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Bolivian rams and feeding question

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Bolivian rams and feeding question
Old 06-17-2012, 03:41 PM   #21
 
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Thanks Rhymon, I'm keeping a close eye on the whole tank, to make sure everyone continues to get along. Luckily, I'm at the computer for a good part of the day, and the tanks are in the same room with me so I'm able to monitor things.

He sounds just like your Ram. I expected him to be very shy and skittish, but he's just the opposite. Always hanging around in front, with the others. I've found that if I put a pinch of food on the top, the others go up there to eat, and then I quickly release a pinch about halfway down, aiming right at him, so he gets a chance to eat without someone snatching it away. He loves frozen brine shrimp, flakes, frozen mysis shrimp, fish eggs, betta pellets, freeze dried tubifex, and soaked NLS sinking Cichlid Formula, the sinking pellets. Wow, I read the ingredients on the NLS, and couldn't believe the variety! No wonder he likes them so much. But I do find he's not picky at all. But he does do the spit it out at first thing. Even if the pellets are soaked. He'll spit it out 2 or 3 times before he finally swallows it. But I'm so relieved, knowing he's eating. I've read posts where people couldn't get theirs to eat, and that would have really stressed me out.
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:58 PM   #22
 
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Originally Posted by RackinRocky View Post
Thanks Rhymon, I'm keeping a close eye on the whole tank, to make sure everyone continues to get along. Luckily, I'm at the computer for a good part of the day, and the tanks are in the same room with me so I'm able to monitor things.

He sounds just like your Ram. I expected him to be very shy and skittish, but he's just the opposite. Always hanging around in front, with the others. I've found that if I put a pinch of food on the top, the others go up there to eat, and then I quickly release a pinch about halfway down, aiming right at him, so he gets a chance to eat without someone snatching it away. He loves frozen brine shrimp, flakes, frozen mysis shrimp, fish eggs, betta pellets, freeze dried tubifex, and soaked NLS sinking Cichlid Formula, the sinking pellets. Wow, I read the ingredients on the NLS, and couldn't believe the variety! No wonder he likes them so much. But I do find he's not picky at all. But he does do the spit it out at first thing. Even if the pellets are soaked. He'll spit it out 2 or 3 times before he finally swallows it. But I'm so relieved, knowing he's eating. I've read posts where people couldn't get theirs to eat, and that would have really stressed me out.
ahh thats good! I am glad things are going well, I know what it is like for things to not go well...

When I added the Kribensis into my tank I went from a peaceful healthy tank and descended into hell within 4 days... I seriously thought I was going to have a heart attack. The stress was too much, and the whole time what made it worse was that I knew in the back of my mind I was making a mistake, but I did it anyway... Learned a lesson, go with your gut instinct in future!!

Two cichlids in 29g, not a good idea. The ram was fine, but the Krib was a horrible piece of work. from the moment I released her, she went straight for George, and just terrorised him, and would chase the other fish off too. I just felt so guilty, they were all getting on so well, then I put this totally incompatible fish in with them, and they paid the price.

Luckily I managed to capture the Krib, and separated her for the last night (in a tupperware prison inside the tank) and then took her back to the store. What a relief that was. Then I had to deal with a nitrite spike out of nowhere, I think maybe the bioload tipped with the new fish? or because of the stress from all the fish, and then me in the tank chasing the krib, nets and such. maybe the stress made the fish release more ammonia etc and that caused it? but I thought I was going to loose everyone, all gasping at the surface etc. it was awful.... all in 4 days.

Thats why I tried to push the two cichlids in a small tank stuff.... But everyone is different. what works for one, doesn't for another.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:33 PM   #23
 
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Oh boy, there is no doubt I will try a Krib now! I'm glad you didn't lose any fish from that experience. Already, I noticed my Bolivian is nipping slightly at a few of the others right after feeding time, when they are all picking up stray bits of food from the substrate. I hope this isn't a sign of bad things to come. . .
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:01 PM   #24
 
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Oh boy, there is no doubt I will try a Krib now! I'm glad you didn't lose any fish from that experience. Already, I noticed my Bolivian is nipping slightly at a few of the others right after feeding time, when they are all picking up stray bits of food from the substrate. I hope this isn't a sign of bad things to come. . .
No, he'll be fine. They are known for this, I haven't seen mine doing it but others have. That kind of mild aggression is normal, they are substrate feeders due to the downward angle of their mouths, although they will eat stuff anywhere. He's just ensuring his pecking order!
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:30 PM   #25
 
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+1 to Simon's advice. . .

From my personal experience (which is limited) I have to say that this is going to be a wait and see situation for you. Some Bolivians can be super picky about what they'll eat and where they'll eat it, while others are much less so.

I have 4 rams in a community tank with a greedy Molly family (and others, including Kuhli). I feed a variety of wet-frozen foods as well as finely chopped veggies - they eat well, lol! My rams, after the first few days, are not shy in the slightest bit about coming up to the surface to compete with the Mollies for food, though I know of others who will ONLY feed at the bottom of the tank. Once the food settles, they return to the depths to take their dinner where they are most comfortable.

Though I was watching closely to be sure that the rams were eating enough, I felt that I was over-feeding the Mollies in order to ensure that the slower-eating rams were getting their fair share. Another problem was that BRs have a bit of a chew-spit-eat way of dining. It didn't take long for the clever Mollies to figure this out, and they started stalking the poor rams to scoop up the food that they spit out! It never became a problem for me, because I was keeping such a close eye out, but something to be wary of for you!

