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Aquarama 2009 – Fynnmood Review

Fynnmood Goldfish Club has a long roadmap ahead, the club intend to promote and at the same time to do an in-depth study of goldfish from different countries like China, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, America, etc. The first country that the club started with is, Thailand. Although Thailand only has a short goldfish history, the Thai breeders have shown that they have ‘what-it-take’ to re-produce quality goldfish. In the recent years, they are one of the main countries that is know for producing large number of goldfish.

So I couldn’t think of another better way to showcase Thai goldfish than entering some Thai goldfish for this year Aquarama 2009. Despite the fact that I have visited many Thai farms and be friends with many Thai breeders, I hardly have the chance to keep a good and close relationship with them. However, with the help of Fynnmood international (Thai) member, I managed to keep a good relationship with Mr. Anan Laohachai (better know as NK) and Mr. Weerapong. Taking their kind gesture, I have selected 5 fishes from their farm for this competition.

Aquarama goldfish competition is divided into the following classes and categories.

I have entered for the following:

Cat A; Class 1 – Ranchu (10-14 cm)
Cat A; Class 3 – Oranda (12-16 cm)
Cat A; Class 5 – Ryukin – Long Caudal Fin (12-16 cm)
Cat B; Class 1 – Ranchu (above 14.1 cm)
Cat B; Class 3 – Oranda (above 16.1 cm)

I have focused on the three main categories that were, Ranchu, Oranda, and Ryukin. For ranchu and oranda I took part in both big and small size fish (categories A and B). For ryukin I thought of promoting long-tail ryukin, which is something different (since Singapore is already very popular in short-tail ryukin).

The photo below show the ranchu (small), I had chosen for the competition under Category A, size 10-14cm. This fish had made it into top 5 placing, however, it was finally edged out from bagging a trophy. The credit of having sharp ‘competition’ eyes for selecting this ranchu has to go to Mr. James Png. Mr. James Png has been very active in goldfish competition for the passed 2 years. It is an honour that he is the first Singaporean to win a grand title in a competitive goldfish event in Thailand. So what make him so successful in competition? ... … Well the answer is ‘understanding the judges’. In each competition event, he would try to find out who are the judges for the event and then do a study on what that particular group of judges is looking for or like.

Prior to the Aquarama, I was reviewing tanks and tanks of ranchu (from NK) for the competition, I started with a close inspection of each ranchu, it was James that knocked me out of that silly concentration and brought my attention straight to this particular ranchu. His reason was that he believed this group of the judges from Aquarama focused on ‘plumpness’ in the ranchu. Although this fish did not get into top 3, it has clearly demonstrated the importance of understanding the judges’ liking. With that understanding, it would easily put your entry fish into top choice of consideration for the trophy.

Second and Third prize went to Mr. Nuttaphol, a Fynnmood forum user by the nick – ‘Goldfish2u’. If you got a chance to visit Fynnmood forum, you will able to find plenty of nice goldfish photo posted up by him. Hence, it is not surprise to see him bagging some trophies in this competition. Recently, they have set up a shop in Singapore. It is good to see more and more goldfish are landing in Singapore.

My next entry is a big ranchu (Category B, size above 14.1cm). For this class, this fish got a second placing. This credit should not go no other than our very own Fynnmood Goldfish Club vice president, Alan Goh. Being a regular competitor in Aquarama event, Alan too understood their judging criteria well. While selecting the fish for competition, it was Alan that reminded me that I have to seek out the fish that give the first impression. My decision of bringing this fish to competition was simply base on its contrasting white head against its full orange body, together with reasonable nice back curve, good head growth and of course, most importantly in this case, moderately big in size.

The first placing of this category B ranchu is a huge fish. In term of size, it is the biggest showcased among its competitors. I was informed that this fish is originally from Thailand too and the breeder was my Thai friend, Mr. Siriwat. Mr. Siriwat is an established top-view ranchu breeder that ventured into side-view ranchu breeding. Currently this fish can be seen in Fish City (petshop, owner Mr. Ivan Sim). The ‘plumpness’ of the third placing ranchu again gives a very good elaboration that sizes is an important factor for Aquarama.

