South American Cichlids • Help! Rams keep dying

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Help! Rams keep dying

Postby undefined777 » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:30 pm

Hey I have a new 28 gallon aqua euro tank that I have heavily planted with a DIY CO2 system . The tank has been up for 3 weeks and I used bio spira to start the tank cycling. The tank has 5 cardinal tetras, and a flower shrimp that are doing fine.

The Nitrites= 0, NH3=0, Nitrates= 40 ppm, Ph- 6.8. The tank was set up with RO water, with RO rite added plus Tetra blackwater extract.

I put in three german blue rams and overnight two of them dyed. This is the second time this has happened. I really need to know what is killing them. maybe the nitrate level is too high compared to the LFS water. I don't know. Any help would be appreciated.
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Postby dwarfpike » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:38 pm

Two things come to mind. One is the nitrates. Ouch. Blue rams are very sensitive to nitrates, so you will deffinately want to bring that down. Second is that a lot of blue rams are asian pond bred and imported, and aren't the healthiest stock when they first come in. Sometimes it is hard to find healthy blue rams in LFS.

Also, since it's a planted tank, what's the temp at? Rams are much more sensitive when the tank water is too low, and most plants don't like the heat the rams require.
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Postby undefined777 » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:09 pm

Temp is at 82 degrees.

I was shocked at the nitrate levels, they hadn't been that high. I have one more ram left alive. I am going to do a 1/3 water change, even though I just changed the water yesterday. Still, I thought that nitrates weren't nearly as deadly as ammonia and nitrites.

These fish looked pretty healthy when I got em. This is my first try with SA dwarf cichlids, but I am very interesting in keeping them, and hopefully in the future some Apistos

Are water changes the best way to deal with the nitrate levels?
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Postby ladybugzcrunch » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:22 pm

Yes. Rams are super sensitive and dwarf is right, they do not come healthy in my experience either. I recently purchased a pair and the female developed hole in the head then popeye, she died from these illnesses. My water is perfect, nitrates are below 10. Shortly after the female died, the male just up and died for no reason. Was fine one day then gone the next. Not a clue why either. I have been trying to get another pair ever since but the LFS keeps getting in sick batches of blue rams and I pass. Don't give up on them though, they are such a lovely fish.
Too many tanks!
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Postby aspen » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:02 am

i would leave well enough alone. let the fish acclimate to your water conditions. it is very doubtful that the lfs's water was anywhere near what yours is. ime rams are very sensitive to changes in water conditions. let your last fish try and get used to the tank water.

double check your nitrite test. it seems very unlikely that your nitrate would be so high in a tank set up 3 weeks ago. if there is any nitrite your nitrate test kit will show very high incorrect levels. rams are very sensitive to water problems.

next time you try new fish you NEED a quarentine tank to gradually get the new fish accustomed to the water parms in your planted tank before you add them.

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Postby mithesaint » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:47 am

I've always had pretty decent luck with locally bred rams and have only added them to well established tanks. Might try looking for a local breeder and giving your tank a few more weeks to get stable parameters.

Why the RO water? What's the water like coming out of your tap? I have fairly hard water here, and the rams have done fine in that. I don't add anything to the water other than a few oak leaves, and they grow and breed, etc.
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Postby hollyfish2000 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:22 am

Locally bred rams, very, very clean water (low nitrates) and a long acclimation are a good start. After that, sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't IME.
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Postby mlancaster » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:06 pm

As others have mentioned Rams are very sensitive to changes in water parameters. If/when you get more make sure you acclimate them to your water very slowly over a long period of time.

I had to do an emergency move of my male german ram and in my haste did not acclimate him slowly enough. The new tanks pararmiters were fine, just had a lower PH due to a piece of drift wood in the tank. I though if anything he would be happier with the lower PH and drift wood but I think the sudden change in PH put him into a shork he could not recover from. This was also the healthiest and spunkiest Ram (german or bolvian) that i have had which further testifies to their sensitivity to changes in water paramaters.

Keep trying, they are great little fish. SOunds like you have a cool planted tank, any pics?

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Postby naegling23 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:45 pm

rams are sensitive the nitratres, they need to be as low as possible, 40 is way too high. For example, nitrates show up as undetectable in my tank (my 4 rams are pushing 2 years old at this point).

Also, they like very soft water, but what is your TDS/ppm? I try and keep my tank around 50, I'm scared to go lower, since this would cause wild pH swings, and I'm not sure at what point the water becomes unlivable (they need some level of dissolved salts). I would recommend starting with RO water, then bringing your hardness up using AGED tap water.

As for them being delicate, yes. I have four healthy rams, but I had two that just never adjusted to the tank conditions. For some reason, you can have all of the parameters perfect, but some of them just wont survive. Once they live for a month or so, you should be in the clear long term as long as your tank conditions stay relatively stable.

Keep with it, imho they are one of the most colorful, and interesting dwarfs, and their size allows you to keep a few more in the tank than you could get away with in larger cichlids giving you some really neat interactions!
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Re: Help! Rams keep dying

Postby Janus_dviveidis » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:24 pm

I am with people who speak for locally bred fish. Fish from Asia die most of the time, it doesn't matter what kind of water you have. Once I waited for 4 month until local fish store finally got locally bred Rams. They lived in the same tank that imported fish was dying in few days.
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Re: Help! Rams keep dying

Postby CeeJay » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:55 am

Here's my take,

Since they died over night it has to be a difference between your water and the place you buy them from. When I buy most of the fish are coming from hard water I bring them home and put them in hard water but then over three weeks I bring them down in ph and softness. It's very hard on fish when the change in ph is more then 1 or 8.0 to 7.0. I take it you don't use a quarantine tank. For me this one the secrets to keeping fish once you have healthy fish in your tank you don't want to expose them to the new fish until your sure there healthy.

Do you know the water specs of the shop you bought them from?
How did you acclimate them?
What is your water hardness? It needs to be measured with RO water to see when the membrane needs replaces.

Best of luck
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