Wild caught blue rams - need advice
Hello all. I found a great deal on a group of young wild caught blue rams for sale locally. I've been keeping fish for years and tried my hand at a baby whale fish a while back (really finicky fish) and i have successfully kept him. After that i began feeling much better about my fish keeping and have finally decided to try the blue rams. I found the already mentioned group and go to pick them up in a week.
He has a group of five. Two of them have already spawned once, but his pleco ate the eggs. He thinks there is one more male in the group, so i'm hoping for another pair. I'm going to put them in a well established 20 gallon to see what pairs form. I will leave the pair in the 20 by themselves and move the rest to another tank at that point.
Is there anything i need to know in advance?
I've read they are picky on pH, but i've also heard others say they don't mind it as long as it is steady, once acclimated correctly - given you keep up water changes correctly. Are 10% water changes twice a week adequate?
I plan on keeping the temp at either 82 or 84 - thoughts?
gravel or sand?
Do they spawn in a cave or on surfaces like angelfish? I've read both.
Any more information, tips, or anything else you have that might help me?
If the rams are indeed wild caught specimens, I would try and mimic the conditions these fish are accustomed to. Soft,acidic water with ph values not much higher than 6.8. I have kept Tank Raised specimens in moderately hard water and pH of 7.0 to 7.2.
Sand or gravel will work but I prefer sand.
Temp of 82 degrees would suit the fish fine.
They will usually lay eggs on surface as opposed to caves.
They are sensitive to any and all ,elevated toxins such as ammonia,and nitrites and organic levels,or nitrAtes in my view should be no higher than 10ppm.
I would add a sponge filter ,rated for the size tank they are to be placed in ,to the tank along with other filtration. Sponge filters hold tremendous amount of bacteria to help with maintaining water quality and also to use for fry tanks should you be lucky enough to get wrigglers.
I would want to know what the parameters for the dealers tank are with respect to pH, GH,and KH and if fish are thriving in his tanks,,I would want to match those conditions as best I could. Is wise to acclimate these fish VERY slowly. I would ,were it me.use drip acclimation.Good luck.
It's actually an individual who has the fish from a local fish forum. I plan on asking plenty of questions within the week to come. It does make me feel a little better that he has had them since they were really young and had them in a tank for a while. This way they won't currently be stressed from a shipment to a store or anything like that - They've had time to adjust.
I drip every aquatic animal into their tank, regardless of what they are. The more sensitive they are the more time i take - it normally ranges from an hour to three depending how sensitive the fish is.
I was actually thinking the sponge filter idea over tonight and have decided for sure that i was going to do that, so i have that covered ;-)
I'm hoping I'm not overlooking anything, i get nervous when i take on a new fish like this.
Only want to add a bit on the water parameters, further to 1077's good suggestions, since these appear to be wild caught fish.
Mikrogeophagus ramirezi occurs in streams and ponds haveing very soft (less than 1 dGH) and very acidic (pH 5.5) water. And warm, 84F and higher. Long-term they will not survive unless the water is acidic, low 6's being the highest limit I would have, but even more the hardness is significant; it must be soft water.
Five in a 20g is pushing it; if you only have two males and three females in the group, it can work; make sure they have a clear division for territories; males are very territorial. Plants, wood and even rock can be used; each male needs to have a "space" that is not visible to the other so they can establish their territory. They will form pairs, and do best in pairs once they do. The males will continually challenge each other, that is fine as long as they have their defined territory.
I've heard of using peat to lower the pH, is there anything out there that is better/safer? Does the peat need to be replaced ever so often, or is it good for all of it's life?
Is there a way to change the hardness of the water, safely?
The 20 gallon is temporary until pairs form. at that point the/a pair will stay in the 20. Each pair that is formed will have it's own tank. All the rest will be in a community 75 gallon.
Peat softens and acidifies water by releasing tannins (just like bogwood does). The more peat, the more tannins, and the harder the water, the more peat needed. The peat will lose the ability to work as the tannins are exhausted, and this again depends upon the hardness to begin with and how soft you want it. Peat works very quickly by comparison to bogwood which is very slow and it would take enormous amounts of wood for minimal effect.
I've never had to go this route, luckily having very soft slightly acidic tap water. FishinPole has used peat; if he doesn't see this and jump in, send him a PM. A better way is a Reverse Osmosis (RO) unit. This removes all minerals from the water, and then some tap water is mixzed in to avoid water so "pure" it will not support aquatic life. Long-term this is probably the best solution.
A third option is rainwater. Rain water is soft and acidic, but the risk is what else may be in it, from pollution to how it's collected (e.g., roof runoff is dangerous).
I cant seemed to find the water parameters that these wild rams are in right now. Can you post them before taking action. You may or may not have do any for al I know.
I dont know if wild ram are form such soft and very acidic water. I would not keep any fish below 6.0 unless sucu fish is found at such low pH such as some wild discus. I had better success keeping wild ram on the soft and acidic side but around 6.6-7.0 and soft to med hard water As far as I remember, temp should be kept anywhere from 75-80 but steady according to my experiences and literature.
Like I said , post your reading first before doing anything to alter the water. It may already be at Ideal Condition for them.
My water comes out of the tap with about 7.4 - 7.6 pH. It's somewhere in between. On the API test kit the low range pH reads a maximum of 7.4, which is what mine reads. Then the high range pH reads a minimum of 7.6, which is what mine reads. So according to that i am somewhere in that range.
ammonia and nitrite are 0
nitrates are always under 40, and almost always under 20 - i will lower even further for the rams. I'm going to do water changes daily until i get the rams to get the nitrates as close to 0 as i can.
I will have to get back to you on their current tank conditions as i haven't received answers yet. I will post them when i know more.
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