Ram advise please :) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-27-2009, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Ram advise please :)

hi guys.
i bought a couple of rams,i really wanted to try again to keep these.
one hasn't made it,will it be ok on it's own,or should i do this.............
get a couple of females. ?
but won't be able to buy from my local,as all the rams were coated in ICH :(
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-27-2009, 06:58 AM
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Hi Willow,

I have the same passion for this fish, and I feel your pain in attempting to keep these long term. I can say, without question, that keeping Rams is more difficult than most saltwater fish i've kept over the years. To answer the question, There is nothing wrong with keeping a single Ram, and if your existing Ram is healthy this might be the best option. However, you could introduce several other females and have a successful display as well.

Personally, the best success i've had in keeping Rams has been in a live plant species tank, with a small dither fish such as Gold Barbs or Cardinal Tetras. Many people attempt to keep Neons with their Rams, which is a mistake because Rams require temperatures in the high 70's to low 80's, where as Neons only thrive at temperatures in the lower 70's. Cardinals are a much better choice for these higher temperatures. I do think a dither fish is helpful for triggering a feeding response in the Ram.

I always felt that diet was the biggest difficulty in keeping this fish long term. I would suggest several feedings per day, and a large variety in the diet, which should include frozen and live foods. Keep in mind, water parameters need to be near perfect, with a pH at or below 7.0 and temperature as discussed above. The use of activated carbon to remove organic compounds will be very helpful.

By the way, the natural life span of Rams is only 2 years.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-27-2009, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
willow's Avatar
thank you
he is living with some albino corydoras,pepperd corys,and platys,
and the other fish feeding does indeed get him going,the tank is planted,sandy bottom
and rocks for decor with caves.
the PH is another thing,here in London our PH is higher than that,however i'm hoping
(as i forgot to ask at shop) if these were locally bred then they should be ok with the
water,weekly water changes are maintained and i also have wood in there too,
i run carbon in the filter,and change it once a month(that's right i think ? )
i'll try and get a picture tonight,because if i do it now,all you'll see is my reflection haha.
i'm wondering if i should be doing something else that i've forgotten to make him more comfortable ?
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-27-2009, 10:50 AM
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Willow, the advice (all of it) from Pasfur was absolutely bang on. Your tank has to be warm, 80F is the minimum for these beautiful fish. And as mentioned, they are very sensitive to water parameters and quality and any changes affect them.

In spite of the fact that most (not all) of the common rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) now available are tank-raised commercially, this fish still retains its preference for the specific water parameters of its native habitat. You mentioned your pH was above 7 but didn't say what exactly; if it is in the high 7's or above, this fish will not do well. They need soft slightly acidic water. High pH usually means harder water, and this is problematic for rams.

As an alternative, the Bolivian Ram (Mikrogeophagus altispinosa) is the second of two species in this genus and a much more accomodating fish. In South America, it occurs in some areas where the water is slightly basic (pH 7.6 has been recorded at one collecting site) and thus it tends to do better if your water is on the basic (alkaline) side. It also lives very well at normal community aquarium temperatures of 77-79F. Perhaps not quite as colourful, depending upon one's viewpoint, but a very beautiful fish. They can be kept as single fish, since in their native habitat they are solitary fish except when spawning. Males and females are not easy to differentiate, especially in smaller fish usually available in stores, and getting two males in a smaller aquarium is not good as they are territorial. I have had one in my 115g for a year now; if you check the photos under my "Aquariums" for my 115g Amazonian riverscape, there is one closeup that shows this fish; the colours in the photo are not as brilliant as in life (my cheap camera), but it gives you an idea of how beautiful he is.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-30-2009, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
willow's Avatar
thanks Byron
he's still doing very well,and his colour is beautiful.
the ph is PH 7.5.
i feed him a varity of foods,and he interacts well with the others.
i shall include a picture of him.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-30-2009, 03:25 PM
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I dug out my reference book on SA dwarf cichlids to check the water parameters, just for interest. The fish occurs in the central Orinoco basin of Venezuela and Columbia, and is found in small streams in oases within the savannas. Total and carbonate hardness was less than 1 degree, pH was 5.1 and the water temperature was 28.5C (83F); this was at 10 am on an overcast day when the air temperature was a "cool" 31C (88F). Once can imagine the water temperature rising considerably on a sunny "warm" day.

These are certainly beautiful cichlids. Back in the mid-1990's I had a pair that spawned; they didn't live long, and given that my tap water was 1 dGH and 5.5 pH, I have no doubt it was the temperature at 78F. I didn't know then what I have since learned.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-02-2009, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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sounds like my book,now you mention it...........hmmmm where is it........
temperature is hovering between 79-80,so i may raise it slightly.
bareing in mind the corydora catfish,i wouldn't like to upset it all now,as*touch wood*
the water change went very well,and his colours are beautiful.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-02-2009, 09:07 AM
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Willow, I too love these little fish. up until last week ,I had two gold rams for nearly a year and a half. Sadly, one of them expired. I have had next to no luck with keeping the german blue ram despite nearly three years worth of trying. My water is moderatly hard with ph of 7.4 and the lone gold ram still remaining ,is nearly two years old.
I tried setting up a species only tank for the blue rams with 50/50 R/O tapwater mix ,and achieved the soft acidic water , along with proper temp and yet the rams slowly died after a few weeks,months. This went on for nearly three years. With each death,I became more and more heartbroke. They truly are a beautiful fish but unless one can find a local breeder, I would not trust the quality of stock that is often shipped from fish farms in the east.
I finally accepted the two gold rams I spoke of earlier, from the old woman who has since closed my favorite fish store and I placed them in a 20 gal with tapwater and dechlorinator and temp of 82 degrees and up until the recent death ,they thrived. Go figure. Being as how they were/are near the same age,I can only hope the remaining gold ram lives out the remainder of it's days in comfort.
As much as I love these little warriors,, I shall not attempt to keep any more for some time. Just can't hardly bear losing these little fish from emotional standpoint. But iv'e been known to change my mind on occasion.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-04-2009, 05:04 AM Thread Starter
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lets hope that the little fella carries on doing well. :)
it does make you wonder sometimes,when you try and get things spot on,that you
still are unable to get it right.
i have seen peoples tanks on here with rams in,and i just had to try again,i tried the
gold rams and they only lasted a couple of days.
my little fella is going strong and now comes out when i begin feeding the others.
i think he's got used to me now,not taken too long i guess bless him,and the colours
are beautiful,i went to another LFS the other day to see if they had any rams,but they didn't
as i don't want to get them from my other local,as they all had ICH,the poor darlings
were covered
batteries for the camra are on charge so tonight i will get some pictures of him.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-04-2009, 06:58 AM
New Member
Hello willow, I too have an obsession with rams. I have had no luck with them. I am new to this site and was wondering if someone could help me with this. I originaly bought 1 male and one female from my LFS, they both died. I really wanted to try again, so I went back and bought just 1 male as they only had males this time. It died. I went back to my LFS asking them what could be going on, they said that even though my pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate were fine, my gH and kH could be high. So, since they had balloon rams which were half the cost I decided to get 1 of those and a few cherry barbs thinking that if I could keep that ram alive for more than 2 months that I could go back and get some normal rams. I also bought a gH kH test kit. When the bags were floating I tested my gH and kH, the kH was 71 ppm, but the gH was off the charts, I couldn't even measure how high it was. I put my softener pillow in and checked this morning and something weird happened, the gH went down, but the kH went up. The ram seemed to be doing ok, but please help I don't want to loose another.
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