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

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

Postby eaglesgift » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:20 am

Thank you. The water has gone a nice tea colour from the driftwood and I'm quite happy with the tank so far. I'm going to add some smooth large pebbles soon and a few water lettuce, and some Indian almond leaves then I think I'm about done as far as 'aquascaping' goes. Water quality seems to be stable - no ammonia or nitrites as of today and 12.5 mg/l nitrates. I'd probably prefer to keep nitrates a bit lower than that but I want to hold off a couple of days on a water change as the Rams still seem to get stressed very easily when I move anything around, turn the lights on etcetera. Hopefully they'll settle soon.

They're all eating but I'm not keen on the food I've got for them (and they don't seem overjoyed with it) - getting some New Life Spectrum cichlid pellets for the Rams and NLS small fish formula for the tetras. They seem to get good reviews.

I'm going to have a look at the tetras they've got in stock locally tomorrow. They had some nice rummynoses last time I was there. I've seen black phantom tetras in the local shops as well but not sure about the other two. If they still have the rummynoses I might go with your original suggestion.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:38 am

I've decided to go with the black phantom tetras but I might wait a while. I did a fishless cycle so really it makes sense to add them right now but these rams seem to get stressed very easily so I'm not sure what to do. Just putting my hand in the tank and moving the driftwood around a little has them losing colour and getting those black bars on their body, obvious signs of stress I think. I've not kept them before so I don't know if it's normal for them to get so stressed over every little thing or if they will be better after they have had some time to get used to their new surroundings. I'm hoping it's just a temporary issue otherwise water changes aren't going to be much fun! On the subject of water changes, I'm thinking 30% a week or maybe 2 x 20%?

Off to get the stones / pebbles and water lettuce today. The food's being mailed today and my Indian Almond leaves were sent yesterday. I can actually collect the leaves locally but for the first lot I wanted a supply that was already nicely dried. I have Bettas too so need a steady supply.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby mambee » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:23 am

Go slow on the stocking levels since it is a new tank. You can never do enough water changes.

See if you can add some tall plants and rocks to break up the sight lines of the rams so they will tolerate each other.

I'm surprised that the rams are so skittish, especially since you already have some dither fish (cardinals) in the tank.
150 Gallon:
Geophagus, Angelfish
90 Gallon:
Bolivian Rams, Rummynoses, Corys, Dwarf Loaches, Neons, Glass Catfish
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Location: Hartsdale, NY

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

Postby eaglesgift » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:06 pm

They're not skittish when I keep my hands out of the water - it's just if I move any of the wood or put my hand in the tank to do anything basically, they get really stressed. Ideally, I would have set it up how I wanted it before stocking but it didn't happen that way (Some of the driftwood is still not fully waterlogged hence I am slowly manoeuvring it into position). The driftwood and plants break up the sight quite well but I am keeping an eye out for some tall plants too. I'd like to get some Vallisneria if I can, it looks like it would do the job and look nice as well.

Thanks again for your advice so far, I will do a water change tomorrow and hope the rams learn to deal with a little interference every now and then.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:53 pm

They've paired off into two pairs, with the weakest looking one left alone. Im not quite sure what to do with him (?) as two of them are spawning as I type, and things might get a little tough for him if he's caught between two breeding pairs in a tank of this size. Nowhere suitable to move the odd one out and taking him back to the LFS would be as good as killing him myself. He's hiding in the roots of the Pistia and among the Anubias most of the time but he's not really being bothered when he's out in the open at the moment.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Fri Jun 12, 2015 6:51 am

Hmm, I think they've eaten the eggs already as they've abandoned the spawning site so no surprises there. Not much chance of anything surviving with the cardinals buzzing around the area all the time anyway. If they continue to look healthy I think I might try to get a 20-gallon breeding tank ready for the next attempt. Only trouble is, they laid on the substrate rather than on a rock so I would find it difficult to move the eggs if they do that again.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby mambee » Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:12 am

Add a smooth rock to the tank and they will probably use it next time.
150 Gallon:
Geophagus, Angelfish
90 Gallon:
Bolivian Rams, Rummynoses, Corys, Dwarf Loaches, Neons, Glass Catfish
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Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2003 9:54 pm
Location: Hartsdale, NY

