Dwarf Cichlid Advice

amazonish

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HI guys-
I have a 29 gallon low tech planted tank.
It currently has:
5 Cory sterbai
16 cardinal tetras
2 SAEs
4 otocinclus

All are doing well and have been in there since March or so. The water parameters are always 0/0/<20ppm

I tried a pair of apisto agasizzi- fire reds back in April. The female died right away (despite lots of hiding spots etc, I think she was bullied and probably came weak), but the male thrived. Until he abruptly died a couple weeks ago, without warning, which was really disappointing.

Anyway now I’m seeking advice on what dwarf Cichlid to introduce to replace him.

I’ve been between a pair of rams or a pair/small harem of apistos (maybe cacatoides, 2 females 1 male).

Any advice or thoughts on that? How can I best avoid the female being bullied to death again if I go the apisto route?

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coralbandit

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Go rams due to temp.
I hope you have your cards up in the 80s ?
I am partial to rams also ..
Nice tank ..
 
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amazonish

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coralbandit said:
Go rams due to temp.
I hope you have your cards up in the 80s ?
I am partial to rams also ..
Nice tank ..
Thanks Bandit-

I keep it around 82.

My worry with the rams is... I’ve read you can’t just put a male and female together - they are picky with mates. And I’m not sure I have the room for a small group, or what will happen with the members of a small group that don’t pair off.

The other issue is our water is quite hard and high ph. I know this will seem like a sin to many. But I lost none of my cardinals and got them quite young (bred in local water.)

I’ve read cacatoides can tolerate a wider range of parameters?

Another option is a nearby fish store (couple hours away) has rams supposedly bred in the local hard water as well.
 

Marinus

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I would put my vote for rams as well. I was at my lfs recently and while watching the rams I noticed a couple in there that had obviously paired up on their own and were alternating between diligently cleaning a corner of the tank and chasing off any other fish that got close. So it is possible you might get lucky and find a couple like that. Or, some lfs allow you to take a few home and, once they pair, you can bring the others back.
 

coralbandit

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What is hard water ?
Do you know your TDS ?
My bet would say if the cards are good then rams would be ok..
I raise my rams in 350 TDS...They don't breed in that ..
Apistos can be more tolerant I suppose but some are less.They do not like temps over 80 IMO though . I know some say different .I get my apisto opinions from Cichlid atlas vol.1which is $$$ and pretty hard to get ahold of due to warehouse fire WAY back !
You should have no trouble finding a pair if you look hard enough ..:shifty:
 
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amazonish

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coralbandit said:
What is hard water ?
Do you know your TDS ?
My bet would say if the cards are good then rams would be ok..
I raise my rams in 350 TDS...They don't breed in that ..
Apistos can be more tolerant I suppose but some are less.They do not like temps over 80 IMO though . I know some say different .I get my apisto opinions from Cichlid atlas vol.1which is $$$ and pretty hard to get ahold of due to warehouse fire WAY back !
You should have no trouble finding a pair if you look hard enough ..:shifty:
So- I took your guys advice and am trying the rams. I picked up 4 electric blues. Tried to aI'm for 2f/2m but they are quite young so it’s hard to tell. I am not sure what I think of the electric blue- I kind of prefer the traditional colour but the only local fish store that had healthy looking rams had electric blues. They will also let me bring back the fish if some get bullied, which is important to me, as I only have the one tank.

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To answer coral bandit’s q about the TDS- I don’t have a test for that. The gh is around 240ppm although it’s a test strip so not the most reliable.

Regardless of course I then freaked myself out by reading forums and people are hard core like rams can deal with hard water. It’s a bit tough because the other fish including cardinals are doing so well (they’ve been thriving since March or so, growing, I’ve lost none of the 16 I bought initially).

Of course I could buy a RO filter- but I don’t want of rock the boat and then harm the other fish that are doing well.

Would you guys wait and see or do you think the rams are doomed at this level?

LFS guy says not to worry and I know they would say that but I kind of trust him, they have big long lasting discus tanks on the same city tap water as displays and the fish have lived years and looked great.

It’s hard for me to sort out fact from folklore on this sort of topic...

Thanks!
 

coralbandit

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Although you GH is a little harder then mine I raise a lot of rams in my tap water .
If your rams are healthy stock they should be fine ..
EBR are hardest to sex of rams IMO so look at the analfin .If it extends into the tail it is male . Females analfin should end before the tail.
First pic looks male , second has male in background with female in front IMO..
 
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amazonish

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So... just as an update, I wasn’t planning on it or expecting it (due to the hard water) but two of the rams paired off and spawned in the busy community tank... even with the hard water with a ph near 8. I expect the eggs/babies to get eaten (if they hatch) but it’s been a day and the parents are still taking turns guarding. Very interesting experience!
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