Blue Ram Cichlid people help me with decision!
So, I'm trying to decide what to do with my empty 25 gal, planted tank. My LFS has absolutely stunning German Blue Rams, that are of high quality, not inbreed and the male is so gorgeous. My water ph in the tank, is 8 and the GH is at about 14. I'm willing to lower the ph by purchasing distilled water, and will buy a RO system in the near future if I decide to get these fish. I would keep them with Cardinal tetras.
Because they are listed as "difficult" it scares me, but I do regular water changes and presently my nitrates today were at 5ppm and I have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. They tested my water today, and I test my tanks regularly. My nitrates have always been low in this tank because I've only had the one fish in it, I'm guessing they'd be more about 10ppm if I had more fish, but my tanks never see 20ppm without a WC.
Is this something I should attempt? I would get a male and female, and perhaps if I feel rich one day, buy another female to give the male a "choice" and spread chasing around. I guess would be the purpose of that decision. I really don't like chasing behaviors, but the guy at the LFS says that is normal, and they usually do no harm, just do it to display dominance.
My other choice is a GSP, but than I'd have to add marine salt and keep a brackish tank, and I could put no other fish in the tank with him.
I would like to hear what others think about attempting the Blue Rams. Thanks!
The German Blue Ram is a hybrid, developed by selective breeding from the wild fish. This has a bearing on the required pH; if the fish were spawned and raised in water similar to yours, it will be fine. If it was not, then it will have major problems. Try to ascertain where the fish came from, by which I mean the commercial source, and then ask for their water parameters. You can probably assume the water was basic and medium hard to fairly hard, but if you can ascertain for certain, it will be better.
Regardless of the pH, temperature is critical; the common blue ram and the various colour morphs need warmth, 82F or above. Make sure their tankmates can tolerate this. And on other water issues, rams are very sensitive to any ammonia and nitrite, and nitrate should be as near zero as possible. 5ppm is fine. With lots of plants this should not be an issue. With all the fish I have in my heavily-planted tanks, nitrate isnever above 5ppm. But the water quality must be stable, no fluctuations. Again, lots of plants work best at this, along with regular (weekly) partial water changes. Stability is key.
In a 25g, I would only have a mated pair, no more; there simply is not room for more than one female. When these fish spawn, and spawn they will regularly, they will not tolerate other rams in the area, and a 25g is not sufficient to provide adequate "space" for escape. I have spawned this fish (the common wild form) years ago, but all dwarf cichlids are similar. I have a pair of Apistogramma baenschi in my 90g at present that regularly spawn; two of their first fry have survived and are now spawning with the male (both turned out to be females) so there is one male and 3 females in a 4-foot 70g tank, and the females are only an inch in length. But are they ever nasty. The currently-spawning female, whichever it happens to be, will drive the other two all around the tank and then some if she even catches sight of them 2 feet away. And she is rough. The male tends to let the females handle things once the eggs hatch.
You can get a mated pair--not all males and females will pair, so it is best to let them decide--by observation in the store tank. Mated pairs will be very obvious; the male will chase away (even in such limited space) any other males, and the female of his choice will remain close. If you had a large tank, say a 4-foot, and bought a group of them, they would pair off on their own. But again a 25g is not sufficient for this.
If the pair mate on their own initiative, they will likely live together peacefully. It is adding other fish that causes trouble. I have a Bolivian Ram in my 115g 5-foot tank, and I finally found a female and added her. They spawned several times, 4 or 5, then he got fed up and hounded her to death. Cichlids are not fish that once established in a tank can have others of the same species introduced, unless there is plenty of room--and even my 5-foot tank was not sufficient.
Chocolate gourami; very delicate. I have twice had them. The last was 2-3 years ago, a group of 6 in my 70g. They spawned several times, and I had several fry survive to maturity. Then suddenly all died. They are highly sensitive to parasites and skin problems, and require very stable water chemistry. A good match for common rams. If wild caught, as I would suspect, very soft and acidic water.
You will definitely want to ask your LFS where they source their rams from. I just picked up some rams and was talking to my LFS store owner, he only sources these fish from local breeders anymore because a lot of the GBRs he had been ordering were extremely poor quality.I believe he said the last time he ordered SE Asian GBRs over half the fish from the order died in his store or within days of leaving.
That makes sense, most people have harder water around here.
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