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

Postby eaglesgift » Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:58 pm

I added some large river pebbles - the best I could find at short notice. They still seem to be "in heat" if that's the right term to use, i.e. I can see their breeding equipment. Feeding is my main problem at the moment. They don't seem to like the pellets I have very much and anything I do try to feed them, the cardinals take most of before it hits the substrate. I have ten very fat cardinal tetras at the moment. The rams don't actually look undernourished so I guess they are getting what they need, a bit early to tell though. Whatever I try they always seem to chew it and spit it out a number of times so I am not really sure how much, if any, they are eating.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:12 am

eaglesgift wrote:They've paired off into two pairs, with the weakest looking one left alone. Im not quite sure what to do with him (?) as two of them are spawning as I type, and things might get a little tough for him if he's caught between two breeding pairs in a tank of this size. Nowhere suitable to move the odd one out and taking him back to the LFS would be as good as killing him myself. He's hiding in the roots of the Pistia and among the Anubias most of the time but he's not really being bothered when he's out in the open at the moment.
Well, he didn't last unfortunately. I should possibly have made more effort to remove him from the tank but he was still pretty lively a few days ago and catching him would have involved taking out all the driftwood, plants etcetera and stressing all the others out. He looked odd when I first got him, not properly formed in some way, so I'm not surprised that he didn't last. He had started to look a little more lively at one point though, so I was still holding out a little hope that my original diagnosis was wrong. At this point, I am hoping it was simply that he was weak from the very beginning and not the start of something worse.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:07 am

The remaining 4 seem to be doing well. Eating well, normally showing good colour and not quite as skittish. Showed a little interest in the siphon today rather than hiding behind the driftwood and turning dark. I finally got some mosquito larvae in a couple of the buckets I have outside and both they and the cardinals loved those. I swear some of the cardinals are almost twice the size they were when I got them three weeks ago, impossible as that may seem.

I read an odd comment on another site about not feeding Blue Rams mosquito larvae because Rams aren't surface feeders but the larvae tend to dive to the bottom when you first put them in a tank so I'm not sure what that person was talking about. That's the downside of the Internet: there's so much excellent information at your fingertips nowadays but also a mass of misinformation that is repeated ad nauseum and ends up being taken as gospel in the end.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:15 am

Two things I forgot to mention: Firstly, the pair that spawned and presumably ate the eggs don't seem to be a pair now, or not noticeably so in any case. I don't know if that's normal - I thought they generally stayed in pairs once they bonded. Secondly, they really don't like the NLS Cichlid Formula 1mm sinking pellets; they just spit them out repeatedly. They do eat the same size Thera+A Regular Formula pellets though and I think eat the small fish formula too - difficult to tell with the cardinals whizzing around trying to eat everything in sight. The Rams are much more aggressive at feeding time now. I don't mean they are attacking each other and the cardinals, just that they position themselves near the top and lunge at the food, rather than waiting around at the bottom to see if anything gets through, which is what they used to do.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby eaglesgift » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:12 am

I haven't been on here for ages and as there wasn't much interest in this thread I didn't bother with more updates but I thought I might as well conclude the story now. The last of my rams died about a year ago, so they lasted around 2 years at the most. I replaced a few of the cardinal tetras that died (think it was 4) quite some time ago but now I only have two of those left. I must admit my water change regime has sadly deteriorated now that I only have two small fish left in a 3ft tank but I am addressing that situation now and they seem to be quite healthy.

I have 4 or so black snails in there too (ones that don't breed in freshwater environments) but the 7 amano shrimp that used to live inside one of the hollowed out pieces of drinftwood died of old age quite some time ago. They were all quite big when I acquired them, as I didn't want to risk putting small ones in with the rams, so I didn't expect them to last for much longer than they did.

My plant growing efforts never really took off: I do use CO2 but I am quite bad at remembering to put in fertiliser on a regular basis. The only thing that grew really well was the floating plant that was included in the bag of shrimp I bought - that pretty much filled the whole tank at one point, but I don't think my lights are quite strong enough for some of the more challenging plants that I tried.

Anyway, it's a little depressing now to have a 3ft tank with 2 cardinal tetras and 4 snails in it. I will have to think about 'rebooting' it when I come back from my visit to the UK in a couple of weeks' time, possibly with Bolivian rams this time as it's difficult for me to source good quality Blue rams in Northern Thailand.
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Re: Rams Stocking Question for 36 x 18 x 18 tank

Postby Briansfish » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:15 pm

I was hoping to find another hobbyist doing German Blue Rams. Thank you for all this great information. I'll be following along.
Brian
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