Among the ranchu in the competition, below two ranchu have given me a good first impression.

(1) It is rare to see ‘snow white’ ranchu with evenly spread black dots, if colour is place as a major judging criteria, this fish should probably get a placing!

(2) As for the other ranchu, it has an attractive head crown pattern (also known as ‘white seal’). Aside from having nice pattern and well spread caudal fin (tail), this fish has impressive body stoutness.

Moving on to Oranda – small size (Category A; size between 12-16cm). I was not very focus when selecting oranda for this class competition. I was impressed with this fish and excited about how beautiful it would be in the near future that I decided to enter it for the competition without second thought. We must always bear in mind that competition is about celebrating the instant beauty of the fish at that point of judging and not about potential or future beauty queen. This fish was knocked out in the first round.

The following are the top three placing for oranda - category A. All the winners in this class have attractive colouration. Second and Third placing oranda, again come from Thailand and it is from Weerapong farm.

Big oranda (above 16 cm) category B, among the 5 entries I had, I guess this is the most ‘talking points’ of all my entries. I could have been from first-round-knocked-out entry to become first prize winner. Let me elaborate by first introducing the oranda that I had chosen for this class, it was an apache (black with orange/red). It has the sheer size, stoutness, robustness and gracefulness, the only weakness is that its fins are not big enough to match its majestic body shape, giving the overall appearance slightly unbalance. Nonetheless, with all the other strong points it has, I did had hope that it would fetch me a placing, unfortunately, is did not happen.

The funny thing is that I have chosen this category B, Oranda - First place winner as my reserve fish for the competition!!! The reason I entered the apache instead of this (First placing) red/white oranda as my first choice was because it is not so common to find a good apache with such massive body size, in other word, I was targeting that the judges will appreciate on the ‘rarity’. Regrettably, as mentioned above, its short fin made it appears smaller and less impressive on one look. Nevertheless, Mr Weerapong who has been so kind to let me do the first pick later entered this fish under his name. Now, he is the ‘King’ of oranda for this year Aquarama. I’m so envious, should be kicking myself (SMILE).

The well-known China farm - Tung Hoi has got second placing with a gorgeous (near full-black) oranda. It has beautiful caudal fin (tail) spread. Comparing two black fish in general, the Tung Hoi fish is more superior to the apache oranda that I had selected.

My last entry is small long-tailed Ryukin (cat A). Long-tailed ryukin is a popular goldfish variety in Japan and Thailand. Interestingly in Singapore, hobbyists are into short-tailed ryukin instead. As mentioned, I entered a long-tailed ryukin in hope to promote the beautiful of this variety to local hobbyists and my Club members. During the event, the ‘live’ telecast shown that this fish had been listed in the top 3 placing, however, in the later stage, all the initial 3 placing had been replaced. Moment of joy and moment of disappointment, guess that’s what make a competition interesting.

The following are the long-tailed small Ryukin, category A, top 3 winners. With all respect to the organizer, in my personal opinion, these ryukin are more of a mid-tailed rather than long-tailed ryukin. However, without taking away the credit of these winners, these fish deserve their title. Personal, I especially like the third placing ryukin - wonderful colour, well balance fish.

For the rest of the winning fish, the glory was shared among Feng Shui Yu (Malaysia commercial – it is said their fish are from Tung Hoi), Aquarama Goldfish committees, and individual hobbyists.

Among these participants (individual hobbyists), one of the winners that I know is Mr. HN Lim. He is a regular competitor in local competition. Picking up First placing in the Pear-scale Class, category A, probably make him still the best in Pear-scale in Singapore or perhaps this region. He also came in First place in Open Class, category A with a bubble-eye variety. I still remember a couple years back, he was trying to enter a bubble-eye for competition, unfortunately the bubble burst just before the competition. He picked up his third trophy with a ryukin. The ryukin took Second placing in Ryukin short-tail Class, category A. This fish has already pocketed a few trophies included trophy from Fynnmood Club – Goldfish Festival 2008.

