South American Cichlids • Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

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Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:06 am

I have been searching the forums and the internet in general and I am thinking that in a 50-gallon tank with dimensions as above, I could only really have one pair of blue rams. I have finally managed to track some down in a LFS , which from memory were about 1.25-1.75 inches in length (they also had some Bolivian rams of a similar size).

My question regarding the blue rams is, if I want to try to get a pair to breed, should / could I start off with 4 or 5 fish of this size in my tank, and take out unpaired individuals at a later date, or is that just asking for trouble? And really, the same question regarding the Bolivian rams. Whichever species I go for, I am hoping to keep them with maybe 10 cardinal tetras and six sterbai corys.

I was initially going to try a larger Malawi tank (in case anybody is keeping track!) but due to supply issues in my part of the world and the cost of keeping the water temperature down, I've put that idea on ice at the moment.

So to sum up, I really want to know how many of either species I could safely start out with in a 3ft tank and how many I should be aiming to end up with. Any advice gratefully received!
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby mambee » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:56 am

With a 3' tank, you can easily go with 5 rams. Just add lots of driftwood and plants to break up lines of site. Blue rams like their water warm, which also is what cardinals like. Rummynoses would also work well.

The same stocking works for Bolivian rams, but the water doesn't need to be as warm. Also, I would substitute neons instead of cardinals if you go with the Bolivians.
150 Gallon:
Geophagus, Angelfish
90 Gallon:
Bolivian Rams, Rummynoses, Corys, Dwarf Loaches, Neons, Glass Catfish
mambee
 
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2003 9:54 pm
Location: Hartsdale, NY

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:18 pm

Great, thanks very much for your advice, that sounds like a nice number. I'm torn between the two at the moment. The Bolivians are hardier from what I've read but the Blues are prettier, to my eyes. Also, I might find it easier to maintain the right temperature for the Blues during the hot season here.

To be honest, now that I've finally found some nice specimens in a LFS, I want them both. Maybe I need another tank! Only thing that worries me about either of them is how to condition the water before changes so it's as acidic as what's in the tank. I'd like to shoot for 6.5 but my tap water is 7.5 (gH 3-4, kH 4)

Thanks again for your help, it's very much appreciated.
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby mambee » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:47 pm

The blue rams are much prettier, and there are different strains that are very pretty (German blue, gold, etc.) You should add lots of driftwood which should help lower the ph. I'm a big fan of rummynoses because they school and are very active. They are also a good indicator of water quality. The red on their noses disappears when they aren't happy.
150 Gallon:
Geophagus, Angelfish
90 Gallon:
Bolivian Rams, Rummynoses, Corys, Dwarf Loaches, Neons, Glass Catfish
mambee
 
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2003 9:54 pm
Location: Hartsdale, NY

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:45 pm

I do like the look of the rummynoses.

If I use driftwood to lower the pH of the water in the tank, won't it upset the fish when I do water changes and add (treated) tap water that has a higher pH?
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby mambee » Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:49 pm

I think that the effect that the driftwood will have on the pH will be gradual.
150 Gallon:
Geophagus, Angelfish
90 Gallon:
Bolivian Rams, Rummynoses, Corys, Dwarf Loaches, Neons, Glass Catfish
mambee
 
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2003 9:54 pm
Location: Hartsdale, NY

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:11 pm

Yeah, I'm probably overthinking this as usual. They have some nice pieces of driftwood in a local store and I can also use dried Indian almond leaves maybe, as they grow here

I need to wait for my tank to finish cycling before I can get these fish though, so I hope they are still there when I go back to the shop. They only bother getting them a few times a year, so they said anyway. Maybe the demand for them is not big here. The locals seem to prefer enormous fish like Arowana or the balloon rams, which I really don't like.
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:23 pm

I went back to the LFS that had the Rams yesterday, because my tank has just finished cycling and I wanted to check what they had in stock. I was actually only planning on getting some driftwood, plants, lighting and a heater on my rounds yesterday, then coming home, changing out 75% of the water and leaving things to settle for a few days before stocking. However, the state of the tank in which these Rams were being kept led me to a soft-hearted and possibly misguided decision.

There seemed to be so much **** floating around in the tank, the fish looked stressed and I honestly couldn't see them lasting for much longer in those conditions. I had pretty much decided to walk away because I wanted to start with healthy specimens of course but I couldn't leave them like that. I know that some people might say me buying them will only encourage a poor quality LFS to restock and do the same thing again but, well, we all have to live with our own decisions in life and mine was that I wanted to at least give them a chance, and a more natural environment in which to keel over if that was indeed what was going to happen. I was even dubious whether they would last the trip home, especially as they shop owner netted them out of the tank and put them straight into bags of clean water.

