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Ranchu was developed in China; it is imported, further developed and made famous by the Japanese. Ranchu without the dorsal fin naturally brings the attention to the curve of its back. The purpose of the document is to present the different kind of back curve that ranchu possess.

In the market, ranchu is commonly divided into ‘side-view’ and ‘top-view’ ranchu. In this document, I’m trying to achieve an appreciation of the side view regardless whether it is a side-view or top-view ranchu. However, I would like to highlight this is only base on my finding and personal preference.

Chinese Curve A

Japanese have developed their style and set of standard definition on the ranchu body shape. They describe ranchu body shape with same shape as their 'coin-shaped' is the best desirable shape. See picture below - Koban Kin


Chinese Curve A1

Koban Kin

Chinese Curve A2


Despite many articles mentioned that it is a mistake that Chinese misinterpret the Japanese regarding the ‘coin-shape’ definition of the ranchu body shape as ‘round-shape’ instead of oval-shaped; however the Chinese knows exactly what they are seeking for. Many old masters kept such priceless round-shape ranchu as their personal collection. This is said not without ground.

Just like the Discus, the round side view body provides a lot of viewing ‘area’ for better ‘side-view’ appreciation. This allows the fish to displays its beautiful glittering scales similar to the Arowana. Due to the nature of such shape, these ranchu are usually strong, tough (not fat) and very well balance. I was once taught by a Chinese old master that the goldfish that can provide the center of gravity and remain balance when motionless is consider a top quality fish!

The main different between lionhead and ranchu is the unique back curve that ranchu possess. It is amazing to think back how these ranchu have gone through years and generations of cultivation before achieving such beautiful curve. Unfortunately, they are rare and hard to find nowadays, especially the current trend is leaning towards Japanese curve (see below). In the years to come, these beautiful ranchu might come to the end of their bloodline.

Chinese Curve B

Just purely base on the general aspect of a curve, these ranchu are most appealing to common eyes. The curve rises gently from the head to the middle of the body before it begins to roll off smoothly in an increasing angle down to the tail. Absolutely a nice back curve line.

Another plus point about such curve is that it give the effect that the tail is tightly tuck onto the waist of the fish which is an important X-factor for both side-view and top-view ranch. Many top grade top-view Japanese ranchu possess such characteristic. Ranchu with such curve looks good both in the top-view and view-side. Due to this reason, such contour can be found across different ranchu breeders. They can be found in Chinese breeders, Japanese breeders, Thai breeders (typical), Malaysia and even Singapore breeders. Nevertheless, this does not imply that most ranchu can easily achieve such curve. Fish with such curve is considered a good grade fish.


Chinese Curve B1

Chinese Curve B2


Chinese Curve C

These ranchu look similar to above ranchu in one glance. But on a close observation, one will notice that the contour of the back actually raising gradually from the head till the end of the body (waistline) and then a sharp near 90 degree drop towards the tail.

Usually, such back curve is accepted without discrepancy, overall, its still looks nice. However, due to the natural of such curve, the center of gravity no longer in the centre and when the fish go at rest (motionless), it tends to curl on the side in an odd manner.


Chinese Curve C1

Chinese Curve C2


Chinese Curve D

These ranchu is similar to the lionhead, it has slightly more back curved contour compared to lionhead (lying almost horizontal). Since the curve is not obvious, it losses the importance characteristic of a ranchu. On the contrary, such ranchu is widely accepted by hobbyists.

One can easily understand why these ranchu are accepted, as the curve on the back tends to stretch straight from the head to the waist and followed by a gradually roll down to the tail giving the fish a natural look compare with the first three curve mentioned above.

One great positive point about such body shape is that they tend to grow larger than the rest of the ranchu. Easily reaching 8 inch! Perhaps such lesser curve on the back allows the rest of the body to stretch longer.


Chinese Curve D1

Chinese Curve D2


Japanese Curve A

This curve is mostly found in top grade Japanese ranchu, where some Japanese breeders commented that "Top grade Japanese ranchu is beautiful in both top and side view". In fact this kind of curve is very similar to the Chinese Curve (B) in this document.

The only different is that the contour between the head and the middle of the body is more ‘flat’ compared to the Chinese Curve (B). Ironically, this typical top-view ranchu curve is currently, most sought after by hobbyist that keep side-view ranchu.


Japanese Curve A1

Japanese Curve A2


Japanese Curve B

This is a typical curve for many Japanese ranchu. As we know, Japanese ranchu are topview ranchu, and in order to provide a wide view from the top, this is an essential characteristic a good top-view ranchu should have.

View from the side, the contour of the back is fairly straight (flat), the curve only took place when it stretches beyond the waistline. Usually, this roll off is at an extreme sharp angle. However, personally, this is not that desirable for a side-view appreciation.


Japanese Curve B1

Japanese Curve B2

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