Friday, 28 December 2012

Ranchu Christmas Update

The Christmas festivities have now passed and the ranchu are a little nearer to their winter resting water temperature. They are in the main pond which is now unheated, currently holding around 14 degrees C. In the coming weeks, I will turn down the heater in the conservatory and perhaps open windows at times, in an attempt to reduce the temperature further, aiming for a temperature below 10 degrees C.

I was fortunate to receive a couple of items for Christmas that will be essential for the start of the next ranchu breeding season. Top of the list was synthetic spawning mops. I received a couple of spawning ropes that are designed for koi. They look to be great, the bristles are a little firmer than i had hoped, but still just as soft as live plants are, so i'm sure they'll be fine. Each rope is around six feet long, which may also allow me to trim them, giving me several, that can be used for different pairings.

Ranchu Goldfish Spawning Mops UK


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Japanese Ranchu Conditions Improve

The ranchu have been back in their main pond now for a couple of days and are looking really well. All have remained very active, round the clock, and continue to feed well. The ranchu that had fraying to its tail finnage appears to have healed almost fully, with the tail looking near perfect once again, which is great to see.

Updates over the coming weeks will probably be quite limited, unless there is anything particularly interesting to blog about. The ranchu will have a few more water changes, whilst seeing their feeds reduced in line with the cooling pond temperature. During the cold period, I expect (and hope, if all goes well) that there will be very little to blog about.

As well as a large brine shrimp hatchery, I am also looking to build something that will allow me to divide the pond into two sections, allowing me to keep males and females separated, during the winter. It has proved difficult to sex the ranchu in their first year. In such inbred lines, tubercles (breeding stars) are often seen on female pectorals, as well as on the males. The vents of the fish can also offer another clue as to its gender, with protruding vents commonly seen on females and more concave vents belonging to the males.

Of the six ranchu that I currently have, I am confident that i've properly identified at least one fish of both sexes (useful given my plans for them!), although it will take a couple of months to be more sure. I then have to hope each party is virile as I would prefer to not have to hand spawn them.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Japanese Ranchu Pond Update

This afternoon the ranchu were moved back into their main pond. It has been many days since they all appeared as happy and active as they look today. I hope this is a sign that things are much improved. Being in a much larger environment will only be beneficial.

Some of the damage to the ranchu caused during treatment also appears to be healing. What appeared to be minor chemical burn on the wen of one fish, has cleared completely in the last two days in the temporary tubs. Another piece had also acquired some ragged fins, whether this was due to aggression from other ranchu or a bacterial infection, i'm not sure. Either ways, this too has improved significantly in the last 48 hours. A nice indication that my general ranchu goldfish husbandry is good.

Japanese Ranchu Pond in the UK


The growth of the ranchu has been interesting to observe. Whilst they have not been fed as well as i would have liked, due to the treatments (maintaining water quality becoming primary goal), they have still grown a little in length.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Ranchu Goldfish Treatment; The End is Near

Just a quick update. Routine scrapes of the ranchu have again shown no parasites in the last 2 days, which is obviously great. The ranchu will go into their final .25% salt treatment tomorrow. In the meantime, their main pond is being heated, allowing parasites to get into full swing, when it will then be disinfected again overnight.  The pond will then be thoroughly rinsed and refilled fresh allowed to age and get to temperature. It will take longer to get the pond up to temperature, now that I am not using the water tank (which was better insulated) to age and heat water, so the ranchu may well stay in tubs another couple of days.

Something I have noticed is how the colour of the ranchu has changed since being in the white temporary tubs. A couple of the ranchu have lightened significantly, becoming more golden in colour, rather than deeper orange. It could well be a combination of things including the light pond colour or just effects of medication.

Currently the pond temperatures are around 20 degrees C. I'm anticipating a (now) relatively short wintering period, with the time it will take to reduce to pond temperatures gradually (by 1 degrees C, every 2/3 days). I'm thinking the ponds will be at winter temperatures around Mid/End Jan and I hope to be able to keep them at winter temperature for at least 4 weeks.

