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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been keeping fish as an adult for 15 years now. I periodically try German Blue Rams with varied results. Most of the time they die. Once in a while I get a pair to live to spawn. Here is my question. What happens to these fish - they are born, raised, get shipped, live in the pet store tank, go to my tank and die. They usually die with the rapid breathing thing. They manage to live long enough to make it to the pet store. I assume it is something in the shipping through going into my tank. Is it poor quality stock - if so how did they manage to live long enough to get shipped to the pet store?
 

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The "rapid breathing thing" can often be some illness, or it can be osmotic shock. I wouldn't doubt that transhipped fish can make it to your tank just in time to die... but there may also be something that you are underestimating when you plop them into your tank water.

What is the pH, GH and KH of the stores you shop at compared to your tank and tap water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I bought German Blue Rams and Bolivian Butterfly cichlids from the same pet store on the same day. Acclimated them in the same way into two different tanks that are the same age and setup (small gravel and driftwood) with no other fish in the tanks. Different results - the Bolivians are still alive and kicking.

I suspect it is the double acclimation - the pet store and then a couple of days(??) later into my tank compunded with the way the fish are bred may lead to osmotic shock. But the Bolivians came in on the same shipment and had the same double acclimation over the same number of days.

As for the pH, GH, and KH it has been over too many tanks with too many different water parameters where I used at different times aged tap, rain, RO, pet store bought water, tanks with plants, without plants, old established tanks, young tanks, community tanks, species specific tanks, barebottom, peat in filters, high temps, low temps, etc to hazard a guess about the past.
 

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These fish have a lot of problems adjusting to new tanks....here is the best advice I can give you.

Put the fish in a quaranteen tank with no other agressive fish. Have it warm, I would say 82°F. take a reading from the bag the fish come in and match the QT tank to those conditions (water hardness and pH). Then, over the course of the 4 week QT period, perform regular water changes slowly adjusting the water parameters to those in your permanent home. By doing things slowly, you will reduce the risk of ever shocking the fish.
 

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andrewcook said:
I bought German Blue Rams and Bolivian Butterfly cichlids from the same pet store on the same day. Acclimated them in the same way into two different tanks that are the same age and setup (small gravel and driftwood) with no other fish in the tanks. Different results - the Bolivians are still alive and kicking.
Apples and oranges. The two different rams are completely different when it comes to water perameters. Ramirezi are way more particular about hardness, temperature, nitrate, and so on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I understand it but the point I was trying to illustrate is that the process/technique was the same for both but the results were different.

adam79 said:
andrewcook said:
I bought German Blue Rams and Bolivian Butterfly cichlids from the same pet store on the same day. Acclimated them in the same way into two different tanks that are the same age and setup (small gravel and driftwood) with no other fish in the tanks. Different results - the Bolivians are still alive and kicking.
Apples and oranges. The two different rams are completely different when it comes to water perameters. Ramirezi are way more particular about hardness, temperature, nitrate, and so on.
 

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Are these wild blue rams or are they "farmed" blue rams? I have found that a lot of the "farmed" strains are much less durable, they may have a better tolerance with water chemistry, but, because there is little to no culling done, the weaker fish are brought up to saleable size with the aid of chemicals/meds their entire lives. The end result is that the consumers may not get a real quality fish, even if they have a better color and/or size then the equivalent wild fish.
 

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It seems that the key to your rams' survival lies in your water chemistry/quality. As it was already pointed out, the "rapid breathing thing" can be a sign of mismatched water chemistry, illness, or poor water quality (high nitrates).

Once you notice the fish breathing rapidly, sometimes accompanied by clamped fins, you can try a 50% water change daily for a couple of days. If that clears it up, then you need to address your water quality and look at your filters. This sometimes happens (especially with sensitive fish like rams) with a newly established tank, or when the filter isn't fully cycled.

Before buying any more fish, you really need to know the hardness and PH of your water (at a minimum) and compare that to where the fish are coming from....and note I said where they are coming from, not necessarily the pet store. In my area, most of the rams that are sold in pet stores come from Florida, where the water is relatively soft with a PH of around 7.4. If the fish are shipped to your pet store where they may have significantly different water chemistry, then you buy them and take them home. Even if your water conditions match the stores, it may not be even close to the water the fish are raised in. How do you know where they came from? Ask your pet shop. They will be able to tell you if they came from a local breeder or if they were shipped from out of state or even overseas. If your water conditions are significantly different from the water where the fish were raised, then maybe rams just aren't in the cards for you. My personal experience is that can be very difficult to adjust and maintain water chemistry that is significantly different than what you need.

My personal experience has been that most rams bought at a local fish store (lfs) do not seem to have a good survival rate. This is not a slam at fish stores, just that certain fish, like rams are very sensitive to changes in water chemistry and water conditions. Once adjusted, rams can be a very hardly little fish and breed well in your tanks.

If you are serious about trying to raise/breed rams, I would suggest trying to find a local breeder. Rams are very popular and it shouldn't be too difficult to find a local breeder to buy them from. Then you can also talk to the breeder face-to-face, look at his tanks, and find out in advance what works for him/her.

Good Luck!
 
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