in the USA. 

We were visiting Aor after his big sale, when most of his 2 month old CBR were already sold and waited to be picked up or shipped. 

BBR are growing fast. All are almost perfect at this stage!

Some of the Aor's CBR for sale

A couple of tubs were housing Aor's potential seed ranchu, selected from this year's spawn. They are CBR of 2.5 month of age. Please observe beautiful proportions of these promising, but still very young ranchu.

One of the future seed CBR. Great swimmer too!

Aor's future seed CBR

Given Bangkok's hot tropical climate, with an average year round day temperatures lingering over 91 F (33 C) and night temperatures often above 74 F (23 C), ranchu develop very fast. They reach their sexual maturity quick, with their life span extending three to four years. 

Based on Aor's answers below, he goes on average through 45,000 fish each year to continue working on his bloodline. This requires very hard work, thus Aor's family is involved in this venture as much as he is. Being able to process and cull through such quantity of ranchu is only a part of success. The masterful grooming complets the cycle. Even a perfect BBR can be ruined by improper  techniques. Swim too much and the tail is gone, eat not enough and the ranchu goes undeveloped, etc. And the most challenging part of all is that you must improvise based on what you have. It is never set in stone, all techniques serve only as guidelines.

Aor employs breeding and grooming techniques suitable for his location. Here are some Q&A with Aor regarding his breeding methods and ranchu quality:

Q: How many spawns do you collect per year?
A: Three times a year, each time 4-5 batches.

Q: How often do you cull?
A: Every time I do water change.

Q: What is an outcome from one of your average spawns? How many final keepers do you end up with on average?
A: Approximately 10 fishes from one batch of 2000-3000 fishes.

Q: Do you hand spawn?
A: Yes, only hand spawn. Usually one female with one male.

Q: How often do you introduce seed ranchu from other breeders to continue working on your line?
A: Not often, only to prevent inbreed, because I use line breeding system.

Q: What is the main characteristic(s) of your line of ranchu that sets them apart?
A: When I cull, I focus on the balance of my fishes.

Q: What are the main qualities that you try to preserve or develop in your future ranchu?
A: I intend to develop tail structure to be stronger, because temperature in Thailand makes them more active and swim a lot.

Q: How many times have you won ranchu competitions and in what categories?
A: I won many times various categories from every club in Thailand. Two consecutive years, 2012 and 2013, best in show at the Siam Ranchu Club, and #1 ranking in Thailand for 2012 - are my remarkable prizes that I am proudly presented with.

Q: What suggestion(s) will you give to a beginner ranchu keeper?
A: You need to understand basic needs of ranchu such as container, water, food and air.

Q: Do you have the ability to sell/ship your ranchu internationally?
A: Yes, I can ship my ranchu almost everywhere. Although, please check custom procedures for your country.

Here are some of Aor's older ranchu. At the time of our visit he had no oya left. I was happy to hear that his 8 inch (19-20 cm) oya! were sold to a ranchu connoisseur.

I will always remember this visit to Aor. What a guy, what a fish, what a visit!

Thursday, May 14, 2015



Jun Luk, my friend and neighbor ranchu fellow, and I had a privilege of visiting ranchu master Nuttavut Prueksiri (aka Aor) in Bangkok, Thailand. Many thanks to Jun for setting up and coordinating this visit. Aor's ranchu business is known under the name of TG Ranchu (Facebook page - TG Ranchu, YouTube - aortaoaortao). 

Having returned from a long flight the morning of our visit, Aor was very kind to show us around his farm and his work with ranchu. Energetic and with a great sense of humor, Aor is fun to spend time with and have conversation. During a few hours of our visit, we learned and shared a lot about the ranchu.

Aor is posing proudly in front of his trophy wall.
I think, it is time for a bigger wall. Not all of Aor's trophies could fit here.

Jun and I couldn't resist posing next to Aor and his trophies.

