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Thread: 20 Gallon cichlid
12-07-2013, 09:04 PM #1
20 Gallon cichlid
Hey guys so I was looking at getting a dwarf cichlid species for my 20 gallon high aquarium. At the moment the stock is 1 Bumblebee Catfish, 6 Panda Cories, and 1 (Very Old) Blue Gourami. I just recently got christmas money from my grandparents so I'm looking to treat myself to some new fish. I was thinking about maybe a pair of German Blue Rams but I'm a bit scared to purchase them due to the numerous stories of people having them die. The tank is mature and has been up and running for about 6-7 months. I have over 100 gallons of filtration on it at the moment, its running at 76 degrees Fahrenheit, it has 0ppm of ammonia, 0ppm of nitrites, and the nitrates never get higher than 20ppm. My water is incredibly soft with a dkH of 3, and a pH 7 (could be a bit less as I've added more driftwood since my last testing).
I was worried to purchase the rams as people often say that they need pristine water conditions. My water quality is quite good but I always have at least 10ppm of nitrates as there are nitrates naturally present in my tap water.
Would it be a good idea to purchase rams? I found an incredibly cheap pair of gold strain rams on Aquabid and I wanted to try out my luck with them.
I'm not too worried about my Gourami being an issue with them as she is almost 8 years old, completely blind, and on her way out the door. She's had some close calls this past year and I've had posts and threads where I've talked about her issues but every time she seems to be on her way out she surprises me and pulls through the night. She still eats regularly but is starting to have serious trouble finding food and her colors are finally starting to fade, they've faded in the past but they always come back this time she's staying pale and doesn't seem to be coloring up. She's the first fish I purchased when I was only 10 years old. I've made a lot of mistakes with her and she's incredibly stunted but she's managed to live incredibly long. I may or may not euthanize her soon as she seems to be close to her end and I'd prefer her not to suffer. Either way her presence in the tank won't affect my purchase of a cichlid species.
Anyways do you guys think I should go with the rams? The tank is plant-less but has a ton of driftwood for cover. I may or may not add plants back in the future, but that all depends on whether or not the cories will stop digging them up out of the sand.
If its not a good idea to purchase them what do you guys suggest instead? I'd prefer a south american cichlid species.
Last edited by Gesp56; 12-07-2013 at 09:08 PM.
12-07-2013, 09:28 PM #2
Your tank will be very bottom heavy with those cories and rams. Rams, especially a mating pair, live on the bottom and need a definite territory. They may harass the cories and feel stressed. Cichlids may not be the way to go with a 20g tall unless they have the bottom to themselves.
Maybe try some nice middle or top level fish? You can fit in a nice school.20 gallon with a male betta, neons, glowlights, and red cherry shrimp. (work in progess) Recently added a few LIVE plants and driftwood, Woooohoooo!
12-07-2013, 09:36 PM #3
Well I'm already planning for a school of lemon tetras but I wanted a dwarf cichlid as well. I currently have a pair of apistogramma trifasciata in my 10 gallon and although they're gorgeous I really wanted to try my hand at a cichlid species that formed bonding pairs. Do you really think the cories and rams will clash that much? The cories are only an inch long and I only have 6 of them. Would they really cause that much strain on a mating pair?
12-07-2013, 10:20 PM #4
I don't think the cichlids will view cories as territorial threats. they will certainly harass the cories when breeding, but
other than that should ignore them. most wild animals work like that, in that territories will exclude only closely related species,
while other unrelated animals can form overlapping territories because they just ignore each other. I would not be worried about the gourami harassing the cichlids, but
I would be very worried about putting young, aggressive, competitive cichlids with an old, blind fish that can barely find its food. If I were you I would let the gourami live out its life(or euthanize her depending on how
bad you think her condition is) before getting dwarf cichlids.
12-07-2013, 10:40 PM #5
Alright thank you for the advice. I think I'm going to order the rams after I decide which listing to go with. I'm just going to leave my gourami be for a while. She's pretty old and not too active so she rarely leaves the surface. I don't think she'll be a problem with the rams. Either way she won't last much longer, and if she doesn't go soon I'm going to put her down. Like I said before she turns 8 next summer. Despite being stunted to all hell she's lived almost double the amount most Blue Gouramis do.
Lastly, do you think the rams will do well in 76 degree water? I can't raise the water temperatures as any higher than that will have ill affects on my Panda cories.
Last edited by Gesp56; 12-07-2013 at 10:42 PM.
12-07-2013, 10:59 PM #6
why do they have to be rams? there are other dwarf cichlids that are monogamous, and not prone to dying for no apparent reason.
laetacara curviceps, L. dorsigera, nannacara anomala, bolivian ram(might get quite big tho) are some
12-07-2013, 11:11 PM #7
That's just the species that I chose due to availability and what I found attractive. I haven't been able to find any of the species you've listed. I have see bolivian rams available but not a mated pair. The rams I'm looking at purchasing are already an established pair. Since my tank is only I 20 gallon I wanted to try and avoid having to purchase a group of fish to be sure to get a mated pair.. I think I'm going to try the rams. The pair I found on Aquabid is a proven pair for a really good price from a reputable seller. I've read mixed reviews on temperature. Some people say never to have it below 82 degrees others say they'll thrive and do nicely in temps from 72-86.
12-08-2013, 01:28 AM #8
my rams and the rams I've seen seem to be more vibrant at 26-27 degrees (80 Fahrenheit) but 76 is still in their range.
but as mentioned before it isn't the best place for the rams since the other bottom feeders are there but if you want give it a tryi hear some people say, "i kept a goldfish in a bowl and it lived for a year."
they don't know how lucky they were and all goldfish live at least 15 years in proper conditions.
that is equal to saying my human lived in his closet for 5 years!
12-08-2013, 07:13 AM #9
Just because you buy a mated pair of Ram's that doesn't guarantee the pair-bond will remain when you move them into a different tank/environment. Get yourself 5-6 juvies, grow them out, keep a pair that forms on their own and swap off the rest. Bolivians are hardier than GBR's, cory cats may be a problem simply because they don't "get" the territory thing that's such a strong part of cichlid nature.
12-08-2013, 04:27 PM #10