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The ranchu is similar to the lionhead but has a much more curved posterior
dorsal contour, making an acute angle of join (less than 90 degrees) with the upper lobe of the tail
fin at the caudal peduncle, whereas in the lionhead the dorsal contour is flatter
and the angle of join is obtuse (more than 90 degrees); also, the ranchu tail is splayed sideways with
the lower lobes sometimes lying almost horizontal, whereas the lionhead tail
is like that of the pompon, celestial and bubble eye. Calico ranchus seem to be favoured over self-coloured
fish, whereas more metallic (particularly red) lionheads are seen than calico.
The ranchu was developed in China and imported and further developed in Japan.
Ranchu are also known in the Far East as buffalo-heads. Calico ranchu are known
as edonishiki in Japan.
The ranchu standard (first published in 2011 and updated in 2016) is as follows:
- Depth of body to be approximately 50% of body length.
- Caudal fin to be divided and forked with slightly rounded well spread lobes held above the horizontal.
- Dorsal fin to be absent, all other fins to be paired and their extremities slightly rounded.
- Hood well to be developed.
- Minimum body length 5.5cm (2¼ inches).
The fish should be bright and alert. The body should be medium length with smooth contours and no sign of a dorsal fin. The caudal fin should be well divided, forked and held slightly above the horizontal. The hood should be well developed in all three areas i.e. cranial, infra-orbital, and opercular (see "Finnage and body plan" on our goldfish information page).
Metallic fish may be self-coloured (red, orange, yellow, blue, brown or black) or variegated (any combination of red, orange, yellow, blue, brown, black and white) in a pleasing pattern similar on each side. Quality fish will have high colour intensity and metallic shine extending into the fins.
Calico fish should have a blue background with patches of violet, red, orange, yellow, brown and white, spotted with black. Quality fish should have a high intensity of colour evenly distributed over the body, with colour, especially black, extending into the fins.
Ideal profiles are illustrated below:
Red metallic ranchu shown at BAS 2011. The top fish has a very deep body contour.
Top views of two ranchu photographed at GSGB 2011. The hoods should develop further with maturity.
These fish were shown at BAS 2002; all three are red-white variegated, the fish on
the right having a yellow head.
These fish were photographed in Hong Kong in December 2000 (left) and at BAS
© Bristol Aquarists' Society