How social are rams?

Bill
  • #1
HI

I lost my two male GBRs to disease, and I'm thinking of getting some new rams (either blue or Bolivian). I've heard that the ideal stocking ratio is 1 male to 2 or more females, and that rams are social fish that tend to fight among themselves; but how social are they? I ask because I'm wondering whether if I got just one male ram he would be lonely by himself and hide a lot. Getting 3 rams (particularly Bolivians) would be pretty expensive and take up a lot of space in my tank.

I'm definitely leaning towards Bolivians rather than blues at the moment, because my pH is high (7.6) and my water is fairly hard, and Bolivians are supposed to be a lot less sensitive than blues. I'm still not confident that it was only the disease that killed my rams before, I think they probably weren't that happy in my tank, even though I kept nitrates to below 20 and there were plenty of hiding spaces. The longest that one of them lives was about a month. Also, although I find Bolivians slightly less stunning than blues (and they're bigger) they are about half the price of a blue in my LFS. I really don't want to lose such expensive fish again (the blues were £4.95/ about $10US each).

Any ideas? Would one Bolivian be happy by himself?

Cheers folks

~Bill
 
Dino
  • #2
Bolivians should be ok in 7.6.
They are not really schoolers and one would be fine by himself/herself.
 
Allie
  • #3
I found Bolivians less sketchy than my 3 Long fin GBR I had. They were hiding all the time....the single Bolivian came out all the time. You'd think he'd be the nervous one being alone & all.
 
lili70
  • #4
I have two girls and there is some chasing away, territory stuff. I don't think they need a school.
But they are social with humans. No fear for this fish GBR. They bit my finger like the betta girls . They seem to be smart too. Never hidding. My PH is 8 ...
L
 
Bill
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks for the quick replies, guys That's fantastic news - especially that they can do so well in high pH. I'll get one male. My LFS has a lot of really nice-looking ones.

Thanks again!

~Bill
 
lili70
  • #6
For Bill:

66.jpg
 
Bill
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thanls lili! That is a very nice-looking ram. Kinda makes me want to get GBRs again rather than a Bolivian... but I think the hardier option is probably safest. It's encouraging to hear that your GBRs are doing fine in 8.0, though
 
Bill
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I went to the LFS today, contemplating getting a Bolivian... then I looked at them. Wow! Really really nice fish... I ummed and aahed about how many to get, and I ended up with three (2 females, 1 male I think). they're accilmating as I type
 
lili70
  • #9
Pics please, Bill !
L
 
capekate
  • #10
HI Bill
sorry to hear that you lost your GBRs. They were gorgeous! I started out with three GBRs in Oct. and have one left. he is a hardy one and lives with the rainbows and discus. He is by himself with no other of his own kind and seems to be just fine, showing nice coloring. It doesn't seem to bother him that he is alone tho, but it bothers me and when I find the chance to get more of his own kind, I will be adding them to the tank. Oh btw my Ph is 6.4 in that tank.
Good luck with your bolivians.. ;D Please... photos!!! ;D


~ kate
 
Bill
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
HHaha, sorry guys, no photos until Satruday or Sunday... my dad has the camera with him in Rome at the moment. The Bolivians are doing fine. After having had a really good look at them, I'm pretty sure at least one of them is a female.
 
capekate
  • #12
kewl ! ;D Glad to hear they are doing great!

~ kate
 
Bill
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Thanks kate

This morning I saw two of the rams doing the "lip-locking" thing - quite cool to watch. One of them has established territory at the left of the tank, the other at the right, and they battle each other off if they cross that line. So those two are males, right? The one that I think is a female spends her time hiding under an anubias on the right side of the tank. Will 2 males:1 female be an okay ratio in the long run, or would it be better to add an extra female or two to break up aggression? The tank is big, and there are lots of places to hide/break lines of sight, so aggression should be kept to a minimum, but I'd prefer it if the female wasn't hiding all the time. But I suppose I've only had them for a couple of days, maybe she'll get more confident
 
capekate
  • #14
Good morning Bill
The two males liplocking is an aggression thing going on for sure. they must be competing over the one female or just sizing each other for 'king of the mountain'. If you are able to, I would add another female or two, to the group. Tho it won't stop the aggression between the two males, it will give the lone female a tankmate, a buddy to hang with.

