Any ideas on what might be going on with my GBR?
So, I got a pair of GBRs a bit over a month ago, and they were fine for the first two or three weeks. For at least the last two weeks, I've noticed that the female is not as brightly colored anymore - the pink on her tummy is pretty faded, and she's not as bright yellow as the male, it's also harder to see the iridescent blue/purple on her than what I remember when I first brought her home. I can also see some dark stripes on her, like when they get stressed or aggressive if they're competing for food or anything, or they also seem to like attacking me when I'm cleaning out the tank. She's not SUPER dark, or even as dark as they both get when they're in "attack mode", but the stripes don't go away like they do on the male.
She's out and about in the tank, but not as much as the male. She's also barely eating, but she will eat. Her fins, like her dorsal and tail fins, are not flared up like on the male, but instead are usually pulled tight and close to the body if that makes sense.
I can't really get a good picture of her, but this fish looks pretty similar,
The only thing that changed at the time that I noticed the change in her was that I added my old african dwarf frog back to my main tank. Everyone else has been fine. I added some neon tetras about a week ago, and there's no changes in anyone's behaviour. I'd also been slowly increasing the temperature of the tank for the GBRs.. it was at 76, I've increased it to 78. I'm thinking I should probably increase it to 80..
In the tank, I've got my male and female GBRs (I'm assuming they're male and female because one has a pink tummy, the other does not and does have a second black stripe on his dorsal fin.). I have 9 harlequin rasboras, 7 neon tetras, 4 false julii cories, ghost shrimp and nerite snails in a 28 gallon planted tank w/ a sponge filter. No one picks on the female at all except the male occasionally chases her away from food, but he never bites her.
Parameters are good, ph has been stable - I don't remember the exact ph but it is acidic and it hasn't changed since they were added. They also came from a store with the same water source as my home. Ammonia - 0, NitrIte - 0, Nitrate I've been working to lower but it's staying at 10-20ppm.
I don't see anything physically wrong with her other than the darker coloring and that she seems a bit less active and has less of an appetite.
I've been feeding flakes, shrimp pellets, frozen bloodworms, and brine shrimp (which only the tetra, ADF, and ghost shrimp touched). She'll munch on the flakes, pellets and bloodworms, but isn't eating as much as the other ram.
Sorry, I missed the sticky.. other posts I'd read over in this section didn't have it so I didn't think to look. Sorry!
1. Size of tank? 28 gallon
2. Water parameters
a. Ammonia? 0
b. Nitrite? 0
c. Nitrate? 10-20ppm
d. pH, KH and GH? don't know exactly except that it is acidic & soft
e. Test kit? API test kit
3. Temperature? 78 right now
4. FW (fresh water) or BW (brackish)? FW
5. How long the aquarium has been set up? A bit over 6 months
6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?
German Blue Rams - 2 (M & F) (about a month)
Harlequin Rasboras - 9 (5 of them for about 5-6 months, 4-6 weeks ago 4 more were added)
Neon Tetras - 7 (added within the last two weeks)
False Julii Cories - 4 (4-6 weeks in the tank)
African Dwarf Frog - 1 (was originally in the tank before anything else, was removed and added back within the last 2 weeks)
Ghost shrimp & nerite snails
7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)?
8. a. Any live plants? Fake plants? 3 crypts, several young amazon swords, pennywort, moneywort, marimo balls & fake bonsai trees and fake grass. Also have wisteria floating
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom? sand, pool filter sand
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors? rocks on the ground, a "pagoda" house that's hollow on the inside, and a dragon decoration
9. a. Filtration? sponge filter
b. Heater? fluval heater
10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used? lights are stock lights, 6500k and are on for 8 hours
b. Any sunlight exposure? How long? Not typically, if any it's only for a couple hours and not direct sunlight
11. a. Water change schedule? weekly
b. Volume of water changed? about 30%
c. Well water, tap water, RO water? tap water
d. Water conditioner used? prime
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed? weekly
12. Foods? flakes, shrimp pellets, frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp
How often are they fed? 5-6 days a week
13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms? lessened appetite, darker than normal coloring, fins aren't flared/perky? less active
b. Appearance of poop? normal last seen
c. Appearance of gills? normal
14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? no
b. What meds were used?
