New Ram Looked Great, And Then....didn't

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Shivermetimbers

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So I picked up a blue ram (how it was marked, guessing German Blue) from a store on Saturday along with a few ghost shrimp to add to my tank. Acclimated the fish and within 15-30 mins of being in the tank it had colored up beautifully and was quite active. For the rest of the weekend all seemed fine, active, eating, seemed to be scouting the tank to possibly claim a territory, and seemed quite pleased with a spot under some driftwood.

Yesterday about 48 hours after being put in the tank, the ram was nearly stationary just above the substrate. Mouth was flapping a bit, fins weren't clamped, still moving slowly as it hovered in this spot for quite some time. Color started fading some, and at feeding time the ram didn't seem to be interested, although seemed to peck a few crumbs that floated by. By late last night I went to check on it before heading to bed and it was laying on it's side, but still alive. I reached in and when touched (it was under a driftwood overhang so I needed to coax it out to try and net it out) it literally swam doing loops in the water, after about 4 loops and a corkscrew I got it out and put it in a cup and within minutes the fish had died.

I have heard that these fish are rather sensitive, and some even suffer from sudden ram death syndrome. Does this seem like I just got a bad draw on this fish? something I could have done different? Fish seemed like all was well for about 48 hours and then took a sudden down hill turn in a few hours. Levels in the tank have been steady at about
6.4-6.6 PH
Temp around 80º
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 5-10ppm

Tank is not old (few weeks) but has been cycled since day one using seeded media. Other fish seem fine and active. Plants have been growing in slowly as well.

Just looking for advice. I'm going to return the fish as the store will exchange for a new one or just get my money back. Not sure if I should grab another? or wait it out. I don't have a quarantine tank so I know it is a bit risky introducing right to the tank, but don't have another option right now. Only thing I could use is a gallon unheated container which I could put an air stone in. Figure that the ram wouldn't last in there anyway for much time.
 
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Shivermetimbers

Shivermetimbers

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Good to hear....well not good, but at least it makes me feel a little better. I will be sure to take a good look when i go back to see how others look. I was honestly going to wait on adding a ram to be one of my last fish, but when I saw how good these looked in the store i couldn't pass it up. It was a glorious 48 hours in my tank, kids and family were all in love with the new fish, and then it just seemed to go off a cliff for no apparent reason.
 

yukondog

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I would say let your water age more than try again, you may have to go through several deaths before you get one to live. When dealing with rams I try to use the pet store with the longest guarantee, I needed it. Good luck
 
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Shivermetimbers

Shivermetimbers

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Thanks for the replies. I did bring the fish back today after work. The store required a sample of tank water to refund the purchase price. When I tried to return it the clerk was asking about the tank, size, filtration etc. When he asked how old it was he said there is the problem. He said no way I was cycled properly in only a few weeks. I explained what I did by using seeded media and he said it prob wasn't totally cycled. Told him i had nitrates from day one and have a dozen fish in there that are doing just fine.

Then i thought he was going to give me a hard time because the strip test on my water was coming back "very acidic" said I've been pulling 6.4-6.6 consistently and it was well within their recommended range. He agreed and conceded the return. The clerk said they are sensitive fish and should wait several months before trying another. We will see. When I got mine on Saturday there were about 6 in the tank for sale, only 2 today. Not sure if they sold or had a similar fate to mine.
 

kayla.s

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Wow, basically the same situation with a male I've had for a year now. He's always been healthy then yesterday I woke up and didn't see him. Found him sitting at the surface breathing heavy and wouldn't eat, then he went missing for a while again. I next saw him hiding near the bottom between some plants. Unfortunately I had to go off to class and upon return a few hours later he was dead... a ram that had been completely healthy for ages
 

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I'm getting ready to try to raise some baby Amanos and saw several people using RO/DI water for them.. which seemed unnecessary. I read about a bit and found that salt water tank people just don't trust tap water.. even if it's fine at one point, there are fluctuations seasonally or when the city decides to treat the system. I guess because salt water tank setups are generally very expensive they don't want to take the risk. I wonder how many of these cases of sudden death syndrome are related to odd water parameter fluctuations in the tab water?
 

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Thanks for the replies. I did bring the fish back today after work. The store required a sample of tank water to refund the purchase price. When I tried to return it the clerk was asking about the tank, size, filtration etc. When he asked how old it was he said there is the problem. He said no way I was cycled properly in only a few weeks. I explained what I did by using seeded media and he said it prob wasn't totally cycled. Told him i had nitrates from day one and have a dozen fish in there that are doing just fine.

