Dying RAMs - males
RAM Males are dying.... so far 5 are gone...
First about 7 weeks ago : I took couple from the store Female: young not a lot of colors but healthy, Male: same very young not a lot of colors but looked healthy. After week in aquarium male started to hide and stopped swimming, become "shy" and finally he died.... no signs of any disease or something just stopped swimming... before he died he looked like he is very tired... start flipping up side down lean on the ground when I touched him he started to move a bit..
and 4 other RAM males the same situation... they least in aquarium no longer than one week.... no signs of disease, they all looked healthy
I did introduced my RAMs to new environment very careful, Im not a newbie I have salt and fresh water aquariums for more than 10 years, Im not a specialist but I pretty much know how everything works
Whats in my aquarium:
Tank: 20 gallon
3 x Betta
12 x Innese Neons
5 x Otoinculus
6 x Cory Catfish
1-2 x RAMs
Temp: 78-80.5 F
pH - 6.8
NO2 - 0
NO3 - 0-10
NH3/NH4 - 0
kH - 7
gH - 6
Well Planted aquarium, Malaysian Wood, proper filtration
Feeding: Mix of few different flakes, pallets, granulates
1-3 times a week frozen blood worms
I don;t have any problems with other spices, every fish look healthy, never had any disease in aquarium, not using chemicals, not using fertilizers, trying to keep as much natural as possible, This is not a new aquarium
RAM female is doing perfect almost 2 moths in this tank without any problems, looks very healthy
I don;t have any problems with aggressive behaviors, my fishes all love each other :)
no snails !
Anyone can help me ?? any one knows why RAM males are dying in my tank ??
btw: every single fish (RAMs) are from different not connected sources
As this is your first post, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping.
I assume the fish in question is the common ram, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, and not the Bolivian Ram, M. altispinosus. The tank is established, other fish are fine and compatible, water parameters are reasonably close [more on this in a moment].
Nothing immediately stands out, so it is always possible that it was the fish, even though different stores--the fish may be in different stores but could well be from the same supplier; most rams are now commercially-raised and not wild caught, though with this species that seems to be of little significance as the fish is highly sensitive to water parameters and conditions.
To the water issues. M. ramirezi occur in very soft and acidic waters, hardness less than 1 dGH, zero KH, and pH below 5. They like warmth, 82F is a minimum temperature. However, I would not have expected the fish to succumb so quickly in your situation since the water parameters are, if not ideal, at least reasonable, and these fish in my experience usually will last more than a few days in such conditions. Not a hardy fish.
The temperature is probably the most obvious issue, aside from "bad fish" to start with. Warmth is critical, and two degrees may not seem like much to us, but to the fish it is significant. If you want to try these beautiful fish again, I would raise the temp to 82-83F. However, that is going to cause some issues for the other fish you list.
Neons (Paracheirodon innesi) are cooler-water fish, low to mid-70's, and will burn out fairly quickly above 80F. You don't mention the Corydoras species, but many of them are similar, not warm-water fish. C. sterbai is one that does well in warmer water, a good cory for rams and discus because of this. And if you want to try the rams again with warmer water, the cardinal tetra would be a good replacement for the neon, as these also prefer warmer water (or at any rate can manage much better).
I had a pair of rams years ago, in a 90g well-planted community tank, pH was around 5.5, hardness near zero, but temp 79F. They spawned and lasted a few months, but their demise I am convinced was due to the temperature being too low.
Hope this may be of some help, esp if you want to try these fish again. You don't mention how you achieve your slightly acidic water, but if it can be lower in hardness and pH it would also be preferable, and for the other fish as well. I'd be willing to offer suggestions if you ask.
Thank you for your answer... I understand that my water parameters are not perfect for RAMs but they not extremely bad.... Temperature... that was always a big unknown factor for me... cuz in natural environment temperature is changing all the times but 80 should be just fine for RAMs.... I hope something of your advices will try to do something... I will start whit water hardness... I have soft water but its true RAMS love extremely soft water so this maybe a problem.... but the biggest question for me is: why Female is doing just fine in my tank ?? no problems at all... maybe just a luck and she just used to the type of water I have.... I just don;t wanna kill more fishes... will see... the Male I have right now for the first 24 hours was doing good... now I see he is in the same situation like 5 previous males.... will see this is second day in the tank I hope he will survive night....