In the meantime, I'm designing my brine shrimp hatchery setup, which will be constructed in the coming weeks, in anticipation of lots of babies come springtime!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Ranchu Goldfish Parasite Treatment

It appears that bypassing my water storage tank has helped in eliminating my ranchu parasite problem. I'm almost certain that this (and potentially, buckets and hoses used in conjunction) had been providing an ongoing parasite supply to the ponds that were being treated. I overlooked this, as the tank had two permanganate treatments and shortly after appeared clean. However, on a recent refill, parasites were found when the supposedly clean water reached temperatures above 20 degreesC. Whether the Permanganate was not effective as a disinfectant or contamination was the source, i'm not sure.

It has shed some light on the apparent lack of effectiveness of any previous treatments. For example, it may have meant that during the FMG treatment, fresh parasites were being unintentionally added to ponds with each water change and not enduring the full course. The same may also have occurred with the salt treatments, giving the impression that they were resistant to the salt.

I'm hoping that any parasites on the ranchu themselves, would have gone through the full courses. The ranchu continue to appear to be in great health, showing no signs of infestation and reassuringly, scrapes of all the ranchu, have showed no parasites today. I look forward to getting the ranchu back into their main pond when i can begin preparing them for a now slightly delayed, winter period.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Ranchu Goldfish Parasites; Under Control

The ranchu have gone from .7% into their first .5% dissolved salt tubs today and thankfully, all appear well. The ranchu have been going into fresh ponds within 24 hours maximum. With a much stricter routine consisting of minimal feeds (to help maintain water quality) and tubs and equipment disinfected between the ranchu moving ponds, the parasite population has been hit hard. Random scrapes of a couple of the ranchu as well as the pond and heater this evening have shown no visible parasites.

After disinfecting the water storage tank, the reaction of the Permanganate clearly showed that there was a lot of organic matter present, somehow. I suspect this may have been the route cause of parasites constantly being introduced to ponds previously. Interestingly, the ranchu have never been in the tank, although heaters, air stones, buckets and hoses may have been in contact with multiple ponds and the tank (although generally everything is cleaned between uses). It's another example of just how how easily contamination could occur in an unfiltered system.



Thursday, 13 December 2012

UK Ranchu Treatment Update

48 hours into the .7% salt treatment and scrapes of the ranchu tub, heater and fish have still shown strong numbers of Costia and Chilodonella, seemingly relatively happy in the .7% solution. I wondered if I should expect to see an initial peak in parasite numbers, as the increased temperatures speeds up the life cycle and therefor their reproduction? However, increasing numbers after a couple of days suggests the salt isn't killing the Costia before reproduction can occur. Sadly it appears I won't be getting the upper hand with this salt treatment.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Japanese Ranchu; The Battle Continues

It has been an eye opening couple of days with my Japanese ranchu, to say the least. Sunday evening, the group were moved back into their main pond, into fresh water that had been aged. The spot/ulcer identified in the funtan of one of my ranchu appeared to burst over night, unfortunately, changing the shape of the right funtan considerably. Interestingly, this ranchu (which had been one of the two sulking and off their food) has generally become more active and fed well.

The other noticeably weakened ranchu was still not right on the Monday morning before work, continuing to isolate itself from the group and not feed. After work was the same story, although the rest of the group appeared to be OK and feeding (although not as aggressively as i would like). Worryingly, I noticed a couple of the group flashing and so I took a scrape of the pond wall. The result? probably the most infested scrape i have seen yet. Unbelievable! Clearly something went amiss with my routine, contaminating the "clean" pond somehow, or not properly taking into account the life cycle of each parasite when disinfecting. Either ways, I could now see huge numbers of Costia and Chilonodella (previously what i thought was Tetrahymena).

Again, something had to be done, and quickly. I took the fish out of the main pond and put them back into a fresh tub (a much lesser infested environment will give me some thinking time at least!). I gave it some thought and decided to carry out an experiment, with a suggested salt treatment in mind. I took a small sample from the main pond and added a couple of drops of salt solution to the slide. The salt level was somewhere between .6% and .7% (or 6-7g per litre). Within several minutes, both the costia and particularly the chilodonella, were suffering. After 20 minutes or so, activity was dramatically reduced again, with some chilodonella motionless and others turning slowly on the spot. The costia were also becoming fewer and less active.

