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Bolivian rams vs Blue rams???

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:08 pm
by Hubbynz
Ok I am thinking of getting a pair of blue rams but I am not 100% sure of the difference between them and Bolivians. It seems that Bolivians are alot more popular on this site....

this is what I have gathered so far.....

Blue rams are more colourful, prefer warmer water and are smaller and more fragile???

Are there anymore major differences? Could some please give me a basic overview???

I prefer the colours of a Blue Ram to be honest.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:07 am
by blairo1
In short:

Blue Rams:
Intense colour (if kept well).
Poor parents.
Not the most intelligent of fish.
Very comical.

Bolivian Rams:
Subtle but beautiful colours (if kept well).
Good parents.
Higher level of intelligence and sociable interaction (particularly with their owner).
Less comical, more, cute.

Both fish are easy to keep and breed, the only difficulty is in finding good stock to start with.

Blue Rams like it considerably warmer and therefore to get the most out of them it is better to keep them at this warmer temp (30C for me) - which is limiting other species that can be kept with them. To keep other species with them you compromise on behalf of the Blue Rams and although they will still breed etc the colours and fry development just isn't as significant. I prefer to keep Blue Rams to species only tank in which I can provide the ideal parameters, I just don't feel that they fit well into the average community unless it is built around them, but they CAN adapt.

Basically if you don't have anything too aggressive and your fish can tolerate 28C temps, and you don't mind compromising, then Blues can work in your tank, so go with what you prefer.

Bolivians fit easily into most community settings and their parameter requirements are much more forgiving for community/general tank mates etc. They are somewhat more boisterous and can therefore tolerate pushier tankmates than the Blues. If you have fish that could pose problems (keyholes, other bolivians, apistos etc) then really you're better of with Bolivian rams as they can tolerate this and still thrive. Plus you may have fish that can't tolerate temps much over 26-27C.





PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:57 am
by Hubbynz

Thanks for all the detail Blair it has defiantely got me thinking :-?

I was going to setup a 66litre (almost 20 gallon) tank to be stocked with a pair of blue rams and a keyhole, tetras and corys.......

Maybee I should go for a pair of bolivains instead and a keyhole....or perhaps two keyholes and one bolivain.

I still would definately prefer blue rams but they sound alot more challenging to keep.....I don't know what to choose now :-?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:36 am
by Dutch Dude
Bolivians are les colorful but definitely a hardier specie. Bolivians do best in small groups just like their big relatives Geophagus. The tank is to small to keep a small group of Bolivians and there is only room for a pair. If you are new to the hobby or new to SA cichlids I suggest to go with the Bolivians. If you are a bit more experienced and willing to do 2 to 3 times a week a 50% water change I suggest the stronger colored GBR. If you want to raise some fry (for fun) I suggest the Bolivians again. Be aware that your tank is quit small and it is easely overstocked.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:46 am
by hollyfish2000
A 20 gallon is quite small. I personally wouldn't do more than a pair of blue rams (which I prefer to Bolivians) a small school of tetras (maybe 6-7) and a small group of small cories, say 3 or so. While most folks seem to prefer the Bolivians, I didn't have a great experience with them. I found them, frankly, a bit obnoxious, and I'm much happier with my laid back blue rams. Both types were attractive, though, IMHO.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:53 am
by Dutch Dude
Lets through in an other dwarf specie that is colorful, abouth Apistogramma? Some domesticated species like A. agassizi, A. hongsloi II, A. cacatuoides and A. borellii (Opal) are not that difficult to keep and are very nice colored. They come in a small package as well and be fine with small tetras. They prefer densely planted tanks with some caves. Be aware that most specie do fine in a small tank but species like A. pandura are more territorial and need a large tank. Wild specimen are delicate so I suggest the domesticated mentioned species.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:56 am
by NYjets51
I hate to kind of steal Hubbynz thread, but what pH can blue rams be kept at?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:28 am
by blairo1

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:49 am
by NYjets51
Yes I know it says <6, but can they be kept at anything higher? Like how some people keep angels at 7.8 even though it says <7

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:03 pm
by blairo1
You can keep them up to a pH of 7.6 ish but I wouldn't push it higher. There are people who do keep them in a higher pH, but I usually hear of more problems occurring when they're kept in the 7.5+ range. Plus I found their colours to be washed out and they got stress markings with ease.

When I kept them in pH 5.5 they were so vibrant it's unreal. Really worth providing them with the right environment, if you think they're nice in general water wait until you give them ideal conditions.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:41 pm
by dwarfpike
If you would be happy with a tank just containing the blue rams and either cardinal tetras or rummynose tetras, and nothing else (no cories, ect) ... then it sounds like you'd enjoy the blues more. The reason I only recommend those two tetras, is besides them and discus, nothing else really enjoys the hotter water blue rams need to thrive.

If you find that too limiting, I'd go bolivians which open up the types of tankmates you can have with them.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:24 pm
by NYjets51
Blairo, how is it even possible to get the waters pH level down to 5.5?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:51 pm
by blairo1
With a ridiculously low KH and driftwood!

My pH can hit 5 really easily left to it's own devices - I actually have to buffer my KH to maintain a neutral pH.

Other options are to use Peat in your filters as this softens it, reducing the KH and therefore dropping the pH. However with this you also need to make sure that you have a nice big container with peat in, to ready water for your water changes.

OR, you can use a Reverse Osmosis kit and then buffer the water UP to the desired pH etc.


PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:33 pm
by carpio77b
My blues are thriving nicely at 79 deg. F w/ 6.2 pH. I do water changes every two weeks and use peat moss in the filter. The tank is heavily planted. Here is a list of other fish in the tank that are having no problems with the conditions:

male betta
bamboo shrimp
african frog
white cloud tetra
rummynose tetra
dwarf honey gourami
(3) kinds of cories
hillman loach

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:38 pm
by Hubbynz
Ok what if I want for

1x Apistogramma Cacatuoides Double Red German
1x Keyhole
1x Bolivain ram

all in a 20gall?

No pairs so pressumably limited aggression?