Bolivian Ram behavior
i just got my first thank (30 gallon) and i have purchased my first fish. i got 3 angelfish, 2 bolivian rams, 4 sharks (not sure which ones exactly, was told thy are semi-aggressive), 3 blue guaramis and a couple of bottom feeders since not much algae.
my question is about the bolivian rams. at first glance they seem to be a male and a female. the female satys peaceful while the male has stratigically taken a stand right in the middle of the tank and attacks everyone passing by. today i found one of the angels already dead and it was just fine last night.
Are Bolivian rams aggressve and what shoul i do with this guy? i dont want him to scare off the rest of the stock. they all seem to stray toward the side of the aquarium and avoiding him.
How long has your tank been set up?
Yes, we need to know the running period. I am thinking the tank is not cycled. But while that is coming, I must point out a couple of major issues with your fish stocking in a 30g aquarium.
Sharks. Would help to know which ones, but most are aggressive and attain a good size. Some can be deadly with other bottom fish, and in a small (to them) tank this can be even worse. We have fish profiles here, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top. Please go through the "shark" species and see if yours are there (photos are included for each species). There are Bala Shark, Red Tailed Shark, Black Shark, Rainbow Shark and China Hi Fin Shark included in the Cyprinids, but you can click on each of these shaded names in posts to see the respective profile and read about them.
A 30g is also not sufficient space for angelfish. They grow to 6 inches in length with 8+ inch fin span. A 4-foot tank like a 55g is minimum. Their profile is also included, click on Scalare Angelfish.
Blue Gourami are similar; they are territorial, esp the male, and if you have 2 or 3 males you will have trouble soon. Also, these are not good companions with angelfish, both species are quite similarly territorial. Again, have a read of the profile.
Ironically, the Bolivian Ram, if it is a male/female pair, would do fine in a 30g. The problem you mention could be related to the water conditions, or the other fish stressing the Ram out and bringing on heightened aggression. Or they may both be males, and this behaviour will continue in so small a space and likely end in the other fish being dead. It is very hard to sex this fish when young, as noted in our profile.
I am sorry to bear such bad news, but I want to see your fish succeed so you stay in this wonderful hobby, and losing some or most of them from the first can be devastating.
thanks for the responses. i had my tank cycling for a week before i added any fish in there. the sharks are BALA sharks. 4 in all. still babies though and don't seem aggressive at all. i understand the issue with the angels and i will deal with it as they grow.
since all my fish (bala sharks, blue guaramis, angels, and the bolivian rams) are (as far as i understand) semi- aggressive, aren't they going to be compatible.
the only one causing trouble is the ram (it's the bigger one of both and it doesnt bother the other one at all).
I'm going to go into some detail here, as this is a major problem just waiting to occur.
First, potentially large fish cannot, repeat cannot, be housed in small tanks just because they are now "small." Such conditions must be seen as very temporary. "Dealing with it as they grow" is only valid if there is a 4-foot tank sitting there waiting to be inhabited. Fish grow all their lives, and they grow both outwardly in size and internally their organs develop. When they are in a small space, the external may be slow or basically prevented from growing properly; but the internal development goes on, leading to what we term stunting or deformed organ development. This has as much to do with the water condition in smaller tanks as with the actual physical space limitation. All fish need appropriate room in which to grow if they are to be healthy.
Stunted fish develop a multitude of health problems, meaning they will be more often sick. They have shortened lifespans, considerably so. They very often develop intensified aggressive behaviours, which science now understands is the result of sheer frustration in their surroundings. They "lash out" the only way they can.
This stress impacts every fish in the tank. Fish secrete chemicals or pheromones, and other fish can "read" these. Physical assault may or may not actually occur, but the chemical signals will still be there, stressing out and thus weakening the other fish.
I've already suggested that the Ram's problem now is very likely caused by these very issues. Another cause is the cycling; a tank cannot cycle in a week with nothing in it. It takes 2-8 weeks with a source of ammonia. The fish are providing that, but with so many under such stress from all of the above, it is even worse.
Every aquarist bears the responsibility to know the fish and provide the best possible environment. Anything less is cruel to the fish, which are living creatures totally dependent upon what we do for them.
I will have to agree with Byron. Your tank is not cycled and from experience, I know that Bolivian Rams are sensitive to water conditions, and he is likely stressed. In my experience, Bolivian Rams are not at all aggressive with other community fish. Cycling with such fish will not be successful. Can you return them and get them at a later date? It will not only be sad to watch them suffer and die, but you'll be out money. I would return them, read about cycling, and even perhaps try "fishless" cycle. It's a great way to go in my opinion.
Welcome and best of luck. You'll get your questions answered here.
Bolivian Rams are traditionally not too aggressive. You added a lot of fish at once. Your tank doesn't seem to be fully cycled. Once your tank is fully cycled, assuming your temperature and other factors are set according to your fish selection. Your fish should be striving. Do more research on bottom dwellers and top dwellers. Try not to add more than 2 fish at a time, as this will disrupt your ecosystem.
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