15. Insert photos of fish in question and full tank shot if necessary.
see previous post for a very close image to mine
Sorry to hear that you are having problems with your blue ram right now. I would definitly suggest getting the temp in the tank up to at least 80 and see if that makes a difference. Also I don't know if blue rams do this or not, but I have noticed with my female convict her coloring will change with spawning. When she is getting ready to spawn her coloration will really brighten up, the color on her stomach gets brighter and more intense along with the coloration in her fins.
Glad you've asked this question as this sounds as if you could be explaining my female Blue Ram. Only difference is mine has a tank temp of 80. So the answers to this will interest me too :)
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I will go ahead an increase the temp, although I have a feeling that might not be the issue because the male is perfectly fine. I've heard a lot of fish stores / pet shops put hormones in the water to make the fish more colorful, could that be why she initially was brighter? Is this maybe her normal color until she wants to spawn?
I wouldn't really have thought too much of it except that she's not eating as much as she used to, or as the male ram. She'll have a bite or two and then be done with it. :\
I mean, the image I got as an example was from someone else's fish and they had posted the picture in a forum. They were asking about breeding and were just showing a picture of the GBR, they weren't asking if it was sick or anything..
Two possibles stand out to me. One the temp as Barb mentioned; this species needs warm water, 82F is usually minimum. More in a moment. [The frog is actually another possible, I have read they will go after fish though I would expect the smaller fish to be targets if this is true.]
The second possibility is disagreement between the male and female. My Bolivians went through this, the female got just as you describe, and suddenly died; the male had killed her, not with direct physical attack but just his presence, and he would drive her away when he saw her. In hindsight I didn't recognize this at the time, because in between spawnings (they spawned 4 or 5 times) this sort of behaviour back and forth went on. Even in a 5-foot tank, they could not tolerate each other between spawnings.
Back to the temp issue. I had a pair of Blue Rams many years ago, before I understood anything about this species, in a community tank with a temp of 78F. They spawned, and seemed fine, but after a few weeks, both just died. I believe it was the temp. This species has shown itself to be highly sensitive to water parameters and conditions, even (and perhaps even moreso) with tank-raised fish as most of the available fish today are. One must however be careful, as many other "tropicals" cannot last long-term at such high temperatures, so tankmates must be carefully selected. For instance, your neon tetra will quickly die at such a high temperature, they should not be above 77F. Rasbora will manage. The false julii cory is presumably Corydoras trilineatus, and this too will not last above 77-78F for long. So the Rams (if they survive) should be in another tank where the temp can be 82F.
Thank you for your input..
I have increased the temp to 80 degrees. Without much of a change in anyone's behavior.
I have watched the frog and the only time it gets anywhere near any fish is at feeding time when I feed the bloodworms. I can tell the frog is just trying to get a worm, but since it's so blind it's just nipping at any movement. Neither of the rams hang out at the bottom enough to really be touched by the frog, it's usually just the cories that get nipped, but I'm assuming they're not being hurt because they don't even really swim away from the frog except for like an inch. When it's not feeding, the frog either hangs out by my filter or in the little "pagoda " decoration which is hallow.
On the male / female possibly not getting along, should I see about trading her? I will say that they used to swim together all the time when first added to the tank, now she's usually off on her own somewhere towards the back of the tank. When I was watching them this morning they were both at the front together. They don't eat near eachother though. I would say sometimes it does look like she's avoiding him. I also remember for a few days they would somewhat chase eachother as well.. but no nipping or injuries.
The only other tank I have is just 5 gallons so I'm not sure what to do.