My first impression of the place - how perfectly organized everything is. Aor employs a traditional Japanese method for raising and grooming ranchu. Fiberglass tubs of different sizes are used to house his ranchu. The tubs are protected from the sun by the overhead shades and by the net enclosure from the hungry birds and such.

Aor is a mentor and promoter of top view ranchu. It is amazing how readily and eagerly he shares his vast knowledge and experience. He is also a ranchu judge.

Inspecting the quality of one of Aor's nisai ranchu

Hand spawning demonstration

Here are some Q&A with Aor regarding his grooming techniques:

Q: How often do you change water?
A: Every four days.

Q: How does your "new" water get prepared?
A: Tap water is collected in the cistern and aerated for 1-2 days. No chemicals or dechlorinators are used. The fresh water is pumped from the cistern to the tubs.

Q: Do you use "green water" and if you do for what reason?
A: No, In my opinion, temperature in Thailand is not proper to use green water.

Q: What is the feeding regiment for BBR and CBR?
A: To develop funtan and keep up with rapid growth - five feeding per day, three of which with bloodworms and two with pellets.

Q: What brand(s) of pellets do you use?
A: Saki Hikari

Q: Is there any other supplemental food given to your ranchu?
A: Watermeal, aka Swamp Algae or Wolffia.

Q: Is feeding regiment different for your nisai and oya fish?
A: For younger ranchu I feed more often with high protein food. For nisai and oya the same feeding regiment.

Q: Do you use any prophylactic drugs or treatments for your ranchu?
A: In case they get sick only.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015


While in Vientiane, Laos, I stumbled upon a great find. A little antique shop filled with odds and ends got my attention. As I looked through shelf after shelf of stuff, my eye got caught on a stone carved ranchu sculpture. Yes, not just a goldfish, so common in Asian art and crafts, but ranchu! I grabbed it from the shelf and in my hand it separated in two halves, revealing something unexpected inside. An erotic ranchu?!

The owner of the shop couldn't tell me anything other than this is an old stone carving from China. Well, I haven't seen anything like it and I definitely haven't thought of ranchu being associated with erotic art. But why not! Ranchu are fertile and might have inspired the artist. Here are some photos of this provocative ranchu!

Friday, May 8, 2015


Finally, I was able to purchase proper enamel bawls for my ranchu, exactly the same bowls that are used for ranchu competitions throughout Japan. Even in Thailand, you have to know where to go to find them. If it was't for Aor's, Thai ranchu master, generously taking us to the right place, I would have not fond them on my own.

It was at the local market on the north side of Bangkok that has a vendor selling them. However, knowing that wasn't enough to locate the bowls without Aor's assistance. There was no way that I would have found these bowls at the small stall stuffed up to the roof with many goods and home utensils.  As we pulled the bowls from the stacks, there were several sizes available. Notice my new enamel bowls in the previous post. Thank you Aor!!

Buying enamel bowls for my ranchu at the Bangkok's local market

Thursday, May 7, 2015


This blog was quiet for a while, partially due to a fairly uneventful time at the end of winter and partially due to my travels for most of April in South East Asia.

That said, I am anticipating a series of posts about my goldfish findings in Laos and Thailand, including a memorable visit to ranchu master, Mr. Aor in Bangkok.

All this, while my ranchu were left alone for the entire three weeks during my travels! A true test to my set up. During my absence, the automatic feeder was set to one meal of Azayaka Pellets a day, while the rest of their food was algae. This is not the best diet, when you want to condition ranchu for spawning, but I had no choice. Although, I can't tell whether they have been spawning in my absence, from now on I am keeping a close eye. The ranchu diet is back to frozen bloodworms three times a day, one meal of Azayaka Pellets and Wolffia. Water change schedule is back to 90% weekly.

As you may imagine how worried I was during these past three weeks away. To a pleasant surprise, I found my ranchu active, healthy, grown and with increased head growth, and increased appetite too!