Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I'm new to the boards (although not new to keeping fish) and am hoping someone can help me out. I'm wanting to start a species tank of Rams... but I want to make sure I'm completely prepared to do so before I get them.

I want to try my hand at doing a softer water tank as I have heard the goldens and GBRs like. Eventually I want to start a discus tank but I want to try rams first... and learn how to handle the water sensitivity issues.

My water here is very hard and has a high pH (8.4). My mbunas do great in it but I know it is not suitable for the more sensitive rams (and later discus in a different tank).

So - here's the question(s):
How should I lower the pH of my water and soften it (easiest way possible - I've heard of RO water, rain water, water changes, filtering pillows, filtering with peat, using driftwood, etc.) But what works best/easiest for you and how exactly do I do it?

Next - I have a 37 gallon tank, what would be adequate stocking? They do best in pairs, right? I don't want to overstock as I hear they are very sensitive to nitrates.

How often should I change the water?

What temperature worked best for the more sensitive rams (GBRs and Goldens)?

Thanks In Advance for any help. There aren't any LFS in my area that stock these so I'm not sure anyone there would be knowledgeable as how best to keep them.

(P.S. - I do plan on finding out the breeder's water conditions before I buy them and trying to match it best I can to prevent shock... Just need to figure out how to do it, hence all the questions). Thanks again! :fish:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,805 Posts
Guys I can't believe I'm the first to respond to this post. C'mon a female in the hobby, and not one of you have responded. It must be like a year 8 dance with all the girls on side of the room wondering if their lipstick is on too thick and all the boys on the other side of the room adjusting the socks in their jocks.

fishychik said:
(P.S. - I do plan on finding out the breeder's water conditions before I buy them and trying to match it best I can to prevent shock... Just need to figure out how to do it, hence all the questions).
G'day fishychik,

If you're buying from a breeder I suggest having a good long talk to him about all the questions you have just asked. I much prefer to talk to people face to face, particularly if it's in their fishroom.

A good place to start research via the interweb is Dwarfcichlid.com. I'm not sure if you have found a local breeder yet, if you haven't a good place to start your search might be the American Cichlid Association.

As for softening water, another good place for information is this forums Library section, there are a couple of good articles in the Cichlid Chemistry section on Practical Water Chemistry.

I use carbon filtered rain water to dilute my tap water, I add peat and sphagnum moss to my water storage barrell to acidify the water and lower the PH. I also add a ketapang leaf to each tank at every water change. In some of my tanks I am using almost 100% rain water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
:: giggles :: :lol: your silly!

Thank you very much for the articles and input. I'll definetely check them out. It's going to be quite a challenge to get my water down to where it needs to be... but I think I'm up for it.

I am still looking into breeders and hope that they'll be able to point me in the right direction!

How many Rams would you keep in a 37 gallon? I know the "one inch of fish per gallon" does not apply well to cichlids so I'm trying to decide how many to put in there.

Hmmmmmm...

I'm excited to see how this project turns out. I think it's gonna be a great tank! Thank you again! :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,805 Posts
Silly is good. To many people spend all their time being too serious. Like me in real life.

What is the footprint of your tank? I'd start with a group of 6 juveniles and grow them up untill a proper pair forms, and then just keep the pair. You can learn a lot by going slow, instead of rushing in to a lot of things.

I still can't believe no one else has responded. They must be all partying with their fish as it's the weekend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
my blue rams like 84 degrees F. My ph is 7.6. i don't buffer. GH=160 Kh = 60. I change 75% water weekly to keep nitrates under 20.

good luck - enjoy the rams
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Good Afternoon,

I have been breeding Rams for quite a while (Golds, Electric Blues and German Blues), and I'm always happy to offer advice to a (future) fellow breeder. Any advice I give you is what has worked successfully for me. Just as there are many different breeders out there, there are also many different ways to accomplish the same goal. I'm sure there are many other more experienced breeders out there who have different ways of doing things that have also worked for them. I'll try to answer your questions in order:

1) Because I live in the Chicago area, I'm blessed with relatively soft water (7gh) and a stable Ph 0f 7.4. I do nothing to my tap water except add "Prime" at water change time, so I'm not going to be able to help much in the water chemistry department.

2) How you set up your tanks, and whether you intend on having the parents raise the fry, or plan on doing it yourself will ultimately determine how many pairs you can have in the tank. If your tank is set up as a "bare bottom" tank with just a few plants or rocks, you will probably be limited to two pairs max. Otherwise, they will spend most of their time bickering with each other and not "getting down to business." If you have a heavily planted tank with rocks and other decorations to break up the line of sight, you might get away with three pairs depending on the footprint of your tank.

