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  1. Default Bolivian rams in a 36 bow? What will work?


    0 Not allowed!
    I am starting a new tank ( it is happily fishless cycling with the help of some established tank gunk and plants) and the fish of first place interest is the bolivian ram. I have been reading and reading and it seems that a pair is about the most this tank is suited for, and by pair they mean mated male/female. Maybe... A pair would be happy and show their full personality so long as the rest of the parameters were met.

    Now, there seem to be a few ways to go about this:

    get a bunch of rams and wait till two pair off then return the rest... How do you tell that they have paired off? How many would you try to get to do this? And is this even possible in this tank size?

    Get one male and female and hope for the best ( with return plan in case of the worst ) um, but then what, try again until it works? Anyone tried this way?

    Find a mated pair for sale... I will ask at my fish store, there are two employees who i feel give straight answers and they might be able to identify two from their stock... Maybe. Otherwise, how does one go about this?

    Are there any other ways?

    Meanwhile, er... I don't have room to have lots of extras. Are they happiest in pairs? Do they spawn without special intervention?

    Or I could get just one, but that seems a little lonely.

  2. #2

    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    I have maintained this species for many years. I currently have a sole male who is now five years old, which is a year past the normal lifespan.

    You have the right idea; for two Bolivians to co-exist in this space they absolutely must be a bonded male/female pair. Lots of chunks of wood and some plants, and a flat rock somewhere as they are substrate spawners and like a flat rock.

    Acquiring a group of fish and letting them pair off is one option, but then you need a large tank for this, and you will have many fish to "get rid of" afterwards. Getting a male and female and "hoping for the best" is a real risk, I have done this, and after spawning four times the male suddenly killed the female. And this was in a five-foot tank; she still had no escape.

    If the fish are settled in the store tank, it is fairly easy to find bonded pairs. Remain motionless in front of the tank for some time, observing behaviours. The males will be pretty obvious, as they will "challenge" each other continuously. When you see a nice male that you like, keep a close eye on him; watch for any fish that he remains close to, or allows to be close to him. There will probably be no interaction at all between them, as the male will be busy defending his small space from the other males. The female will just be there, picking at the substrate for food. But she will be the only one he tolerates completely.

    This works for both ram species. Ascertaining male/female at the juvenile stage is next to impossible using colour and fins, but when you observe the above interactions it is pretty certain. I'm attaching a photo of a pair guarding their egg clutch.

    One last thing. This species does extremely well alone, meaning just one fish in the tank. Observations made in the habitat suggest that this species lives in solitude (individual fish alone) apart from when a pair bond which is believed to be for life. I have the male I mentioned, and have had him for five years, on his own except for the time when I introduced a female but that didn't work as I said. That was 3 years ago before I knew the bonded issue.

    Byron.

    Mikrogeophagus altispinosus pair.jpg
    Last edited by Byron; 09-17-2013 at 06:11 PM.

  3. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you!

    I would prefer to find a bonded pair at the store. I hope that if I, or one of my lfs employees, do manage to identify one, we can successfully keep track of them in the capture process.

    Is there enough room in a 36 to go with option two if they were the first fish we stocked? ( and no worries... The only getting rid of I would be willing to do would be to return them to fish store. I would never try this without finding out if my lfs would accept them back first. ... Then again, i have already wondered if my lfs would smile and nod and take the fish back, then quietly flush them to avoid any possible contamination issues. :/... Guess i had better get to tank watching.

    Do these guys like little caves? I know that they want plants... And if I do manage a pair, am I going to be having to rehome little ones constantly? Or does spawning have to be brought on by temp increases or other controlled influences?

  4. #4

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by GobleWarming View Post
    Thank you!

    I would prefer to find a bonded pair at the store. I hope that if I, or one of my lfs employees, do manage to identify one, we can successfully keep track of them in the capture process.

    Is there enough room in a 36 to go with option two if they were the first fish we stocked? ( and no worries... The only getting rid of I would be willing to do would be to return them to fish store. I would never try this without finding out if my lfs would accept them back first. ... Then again, i have already wondered if my lfs would smile and nod and take the fish back, then quietly flush them to avoid any possible contamination issues. :/... Guess i had better get to tank watching.