Aquarama - goldfish competition has matured as the years passed. It formed a certain style of awarding a fish. Size of the fish plays a significant role for Aquarama competition. This can be easily concluded, when one review the First prize winning fish across all the Classes. I applaud Aquarama for establishing it uniqueness so successfully. I hope some day Goldfish Festival (Fynnmood Club goldfish competition) would establish its only style of awarding fish that would be equally interesting to the hobbyists. Fynnmood goldfish appreciation focus has always been on the 4 main points. They are Stoutness, Robustness, Gracefulness and Rarity. In an appreciation viewpoint, goldfish with fairly large size would be appreciated under the word ‘Rarity’.

The interesting and enriching thing about taking part in a competition is that, it brings all kind of emotion, ranging from regret, disappointment, laughter, joy, etc. And hopefully at the end of the day, it makes me a better competitor, a better hobbyist or even a better person. As individual, this Aquarama has brought me joy, because I got a trophy. It brought me something to laugh at myself, because my ‘reserve’ oranda has won the First placing and I failed enter it. It brought me disappointment because I have high hope for my long-tailed ryukin entry and finally regret, I should have entered my personal oranda for the category A (small size) Oranda Class.

Failed to showcase it in Aquarama, I just have to make do and show it off here… …

Initially, I wanted this ‘personally’ groomed oranda to go for category B (big size) Oranda Class, but it did not manage to reach above 16.1 cm mark. On the entry date, it hits only 14.5 cm. The regret is that I should have entered it for category A instead! Perhaps I would stand a better chance and you can be my judges… … SMILE

This fish was brought back at: 2.5 inch (6.5 cm)
Bright red

On the second month, it reached: 3.5 inch (9 cm)
Lost its bright red, it became orange, body grew long, generally, and the fish looks uglier than first brought back. No head growth.

On the fourth month, it reached:
Sign of head growth (cheek and crown), body mass continue to grow and the tail started to bloom.

On the fifth month, it reached: 5.5 inch (14 cm)
More body mass was built on the back and caudal peduncle area.

One major conclusion from Aquarama 2009 is that hobbyist should clearly understand the different between ‘Goldfish Appreciation’ and ‘Goldfish Competition’. Let’s take the ranchu (from category A – small fish) for elaboration purpose. If one is to look at the fish, closely, one would find that the fish has single-anal-fin. The physical stationary deportment is not good, the head is dipping down. And the tail setting is a bit too low for proper balancing. In Fynnmood goldfish appreciation viewpoint, these are weakness of the fish. However, in a competition viewpoint, this fish has good head growth, smooth back curve, well spread tail and stoutness, these qualities make this fish a good contender in any goldfish competition. Hence, hobbyists that clearly understand these points would find goldfish keeping fascinating, or else it can be frustrating and discouraging.

Drawing a summary for this year 2009 goldfish competition, Thai goldfish has taken the centre stage. The winning fish from the major three classes and categories (Ranchu, Oranda and Ryukin) are mainly Thai bred fish. Among the goldfish breeders, NK (and newly joined Weerapong) have proven their fish quality. No matter back in Thailand or in Singapore competition, they have consistently winning trophies. Without much word, these results have established themselves as one top-notch breeders at this point of time. However, before one starts rushing down to the representative farm (in Singapore) to buy fish, one should have a good understanding of what they are looking for and be prepared for a hard bargain. Fynnmood Club strongly discourage hobbyists to buy fish through impulse. Reiterate, it is very important to understand what one is getting (is what he or she really wants) and whether a particular fish is worth paying (this is very subjective to individual) for.

Last but not least, Fynnmood Club would like to invite all breeders / farmers / traders from all over the world to contact the club if they would like to promote or showcase their fish. One of Fynnmood Goldfish Club main objective is to bring the goldfish world closer together! Perhaps for the next milestone, the club would hopes to explore goldfish from other countries like Japan or China, till then, I wish you happy fish keeping.

Steven TONG

Ps. I didn’t get a chance to take photo, most of the photo is taken by Alan Goh. Thanks for the photo.

My favourite Fish for the event!!!

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