Then i thought he was going to give me a hard time because the strip test on my water was coming back "very acidic" said I've been pulling 6.4-6.6 consistently and it was well within their recommended range. He agreed and conceded the return. The clerk said they are sensitive fish and should wait several months before trying another. We will see. When I got mine on Saturday there were about 6 in the tank for sale, only 2 today. Not sure if they sold or had a similar fate to mine.
He doesn't know what he's talking about. I've fully cycled tanks in only a few weeks WITHOUT seeded media. Additionally, those strips are not accurate, especially on the PH. You can keep them at a PH as low as 5.5 like I have, and I've even known people who've had them breed at a PH of 8. Your tank is perfect for them. Your tank in cycled, and waiting several months is not going to make it anymore cycled than it already is. I assure you the Rams that are sent to stores are often times unhealthy to begin with.

@kayla.s The gold Ram in my profile picture died suddenly after almost 2 years of having him. Unfortunately, they just don't live very long.

@TexasGuppy I mean my coworker uses RO/DI to remove all the unwanted minerals/heavy metals/toxins, and then adds specific minerals back into the water. It's more or less for extreme purification.
 
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Thanks AquaticJ, the more I dug around online after mine fell ill the more I read of bad breeding practices and hormone injections to bring them up to full color quicker so they can sell easier. Lots of bad stock out there from what it seems. I'm thinking I just got a bad fish, and based on the quantity when I went back a few days later (did they really sell 4 Rams in the few days? Maybe...) they may have lost some more right in the store.

Before the clerk asked specifics he asked how long I had it and when I said about 48 hours before it essentially fell off a cliff, he said something along the lines of "that's about the time it would happen".

Just as an aside, one of my other fish (a silver lyre tail molly) seems to have a spot or 2 on its tail after all this....I am paranoid that it may be ich so the temp has been on the rise for last couple days. Going to get it to 86º for a few days and watch it closely. I don't see any other fish showing signs, corries, platy, baby bristlenose and gourami look clear, but just playing it safe.
 

AquaticJ

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What store is this? He's right about a fish dying in the 48 hours of being in an uncycled tank, but it wasn't in a uncycled tank. We lose some Rams every time we get them in the store, and believe me, I make sure the tank they're in is always pristine. I even convinced my district manager to let me use a brand new UV sterilizer filter in the tank. You're right, bad breeding has really had its impact on Rams. A store around me is a private owned fish store, and he gets wild caught Rams, and they look entirely different than what you see in other stores. I would slowly get it up to 88, I've seen ich survive at 86, but not 88.
 
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Shivermetimbers

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This was at a Petco, what store do you work at if you don't mind me asking?

I have 3 close by along with a couple of Petsmart's but not all that many small specialty fish stores, so mostly stuck with the big box offerings (5 big box fish stores within 20 min drive). A friend of mine swears by this store that is a good 90 minute ride each way, haven't gone to see it, and likely won't take a 3 hour ride unless I knew for sure I was going to be getting something I really wanted for a good price.

This particular Petco store seems to have a great aquatic section, circular set up in the center of the store. I haven't been to one of them in quite some time so no clue what their fish section looks like, and the other that I pop into every now and then has a decent set up, along one end of the store which extends about 2/3 the depth of the store. The one where I got the ram had a much bigger variety, including some puffers, good variety of rainbows, killifish, brackish tanks, decent marine set up, including frag tank, kribs and of course rams. I was impressed. I had never been in that store since it opened, and just happened to be in the area and figured we would pop in to take a look so the wife and kids could see if they liked anything.

Now that I think about it when I was cashing out the guy at the register seemed quite knowledgeable about fish as well and he commented on the fish, and how they had gotten some nice rams in, so it may have just been wrong place at wrong time with bad batch of fish for me.
 
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AquaticJ

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I’m not allowed to say, it’s not a big name like Petco thankfully. Small, private owned stores are gunna be a much better option 99% of the time. I’d just recommend you come here for a general consensus about questions, rather than relying on one fish store employee.
 
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Shivermetimbers

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Oh for sure, there are certainly some bigger box store people that know there stuff and then others that have very little clue.
I knew there was some risk going with rams period, I guess I was just hoping for good luck. I know my friends who have several tanks have tried rams before without much luck, maybe a couple months tops, I will certainly try again but will likely get a schooling fish next and hold off on rams for a bit. We will see
 

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I've had a bunch of breeding pairs before, I had a video, but unfortunately my new phone didn't get backed up.
 

yukondog

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Like Aquatic J said your tank is cycled, the strain we have now is very bad, I have mine and they breed just fine at a PH of 6.0 and I have more in the house tanks that is 6.7 and all do just fine. If your pet co and pet smarts are anything like mine they cant even sex a guppy or platy. I will say this, I went through about 10 or so before I got some to thrive and live. Good luck and keep trying
 
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