Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Into 2015 we go - Happy new year!

Its been a long time since my last post, ive had a number of other projects that have taken a lot of my time during 2014, and so regular updates on the ranchu have not been possible.

That said, there wasn't anything too exciting to update on. The most noticable event, besides discovering all my ranchu are male, was filling a pond one evening, only to discover the following morning that it was empty. Closer inspection proved that the electric heaters had slowly created a build up of limescale, and finally melted/cracked the liner. 
The pond in question, was the one which the ranchu overwintered in last year, heaters operating for many weeks last dec-feb. A school boy error, but a lucky escape for the ranchu and myself. Thank god i age the ponds for a day or two, before adding the fish.

The ranchu had a good, healthy summer. All have grown a little more and now entering their 4th year, the ranchu are showing their genetic characteristics much more obviously. 

Headgrowth in particular has been noticable. For a number of reasons, the ranchu were fed saki pellets more frequently this year, i imagine this has had an effect.  

With the fear of dodgy liners in mind, i decided to buy a couple more fibreglass tubs, which will serve a few purposes with fry in future, but which will house the ranchu over this winter. They are smaller, quicker and easier to clean and reassuringly more solid than liner, so late autumn i moved the ranchu to them and started to prepare them for the upcoming winter.

Once again ive created some polycarb lids for them which are working well keeping the temps stable, and weve recently had nights to -4C.

I expect to be posting more once again into 2015, but until then i'd like to wish any readers and hobbyists a Happy New Year, and i hope your winters go well.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Sexing ranchu goldfish, very difficult indeed.

We have had an interesting revelation in the last few days. Last week, i decided to isolate one of my ranchu that had developed an ulcer over the winter. I wasnt entirely happy with how it had healed and wanted to give the fish more time in cleaner water to see if it would improve further. It had also seemed unwell, isolating itself and not showing much energy.

After a few days of very limited feeding and massive daily water changes the ranchus energy levels were back to normal.

Due to heater shortages, time and space etc, i decided to move all the fish, using the two smaller tubs, putting them all through the same conditions. The ranchu are all really enjoying the cleaner conditions and the sexes of the ranchu seem to have vecome clearer. Im well aware that its very difficult to sex goldfish accurately, and ranchu particularly, due to their generations of in-breeding which can make identification very hard, breeding tubercles for example are common on both males and females in my line, though more prominent on the males.

Last year, when chasing was observed, i had identified what i believed to be 3 females and 3 males. The males had all released milt at times, the suspected females were generally the fish being chased, and they also had what i considered to be female protuding anal vents and had never released milt. 

However, on moving the ranchu today i have seen what i believe to be milt, from two of the "female" fish with what i considered protruding vents. This discovery has meant that the ranchu below could be the only female in my group.

Unfortunately, given the observed milt, tubercles on all fish, chasing but no eggs, a group of only males might make sense. Another shopping trip may be in order....

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Ranchu Pond lid mods and pond update

How time flies. Already we are nearing the end if april and still i dont really feel spring is here. At times temperatures are often only a few degrees above freezing throughout the night, though the ranchu are enjoying pond temps much warmer. 

Wednesday, i made some long awaited modifications to the ranchu pond lids. I have previously used timber to prop them up when cleaning etc, which was unstable in wind, and so i needed to find a more secure way of propping them. 

Ive installed a pretty crude pulley type system, similar to how a window blind works, between the fence and the hinged lids and am thrilled with the results. You can see from the picture below just how much unobstructed access i now have to each pond. The lids angle can be adjusted easily through 90 degrees, in the time it takes to tie a knot.

Today, weve had some sunshine, followed by some very stormy looking clouds and heavy rain this evening. The ranchu were moved into a new pond tonight and i noticed one of the females looking increasingly full. Another female fish that has always been thinner than the others (due to being a fussy eater and only eating food when it lands on the bottom!) also appears to have a noticably fuller stomach. 

After moving them this evening a couple of males began chasing immediately, hustling females and posturing side by side with each other in a kind of stand off, we'll see what tomorrow brings...