Unlike other fancy goldfish I have talked about, the ranchu can be easily mistaken for a different species. Although it looks similar to the lionhead goldfish, the ranchu does have its differences. First of all, the curve of a lionhead’s back is relatively smooth, while the ranchu’s lower body has a sharp archl. Also, ranchu tails are shorter and closer to its belly than the lionhead. Both are slow swimmers since neither has a dorsal fin.
While the lionhead is a Chinese variety, the ranchu is venerated in Japan. They are both valuable to the cultures they come from, in fact, the lionhead was selectively bred to appear as a lion creature from Chinese myths. The lionhead may have more headgrowth around the face, but that characteristic is something the Japanese also treasure in a ranchu as well. As I mentioned before, the lionhead was made to look like the king of the jungle so it may appear chubbier in the cheek areas because of its “mane.”
Japanese criteria of beautiful ranchus are actually very rigid. Although the ranchu comes in an assortment of colors, “beautiful” ranchus are only considered to be orange, red, or red and white. They are compared to sumo wrestlers, and the more yours looks like one, the more prized it is. What I mean by “like a sumo wrestler,” is that it should be fat and well-built, with a wide head and a huge lower body. Small tucked-in fins, a steep angled lower spine and, as I mentioned before, a lot of head growth, are also good traits to find in a ranchu.
Despite all the characteristics ranchus have to live up to (even if they don’t fulfill all standards), they can be fascinating goldfish to have, so don’t be discouraged from getting one if it’s not red or orange. If you still don’t have a fish collection, now is the time to start one! Already a budding fish-enthusiast? Well now you’ve been introduced to the ranchu – a respected species.
As with my previous post, I will gladly answer any questions left in the comments box.