It led me to decide that a salt treatment may be effective and should be attempted. The treatment idea that I have been made aware of (by a very well known UK ranchu breeder) is 3 days at .7%, then 3 days at .5% (in a new pond), then 3 days at .25% (again, in a new pond), followed by move to an unsalted pond. This will be my plan. I also plan on keeping the temperature up as much as possible, to speed up the parasites life cycle. This afternoon the ranchu were moved into a disinfected tub, containing the salt solution of near on 7g per litre. On the face of it, the improvement in the ranchu's behaviour, within a couple of hours, has been astonishing. ALL ranchu have been active, including the previously very ill looking pieces. I fed bloodworm a little while ago and ALL ranchu fed more aggressively than i have ever seen, at any time. I hope this is a sign that we may be on the right path finally.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Japanese Ranchu December Update

During yesterday evening it became obvious of two of my Japanese ranchu that were not 100%. Both showed no interest in the small amount of bloodworm offered, whilst others fed happily. Both also, still appeared to be breathing a little rapidly, and one spent much of the evening facing the corner of the pond. My plan for this morning was to get the ranchu into 100% fresh water without delay, if they had not perked up, overnight.

Today started with a schoolboy error, not getting up in time to carry out a complete water change before leaving for work! The two ranchu that had looked rough, were still looking weak, and so i decided something at least, must be done. Instead of a complete change, i had to settle for a water change of around 50%. Whilst changing the water, i noticed that the ranchu with the sever finnage veining yesterday, was already looking near perfect again. A very good sign.

I received regular updates from my girlfriend throughout the day, as to whether the ranchu were becoming more active, or if things took a turn for the worse. Neither happened. After returning home this evening, I got straight on with cleaning the temporary tubs once again, with the intention of putting the ranchu into one, with 100% fresh aged water, until fresh water in the main pond has aged. I have noticed that one of the unhappy ranchu appears to have an ulcer/spot developing on/in one funtan, which may explain its discomfort. Interestingly, within 30 minutes of the group being placed into the temporary tub with 100% untreated water, all were looking more active, and the fish with the identified spot, even joined in the feeding, which can only be a good sign.

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Treatment Comes to an End.

This morning my japanese ranchu had completed 36 hours in the final treatment dose. Scrapes have shown ZERO parasites. Get in!! However, the ranchu were beginning to look very tired, most noticeably they were all breathing quite heavily and lacking appetite. I immediately refilled their main pond with prepared water. On moving them i noticed that one ranchu in particular has developed very bad veining in his tail fin and even  a couple of small sores on his back, which i suspect is related to being exposed to the formalin for this length of time.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Treatment Takes its Toll on the Ranchu

After 24 hours in the full dosage level of FMG, scrapes of various areas of the tub, heaters and airline continues to show massively reduced numbers of critters, and looking close to death. However, the ranchu are beginning to look a little tired and fed up by the whole ordeal. They are not as active as they have been previously and they have fed much less aggressively today. I have also observed one or two flashing and rubbing their noses today. I'm hoping this is a positive sign, perhaps as the last remaining costia on the fish react to the treatment.

I will keep the ranchu in the quarantine tub until tomorrow, when i will put them back into the main pond. The water will be from the stock tank (treatment now approx 50% diluted). I hope this will replicate how the treatment would dissipate/dissolve over a few days or after a hefty water change in a filtered system. Over the weekend the water will be changed again, this time with 100% aged, fresh, untreated water (which I'm very much looking forward to doing!). I hope this will perk the ranchu right up. i'll then have the wintering process to look forward too!

I do not intend to subject the ranchu to any further treatment for the year, and hope that what has been done, will have been enough, to give the ranchu the upper hand over the winter.

Ranchu goldfish treatment - sorted!

I don't want to speak to soon, but, a scrape of the heater this morning showed zero tetrahymena, and a tiny number of Costia in the Ranchu tub. All of which looked like they were about to die (going nowhere and spinning slowly on the spot). I think the increased temperature certainly played a huge role in the effectiveness of the FMG this time round. The Ranchu were being kept in water around 22 degrees C and the same during the last course. For this treatment course, I gradually increased the temperature which touched 26/27 degrees C during the final dosing. This no doubt helped speed up the life cycle of the parasites, meaning the chemical could go to work on a maximum number of Costia, in their free swimming form.