Based on the recommendation of our resident fishy nutrition expert, I got
 New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula
to add to the mix. These are a sinking pellet that come in a variety of sizes - I linked you to the ones that I have for my rams, they're very small (my rams are juvies still). The other fish will try to eat these, but it seems that they have a harder time 'chewing' them, while they really are perfect for the BRs, who really seem to enjoy them. I usually feed flake at the same time, as Rhymon said, to distract the faster, greedier fish. Also, when I feed worms and veggies, I take care to spread it across the surface of the water, so that everyone gets a fair chance at the goodies. I don't give them algae pellets, the veggies take care of any greens they may need, I think :)

As for gender, I'm not sure how much of a say you'll have in this one, depending on how old the fish is when you buy it. However, the wonders of breeding are showing female BRs with many of the same characteristics bred into them as the males, so you could get a female that looks like a male. Either way, I can almost promise that if you take good care of the fish and keep him/her in properly soft water, you will love it, regardless of how 'showy' it is. These guys are just fantastic creatures, and so much fun!

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:44 AM   #26
 
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Ches, wow, you do the EXACT same thing I do! I spread the flakes over the top where the Mollies/bettas/platies are, and I drop some soaked NLS Cichlid Formula halfway down at the same time, right over where the Bolivian is. It works pretty well. And yes, he does chew and spit it out sometimes, but he's not picky at all (thank goodness--I was really afraid of that). I also feed soaked betta pellets, so I'm quite busy making sure everyone gets enough, although I don't have a whole lot of control over what every fish eats, obviously. And you're so right about the Mollies being piggy! I swear, they would eat until they pop!

I also feed frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, mysis shrimp and Ocean caviar Oh, and finely chopped brocolli, spinach or peas are also on the daily menu. So my fish get a big variety too. I watch very closely to make sure each fish gets its share. I'm thrilled to death that the BR is not picky and is a very good eater. He eats only from the bottom. I've never seen him go up more than the middle of the tank, and that is not real often.

Thank you for the link. I did go ahead and get the NLS a few days ago. I'm so glad I did now, as it will last me FOREVER! And after reading the ingredients, and comparing them to the ingredients of other fish foods, I now can totally see why people recommend it so highly. I was amazed! I'll never feed another brand to my BR!
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:20 AM   #27
 
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Yay! I'm glad to hear that he's doing so well, and of course I approve of your food choices! I'm sure he'll be swimming all over the tank once he settles in. Mine hung low for the first week or so, too, but now that they're comfortable they swim all over - they think they own the place! I noticed a change in their swimming style as they settled in, too. You'll find that when a BR is unsure or stressed, they swim in a kind of jerky start-and-stop fashion. When they're calm they swim much more smoothly - though they still stop on a dime like little helicopters! The NLS pellets are really great, and they seem to be able to eat them in one bite. I don't soak mine, I've found that if I, lol, kind of chuck them into the water they sink right down, so I don't bother! I just love to watch the tank at feeding time!

You need to stop me, I could go on about my rams all day! I'm really head-over-heels for them :)
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:16 PM   #28
 
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Oh, I understand about your enthusiasm! I never had any idea how fascinating a BR could be. Mine has stayed out, and not hidden, since the day I got him. I guess he's unusually outgoing, lol. Don't know if that's good or bad. Don't want him getting too confident and harrassing the other fish. But Rhymon said they usually don't, so I'm not too worried. He does do the stop and start jerky swimming though. I tried giving him the NLS pellets without soaking, and he kept spitting them out over and over. When I soak, he seems better able to swallow them in one or maybe two attempts. I think he likes them squishy :)

What do you think of this? I keep thinking about those two little ones that were in the tank with the bgger ones at the LFS. Presuming they are still there, should I go back and get the bigger of the smaller ones? Or would that be taking too much of a chance of them not getting along? I'd feel terrible if he was mean to the little one. Also, I DON'T want fry. I think they're too young to sex, as the smallest one was about half an inch long, and the other maybe 3/4 of an inch. What would you do?
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:41 PM   #29
 
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It's so nice that he's out and visible for you! None of my rams have ever been hiders, either - but for that matter, neither have my Kuhli loaches! *shrug* I'd say it's never a bad thing to have a confident fish! If he isn't hiding, then he isn't frightened - I see only good in this! From what I've read and in my personal experience, it is VERY rare for these fish to harass any fish that aren't their kind. They're known to 'shove' other species out of the way during mealtimes, but nothing rough or damaging. They're really sweetie-pies - ESPECIALLY for cichlids! BR DO stress more easily than the other fish I keep, and when they're feeling off, they'll hang out at the back of the tank and in the corners. . . luckily I've only seen this happen once thus far.

Every fish is different in what they prefer. The important part is that he's eating well! Yay!

As far as getting others. . . um. . . there are a LOT of things to consider before coming to a conclusion here! Tank parameters and stocking levels, for one thing. Rams are very sensitive to high or shifting nitrAtes (as well as ammonia and nitrites, of course), they prefer soft, very warm water. It's *almost* a bad idea to keep them with the Kuhli loaches, as each species will be at the outer range of it's comfort zone in a community tank. I've become a bit of a fish zealot since getting into the hobby, and as several people around here know already, I'm REALLY crazy and somewhat protective of Bolivians, specifically! That being said, they don't really belong in a tank with live bearers at all. These species prefer very different types of water (Mollies like hard, even salted, water). Though you may be able to keep them more or less happily in a community tank, someone is going to be not nearly as happy as they should be. (My next big project is to set up a hard water live-bearer tank for this reason - I got mine before I knew any better)

I'll leave it at this for now. . .I type really fast, and tend to turn posts into books, so I'll send you a PM with more information that I've read and my personal experiences with keeping BR as singles, pairs, and groups.

Please remember, I'm new to the species - and fish keeping in general - so I'm no expert, and don't want you to think I know what I'm talking about! Hopefully someone with more experience can chime in here and offer a bit more information :)
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:05 PM   #30
 
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