How many, and where to buy blue ram?
First of all hello! I read a lot of fish forums but this is my first time posting.
So I'm considering getting a blue ram, still in the hypothetical but I have some questions/want some second opinions. And sorry in advance for the long post.
I have a 25g 24"L 14"D 19"H well planted. temp is 80
First off, how many do you recommend? I've read you should keep a pair. I've read one is fine. I've read 1 m and 2 f is best. What are your experiences? I have no real need to breed them(not that the eggs would even survive in my tank), and I worry about them getting territorial/aggressive when mating. So I was thinking off opting for one. But I'd hate the little guy to be lonely or stressed. Also what are the chances a pair will...well.. pair up? I've read if they don't the male may kill the female.
Second, Ph. Is 7 okay or does it have to be <6.8? I've read conflicting things. All my fish are fine with a lower ph but I worry about my snail (not that big a priority but still).
Third, I have small rounded gravel. I've read they prefer sand but can't find any other information. How important is this? I'd be willing to put a section or corner of sand.
Forth and finally! Where should I buy it when/if the time comes? I've read the mass produced ones can be particularly sickly. Besides a local breeder(which I'll have to look in to) Does anyone have any experience with ordering them online? Know a good site? Here are a few websites I've come across but its hard to tell from a website. Tropical Freshwater Aquarium Fish Mail Order - German Blue Rams, Cichlids & Labyrinth Fish, Rainbowfish and Blue-eyes
YUNITE | SDRAMS - Your No.1 Source of Quality German Blue Rams
If there is anything I'm not thinking of tell me.
Hi and welcome to the forum!
I have not had personal experience with blue rams but I can comment a bit on what I know (which isn't much :p)
Your pH is fine; 7 is considered neutral or still slightly acidic depending on who you ask.
I know someone who has had experience with rams so I'll point her in your direction. :)
Hi, Lario, welcome to TFK!!!
I don't have experience with the German Blue Rams, but I have kept a shoal of Bolivian Rams for well over a year now, and my understanding is that their care is very similar.
Your Ph is probably okay, but I can't recommend that you keep them over gravel (though some people do). Sand is the way to go with these little gems, and I don't think setting aside a corner of your tank for sand is going to be enough. These fish feed by sifting through mouthfuls of sand, and when they spawn they use their mouths to dig pits all over the tank for their brood (and I mean that quite literally. A single spawning pair of Bolivians nearly uprooted every plant in my 55g!). Even their name Mikrogeophagus means 'Little Earth Eater.' I don't think that they can be truly comfortable over gravel. . .
In a 24" tank, I would only be comfortable keeping a single ram, or a bonded pair. From what I've read, they do live singly in nature, except when it comes time for breeding, so a lone fish ought to be just fine on his own - and many people do keep rams singly. You may not see the gorgeous coloration or the engaging behaviors that you would were they kept in a group, or as a pair. When I've kept Bolivian Rams solo, they aren't nearly as bright as when they're kept with others of their kind because they aren't vying for dominance and 'showing off' for one another. But finding a pair of rams is not as simple as putting a male and a female in the same tank, either. These fish often form bonds for life with their mates, and prefer to choose their partner - just as you would! I have read many cases where a male and female put into the same tank do not get along, and although in some cases they do mate, it seems to end badly more often than not. Most people recommend getting six rams as juveniles, and allowing them to form their bonds naturally as they grow, re-homing those that have not bonded. But you don't have room in a tank of that size to do this. . . so you'd probably be better off sticking with one pretty male.
Both GBR and BR are sensitive - both fish require very stable water conditions in a well-established tank, and do not react well to shifts in parameters, so you'll want to be certain that your tank is very stable before bringing one home. From what I've read, the excessive breeding of GBR for particular traits and color-forms has made these fish very weak and disease-prone - one of the reasons I chose to go with the tougher Bolivians instead (I'm still new to fish-keeping!). If you do decide to get GBR, I'd advise that you stick with the more natural forms, and avoid the "man-made" varieties, like electric blue, yellow/gold, etc. as I've read that selective breeding has made these types even more fragile, and of course never buy 'balloon' anything. I'm not sure where to tell you to order them online, but if you can find a local breeder, that may be your best bet, and maybe you could find someone who would be willing to sell you an already-bonded pair!?
I hope this helps you out somewhat! Again, I don't keep GBR, this info is based on what I know about Bolivian Rams, and what I've read about both. So please take my words with a grain of salt, and continue to do your own research before you decide to bring your babies home!
Best of luck to you!
ETA: I have several videos up of my Bolivian shoal, if you'd like to see where my experience stems from, here is the link to my YouTube channel. . .
You water should be fine as long as it is stable. I was concerned about keeping GBR's since my water runs about 7.4 but have had very good success. What is your tap water pH? Since regular water changes are a must, artificially adjusting the pH can get complicated and may introduce more pH variability than the GBR's can tolerate. Certainly a bit more acidic is better, but you can keep GBR well in the lower 7's.
If you buy them from a LFS or chain (e.g. Petsmart) I'd recommend not buying them the first week they arrive from the supplier. Wait to see how they are adjusting and eating. If you can find a place that is keeping them in an environment that closely matches yours, so much the better. One of my pairs, gold variety, is from Petsmart and doing very well after six months. The other pair is the more "traditional" colored variety and came from a LFS although I think their source was a local breeder. With both sets, I slowly mixed my tank water with the bag water to avoid sudden changes.
They very much like a well planted tank with many nooks and crannies. This is especially true with multiple fish; breaking the line of sight seems to tone down any aggression. In a 25 gallon aquarium though, I would go with 2 max.
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