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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I admit I am not very active on this forum, so a quick introduction: I have been keeping fish for around 30 years, and in that time, have had just about everything at one time or another, including most cichlids. The only thing I have not kept are the larger, aggressive fish such as Oscars, severums, etc. My favorite aspect of the hobby is densely planted tanks and smaller fish, so for the most part I keep smaller tanks.

That will change this summer because I got a sweet deal on a unique 150g tank- the dimensions are 60" wide x 18" tall by *30"* deep (front to back). So much room for scaping! I will be planting it heavily, and filtering it with a 90g sump.

I have always wanted to have a large group of fish that would normally be too much for my usual tanks: my current thinking is 12-15 Bolivian Rams.

Has anyone here kept a group that large? They will be the stars of the tank- the only other stocking will be clean up crew (amanos, nerites, otos) and some corys. Maybe some larger tetras if everything stays balanced. The Bolivians will be the top priority, though.

Open to any and all feedback! Thanks!
 

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I have not, and I haven't even seen anyone else have that many Bolivian rams in one tank. I think it should work, however, and will be cool.
 

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The only advice I can offer is something you probably already know having kept cichlids in the past... Aim for 3:1 or 4:1 female to male ratio.

I have Apistos & Checkerboards in a 75g together. 4f:1m on the Apistos and 3f:1m on the Checkerboards and so far no aggression issues. You obviously have a MUCH larger footprint so each male can "have his own space" and it should work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks! Yes, I am aware of that- from what I understand, the Bolivians are harder to sex. I have a good relationship with my LFS- I am hoping they will let me purchase 12-15 and make some adjustments after observing them. I play to keep them in a bare tank for several weeks so that I can (hopefully) sex them and get the right ratio.
 

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Why not do blue rams instead? There are so many beautiful strains that would look amazing. All you would have to do is crank up the heat a bit. You could also add schools of cardinals and rummynoses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
mambee said:
Why not do blue rams instead? There are so many beautiful strains that would look amazing. All you would have to do is crank up the heat a bit. You could also add schools of cardinals and rummynoses.
Thanks for asking- a couple of reasons: I have had blue/gold/german rams before. I love them, of course, but I do find they are more sensitive than your typical fish, and in a tank this size, I not only want something a little hardier, but larger so that they don't get lost. I am also a sucker for the underdog, and Bolivians never seem to get the love.
 

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I've kept Bolivians in the past. They have a lot of bluster in a small package.
 

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I like your idea for the big plant tank. I'm all ready there got 120 gallon full of plant and fish, I put 5 Bolivian Ram in with over 70 fish and with in 2 months there only pair left. The other just faded away. My male just passed away about month ago. I love them because I never had to raise my temp like you would for the blue/gold rams which would need temps in the 80 degree range. My cory's love cooler water. I kept there temp around 74 degrees. I would also recommend keyhole cichlid they don't get to big either and shouldn't bother your other fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the reply!

I know someone who has a beautiful biotope tank for his keyhole cichlids- it is gorgeous!

The tank is moved into the house- next step, ensuring all the connections and setting up the sump.
 

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Be great to see some pics when you've got it set up. I was thinking of trying Bolivian rams next. I found 5 Blue rams locally, 4 of which lasted around 2 years, and kept them with around 10 cardinal tetras. However, I have since discovered that most of the Blue rams available here are of a very poor quality - I bought 2 that looked way too colourful for their size/age and they died within a fortnight - so I am thinking I might have more luck and less heartache with Bolivians. Good luck with yours - I am guessing you may already have them by now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Not yet! Had a change of plans with the tank- exchanged the 150 for a 135 (6 x 2, 18" high), and I am not ready to set up yet. If everything goes well, should happen before fall (depending on some job-related things).

I recently came across some Bandit cichlids, which were new to me, and a friend just recently raised a big batch of apisto. panduro, which would make an interesting choice, since my tank would be large enough to house a good amount of them...

Right now I am still leaning towards the Bolivians, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi everyone! I hope you don't mind me resurrecting this thread.

The tank is now planted and running. I switched from the 150 to a 135 "long" (72 x 24 x 18 high).

My plan for now is still to have the tank focused on a group of Bolivians- I am thinking 9.

As you can see, they will have lots of room to swim, open sand area for grazing, and lots of nooks and crannies for hiding/territory.

Here is a new questions while the tank is cycling:

I currently have 2 trips of Apistogramma "panduro" (in two different tanks) that I really enjoy. Part of the big-tank spousal agreement is that it will be the only tank in the house- so the other two have to go.

Do you think I could hold onto at least one of the panduro trios, along with the Bolivians?
 

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geektom said:
My plan for now is still to have the tank focused on a group of Bolivians- I am thinking 9.

I currently have 2 trips of Apistogramma "panduro" (in two different tanks) that I really enjoy. Part of the big-tank spousal agreement is that it will be the only tank in the house- so the other two have to go.

Do you think I could hold onto at least one of the panduro trios, along with the Bolivians?
While researching my 75g setup I noted that Apisto's prefer mid-high 70 deg water and most Ram species want mid 80 temps. I chose checkerboard cichlids, panda corries, and pencilfish as tank-mates based on water temperature. Most setups I saw would pair cardinal / neon tetras with Rams due to the higher water temps.

I say this all the time, fish don't read books so real life experiences will vary.
 
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