Thursday, 31 January 2013

Japanese Ranchu; The Warming Continues

We are continuing to enjoy mild weather her in the UK and the Japanese ranchu pond has warmed up by about 1 degrees C per day, for the last few days. In the last couple of days, I've also discovered that the floating thermometers i have been using, are somewhat inaccurate at the low temperatures. Strangely they are reading accurately at higher temperatures (Apparently this is due to the liquid used and them being calibrated to operate accurately at regular tropical temperatures). The thermometers have been reading an incorrect low, somewhere in the region of 3 degrees C under the actual temperature. This means that the at its lowest the pond only reached somewhere near 8 degrees C.

Whilst I don't see this being a major issue, it has also meant that the pond is already warmer than i expected, currently in the region of 11 degrees C. With the couple of milder days we've had on the trot, the ranchu are looking as if they are slowly gaining more energy, daily. Today they took an active interest in me being around the pond, as if awaiting a feed. A couple of what i believe to be males, also appeared to show chasing behavior. Whilst i wasn't expecting to be back in the water change/feeding routine this soon, the mild weather and warmer than expected pond, means that the pond could be above 15 degrees C sometime next week and things will need to get underway. The water quality also looks to have deteriorated somewhat in the last couple of days.

In preparation, I have separated what I believe to be the females, from the males, hoping to help inspire them into breeding when reintroduced to each other, at a later date. I intend to slowly introduce some bloodworm soon, starting with one small feed each day. I will also begin the water changes as soon as the feeding begins.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Ranchu Receive Milder Weather

Today the weather has warmed things considerably, ranchu included, with temperatures above 10 degrees C and forecasts of 15 degrees C at times this week. The result today, has meant the pond temperature has increased by around 1 degree C. It would have almost certainly been more had i not been at home and able to open and close doors and windows to assist in cooling the ambient temperature of the ranchu room.

Japanese Ranchu UK Breeder

The ranchu appear to have detected the change. A couple of fish in particular, I believe, have been moving slightly more decisively.With outside temperatures rising rapidly, I think the endless water changing and feeding may soon be upon me once again. Mind you, to be honest, i am looking forward to warming them up, getting them in cleaner water and feeding them once again.

I will make the most of the remaining, relatively relaxing, days.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Brine Shrimp Eggs For Sale UK

Brine Shrimp Eggs For Sale UK

Just before this weekend I received my eagerly anticipated shipment of high quality, Brine Shrimp Eggs, from the USA.

I was a little unsure of just what quantity I am likely to get through this season and so my order was on the safe side. Assuming my culling is carried out efficiently and the Brine Shrimp hatch rate is as good as I expect, I'm confident I will have ordered far more than I will use this year. I would guess that I comfortably have twice as many tubs as i will require, based on raising other varieties previously.

If anyone fears they may be short at anytime during the season and is interested in the extra tubs of brine shrimp eggs that i have, please contact me at

The snow, that so much of the UK has endured over the past few days, has cleared almost over night. Temperatures have risen from below freezing daily, to somewhere in the 5-10 degrees C range. I'm very glad that i began to start warming things up when i did, as the pond is easily rising by 0.3 C daily, on its own currently, with the bright, milder day times, that we are now experiencing. The ranchu continue to look healthy, moving infrequently, slowly, but looking comfortable at the same time. The temperature of the pond is now in the region of 7 degrees C.

The ranchu resting period has given me a lot of time that has been spent preparing equipment and developing ideas for the upcoming season. A lot of the theory seems great and i'm getting increasingly excited to see how it all plays out in reality!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Japanese Ranchu; The New Season Begins!

With the snow moving away now, we are enjoying some slightly milder weather, which has been instantly reflected in the temperature of the Japanese ranchu pond. The pond has crept up 0.2 degrees C during the day over the last couple of days, without heaters. I have taken this natural change as the time to begin very gradually warming the pond. Its crucial that i remain ahead of the natural climate curve, to avoid a mild spring day heating the pond significantly, over a short period.

It has been interesting to observe the ranchu during the subtle temperature changes. Without a doubt, activity has increased, with all fish, at times. It is fascinating to think the ranchu are so in tune, with such subtle changes. It certainly reiterates the importance of avoiding huge temperature swings, over a short period of time, or at least understanding the possible effects. Whilst a big temperature change may not show any visible damage to the fishes health immediately, who knows what effect it may have had on the ranchu in future? Particularly, with breeding in mind, its general activity levels and ability to react to environmental changes, to trigger breeding at a later date, could be effected?

With all this in mind, my plan is to raise the temperature of the pond by 0.2 degrees C every 24 hours from now on, this may increase slightly in later weeks but i hope will not go above 0.4 degrees C. My plans suggests that the pond will reach a temperature of 15 degrees C late February, which will have given the ranchu the best part of  8 weeks below 15 degrees C.

When the brighter days arrive, i will need to monitor the pond closely. The conservatory warms up fast and so will the pond. I will do what i can to limit the amount that the pond warms each day when possible, although i suspect, at times (with work commitments), this will be a challenge. I think what will be more important, will be to prevent a full, temperature swing (up and down within 24hrs). The downward swing, i will be able to control and so we may reach 15 degrees C slightly earlier.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Ranchu Update; Freezing Temperatures Continue

With below freezing conditions for several days now, the ranchu pond has now dropped just below 5 degrees and the ranchu have all slowed considerably, for the majority of the day. At times, during daylight hours, they have all been observed cruising about and all appear to be in good health.