    Do these guys like little caves? I know that they want plants... And if I do manage a pair, am I going to be having to rehome little ones constantly? Or does spawning have to be brought on by temp increases or other controlled influences?
    I would recommend a much larger tank for a group. I know these fish will not be in larger tanks in the store, but that is a temporary situation and even so is causing trouble for the fish, as it stresses them and this weakens the immune system. If the fish are "settled" in the store tank, it shoul dnot be difficult to spot a pair. I have frequently done it with this species and the common ram, just for fun while I was browsing the store tanks.

    The trouble with bringing home fish and then taking them back is the additional stress this causes to the fish. Enough of this and they may well just die. Then there is the issue of transporting pathogens as you note. I remember one local fish importer/breeder telling me once that customers sometimes buy fish they discover they can't manage, and want to bring them back. He will take them back--and promptly bury them in the back garden. Risk of disease is too great. Stores usually aren't so fussy...unfortunately for us at times.

    Sand substrate (like most cichlids, these are substrate feeders, and it is easier for them and safer with sand), and lots of bogwood. And a flat stone on which they will probably spawn, though they may use a chunk of wood or even make a depression in the sand. I've had all these occur. No need for caves. Lots of plants to provide shade and break up the line of sight. These fish remain in the lower third of the water column. Mine have never gone to the surface, ever, to feed or anythying else. If I see my male Bolivian mid-tank, I wonder why...and it is always because he is laying down the law to the other fish. These fish "own" the tank space.

    Spawning will likely just occur. A water change may stimulate them, with slightly cooler water (I do this at every water change, lower the temp of the water entering the tank by a couple degrees; it is remarkable how this stimulates all fish). They are fairly good parents, but if you have catfish of any sort, the eggs or fry will not likely survive long. Nocturnal fish like corys, pleco, etc. can easily pick off the eggs during darkness when the cichlids are resting and not able to defend them.

    Depending upon the fish, and the tankmates, you may or may not have a lot of fry. They have to be fed of course, miniscule live foods like newly-hatched brine shrimp.

    Byron.

  5. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    This is me having a "d'oh" headsmack sort of moment...

    Sand. Somehow in reading many a page or blurb about Bolivian rams I got fixated on the planted tank part. (and in my noob defense most of those pages make a brief mention of them being cichlids, but not the details that that encompasses. I read specific, instead of for the whole group)My husband was reading up on keeping a planted aquarium and long explanation made shorter... We brought home floramax to use as a substrate. It is in our cycling tank.

    Well, we talked it over and are more attached to the ram idea than the substrate so I guess that is a lesson to slow down even more when tank plotting. At least at my particular stage of the game.

    Good thing pool filter sand is pretty cheap. "Phlbbbbbttt". Rasberries.

    On a happy note.... Wait, can these guys live happily with a small cory herd?

  6. #6

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    You are worried about keeping rams over floramax? I have 3 pairs, all very healthy and have spawned many times. I keep them over Eco complete and they dig their pits without issue, and their fry don't fall into the gaps either.
    As cichlids go rams are quite laid back with guarding their brood, at least from my experience, but I still would be careful with cories. They never seem to learn to stay away from the breeding site and also aren't fast enough to escape is the rams are serious about it.

  7. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Isn't eco complete a sand? ... Gogle-fu suggests it is both a sand and a gravel. Which do you have?

    The stuff we have is very sharp looking bits of gravel. Is that ok for them?

  8. #8

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Don't know about floramax, but my eco complete is in gravel form.

  9. #9

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Be careful here. Eco-complete is sharp enough to damage corys. I had Flourite, which in my hand did not feel as rough as EC, and I had to remove the corys after they developed some serious mouth and barbel issues. They recovered in a tank with sand substrate.

    The issue with the ram is less serious, but it is still something to consider. If the material is rough in your hand, I would not use it. I learned the hard way. Rams will eat from the substrate; they suck in a mouthful of substrate, sift out food, and expel the substrate. If the substrate feels rough on your hand with its "hard" skin, imagine what it is like to the soft inner mouth of the fish. Put some in your mouth and see what you think...just make sure it is clean first.

    Byron.

  10. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    image.jpg

    Not sure if this pic will adequately convey the texture, but ...I am pretty sure it is too rough. It is not rounded gravel, but more like flakes of brick.

    Better to know now.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by GobleWarming; 09-20-2013 at 09:32 PM.

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