Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Freeze Begins for the Ranchu

Just a quick update today. As you can see from the picture above of my old pond, freezing night time conditions have now arrived. Temperatures in the last couple of nights have dropped to -2 C, which has been the first real test of the ponds setup and a good indicator as to how the pond temperatures may be affected.

Things look positive. Thankfully, everything seems to have stood up to the challenge, with the thermostat reading the desired set temperature (7.5 C) late last night and again early this morning. 

No change to speak of with the ranchu, although a couple do appear a little more active than i would expect. One female is very inactive, which i must get my head around as being normal given the conditions, but it is still a little unnerving. I'm sure when my ranchu numbers increase i will be less fearful of losses at this time if year. 

When the bubble wrap arrives (tomorrow) they will be wrapped up and shaded, which should help reduce activity levels.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Time to put my feet up?

Today i made some final preparations to the ponds, with the upcoming winter in mind. I finished cleaning out the other ponds and made some repairs to the lids that were needed. I have some rolls of bubble wrap ordered that i intend to throw across all the ponds to help insulate them further. 

I've been sneaking a peak at the ranchu to check on their condition, although its important not to disturb them too much during the resting period. It is somewhat unnerving, the thought of not attending to, changing water, or feeding the ranchu for several weeks. Todays inspection reassured me though, as the water conditions appear to be fine with no waste visible. Plus, with no further food going in, in theory, there is no reason water quality should deteriorate significantly.

I have been studying ranchu a lot recently, and will continue to during the winter, as i begin making plans for the upcoming season. The "perfect" ranchu is made up of many elements and the winter provides a great opportunity to think about ways in which the development of each element could be optimised through grooming. 

Although this season resulted in no spawning i have learnt a great deal about my ranchu. I have been able to see more about the genetics of each fish, as they grew and developed as Nisai, which will be valuable when selecting fry. I am very confident this year will be more successful.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Winter Resting Period Begins

As hoped, the ponds have continued to cool nicely this week and have now dropped below 10 degrees C (50F). This week i will get them down a little further (below 8 degrees C) and will aim to hold them there for several weeks. 

The ranchu are now less active, particularly after dark, although all appear well. The winter period provides a great opportunity to study the ranchu. They are motionless for long periods and in lots of water, making it a good opportunity to assess the ranchus structure and balance clearly.

I hope that there will be very little to write about for several weeks as the ranchu go through their resting period. Rumours are that we could see snow next week, and that we could have the worst winter for 60 years, with snow right through to March. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Frosty Weather Hits the UK Ranchu

In recent days the UK has had colder weather including the first frosts of the autumn/winter. The ranchu are beginning to slow down a little i think, although i've not had as much time to observe them during the daytime recently, due to work commitments.  

Feeding has continued to be reduced as the pond temperature slowly drops. The digital thermostat is reading around 12 degrees C. By the end of next week, i hope to have the pond down to below 10 degrees C, by which time the ranchu will no longer be being fed. Very soon the ranchu will be moved into the pond that they will spend the winter period in. Before then i will be giving the ponds a thorough going over to ensure they will be insulated as best possible.

The all japan ranchu show 2013 has now passed and the quality of ranchu on show was incredible. Winners can be seen in full glory below, enjoy!!

Oya class

Nisai class

Tosai class