~ kate
 
Bill
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Another female it is, then Thanks for the advice!
 
capekate
  • #16
Also, I was thinking about those two males. If they are constantly fighting, one of them, the weaker is going to get sick or hurt. I think if I were in the same situation, along with getting another female ( or two) I would also add one more male. At least between three males, the fighting could be spread out and not always concentrated on just two. Giving one of the males a rest period from being picked on. Does that make sense?
~ kate
 
Bill
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
I'm going to leave it for a couple of weeks to see how they turn out. I see where you're coming from, but the males aren't constantly fighting, I only saw them liplock once - they just flare at each other when they see each other (which isn't that often thanks to all the bogwood/slate/plants). One of them chases after the female, though, and tries to nip her - although not very actively, and again only when he sees her. It's more the female I'm worried about getting injured.
 
capekate
  • #18
I hope it all turns out well for you and the fish and that they all start to calm down in the long run. If it doesn't, you can always add more, or another female like you thought of doing. ;D

~ kate
 
Bill
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Photos

Here are a couple of photos.

This is the ram that I thought was a female, now I'm starting to think that it's probably a male like the other two. They are fighting a lot less now, anyway - and they seem to be very healthy!




~Bill
 
capekate
  • #20
Great Photos! ;D Your bolivian looks so healthy...
If the top fin is any indication, by the photos it doesn't look like the black spikes are taller than the rest of the fin. Can it be a female? Ive never had bolivians so I really cannot say. But either way... it sure is a pretty one! ;D

Congratulations! ;D
~ kate
 
Bill
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
OK, some more observations - the "female" yesterday liplocked with one of the "males" and won! Do both males and females do the liplockin' thing? Also, when "she" is flaring, the top fin looks just as long as on the males. "Her" fin extensions are shorter, but not much.... also "she" lacks the magenta patch that females are supposed to have. I think that "she" might be male after all, but "she" still looks somehow different from the other two.

Anyway, they aren't fighting too much, and sometimes they even seem to be companions. I guess that since there are three of them, the aggression is spread out - there certainly doesn't seem to be a dominant one, since I've seen the "female" be chased off by a "male" and then later face that same fish down.
 
Geoffrey
  • #22
I've had a GBR for about 3 months and I've noticed that she seems to hide a lot and it seems to have been going on for a while. I'm wondering how beneficial would it be to get 1-2 more rams (and of what genders, if I could sex them when buying)?

About a month or two ago, my sister got a 10 gallon tank for free and it came with a cory. Since it was only one, I got 3 more from Craigslist that are about the same size. Initially, my ram hung out with the cories, but now she seems to hide away a bit more.

I also got the ram from Craigslist from someone who apparently breeds them, but when I asked to see the parents, he said they weren't there... I'm sure I can buy more from him (about 4-5$ each) and they'll probably be siblings, but they just wouldn't have seen each other for a few months. The problem with buying from this seller is that his rams don't look very nice, they're not very colourful. When I first got her, she was pure silver and while she's coloured up a bit, she still doesn't compare to the norm. Some people here even thought that she looked like a Bolivian ram! Her red eyes comes and goes, so sometimes it's black.
Not only is the colour not very good, but when I got her and tested his water, the ammonia was around 2-4ppm!
 
Geoffrey
  • #23
Here are some pictures:

(When I first got her)
The seller's GBR's

These are pictures of when she's more colourful, mid-April.


Now, she's lost a little bit of her colour and as I said, she hides a lot. She spends most of her time under the sponge filter and behind the driftwood.
 
hampalong
  • #24
Looks more like a He to me. Not coloured because of stress, probably because there's no cover in the tank. Everywhere he goes he can be seen. A few leafy plants rather than stem ones and a chunk of wood or two and a cave would perk him up.

Rams are quite social in the wild, but it depends on tank size. Is your tank 10g? If it is it's barely big enough for a pair.

 
Geoffrey
  • #25
It's a 30 gallon, so it should be able to handle 1-2 more if it's needed. Should I get 1-2 more rams? If yes, which sex should I get?