I will begin the slow process of beginning to warm the ranchu up again very soon. Whilst this will be done very gradually, I have been waiting for acknowledgement of my brine shrimp eggs shipment to avoid being poorly equipped for any potential early spawning. I'm told the brine shrimp are now in the country and i expect them to be with me this week all being well.

Below is my brine shrimp hatchery and collection setup. It's pretty crude, but similar is design to many that i have seen used by ranchu keepers in Japan and the east. I have used Plastic bottles in the past and hatching was acceptable, even from low quality eggs, so i'm confident I will be happy, with superior brine shrimp eggs being used. The setup should provide an AM and PM hatch, giving the fry fresh artemia, day and night. (Assuming we get fry of course!)

Brine Shrimp Hatchery

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Japanese Ranchu Reach the Winter Low

Today my ranchu pond has reached the low of 6 degrees C (42 F) that I hoped for. All fish look well. A couple, almost a little too well! Although moving more slowly, two of the ranchu still cruise about for much of the daylight hours, apparently grazing on the bottom. The others are much more sedate, hovering near the bottom and moving less frequently.

I hope this is perhaps just a sign of the strength of certain fish and that they are not struggling or uncomfortable with the concept of the resting period. I also hope it will not create issues when attempting to trigger them into spawning behavior in later weeks.

I may drop the temperature a little further and see if this helps force all the ranchu to rest.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Ranchu see the UK Snow

Well, it's safe to say that the British winter is in full swing, although thankfully my ranchu are fully prepared. Much of the country had snow earlier this week, with more predicted later in the week and temperatures below freezing expected for the next few days.

Thankfully the ranchu pond has already reached a low temperature of between 6-7 degrees C and so sudden changes are not really a concern at this point. The thermostat is working well, maintaining temperatures throughout the night, as everything cools considerably and during the day, when the sun gets up and above the conservatory which can warm things up somewhat.

UK Ranchu Over Winter

The ranchu were closely observed this morning and i must say, even in my limited experience, they looked really well. All were cruising around first thing, apparently looking for food. At this time of year, the pond being located where it is, means it does not see direct sunlight until later in the spring. The result is, little to no algae has taken a hold yet, unfortunately meaning the ranchu having nothing easily digestible, to graze on through the winter.

I've been putting together some exciting ideas and plans that i hope will help develop/groom very high standard ranchu in 2013. Springtime seems to be an awful long way away!


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Japanese Ranchu tucked up for Winter

Today the Japanese ranchu pond has dropped to a temperature around 8.5 degrees C. A couple of weeks of colder weather is forecast from next weekend and so I think the pond will reach its target temperature of 6 degrees easily in the next few days.

I decided that i would syphon out the little bit of waste that was present in the pond and top up with water that has been matured. All in all, i guess around 30% was replaced, with just under 100 litres of fresh water going in. I intend to leave the pond in its current condition for at least four weeks with no water changes and no feeding.

Whilst syphoning, the ranchu were inspired to move about a little and investigate what was going on. All appear to be healthy and fingers crossed, they will be OK over the next few weeks.

Japanese Ranchu Goldfish UK

Monday, 7 January 2013

Winter Begins for the Ranchu

The radiator in the conservatory has been turned off and the door to the main house is kept closed, making the conservatory and the ranchu pond remain fairly cold, around the clock. The new thermostat controlling the heaters is proving to be invaluable. To ensure a gradual decline, i've chosen to reduce the temperature of the pond by 0.4 degrees C every day. The pond is currently sitting just below 10 degrees C and the ranchu have now slowed down considerably.

I may carry out one more water change on the pond, which the ranchu will then be kept in for the remaining wintering period. I would prefer to not stress the fish given their current state, but i have noticed a small amount of waste in the in the pond. Therefor, Ammonia and nitrite levels must be considered, with the ranchu being kept in the same water for a number of weeks.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Japanese Ranchu and UK Weather

The British weather is demonstrating another fine example of its inconsistency and providing a challenge to keeping ranchu in perfect conditions, with a bout of mild (and obviously wet) weather, for this time of year. With pond temperatures rising a couple of degrees in the past couple of days, it appears I will need to be more hands on in trying to cool the conservatory and the pond as much as possible.

The ranchu have had a small feed with the temperature rising and are also still getting water changes. The fish continue to appear happy and active. I hope that by the end of next week the pond temperature will be below 10 degrees C and that i can keep it there. This will then be the end of the water changes and feeding will also be stopped.

It has made me think that the winter in the outdoor ranchu facility will prove easier to control temperatures, although my wallet will probably be taking much more of a hit!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Ranchu Adventures; Heading into 2013

Happy New Year to one and all, Ranchu and Enthusiasts alike!

Just a small update on the current condition of the ranchu and the pond. The pond temperature has continued to drop gradually and is now sitting at around 11 degrees C, so not much farther to go. Meanwhile, the ranchu have been looking well, and, as active as i would expect, given the temperature. 

Another Christmas present arrived recently, which will be very important when i begin to warm the ranchu back up, after the winter - An external digital thermostat. Unlike heaters which each have individual thermostats and generally operate above 16 degrees C, the external thermostat operates from 0-50 degrees and will control all heaters. This will be hugely beneficial at the lower temperatures, when still wanting to increase or decrease the temperature of the pond gradually.