Bolivian Ram Sexing Help

Discussion in 'Fish, Snail, Worm And Pest ID Help' started by FriendofFauna, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. FriendofFaunaNew MemberMember

    We picked up two Bolivian Rams yesterday and we are really hoping that one is a male and one is a female. We thought there was enough difference between the two, but now that we got them home we aren't sure. We have them in a 10 gallon quarantine tank. They seem to be staying pretty close together. There has been a little aggression, with a couple lip locks and some side nudging. It is in pretty slow motion, so I don't think they are hurting each other. If all goes well in the quarantine tank over the next month, we are going to move them to our 36 gallon bow front. If it is determined they are the same sex is it possible to keep them or will we for sure have to exchange one for the opposite sex? Our tank is moderately planted with a clear break between eyesight.

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  2. DemeterFishlore VIPMember

    Not sure on sexing but the second fish might have something going on with it. The vent appears to have a couple red/brown threads in it. Is it just the pictures or are they really there?

  3. JoeCamaroWell Known MemberMember

    Based on the anal fin, the look like males to me, but I could be wrong. I have 1 B Ram and it is a male.
  4. TheblitchwitchNew MemberMember

    Hello FriendofFauna!

    With cichlids, the best way to truly determine their sex is by venting them but that can be hard for most people to do. Here is an informative guide on determining the gender of Bolivian Rams with visuals.


    Based on your photos it looks like you have two males. I'm basing this on their rays. With male Bolivian rams, usually the third ray on their dorsal fin(the fin on the top of the fish) is significantly longer than the fourth ray. Also, with males, the front of the ray will be a darker colour and both of your cichlids seem to have that. A third observation on the dorsal fin is that both of them have an elongated shape forming into a point.

    Onto the topic of having two males together in the same tank...
    This can vary depending on the tank setup you have. In general, Rams can get territorial and they can fight. Individual fish can show even more aggression. The 'bumping and nudging' behaviour isn't necessarily good as it can indicate an early sign of aggressive behaviour, but it doesn't always mean that they will kill eachother. Sometimes, two same-sized rams can sort out their differences without resulting to murder. However, do keep in mind that there is always a risk with keeping two males of this species together as they can be territorial. What will help is multiple hiding spots such as rocks or plants so they can provide themselves with shelter from the other if it does resort to that. In most cases for this pairing to work, you would need a 55 gallon tank with plenty of decor. I usually recommend having two females of the same cichlid species instead of two males unless you're trying to breed them.

    I hope this helps and good luck with the tank!
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  5. FriendofFaunaNew MemberMember

    Earlier today I did notice the "B" ram's vent looked a little red and like 2 tiny threads were coming out. Do you think it could be internal parasites?
  6. FriendofFaunaNew MemberMember

    We went to a couple different pet stores to try and find a male and a female. I am starting that none of the places had any females. We did look at pictures online, but it is tricky when they are moving around and the employees at the LFS's weren't very helpful. I guess we will have to wait until the LFS gets a new shipment to see if we can exchange one. I am also thinking if one possibly has parasites they both do. Does anyone have an opinion on if I should keep the A fish or B fish? I appreciate your help.
  7. jmaldoWell Known MemberMember

    Have fun trying to sex them. I have had mine since Sept. Have spawned multiple times. Here is a pic.

    Bolivian Ram Pair.jpg
  8. DemeterFishlore VIPMember

    I was thinking it could have camallanus worms, which appear as red worms protruding from the vent of the fish. It's tricky to get rid of them but in a 10gal is might be fairly easy. I'd google some more to get a better idea of what to look for when diagnosing them.

    If you have the funds it might be a better idea to return both fish (don't want any diseases getting in the main tank) and find a sexed pair online. This way you are sure to get a male and female that hopefully won't have any terrible diseases.
  9. FriendofFaunaNew MemberMember

    Yikes! Just looked up camallanus worms. Not sure if they have them or not, but they are going back. Looks like I am going to have to take down my quarantine tank and bleach the crap out of it just in case. I have been in this hobby since January and we have already dealt with ick and columnaris. It showed up a week after we got two different sets of fish. That is why we decided to get a quarantine tank. I guess our bristlenose pleco is going to be by himself for a while longer. It is getting hard not to be discouraged at this point.
  10. DemeterFishlore VIPMember

    Well, rams aren't the easiest fish to sex and care for so don't give up home yet. It wouldn't be a terrible idea to look into Germans rams if they are easier to find in your area. Maybe even look into kribensis or apistograms as well, all are lovely small American cichlids that I wish I could get but my pH is far too high for them.
  11. FriendofFaunaNew MemberMember

    I'm more bummed about the possible worms and having to bleach out the quarantine tank than miss sexing them. I was on the fence about Bolivians and apisto's. Once I get my quarantine tank back up I might have to take a closer look at the apisto's. Thanks for your help.

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