Bolivian Ram pairing behavior
I have 3 bolivian rams in my tank. I thought I had 2 females and 1 male but it turns out I have 2 males and a female.
At the beginning of the month they paired off and had babies. I think around that time the other male who I thought was a female reached maturity. After I moved the fry and the tank went back to "normal" the other male started to take over the territory that the bred male had. It also seemed from behavior that the female also started swimming more with the "other" male while the bred male was pushed to another area alone.
It now seems that the female is getting ready to mate with the other male as I see them starting the "ritual"
I always thought bolivians were 'paired for life' and it seems as this female is going for the "stronger" male in the area.
Any one else experience this with Bolivian Rams?
Well I have eggs (Second time in 1 month) but I don't know who the father is....
...I see a episode of Maury in my fish tanks future...
Typically wild animal behavior, the one that is perceived to be more fit as a mate is selected. No doubt in the future the males will fight to assert dominance over each other but shouldn't be an issue, also one reason the other fish was selected over the last mate might have been the loss of the fry, its probably best you leave at least a dozen fry with the parents a couple of times to help keep the pair strong.
According to the cichlid sources I have, the male Mikrogeophagus altispinosus [Bolivian Ram] selects a female and the pair usually bond permanently. Lee Newman, Curator of Freshwater Fish at the Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Science Centre and a recognized authority on SA cichlids, writes from his observations that within a group of 1 male and 3 females the male selected the female and the pair bonded and then spawned several times, with the two other females in the tank. The male never paired with either of those, and they were always driven from "his" territory.
Several other sources also recommend letting the male select his mate. This is also best with the close cousin, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi.
Thus, it may be the male who makes the bonding decision. What is most interesting in your case is that when the second male entered the picture, the first male did not defend his mate as one would expect.
It seems as if the eggs were eaten this time - the parents have gone out of 'guarding the area' mode and have gone back to normal. It seems that the male that was bred with this time was not as good a father as the other one. He didn't spend much time guarding and didn't clear the area out like the other male did with his kids.
The original male has 'reclaimed' his area and the younger male has retreated. The older male seems to be defending is area more now and fighting back instead of running like before. I have seen them 'sparring' today and flaring up at each other. The female is caught in the middle and chased away by both males.
This behavior is very interesting to watch.
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