Proper Husbandry

To express the true potential of the Japanese ranchu they must be kept according to traditional methods.  Let us learn about proper ranchu husbandry by observing and imitating the methods used by all Japanese ranchu breeders.  The knowledgeable Richard Lim (Kitsilano blog) has eloquently described the situation:

Quoted from Richard Lim:
"This burning thoughts been on my mind for quite a while and I have concurred with Fred and both of us agree that America on a very "broad platform" is not doing Japanese Ranchu the correct and traditional Japanese way. Let me just apologise if what I said sound offensive and please do post your feel and I try my very best to share and we can all improve together.

Lets start from the beginning to the founder of the Japanese Ranchu....

[​IMG]Photo copied from Oozeki website.

From the very beginning during Grand Master Ishikawa's time, ranchu were raised without filtration. If we use a bit of simple logic knowing how efficient and innovative the Japanese were and still us great products from cars, computers, cameras, medical equipments etc etc...why then in the face of so many newer technologies and furthermore cutting edge technologies...Ranchu are still raised without filtration??

The water with just some simple airstones, food, environment and the skill of the ranchu keeper work in synergy to groom and create the ranchu as envisioned in their mind. Ranchu thus in its infinite state to serious ranchu keepers are regarded as an art form. Water is used as a grooming tool and the normal regard is for 4 to 5 days changes in water to help grow/groom the ranchu. As mentioned many times...fresh water and ranchu swim more and thus grow in length and as water get foul, they swim less and put on head growth and girth...this is just a basic theory to guide us on why water change is necessary and that after 4 or 5 days, water get stale and foul and changes is made to start the grooming cycle again.

If we can put a numbers on the composition of fresh water in a tub without filtration and put it at its newest and freshest...a number 10 and as the water get foul over the next 4 to 5 days and on the 5th day the composition of the water is almost "0" and water need to be changed....understanding this basic reasoning helps us in our understanding on grooming ranchu. So basically I am trying to explain/rationalise that the swing in the composition of the water from 10 to 1 is the grooming tool that ranchu keeper should try to harness with the other variables like food and environment to grow/groom the ranchu. When we use filtration...does filtration give us this composition variable? I reckon flitration as composition stay maybe around a 6 or 7 on the scale of 10...this is functioning correct and that is the purpose of filtration in my honest keep the water clean and the fish healthy in a static range. Can you groom ranchu using filtration...of course yes but the range is tight fisted at 6 to 7 on the scale and the end result will show in the ranchu.

Some good specimens of ranchu groomed using just water and airstones...



The above two ranchus were bred by Dew of Thailand and owned/groomed by Oom.

Let remind ourselves(including me)forummers/hobbyists and to those aspiring ranchu keepers of Geert's article on The Standard of Perfection of the Ranchu...the beginning paragraph holds a lot of weight and we must try to understand and expound on it from time to time so that we stay in the right track playing ranchu....

The Standard of Perfection of the Top View Ranchu


The Ranchu was developed and perfectioned in Japan. The Ranchu came into being at the beginning of the Meiji Period (1870-1885).Even though there is no official Japanese Standard of Perfection for Goldfish, this Standard of Perfection is made according to the established Japanese norms. This Standard of Perfection is constantly liable to adaptions if the norms change or evoluate in the land of origin. It will never be the aim to handle norms which are contradictory with the norms in Japan. The Ranchu is a Japanese Goldfish and this has to remain this way.

As the Ranchu is a pondfish and is most often seen from above, the appreciation and judgement happens from above.On Japanese shows, the Ranchu is exhibited in white enameled bowls.

I am taking a very strong stance for ranchu keepers to advocate conformation to the established Japanese norms as this is a Japanese fish and we are learning the fine art of Japanese Ranchu husbandry. The art of ranchu keeping entails much discipline and much of it is done through observation. Lets sharpen our observation skills and learn to discern and practice ranchu keeping the right way.

Under my breath and out of sight....
What the fish we talking/learning the fine art of Chinese Brush Painting and some jokers start using crayons and marker pens to draw!!"


 The water composition is just for illustration and it does hold true in its simplest sense bcos water get soiled when fishes start swimming and excreting feces and urine. In a non-filtered environment, fresh water will get dirtier and water quality start deteriorating and eventually if nothing is done water gets foul and fishes get sick.

There is a saying amongst old ranchu players that "Shit" is "GOLD" bcos as ranchu start shitting, it changes the composition of the water and it is this dynamic changes in the water content that helps to mould the ranchu. Thus the saying is not wrong(IMHO) when one remarked... dirty water is still good is when dirty water become foul where illness start appearing. Understanding the dynamic of your tub water goes long way in improving your skills as a ranchu keeper....everyday first thing I do is spend a few minutes...just sitting down and watch the tub wate. Certain days just bcos of experiences...even water just 2 days old...I know through observation it is foul..maybe the hot weather...maybe overfeeding or maybe there are some ranchus not feeling well and the water I immediately institute water change and don't feed for the day.

Let me just re-emphasise Geert's writing as below....

Unless the norms changes in the Ranchu motherland which is Japan, we as Japanese ranchu followers will have to adhere to the norms as in the norms in Japan...we cannot be espousing and promoting Japanese ranchu, but not conforming to the norms in Japan. I for one will not blame another hobbyist especially if he can write/blog beautifully and have great illustration of his filter system and showing all his ranchu living happily in it...that is individual prerogative, but in a forum like Goldfishkeeper where we are trying to promote the correct Jap Ranchu husbandry...we must stand up and correct and guide hobbyists to the right way to keep ranchu.

Just imagine if you are part of a Harley Davidson motorcycle group and yes all Harleys take great pride in their machines especially the deafening and raw Harley exhaust pipe "ROAR" and one joker join the Harley Club and he come riding with a modified Harley where instead of the Harley "ROAR" is some screeching whinng purring sound bcos joker modified the exhaust and replaced it with some purring, whining Suzuki parts...will Harley members stand up in arms...yes/no?

If you happen to see those Japanese breeders' magazine....practically everyone will show their set filter...just water and airstones....that in essense is the positive reinforcement of the norms and everybody do their part to reinforce and show the correct way to keep ranchus. I think it will be great and like bro Jeff Thompson showed his ranchu set up...if many start showing and "buddy rub" each other to promote ranchu the correct way, I think there will be much improvement in ranchu husbandry.

Look at all these great Japanese breeders below proudly showing their tubs and set up...all no filters...."