The Ranchu may be moved back into the main pond this evening, although the higher temps have been more manageable in the smaller quarantine tubs. I also want to avoid pulling them out of the final treatment dose too soon, like last time. For that reason, I have a large water tank (disinfected) that has been pre-dosed identically to the pond they are in. This will give me the opportunity to keep the ranchu in the treated water, that is also fresh, for a couple of days longer.

I have noticed a couple of the ranchu no longer gulp at the surface after feeding which is interesting. As it only seemed to occur after feeding, and by the largest, heaviest feeders, this was a symptom that could well have been put down to a number of causes. Clearing gills of debris, Begging for food, Poor water quality(not so likely), or gill damage. Although scrapes were taken for the edge of the gill plate, no scrapes were taken from inside the gill, making it impossible to know for sure, just what took up residence there. Having previously identified and treated for gill flukes and now costia, it's certainly not a stretch to imagine the gills may have been infested at some point. It now seems clear to me that gill damage/weakness was the issue, with the change in behavior observed.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Treatment of The Ranchu Continues...

Day 4 of the 5 day anti parasite treatment has been dosed and the ranchu appear to be bearing up OK. My new dosing method is meaning the water appears to be retaining the treatment dye colour better than previously. Let's hope this means it will prove more successful in eradicating the costia.

I've noticed some minor veining in the tail finnage of a couple of the ranchu, which i expect to be stress and/or water quality related. However, the fish are going into fresh (aged) water every day, so until the treatment course is over, there's very little i can do currently. In all other ways, the ranchu seem well. They have been constantly active and feeding.

The tubs I'm using are proving to be great. They each hold up to about 70 litres and included a lid, which is useful and helps to keep the water temperature stable during the night. I think they will also be great as hatching tubs for ranchu fry in their earliest days/weeks. They also only cost £8 each, which will be useful come spring time when i hope to be raising thousands of potential All Japan Ranchu Winners!


Japanese Ranchu


Friday, 30 November 2012

Ranchu Parasites - A Closer Look and Plan B.

The ranchu have been moved into smaller temporary tubs whilst the pond has been "nuked" with a Potasium Permanganate treatment. Every effort will now be made to keep anything not sterilized from going into it. The ranchu will only go in there once i'm happy they are clean enough for the Winter and Spring periods. I really need to get them sorted quickly as i really want to start cooling them for a winter break as soon as possible.

My plan now is to attempt another course of FMG treatment. This time however i hope to use the smaller tubs, that I currently have the ranchu in. I intend to change the water daily, 100% fresh and with the required dose mixed in each day. Using the smaller tubs will help in a couple of ways:

  1. I intend to increase the temperature this time, which will speed up the life cycle of the Costia, or even start killing them off if a high enough temperature is reached. 
  2. It will keep the general level of waste down which should help the FMG perform to its potential (I also intend to feed even more strictly (or less) during this course. 
  3. It will also keep the water in the best possible condition for the ranchu, which I hope will allow me to hold fire after the final dosage, giving the chemical an extra day or two to finish the job!


I managed to catch a decent mini clip of some of the little F#@%%@s today. This is from a scrape of a heater in one of the tubs which obviously gets some slime build up. It makes claims that parasites cannot live long off a host very questionable. Parasites shown on scrapes of the fish are still proving much harder to find thankfully, although they are there in very low numbers.

video

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Back to the Drawing Board!

Twenty four hours passed since the final FMG dose was applied and scrapes of the pond, disappointingly, showed that the treatment had had very little impact. I pulled the fish out and put them into a smaller temporary tub. Out of interest, I dosed the fishless pond with another 25ml, left for several hours and again scraped the tub. You guessed it, Costia and Tetrahymena were still present in high numbers and looking just as active.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Ranchu Update

The final dose of FMG treatment has been given to the Ranchu pond this morning which i hope will be the dose that takes the total dosage to the effective level. Scrapes of the pond wall this evening are still showing Costia. However, they do appear to be in fewer numbers, and moving in a very drugged like, manner! I hope that after tomorrow evening (24 hrs at full dose strength), the costia will no longer be found alive, or much more positive results will be seen, at least.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Japanese Ranchu Characteristics and Terminology

For anyone becoming interested in the traditional (Japanese) Ranchu goldfish culture, it's worth trying to remember some useful Ranchu terminology. You will often encounter enthusiasts using a variety of phrases and terminology that you may not be familiar with. I have provided a list of the few terms commonly used when keeping, breeding, and showing Ranchu in particular;

"TVR" - Top View Ranchu.
"BBR" (or "Kurokos") - Black Baby Ranchu.
"CBR" - Coloured baby Ranchu.

