Female Gbr Losing Color


I've have two GBRs in my 33g community tank for about 10 weeks now. Female is about 1", male about 1.5" (not including caudal fins). When purchased, the female was the brighter and bolder of the two. While they're a long way from full grown, they have produced a couple batches of eggs.
Last couple of days, the female has lost most of her black coloration. Still has spangles, and blue/gold accents. Body condition appears unchanged (healthy weight).
There have been 2 recent changes. Let me tell you about them, and you tell me if you think I'm reading the situation correctly.

Change 1 (I don't think it's related). 1x SAE (2.5") added 2 weeks ago. SAE is not aggressive, in fact it's usually the rams that chase SAE around. And yes, it's a true SAE, not CAE or flying fox.
I don't think the SAE has introduced any disease. I didn't quarantine (my previous [first] quarantine attempt ended terribly: 8 dead/8 sterbai, 3/6 rummy, 1/1 swordtail and 1/1 gold ram, so I'm not ready to go there again). Anyways, the SAE is showing no symptoms of disease (now 2 weeks after introduction), female ram is the only fish not appearing 100%.

Change 2 (I think this IS the issue). In the last week or so, the male GBR has finally started to mature, colour-wise. His crest comes up more and is starting to show black up front. His face has darkened to a bright orange. His side spots/bars are showing more prominently (before they were very faint, and only colored up rarely). Before, the female ram used to chase the male around, now it's the male chasing the female (and the SAE and rummies), which he never did before (before it was the female that chased other fish). I think she's stressed now due to his new maturity/status/aggression. I'm hoping that things settle will down, am I being overly optimistic?

Other info:

33gal community, 36" x 12" footprint, pfs substrate, well planted, no CO2.
Parameters as of last night: 0/0/~10, pH 7.5, temp 80.5F
Livestock 2 GBR, 7 rummy nose, 3 otos, 1 SAE. And shrimps and a nerite.
Filtration Tidal 55 and AC70. I change 30% every weekend. Water currently has a bit of a fishy/swampy smell; I'm recharging my purigen and will add it back in the next 24 hrs, and if that doesn't work I'll add carbon. I don't think water quality is the issue, because all the other fish seem great.

Love, luck and lollipops. And as always, TIA!!


I've found the same thing with my rams. Originally the female starts off fine but then the male starts getting aggressive with her and she loses colour. I was concerned to the point where I'd put my male in time out for a good few hours in a breeder net just to give the female some time to relax and not stress too much. During spawning she'd always colour up nicely again and he would be less aggressive with her. About a week later he'd usually be finding himself in time-out again basically just monitor it and look out for things getting to serious. If you have the space maybe even consider adding another female to try lessen the individual attention the one is receiving...


Try upping your water changes to 35-50% (I'd do 50 personally) twice a week. It can work wonders for Ram color. Another thing that could help is raising the temp to 82-84, unfortunately, I don't think your other fish would appreciate that. However, you may be right about the chasing. Can't hurt to try the water change idea.
  • Thread Starter


AquaticJ said:
Try upping your water changes to 35-50% (I'd do 50 personally) twice a week.
I think I'll monitor for a couple weeks, and if no improvement, I can certainly add a quick out-and-in 10gal water change mid-week.
I currently do a modified bucket and pump method: the tank is just a few feet from the sink, but I don't use a python because a) my tap does a poor job of maintaining a steady temp (esp if others in use flush, shower, or laundry) and I'd hate to add 1/3 tank volume of overheated water, and b) if it ain't broke, don't fix it (with respect to my current method, which works really well for me). So I just fill a couple of 5gals in the sink, and pump from there into the tank. No lifting, no carrying, etc. All of that is the long way of confirming that changing a couple of 5gal buckets is no big thing.

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