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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

MerLion Arowana Blog 12 - Ranchu Journey IV - Naitoh San

MerLion Arowana Blog 12 - Ranchu Journey IV - Naitoh San

  • I spent many hours talking to Naitoh San on ranchu breeding because I was attempting to breed my dream ranchu in Dreamfish farm...for the second time. Before this, I have bred many Thai Red/White and Black ranchu. 

    The Goldfish breeding facility in Dreamfish.

    In Nov, 2004, I went to Japan again for two purposes. The first was to purchase ranchu for breeding and second was to visit the All Japan Ranchu Competition held in Tokyo.

    Haru San knew my plan and introduced me to Naitoh San.

    Naitoh San is a licensed Judge of Judges in the All Japan Ranchu Association. He breed ranchu for more than 40 years. To reach his rank, it will take lots of experiences and recognitions from the Japan ranchu breeder community. He is a teacher to many other ranchu breeder in Hamamtsu. To strengthen the Hamamatsu ranchu bloodline, he continuously, perfecting his ranchu bloodline and share it with the rest of breeders there. 

    I was honoured to be one of his student!

    Naitoh San netting ranchu from his parent pond. These ranchu were to be used as his bloodline parent in the next season. These ranchu had been chosen from the thousands of thousands – worthy to transcend his ranchu bloodline. He was very kind to give up a few pieces for breeding in Dreamfish Farm.

     The above were the "chosen ones". Naitoh San parent ranchu were mostly red. Accoriding to  him...if using red/white parent, there will be many ranchu that would turn out to be full white. Using "more red" parent ranchu, there would be a good proportion of offspring with red and red/white colour.

    After the selection, we went to sit down at a small hut near to his ponds. I started to question him on many topics on ranchu breeding. 

    Naitoh San would wake up 4-5am in the morning during the ranchu breeding season. He practised the "hand press" method as this would provide him the best fertility rate. Every eggs/fries were considered as "potential" because ranchu breeding is a probability game. Apart from good parents, a breeder must ensure the best fertility rate and best survival rate so to obtain the best bloodline combination from the parent ranchu. The best ranchu bloodline would be found in the top 5% of the whole breeding lot. Any drop in fertilty rate or survival rate will greatly reduce this 5%. This is the reason why the breeding and grooming technique of ranchu is very important.

    Naitoh San would choose...not the biggest or smallest ranchu for breeding. He would choose the mid size ranchu as it would pass down the best gene to the next generation ranchu. Too big or too small ranchu might have weak gene or low fertility problem.

    I remembered that I asked him about natural breeding technique. He explained to me that Ranchu is an ornamental fish. Its no longer a "natural fish". Ranchu is bred for viewing pleasure and the the work of ranchu breeder is to breed a ranchu that best satisfy the ornamental purpose. To achieve this, hand press technique is the best.

    This has caused me to think really hard on my arowana breeding work. It has changed my breeding philosophy. I used to believe in breeding only pure bloodline to conserve what is natural. But now, I believe in also breeding for ornamental purpose - conceiving a new bloodline that is superior. This work is found in our MerLion Harmony. However, this belief of "breeding for ornamental purpose" should not be used as an excuse for "junk" breeding. 

    After talking for a while in the hut, Naitoh San has decided to show us his hand press technique.

    Naitoh San and me...he presented me with a gift... the net for culling the defect ranchu fries. Whenever I used the net...I am grateful to his teaching.

    Naitoh San treated us (Haru San and me) to lunch that day...

    This photo was taken from a Taiwan magazine...showing our goldfish facilities. Those concret tanks housed Naitoh San ranchu as shown.

    I failed terrribly in breeding the Japanese ranchu. I could not obtain the "5%" quality. My ranchu breeding work were not delicated enough to ensure high fertility and high survival rate. Due to the commitment  in arowana breeding, I had to give up ranchu breeding after a year of trying. 

    Japanese ranchu and Thai ranchu breeding are different in term of "wastage". Most Thai ranchu of lower quality can be sold easily but not the Japanese ranchu. Thai ranchu is for side viewing pleasure and Japanese ranchu is for top viewing pleasure. Top-view ranchu has higher quality requirment and hence, required higher breeding skill.

    During the time in the hut, I learned from Naitoh San the prodedure of All Japan ranchu competition. How they judge during the competition? I needed to know as I would be going to Tokyo to view the competition. Something that I wanted to do in this life time. What is the All Japan Ranchu competition about? I will try my best to explain it in my next blog...stay tuned!

    1358Hrs 19th May 2013