Rams will begin spawning when they are around 3 1/2 to 4 months old. By the time you can accurately sex them, they are getting pretty close to spawning age. When trying to set up get a pair for the first time, the easiest way I found is to put eight or so rams in a bare tank (20 gallon minimum) with two spawning sites (the small flower pot saucers available at Hobby Lobby work great). Place the saucers upside down at opposite ends of the tank and continue feeding and conditioning with frozen brine shrimp, blood worms, and pellets. Within a very short time (days usually) they will begin to form up pairs and start defending their spawning sites. When you see the pairs form (and it will be obvious) you can remove them and put them in the spawning tank. If tank space is a concern, you could also put all of them in your 37 gallon tank and remove the ones that don't pair up immediately.

3) I perform a 50% water change at least once a week on my spawning tanks and 70% water changes on my fry/grow-out tanks every other day to encourage good growth and keep the nitrates down.

4) Rams seem to do best in water that's between 80 -84 degrees. Remember, at higher temps, water holds less oxygen, so good circulation is a must. (Most of my tanks are at 80%).

And as someone else said, always try to find a local breeder. Most fish shops that sell rams get them from Florida. Their water is significantly different than yours and they may not acclimate well.

Good Luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you so much, you guys, for all the input. It's nice to hear from people who successfully keep them. I intend on planting the tank and adding driftwood so I think I'm going to do 3 pairs. I'm going to get a more accurate water test kit so I can keep a good eye on my water quality. Right now, I'm just battling how to successfully and efficiently keep the water at the lower pH and hardness. Like I said, pH is about 8.4 right now and GH is about 140, 150. So - I just need to figure out the best way to do that. The rest will come! :) Thanks again everyone! Any more tips/advice are always welcome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Hey, I'm a new GBR keeper myself!

The only advice I could give on the pH, would be to get something from the store, that buffers it, and makes it really soft. You can find these at Petsmart, Petco, Walmart, or your LFS. My water where I live is actually perfect already!! So, I don't tamper with it much.

About stocking, since I am new to this, I will tell you what I know from my experience. For my tank, I originally bought 2 Angels, and 1 GBR. The tank was cycled with platies and some corys were in there already. About 2 weeks later, I bought another GBR for the tank. Here's how my older GBR reacted with each of the other fish:
-Angels: It was actually most friendly towards my 2 Angels! He actually likes to swim up near the top, like he is one of my Angels haha
-Corys: It was a little more mean to the Corys during food time. If they came near it's zone, it would chase it off
-Platies: It was actually even a little more aggressive towards the platies. Randomly, it would snap, and chase the platies for a little bit, then give up.
-New GBR: When I put the new GBR in the tank, the old one made sure to let the new one know who ruled the tank. It bullies it a lot, and chases it until the new one hides for good.

You're probably wondering why I am sharing this with you? Well, you may want to consider getting a type of schooling fish that can take a little aggression from it. If you just have a GBR species tank, I personally think that they would eventually kill each other. So possibly keep a variety of fish in mind?

And like WaterRat said, 50% a week would be good for Rams!

My GBR seems to do really well at 80 for some reason? 82, and it likes to go to the bottom. 78 and it is near the top. But I have a weird fish, so who knows?

Oh well, now you have heard advice from a new Ram keeper as well as some old experienced ones! I hope I helped a little! :dancing:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I appreciate any one's opinion! new to this or not! Every little bit helps. :wink:

The more reading I do the more I am thinking that I would like to keep a school of fish with perhaps just a pair of Rams.

Ideas/Suggestions on schooling fish that would hold up with them? What might you suggest for bottom feeders in the tank? Thanks everyone! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Ya, little gold Ram got it spot on :) cories are great!

Most tetras are gonna do good with your Rams.
if I had your tank here's what i'd put:
- 9 Flame Tetras (it would bring out the red and orange hues in your Rams, and they can withstand the wrath of your Breeding Rams)
-6 Emarld Cories (those would bring out the blue and green hues and clean pretty well)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
=D> weeee! thanks guys! this is so much fun! I love setting up new tanks! LoL

Sitting at home watching my fish is like goin to the movies... for fish dorks! (I say that lovingly). hehehe...

So many ideas to play with. Got the driftwood and plants in there today... we'll see how this plays out! ;) Thanks again everyone!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
697 Posts
If you are wanting corydoras in your ram tank, go with C. sterbai. Most all corys prefer cooler water, where rams prefer warmer water. Like already mentioned, 80 should be the minimum and temps somewhere in the mid-80's are ideal. Sterbai are a warm water cory and aren't too hard to find. There are a few others that could work, but are less common. Refer to http://www.planetcatfish.com for info on any catfish species you may be considering. I recommend choosing any other tankmates with the same concern for temperature.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
178 Posts
scarhbar said:
Ya, little gold Ram got it spot on :) cories are great!

Most tetras are gonna do good with your Rams.
if I had your tank here's what i'd put:
- 9 Flame Tetras (it would bring out the red and orange hues in your Rams, and they can withstand the wrath of your Breeding Rams)
-6 Emarld Cories (those would bring out the blue and green hues and clean pretty well)
Why thank you :)

And if you can find blackwater extract it will help bring out the colors of your rams. I have an electric blue and 2 gold balloon rams and they are so beautiful when they color up. A colorful ram is a happy ram I always say :)
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top