It looks like a female to me. She's got a red belly, blue spots on where I imagine the black patch to be, and when she fully extends her dorsal fin, which isn't very often, it's rounded.

The "original" GBR's looked a little worse. I guess that would be due to stress from high ammonia?
I guess I'll take out my fake plants from storage and put them in my tank
 
hampalong
  • #26
Yeah you could get a couple of each or whatever and wait for a pair to form. 30 gallon is big enough.

I'm looking at the pictures again and she looks female this time. Lol.

I would also cover the back and sides of the tank. When the back is open fish think they can be got to that way. Covering it totally removes that from a fish's mind(?) and makes a huge difference to timid fish.

Don't worry about the colour. All Rams are silver when they're very stressed (the standard and GBR varieties) and all Rams have the potential to be beautiful. They'll naturally tend towards breeding condition, especially in our tanks with all that fine dining, unless some cause of stress stops them. Once it has settled it will colour up, feed up, and start house hunting those hides-holes you're putting in... And a few smooth stones for a choice of spawning sites...

 
Geoffrey
  • #27
I feel like since she wasn't raised in very good conditions, she may not get the colour of other GBR's. Her siblings are the same colour.

Do you think I should buy from the Craigslist person again?
Pros: Cheap ($4), they'll be siblings, and since they're kept in poor conditions, I imagine them to be hardier
Cons: Kept in poor conditions

Or should I buy them from a store:
Pros: Way more colourful
Cons: Cost $15. I've heard hormone injections are common in GBRs and I'm not sure if I'll be able to guarantee hormone free fish (although I haven't asked the store).
 
hampalong
  • #28
If you have doubts about the private seller I would stay clear. His fish could possibly be damaged by the poor conditions which could possibly affect them later on.
 
MtnTiger
  • #29
If you have doubts about the private seller I would stay clear. His fish could possibly be damaged by the poor conditions which could possibly affect them later on.

Agree 100%. I would be very hesitant about buying from this individual again. The cheapest way is not always the best way to go.
 
Geoffrey
  • #30
Yeah, I guess I won't be going back to that person on Craigslist.

Today, I found an LFS that sells them for $7.50. Although his tanks are a little algae ridden, his fish look healthy on the most part (there were still a few sickly looking bettas and I found 1 dead fish). I may buy from him, but I'm still wondering, if I get two, should I get two more females or one male and one female?

Also, a little unrelated to this post, but is it acceptable to ask your LFS to test their own water?
 
hampalong
  • #31
Yes it is perfectly acceptable, although they might not agree. You are the customer. You want to know that the fish you are going to buy are healthy and in good conditions right now, in the shop. Unless their maintenance is a bit lacking, they should oblige.

Algae is not a sign of ill-health. We get rid of it for purely aesthetic reasons. I would be more inclined to buy from a shop with algae riddled tanks (brown or green), since it shows they understand this. It's actually very beneficial for a lot of fish that eat it and the tiny life that lives in it. Livebearers for example, plecs and other algae eaters.

FF or MF? Adding a male will result in breeding.... depends what you want.
 
Geoffrey
  • #32
I understand that an algae riddled tank may still be healthy and that removing it is only for aesthetics.

It's actually very beneficial for a lot of fish that eat it and the tiny life that lives in it.
Can you believe that this store sells planaria? How do they even scoop it out?

Livebearers for example
My sister's guppy is actually a pretty good algae eater. I hadn't expected that.

I may get a male and female then since males are a little nicer. I was just worried that the male might get aggressive.
 
Anders247
  • #33
I've seen people have a huge group of them together, but obviously they need a larger tank to do that. hampalong do you mean UK gallons when you say a pair of rams is good for a 10g?
 
hampalong
  • #34
I've seen people have a huge group of them together, but obviously they need a larger tank to do that. hampalong do you mean UK gallons when you say a pair of rams is good for a 10g?

Yes. It's still a bit small but do-able as a breeding tank. I wouldn't keep them in it long term... Maybe 15+(UK).
 
Anders247
  • #35
Oh, that's what I thought. 10 US gallons for even one ram imo is preposterous....
 

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