Well another two weeks have passed and the ranchu continue to endure cold, dark days, and even colder nights. In the last couple of days we have even seen more snow fall. The heaters are working hard to keep conditions relatively stable during the night. With temperatures no higher than 5 degrees C and more cloudy days forecast for the next week, a potential spawn before the end of the month is looking doubtful. It appears the season could start much later than last year, assuming it gets started at all.
It appears that other UK ranchu hobbyists are also encountering similar challenges, with current conditions not apparently inspiring much breeding activity. I am still confident that slightly milder conditions, particularly during night will get things going.
The ranchu are currently looking healthy, all filling out well, with a couple of individuals now showing more obvious female-like anal vents. They are currently receiving a couple of controlled bloodworm feedings each day.Water temperature is currently at around 19 degrees C during the day, dropping a little through the night.
The recent conditions have led me to re assess my methods for future winters and my plans for my new ranchu facility, which will be outside. The current pond contains 200-300 litres with a good surface area, is in a conservatory with a radiator and has 2 x 200W heaters, yet still struggle to keep the temperature up (and costing me ££££ in heating). Whilst more efficient heaters may help, my initial thoughts are that next year i will need to be more patient, increasing temperatures even more gradually than this year to cater for extended cold periods.