South American Cichlids • Bolivian rams vs Blue rams???

Discussion regarding only South American Cichlid species. (Oscars, Geophagines, Discus, Apistogramma, Green Terrors, Angels, Severums, Pikes, etc.)

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Postby lotsofish » Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:07 pm

I've kept the cacauoides with rams so I know that combo works. Not sure about the keyhole but someone else can comment on that.

I do suggest adding a few corys and a bristlenose as a cleanup crew. Also a few tetras for a little more movement in the tank. The rams and apistos are not the most active fish. If your tank is heavily planted, you may not see them much. However, the Bolivians are not as shy as the blue rams in my experience.
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Postby cc_woman » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:05 am

I was just reading this, and I find it very interesting. I just wanted to add that if you want to lower the KH and pH in your aquarium, and you already have a higher pH, say of about 7.6, you don't have to use complete RO water and then use the buffers. You can use a combination of RO and tap, you will just have to experiment with what ratio of RO to tap you will need to lower the pH and KH. I know some people around me who do this with their discus tanks, and they typically use a ratio of 30%RO and 70% tap, or 60% tap and 40% RO. So depending on what your KH and pH are already at, will determine what ratio you will need.

IMO I like the german blues, I have kept both, and failed with the GB's but I will try again in the future for sure once I can get my RO up and running. It is true though that you probably should lower the pH to at least the 6's, since mine were kept in a pH of 7.6. They are definitely not very hardy, and the ballon rams, gold rams etc are all the same when it comes to maintenance. The bolivian are definitely more hardy, and less shy, I have a pair of them that are doing great. It all depends on how much work you would be willing to put into a tank. I also have to say that I absolutely love using shrimp as a clean up crew, and you can definitely mix them in with any kind of rams. I kept the cacatuoides in with GB's and bolivians, so they would most likely work together. I have heard of the apistos preferring cooler water though than the GB's so I would maybe use caution when keeping those 2 together, since either one or the other might suffer from it. But others who know more about the apisto's might be able to tell you if it will work.
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Postby blairo1 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:24 am

cc_woman wrote:I was just reading this, and I find it very interesting. I just wanted to add that if you want to lower the KH and pH in your aquarium, and you already have a higher pH, say of about 7.6, you don't have to use complete RO water and then use the buffers. You can use a combination of RO and tap, you will just have to experiment with what ratio of RO to tap you will need to lower the pH and KH. I know some people around me who do this with their discus tanks, and they typically use a ratio of 30%RO and 70% tap, or 60% tap and 40% RO. So depending on what your KH and pH are already at, will determine what ratio you will need.


Yeah, I didn't want to go into too much detail, but here's an easy way of working out how much RO to Tap you need to attain a certain set of parameters. By doing like this (as cc_woman has suggested) you will save a lot of money:

Hardness of Tap Water - Required Hardness = Parts of Osmosis Water
Hardness of Osmosis Water - Required Hardness = Parts of Tap Water

Example;
Your tap water has a hardness of 20, your required hardness is 5:
20-5 = 15 parts osmosis water.

Your Osmosis water has a hardness of 1, your required hardness is still the same (5):
1-5 = 4 parts tap water (negatives are ignored as positive numbers).

So you can see the above equation tells you how much to mix. With a tap hardness of 20 and an RO hardness of 1, it will take 15 parts osmosis water and 4 parts tap water to make up a hardness of 5.

To the OP, I've kept a Keyhole with my Bolivians and had no issues, the Keyholes will be dominant and you need to keep an eye on them because some can be really pushy of other fish. Bolivians get stressed by this constant pressure, especially in such a small tank. I don't see why you can't do it, you may find some quarrels initially but if you get fish with a good temperament and you aquascape heavily then it's entirely possible. Keep a close eye on that Keyhole and make sure he's not a bully, mine was.
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Postby hollyfish2000 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:41 am

For reasons I can't quite explain, I wouldn't do an all male SA cichlid tank. The interaction between the sexes in interesting and the girls look as good as the boys (except for the apisto, but even then the girls have their appeal). Now, this is being said by someone with an all male peacock/hap tank, so I see that I'm being inconsistent . . .

Your pH will drop if you use pressurized C02 in your tank. I can't explain the process, but mywater is over 7 out of the tap and with C02 it's about 6.2-6.4, perfect for angels, apistos and blue rams, etc. I previously mixed tap with RO water, but once I started the C02, that wasn't necessary. My rams are in temps 78-80.

For what it's worth . . .
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Postby hollyfish2000 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:44 am

double post, sorry
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Postby blairo1 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:26 am

The interaction between the sexes in interesting and the girls look as good as the boys (except for the apisto, but even then the girls have their appeal). Now, this is being said by someone with an all male peacock/hap tank, so I see that I'm being inconsistent . . .


I really couldn't agree more.

The problem is in this size tank mixing sexes of various species will result in a dominant pair breeding and making life misery for the others. Personally I'd take hollyfish2000's line of thinking and in a 20 gallon I'd stick to a breeding pair/harem, with some interesting dithers/tank mates.

FYI - be careful if you drop the KH and pH in your tank because the water you add should match it as closely as possible.

The thing is that pH change through carbonic acid (co2's effect) is different to the pH change experienced from introducing an altered KH (and therefore pH). The majority of fish will be fine, however with too big a difference you pose several risks, especially to sensitive species. I've done both - I've had a lower pH through co2 and added tap water that was a little more alkali, never had a problem, BUT, my KH is so low that as soon as I add pH 7 water to acidic tank water it crashes, immediately crashes - my water has almost no buffering capacity and therefore the moment an acid hits it, it becomes acidic - makes my life easy. But I still prefer to match parameters. If I had a stable KH out the tap - ie if the water was better able to absorb an acid without becoming an acid (buffering), then when I added that to the tank it wouldn't crash, it would push my pH up - not good.
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Re: Bolivian rams vs Blue rams???

Postby Mtngoat » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:08 pm

Question: I am new to chiclids and went to purchase a blue ram and came home with a German ram because of a mistake. When I was at the fish store again I realized this and got a blue ram with the intention of returning my German ram. Both are males and I have to admit I fell in love with both. My German boy comes over and hangs out with me! And my blue is beautiful and so fun to watch. It’s only a 45 gallon tank and I have Cory’s which another post above said is a no go for blues? I can’t keep them both can I?
Also is it ok if I post this here? I’m new :)
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Re: Bolivian rams vs Blue rams???

Postby Mr Chromedome » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:58 pm

Would have been better to start your own thread rather than dragging up one that is over 10 years old. You're lucky someone noticed this.

That said, Blue and German are two names for the same species. The most commonly used name these days is German Blue Ram, or GBR for short; scientific name is Mikrogeophagus ramirezi. Your second picture shows one of these. Your first picture shows a Bolivian Ram, a different species (Mikrogeophagus altispinosa) from nearly the opposite end of SA. The Bolivian prefers mid 70s F., while the other prefers temperatures in the low to mid 80s.

It is not recommended to keep the two species together because of the temperature differences. As far as keeping Corys with them, I think that is usually advised against for breeding fish, not so much for individuals.
Happiness may be the door to Heaven, but Pleasure is not the Key. - attributed to Confucius
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