Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Which Rams in my new tank? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/cichlids/rams-my-new-tank-28479/)

WarmCat 09-03-2009 05:37 PM

Which Rams in my new tank?
 
First of all hello everyone, I'm new to the forum :-)

Just getting back into the hobby, I've purchased a 200L tank (fluval roma 200).
Considering what to stock it with...

I'm after either a pair of Bolivian Rams, or Blue Rams. The question is, would I be able to house a pair of each? (since they are both very small cichlids and it's a rather large tank).

In addition to the Rams, I'm considering a small shoal of either checker barbs or golden barbs (not sure yet) and perhaps a couple of cory catfish (to keep the place tidy).


Anyhoo, any advice or suggestions for any other fish is welcome!

- Wayne

Byron 09-04-2009 12:11 PM

Hi Wayne, and welcome to the forum.

A 200 litre/50 US gallon tank is fine for either cichlid with other "dither" fish. Although they are species (the only two) within the same genus, they differ in their requirements from the point of preferences.

Both Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (the common or blue ram) and M. altispinosa (the Bolivian Ram) are found in soft, acidic water in select areas of South America. M. altispinosa also occurs in slightly basic (alkaline) water, so it will adapt easier if your water is above pH of 7.0 and not too hard. Temperatures also vary, normal aquarium temperatures (around 77-79F) suit the Bolivian Ram, but the common ram requires warmer water, above 80F.

The Bolivian Ram is believed to occur in solitude in its native waters, except during spawning. It is therefore best maintained as a single fish in aquaria, unless a pair can be assured; they are not easy to sex. The common ram is easy to sex, and best kept in pairs. Males of both species establish territories and will defend them against other fish in the species, but are gnerally peaceful with other fish not of their species, except when breeding.

M. ramirezi is very sensitive to water parameters and water quality, and should only be added to a well-established (biologically matured) aquarium, and only if the afore-mentioned water parameters can be provided. Many attempt these fish in different parameters, and find they seldom live long. They do not tolerate varying water quality are are sensitive to medications and chemicals. M. altispinosa does very well alone in aquaria as it tolerates some variation in parameters, although water qualtiity is still important.

Byron.

Rohland 09-04-2009 12:18 PM

And cory catfish need to be kept in groups of 3 at least.
more is better.

aunt kymmie 09-04-2009 08:21 PM

[quote=Byron;238192
The Bolivian Ram is believed to occur in solitude in its native waters, except during spawning. It is therefore best maintained as a single fish in aquaria, unless a pair can be assured; they are not easy to sex. The common ram is easy to sex, and best kept in pairs. Males of both species establish territories and will defend them against other fish in the species, but are gnerally peaceful with other fish not of their species, except when breeding.
Byron.[/quote]

Welcome to the forum! Not to disagree with Byron, as his info is rock solid, as always. I only want to share my experience and current display tank set up. I keep three Bolivians in a 100 gl planted tank and have had zero problems. They have enough room to stake out their territories (which they have done) but the trio all come together at feeding time and then retreat to their respective "areas". I've absolutely no idea on the sexes of these adult rams as to me the trio all looks alike. They were added as colorless juveniles and I enjoy the heck out of them. In the year that I've had them I've only seen two of them (always the same two) lock lips once or twice, then simultaneously retreat. Seeing that your tank is 200L what works for me may very well not work for you. Just my individual experience...

Byron 09-05-2009 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aunt kymmie (Post 238380)
Welcome to the forum! Not to disagree with Byron, as his info is rock solid, as always. I only want to share my experience and current display tank set up. I keep three Bolivians in a 100 gl planted tank and have had zero problems. They have enough room to stake out their territories (which they have done) but the trio all come together at feeding time and then retreat to their respective "areas". I've absolutely no idea on the sexes of these adult rams as to me the trio all looks alike. They were added as colorless juveniles and I enjoy the heck out of them. In the year that I've had them I've only seen two of them (always the same two) lock lips once or twice, then simultaneously retreat. Seeing that your tank is 200L what works for me may very well not work for you. Just my individual experience...

Kymmie is quite correct, no disagreement. In sufficient space, this works fine. The main point is that the fish must be able to establish their required territory, as kymmie pointed out they have in her 100g aquarium. I would think maybe two max in a 50g but if it is 4 feet in length three. Having bogwood and/or plants to divide the space allows the fish (as with any of the SA dwarf cichlids) to keep out of sight of each other and things are generally much more peaceful.

My 115g is five feet, and I have thought about another Bolivian; the one I have is quite beautiful, but I still have not ascertained if it's a male or female.

Byron.

WarmCat 09-05-2009 01:36 PM

Thank you for your advice and for sharing your experiences :-)

I'll add just two once my tank has matured somewhat, in the meantime I'll stock with 5 corydoras and a small shoal of barbs.

Tank has rock hiding places now and some nice large bits of bogwood, need to sort plants however, I'll post with some pictures once it's ready!

Thanks again,

Wayne

*edit*
oh and the tank is 39" x 16" x 21" (100 x 40 x 55cm)
53 us gallon (200 litres)

aunt kymmie 09-05-2009 01:39 PM

Byron- I've looked and looked and can't find a good reliable source on how to id male/female as far as Bolivians go. Do you know? I should be able to determine sex now that mine are a year old, correct?

Byron 09-05-2009 02:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aunt kymmie (Post 238653)
Byron- I've looked and looked and can't find a good reliable source on how to id male/female as far as Bolivians go. Do you know? I should be able to determine sex now that mine are a year old, correct?

It is not easy they say, and from my experience they are correct. In their excellent book on the American dwarf cichlids, Linke/Staeck mention that "Since males and females hardly differ from each other in their appearance and thus make a determination of sex a matter of guessing...some sort of hints are given by the shape of the unpaired fins only, which become slightly more filamentous in old males." Not much to go on...how old does the male have to be to be an old male? Other sources mention this plus males being slightly larger, but of course that is only reliable if they are the same age.

I only have one of course, and whenever I've seen this species in stores I try to discern differences, but they are relatively young fish so they all look the same to me, and I never see mating behaviours like I often do with tanks of M. ramirezi. In one store tank recently with about 20 blue rams I spotted four clear pairs, each in different areas of the bare tank, the males continually challenging the others. That would have been a sure thing, to buy mated pairs. But not with the Bolivians.

Byron.

Byron 09-05-2009 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WarmCat (Post 238651)
Thank you for your advice and for sharing your experiences :-)

I'll add just two once my tank has matured somewhat, in the meantime I'll stock with 5 corydoras and a small shoal of barbs.

Tank has rock hiding places now and some nice large bits of bogwood, need to sort plants however, I'll post with some pictures once it's ready!

Thanks again,

Wayne

*edit*
oh and the tank is 39" x 16" x 21" (100 x 40 x 55cm)
53 us gallon (200 litres)

You're welcome Wayne.

In that size tank I agree with just two. Will be a nice setup. Good luck.

Byron.

Twistersmom 09-05-2009 02:34 PM

Do you have any recent pictures of your Bolivians, Aunt Kymmie?

At that age, you should see a difference in the tail fin. The male has much longer extended rays on the tail fin. I would guess that yours are all of the same sex, if you do not see a difference.
The Bolivian picture I added to the fish profiles, is my female. You can see her breeding tube, but her tail fin is not real clear in the picture. My male has taken to hiding, so I have not been able to get a picture of him yet.


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