04-10-2009, 06:26 PM
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Your water is ideal for rams or any other of the south american dwarf cichlids. Keep the temp between 25C and 27C (75-79F) for these fish. That's the easy part.
The "sensitivity" is more of an issue with the biological cycle in the aquarium. The Bolivian ram (Papiliochromis altipinosa) is less fussy that the common (blue) ram, P. ramirezi in this regard. Nitrates must not be allowed to climb, and the best way to handle this is with plants (which the dwarf cichlids all appreciate as it gives them a sense of security) and regular (weekly) partial water changes of 25-40%. I would allow the tank to become biologically established and matured (3 months minimum, preferably 5) before introducing these fish except for the Bolivian ram which in my experience tolerates newer tanks better. Aquaria where the biological equilibrium has not been reached is stressful for all fish, some more than others. I've commented on some of these factors in other threads, and won't repeat it here.
While it is true that tank raised fish may be somewhat more adaptable, I would not recommend pushing this too far. The Bolivian ram has been collected in several locales within the Rio Mamore basin. At one site the pH was 7.6 and the hardness was 4 dH. This probably explains why the Bolivian ram acclimates to alkaline water better than the blue ram and most Apistogramma and similar genera. By contrast, the blue ram is native to waters in the Orinoco basin in Venezuela, and the pH there is around 5.1 with a hardness of 1 dH. Tank-raised fish can develop more tolerance for differing water parameters, or so we may like to think, but the fish is genetically programmed over millions of years of evolution and I am skeptical that radical changes will be successful within a few generations. I have had good luck with both fish, and several apistogramma, to the point of spawning them, in water with a pH from 6 to 6.8 max and very soft.