|How to Successfully Keep Your New Rams Aqualand’s inside info on Microgeophagus ramirezi|
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1.7-inch wild-caught Bolivian ram at 75 degrees.
Origin. Most rams come from Oriental fish farms. We occasionally see a “German” strain that looks pretty good. We also see a Bolivian Ram probably captured from the wild that comes in larger and looks different. And, of course, you’ve all seen the gold version -- not really an improvement. By the way, some of us call Rams Microgeophagus these days, not Apistogramma.
Appeal. Adult Rams look great. They’re colorful. Their small size also makes them mixable with other community fishes. They cost a little more than most small fish but aren’t outrageously priced.
Size. Mature Rams top out around two inches. Most sell at about 1 to 1.5 inches. Larger ones look better.
Space. Give your rams as much room as possible. You can squeeze rams into a 5.5 gallon tank. They’re just easier to keep in larger aquaria.
Spawning Tip. If you intend to spawn your Rams, your chances (and theirs) go way up when you put several in a larger tank. Provide small caves in each corner of your aquarium.
Water. Yes, you can keep your Rams healthy in our “moderately hard” pH 7.5 Des Moines water. However, if you decide to breed them, you may need to lower your hardness and pH level. Don’t do this unless absolutely necessary and do it gradually. Very soft water usually cannot maintain a stable pH. Mix in de-ionized or reverse osmosis water to lower the amount of dissolved solids in your water.
Additives. You’ll also increase your spawning chances if you use Tetra’s Blackwater Tonic. Mardel (now discontinued) and SeaChem make very similar products that do the same job. Older books refer to peat extract, but peat is very old hat and hard to work with. Actually, the betta keepers’ Indian almond leaf would very likely work better.
Hormones. Many Rams arrive in the fish store pre-juiced with hormones (probably testosterone). The hormones bring out their adult colors. Some people feel these juiced specimens experience spawning difficulties.
Tank Mates. Neons and other tetras make good tank mates except at breeding time. Tetras move fast enough to snag the Ram fry from their protective parents. Guppies make better tank mates in a breeding tank. Guppy fry also help condition the Rams.
Disease. You’ll rarely see “ich” on a Ram, since you keep them in water too warm for the ich germs. Many people feel their Rams arrive fresh from the Orient full of hexamita – otherwise known as “hole-in-the-head disease.” Treat it with metranidozal.
Food. Rams eat flake and frozen foods. They do even better on those special discus foods. Add snails to clean up any excess food. Feed conditioning foods when you want to breed them -- blackworms, bloodworms, brine shrimp etcetera.
Sexing. Look at their dorsal fins. The first two spines are longer on the male. Males also show more color and grow larger. Females are stockier, plumper, and have blue spangles in that black blotch. Females also get a faint pink blush on their bellies at spawning time. Most of the rams that show up commercially are males. We get few females.
Breeding. Provide flat rocks and caves for the adults to spawn on and/or in. No snails or plecos in the spawning tank please. The parents take care of the eggs. You’ll get higher hatch rates at pH levels below 7. If you hatch ram eggs artificially, add methylene blue to reduce fungus.
Food. Baby Rams start life
too small to eat newly hatched brine
shrimp. You need to feed
them infusoria their first week or two.
Then start adding the shrimp and microworms.
Do not breed Rams if you plan to feed the fry a commercial fry
food. Feeding baby Rams the right food makes all the difference in the
More on Golds. Maybe some of those gold rams can look pretty good too. The new batch we house in a 55-gallon tank at 85 degrees. These look good enough to keep.
Word. Keep your rams warm
for better color and longer life. LA
Akash Varun, Trinidad, May 10, 2011
Hello i am Akash the guy from Trinidad with the dead tinfoils a long while back , well i recently gained an interest in smaller cichlids in particular Rams and while searching your site for info i notices that u do not have many pics of golds so i thought that u would like to use some of mine and also if u know of any info about viable and proven pacu breeding techniques without the use of hormones i would appreciate it because aquaculture is beginning to pick up in my country and i understand that pacu are invaluable species to the food fish industry in the tropics.
A: Nice ram pics and your tank looks good too. I'm adding them all to my ram page. Thanks. LA
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