Im always testing water from the store where Im taking my fish and always looks like is around pH 6.8 and very soft... I`ll try to lower pH and make the water more soft....
I agree your water is not bad, and it may be the fish. Although the temp, pH and hardness are higher than they prefer, it is unusual for this to act so fast, and only the males. However, providing warmer water and softer is a step in the right direction. Your tank will slowly lower over time.
you know its just a weird... cuz I was trying to get fishes fom different locations and the distance is 300 miles :) so I believe they had different distributors... and even that every Male is gone after no more than week.... Is it possible that Female is got something with that ?? She looks like she liked every one I had so far :) she is kind of biting them but this is not like snapping a fins or something its more like lets make a conversation you "new fish" cuz u look almost like me.... anyway any of those guys had wounds or fins snapped....
When I buy common rams, I always like to get a mated pair. Not all rams will pair up with any ram. In the store tank, just observe them for several minutes. It should be easy to spot mated pairs, they will be close together, and the males of each pair will be quick to chase other males (and sometimes females) away from their "territory" which in a store tank means the few inches around the pair. This way you will know you are getting a pair that will be compatible. The last time I saw rams in a store I watched them and easily saw 3 or 4 pairs in a tank of about 15 fish.
This is probably very good way to find "good" pair :) but I have female in my tank so Im looking for male... but this is good advice for the future I will remember that... I will inform u how are things going... I will try to lower kH, gH... and we will see... Im reading a lot about rams now and seems like my water is just fine for them...but I noticed one thing... My water is more like a "Black Waters" cuz of Malaysian wood is making tea color... and Im thinking now... when I put my femal ram there water wasn't like that... it tooks like 2 weeks and then water just stared changing a color... and then I brought firs male... I know Rams like fresh water so this is maybe an issue... cuz Female had a time to get used to the Black Waters....but males are coming from the fresh water stright to the Black Waters... and this can cuz the problem... what u think ?? Just to let you know im not planning to have Black waters at all... my Neons love it but I have a Black waters just cuz of the wood is making it "black"... I did setup wood before I stick it into the aquarium and was ok for 2-3 weeks.... but this is kind of big piece and after 2-3 weeks started to releasing tannin into the water... Im doing my partial change 20% every week so I believe in a month or so water should be more fresh than "black" ... what do you think ?? sound like a maybe :this is what happened..."
yiu know maybe in longer period of time tannic waters are not bad for rams but Im more talking about shock... two totally different environments... from the store, fresh water to the black waters... You know Im just trying to not be lazy and Im trying to find the solution :) so 100 different ideas every day... maybe moss, maybe bloodworms, maybe this maybe that... I really wanna fix this situation, its like a criminal case :)
Ok little update: I changed 30% of the water to fresh... to reduce "tannic waters" before I`ll try to bring more rams... went to the store... I picked 3 Rams... 2 Males 1 female.... after 2 days ques what.... one male is gone.... second one is getting ready to leave the aquarium, not swimming, he's eating, interesting in food, chasing a females sometimes... but most of the time he is lean on the ground almost.... so final chapter is coming, 2 females hate each other.... but they just fine... swimming, eating, no problems.... the only problem is that my old female is probably going to die soon cuz the new one is stronger and I see she chasing the old one really bad.... the old one looks like very tired, hyperventilation, hiding etc....
I changed water hardness to very soft 0-2 degrees, pH 6.8
I stopped feeding my tank with blood worms, lots of ppl told me that blood worms are not good for small fishes and they may have some kind of toxins, after hundred of pages of descriptions of food etc, looks like brine shrimp(frozen or fresh) is best choice for fresh water aquariums, so now mix of dry food plus 4 times a week brine shrimp....
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