"Tosai" - Ranchu in its first year.
"Nisai" - Ranchu in its second year.
"Oya" - Ranchu in it's third year.

A picture will best help describe other terms associated with the features of the Japanese Ranchu observed from above:
Japanese ranchu characteristics and terminology


1. Caudal Peduncle.
2. Tail Shoulders (or "Oshia") -Where tail begins to bend back and down.
3. Tail Tips (or "Osaki")
4. Bracelet (or "Oza") - Small scales around base of peduncle.
5. Tail core (or "Oshin") - Central line of tail to the split.
6. Funtan - Headgrowth protruding forward from beneath the eyes
7. Hood or Wen. - Head growth.

Though theses are important areas when developing high quality ranchu, it is by no means a complete checklist. Above all, a ranchu must be well balanced, powerful and swim beautifully!



Saturday, 24 November 2012

Ranchu Parasite Update

More thorough scrapes today have confirmed my fears and shown Costia on my Ranchu.

Fortunately, I had only recently started treating the pond with a Formalin and Malachite Green anti parasite treatment so my Ranchu have been returned to endure the treatment. Several hours in and everything appears to be normal. All fish active, breathing well and looking for food. Let's hope that the previous Gill Flukes and Costia have not caused to much damage to the gills and the fish can cope with the course of treatment.

I have researched a lot and read many conflicting recommendations regarding the preferred treatment for Ranchu, these included baths in salt upto 20g per litre, Potassium Permanganate, and Formalin and Malachite treatments all appearing to have varying results. Having some immediately available, and in an attempt to treat the issue as soon as possible, i've gone with the F&MG treatment.

A couple of tips that may be useful that i have discovered whilst using the microscope:

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ranchu Parasites

Having become somewhat obsessed with my new microscope, I have been inspecting many samples from the pond and the Ranchu in recent days.

The first issue identified clearly on the Ranchu were flukes. Both skin and gill flukes were identified following scrapes and a straight forward Praziquantel course of treatment appears to have successfully removed them.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Preparing Ranchu for Winter

The weather here in the UK is beginning to become much more winter like, with a number of good frosts on the ground in recent mornings. Within the next couple of days I will begin reducing the temperature in my ranchu pond steadily over a period of a few weeks until they reach the desired temperature (<8 Degrees C ) that I shall keep them at over winter. I do not intend to feed my ranchu or carry out any water changes once the pond is at the desired winter temperature. I also intend to keep the pond at this temperature for several weeks although the fish will obviously be observed regularly.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

All Japan Ranchu Show 2012 Results (AJRS)

Today the results of this years All Japan Ranchu Show 2012 have been published providing a great opportunity to admire and study the best Ranchu entered this year. Inspiring stuff.

Results along with fantastic pictures of the event and the fish can be found at http://nichiran.net

Friday, 2 November 2012

Another day, another water change

Today was water change day which currently takes more time than id like. The fish are currently in a temporary 6 x 4 indoor pond. 100% water changes are carried out every 3 - 5 days dependant on the condition of the pond and the activity levels of the Tosai.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

My Journey Begins

Welcome fellow Ranchu enthusiast! Having found yourself here I assume that you are becoming or have become as obsessed with Ranchu as I have. Fear not, you are not alone...

You join me at the beginning of what I expect to be a long and challenging journey. My hopes are to keep, breed, groom and show Ranchu, self bred here in the UK to traditional standards using traditional methods more commonly associated with Japan and the East. I intend to blog about my adventures regularly and hope that my ramblings may provide some useful information for anyone interested in the Ranchu culture.