Blue Ram pH
I had a question about the Blue Ram's optimal pH levels. The pH in my 29gal tropical tank is usually somewhere between 7.4 and 7.6. I noticed the optimal pH level for a Blue Ram is 5-7. Will that minute difference between optimal pH and my actual pH affect having one that much? If it will, what are somethings I can do to lower the pH and make it a more suitable environment.
Hello! In my experience, that much of a difference from the recommended pH will not be so detrimental. Where I live, the pH of our water is even higher (around 8.0) and people keep rams in that, though I think it is stressful for the fish and contributes to a overall shorter lifespan.
More upsetting to fish than a slightly high or low pH are shifts in the pH. Fish adapt to a pH level, but quick drops or gains are too much for them. So whatever you pH is in your tank, try to maintain that. For that reason, I believe it's better to NOT alter your parameters (i.e. lower your pH by adding solutions). Too easy to have variation that will hurt your fish... IMO :)
Blue rams really do better in more acidic water. Have you considered Bolivian rams? They've fairly similar looking but will adapt better to your slightly basic water.
This is something of a debatable point, and a couple of us engaged in a discussion on this very fish a few weeks/months back. You need to know the source of the fish. If they are wild caught, they will not survive more than a few weeks in hard water, which is anything above pH in the 6 range, and hardness above 5 dGH; slightly higher hardness may be tolerated.
If on the other hand the fish are tank raised, according to some experienced aquarists they will manage well in similar water as they were raised in. However, knowing the pH and hardness of the source locality of tank-raised fish is not always a simple matter; many are raised in outdoor ponds in SE Asia and in tanks in Europe, and some in Florida. The fish from Asia will have been raised in soft water in all likelihood.
Another important issue with water parameters is temperature; the Blue Ram [Mikrogeophagus ramirezi] is a warm water fish, 82F or higher. Not all tropicals will last at such temperatures, so your tank companions have to be carefully considered.
The Bolivian Ram on the other hand is much less demanding, and quite adaptable due to its varied natural habitat. Hardness should still be on the soft side (up to 12 dGH), and pH can vary from acidic (5-6) to slightly basic [up to 7.8] and they do well at normal aquarium temperatures around 77-79F so easier to manage in community aquaria. More info on our profiles, just click on the shaded names.
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