Anyway, I got the guy to give me a styrofoam box so the poor things wouldn't get too stressed out on the way back and stopped in another shop to buy all the necessary hardware, along with driftwood, a large Anubias on some bogwood (not strictly in keeping with the South American theme I know) and ten Cardinal tetras. I then went home, performed a large water change to get the nitrates down in my newly cycled tank and waited a short while for the temperature to stabilise. I then introduced the fish after an abbreviated drip acclimatisation. At this point, I thought just getting them into the tank was the best option.

If anybody actually reads this far, I realise I broke pretty much all the rules and it wasn't the careful, methodical approach I had in mind at all but I did the best I could in the circumstances. What surprised me was how quickly the Rams coloured up once in my tank. I'm well aware that there's still a very good chance I won't have any left in a few weeks but the transformation was quite astounding. In the shop, they looked like standard, not too well bred blue Rams, but after an hour in my tank, they looked far closer to reasonable quality German Rams - black v stripe over eyes, two black blotches on sides, black on first three rays of dorsal fin, etcetera. The only thing they are missing, from what I can see, are the iridescent blue spots on the actual fins themselves (the blue on their bodies started to show up nicely) and I don't know if this is due to poor breeding or poor health.

On the plus side, some defecating was seen and what came out was a solid brown in colour; no stringy white faeces that might indicate internal parasites. They became quite feisty after a short while: one pair was side by side, head to tail, with one of them slapping its tail toward the other. Others seemed to be exhibiting preliminary territorial behaviour: soft head butting etc. I've tried to break up the tank with the driftwood but the biggest piece is not fully waterlogged yet so things should improve, aquascaping-wise, once it is. I saw my actions yesterday as a misguided errand of mercy that was doomed to end badly but I'm actually quite hopeful at this stage. Way too early for optimism I'm sure, but I can't help getting attached to these Rams, their behaviour really is fascinating.

EDIT: Forgot to say, there are five of them.
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:32 pm

By this morning, the iridescent blue spots are showing on the fins of three of the fish so it looks like they were just stressed.
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby mambee » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:10 am

Time for some pictures. There is nothing prettier than a tank full of cardinals and rams. Keeping the temperature high will keep both species happy. Also, keep up with the water changes.

What type of filtration are you using? If a canister, I recommend adding an Eheim air diffuser, the best piece of equipment that you can purchase for under $10. It will help to add oxygen to the water.
150 Gallon:
Geophagus, Angelfish
90 Gallon:
Bolivian Rams, Rummynoses, Corys, Dwarf Loaches, Neons, Glass Catfish
mambee
 
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2003 9:54 pm
Location: Hartsdale, NY

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:46 pm

Here's a quick shot I took of two of them yesterday, I'll try to get some better tank shots tomorrow.

Image

Edit: I'm using an overflow sump / trickle filter and an HOB for a bit of extra filtration at the moment.
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:54 pm

mambee wrote:Time for some pictures. There is nothing prettier than a tank full of cardinals and rams. Keeping the temperature high will keep both species happy. Also, keep up with the water changes.

What type of filtration are you using? If a canister, I recommend adding an Eheim air diffuser, the best piece of equipment that you can purchase for under $10. It will help to add oxygen to the water.

I meant to say, it was quite funny (and a little nerve-racking ) when I first put the fish in the tank as I don't think the rams had ever seen a cardinal before. They were edging towards them, noses down a little, in what looked to me like a slightly predatory manner to me but I guess they were just curious as nothing bad happened!
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:36 am

I took some quick snaps this morning. They are only phone pics and the fish wouldn't stay still and pose for me so not very good but I hope they give some idea of what the tank looks like...Apologies for the poor quality and the reflection from lights on the other side of the room (Betta tanks).

Image

Image

Image
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:56 am

Forgot to ask: I am trying to think of one more species to add, possibly, but I really don't know what. I initially planned to have 6 Cory sterbais in the tank but having watched the rams spitting sand out half the day, I think the sterbais would just get in the way and annoy them. In any case, I think 6 more 2-3 inch fishes might be too much for this tank. If you (or anybody else) has got any ideas, I'd love to hear them. I've looked at various other tetras but then I thought another whole school would probably just mix with the cardinals, in which case just adding another 5 or 6 cardinals would be a better idea. On the other hand, something a little different would be nice. Say a species that's around 2 - 3 inches max when fully grown and that doesn't mind hanging out alone or as a pair.

I really like the sterbais but like I say, six of them would be a bit too much and from what I've read they like to be in a group of that size or larger....
eaglesgift
 
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:01 pm
Location: Chiang Mai

Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby mambee » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:40 am

Tank looks great. Rummynoses are an obvious choice. They keep in a tight school as they sweep from one end of the tank to the other. Other choices are lemon, emperor or black phantom tetras.
150 Gallon:
Geophagus, Angelfish
90 Gallon:
Bolivian Rams, Rummynoses, Corys, Dwarf Loaches, Neons, Glass Catfish
mambee
 
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2003 9:54 pm
Location: Hartsdale, NY

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