As far as the temp, I was told (on here I think) that they would be ok to add at least at 80°. I'd even asked about adding the neons before doing so.. I actually thought the only fish that might have an issue were the rasboras! :/
I can probably swap her out still since I don't think she has any diseases.. she looks healthy other than her color and minimal appetite, so I'm thinking it is just stress. Should I just try again? Or is there anything I can do? Should I get another female in exchange for the male? I thought they worked best in m/f pairs.
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As for what to do, I can't offer much. I tend to let nature run its course. I find this is the main problem with all cichlids, getting along. I have a group of Apistogramma baenschi in my 70g, the original pair (m/f) and two female fry that survived and are now mating with the male too. The fierceness of such little females is amazing, they can really tear into each other. When guarding eggs, it spreads to other fish which is what really bothers me. But I've no place, even with 7 tanks, to separate them, so they'll have to sort themselves out.
I have to weigh in if it helps in any way. I got my 2 Blue Rams, like Byron said, and watched them in the store to see which two were "paired". They are a pair, and that is all good. They do not chase each other and are doing well, active when they see me, wanting to eat, they are eating well etc. The thing I noticed is the female is less colorful than when I got her, and asked about that at the fish store. I was told it is normal, that colors are often most bright when they are interesting in finding a mate, and or breeding. But my female does not have "clamped" fins like you describe, so that is more concerning because that seems like stress. I also know they do best in low ph water, like 6.3-6.5, but again that sounds like you may have that, but perhaps you should test the ph of your water. Temps should be at 82 or even higher for spawning.
Hope you get this resolved. You may have trouble finding a mate he'll prefer, maybe you should get 2 females and let him pick one, and hope he leaves the other one alone, and they can exist together. I can't have more than 2 because my tank isn't large enough, and I'm sorry but I don't remember what size your tank is. Also, Cardinal tetras are great tank mates, as they have similar water parameter needs. Even a bit prettier than Neon tetras, IMO. :-D
Keep us posted.
Well that's good to hear, hopefully she is fine. I've been trying to watch them as much as I can. I've noticed that the male doesn't usually chase her off. Occasionally, if there's food she'll be chased off, but he'll chase anyone. Yesterday, she seemed to be eating fine. I've noticed she's apparently picky about the flake food because she'll spit a lot of it out... She eats some though, and she's getting bloodworms too.
I don't remember my ph and I'm about ready for bed so I don't want to check it right now, but it stays around 6.6-6.8 and I've occasionally seen it dip to 6.4. I'm thinking about redoing my scape with some cypress knees, I guess I was inspired by another member who had recently asked Byron about them.. I live in SC so they're all over hear, I thought it'd be a nice way to decorate with something local, while still making the fish happy. I'm not sure if they'll lower the ph or not, but they're typically (or always? not sure) from blackwater swamps, so hopefully it will be good for the ph.
I had heard to look for a "pair" in the tank when shopping, but this was the only male. There was one female that was very aggressive and very dark colored, and of the other two I picked the best looking one. I'm not sure if anyone was looking to pair with that female on her rampage.. They were so much cheaper than at the normal store I go to, so I really did want to scoop them up while I could. They just got some new ones in and I'm fairly certain I could return both of them and get two new ones - would that be better? Would the two I own now have a better chance of finding the appropriate mate? They're still young and I've only had them for about a month so they're not much, if any, bigger than the ones for sale now..
Or, is it better to possibly get another one? If I put in what I've got stocked + one more ram on aqadvisor at least, it says I'm at 94% stocking level..:
I don't know.. I think I'll give them some more time. Right now, they're both swimming around each other in the back of the tank (and maybe it's just my imagination, but she seems to look for him when he swims away, and then starts to follow him). The first week I had them, they were like attached at the hip.. I thought they would pair. The pink on her tummy is showing a bit again. I don't know that her fins are "clamped", she just always looks like she's trying to be hydrodynamic? Does that make any sense - haha.
I got this blurry picture of her. She's lost weight since I got her I think. The second picture is from the first week I had them, and they're hanging out together.
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