Nitrate VS GBR

GarageAquarium

Hey guys, is it true that we cannot keep GBR in water with higher nitrate ?
First of all start with my tank setup:
Main community tank - 310L planted tank with 20-30 other small fish like dwarf gourami honey gourami, tetra kuhli loach, apistos etc, all timid fish so shouldn’t be any stress due to aggression.
Breeding tank - 12 gal tank with a large piece of driftwood and a few plants.

3 months ago I bought my first gold ram and he seemed doing very well in my community tank (1-2months old), he is a grown male so I wanted to find a female gold ram and get them to breed. A week later I was able to find a semi-grown female, so I bought her along with 2 much smaller EBR (3cm or so) and the 2 gold rams had been living in my breeding tank with another platy as dither fish since then. These gold rams eat, play and chase each other happily although they still haven’t spawned yet.
But my real problem is the pair of EBR : when they got to my CT everything was quite normal they even got quite fat at a point. After a month or so the smaller EBR started to lose appetite (spiting food) and do a lot of glass surfing. Eventually she got very thin and darker then completely refused to eat and died in my remedy tank.
I was only suspecting internal parasite was the cause as the other larger EBR was still eating quite normal although he had already lost some weight. So last week when I went to LFS I spotted a fat female GBR which looks healthy and active, so I bought her home and put her in my CT to get the left EBR an accompany.
The day before yesterday the male EBR completely refused to eat (kept spitting food out) again after he’s been glass surfing for 4-5 days. My new GBR still eats and plays but she started to glass-surf as well..

sorry for not being able to give any accurate water parameters because the water test strip I have is very inaccurate except for testing pH and my another water test kit is on its way (PH should be around 6.5). But I am pretty sure my CT is high in nitrate as I only did 1-2 water change in the past 2 months to help my plants growing and indeed they are growing pretty well. I’ve been doing a lot of researches last week and found that GBR is very sensitive to higher nitrate level? Is this potentially the main cause of my rams keep declining in my CT? ( Gold rams are still pretty good in the breeding tank at the moment).
 

Dunk2

Although some folks have success with Rams in community tanks, my experience is that they do best in a species only tank. In addition to their water temperature requirement (82F+), they are very slow eaters and can easily get outcompeted for food.

IMO, your primary focus should be on the health of your fish, not your plants. Only a guess, but the fact that you’ve only changed water 1 - 2 times in 2 months has likely created a water quality issue. Consistent water changes are necessary for reasons other than managing nitrate levels. Unless your tanks are well-established, consistent testing should also be done.

I’d suggest you begin doing more frequent water changes. I do 50% changes every 4 - 5 days on all my tanks, including my Ram tank. My Rams have done well with that schedule.

What temperature are you keeping both tanks at? And are you certain your tanks are fully cycled? I realize your community tank has been running for at least 3 months, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cycled.
 
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GarageAquarium

Although some folks have success with Rams in community tanks, my experience is that they do best in a species only tank. In addition to their water temperature requirement (82F+), they are very slow eaters and can easily get outcompeted for food.

IMO, your primary focus should be on the health of your fish, not your plants. Only a guess, but the fact that you’ve only changed water 1 - 2 times in 2 months has likely created a water quality issue. Consistent water changes are necessary for reasons other than managing nitrate levels. Unless your tanks are well-established, consistent testing should also be done.

I’d suggest you begin doing more frequent water changes. I do 50% changes every 4 - 5 days on all my tanks, including my Ram tank. My Rams have done well with that schedule.

What temperature are you keeping both tanks at? And are you certain your tanks are fully cycled? I realize your community tank has been running for at least 3 months, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cycled.

Thanks for replying, I did some research about how to keep these guys before I bought them so I was aware of the preferable temperature for ram and both tanks were set to 86F before they were introduced.

I got a canister filter with filtering capability exceeding the volume of CT and it’s been through the cloudy water - clear water cycling process prior to introducing any fish into the tank. All fish currently living in the CT are doing quite well except for the rams. I heard that other fish tolerate nitrate level much better than ram, so that’s why I was guessing the cause would be the nitrate concentration.


Fish is definitely my priority, I was planning to get the growth of plant up to speed until they are capable to consume enough nitrate to keep it in a safe level ( around 20ppm) in the long-run. But even my tank reaches that stage, it seems that the rams will still be stressed to death if they need a very very low nitrate level, which is impossible if I only rely on plants.

To stop them from stressing out more, both rams from my CT are moved into my backup tank and they seem happier. I am definitely adding regular water changes for my CT to my schedule but I will wait until the water test kit will arrives ( in one day or so) so that I can get to know the actual water parameters of my tanks ( currently water parameters of my tanks are all the same if tested with the test strip.. how good is that).

cheers
 
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Cale24

They should be fine so long as the nitrates stay below 25ppm in general, based on my experience.
Really important to start off with good quality rams though, ideally from a breeder.
Even with a densely planted tank, I'd do at least one water change a week (50% ideally, 30% minimum).

Fun to breed them too!
 
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GarageAquarium

They should be fine so long as the nitrates stay below 25ppm in general, based on my experience.
Really important to start off with good quality rams though, ideally from a breeder.
Even with a densely planted tank, I'd do at least one water change a week (50% ideally, 30% minimum).

Fun to breed them too!

Thanks for replying! I got my test kit last week and did a few water tests:
Nitrate level : CT (40ppm), Breeding tank (15ppm), Backup tank where my EBR lives at the moment (<5ppm)
Ph: all around 7.6 after a couple of water changes (my tap water is around 7.6 so I guess that’s why)

I’ve done the 2nd 50% water change last night and now the nitrate level of my community tank should be around 10ppm (it dropped to 20ppm after the first 50% W/C), but I woke up this morning and found my GBR is still glass surfing.

So I begin to think it might be something else causing her glass surfing ?
 
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Cale24

Thanks for replying! I got my test kit last week and did a few water tests:
Nitrate level : CT (40ppm), Breeding tank (15ppm), Backup tank where my EBR lives at the moment (<5ppm)
Ph: all around 7.6 after a couple of water changes (my tap water is around 7.6 so I guess that’s why)

I’ve done the 2nd 50% water change last night and now the nitrate level of my community tank should be around 10ppm (it dropped to 20ppm after the first 50% W/C), but I woke up this morning and found my GBR is still glass surfing.

So I begin to think it might be something else causing her glass surfing ?

Cool, lowering nitrates won't bring an instant turn around, but is a good thing.
Just keep conditions healthy/ consistent and hopefully she comes right?
Feed quality foods too, and hopefully things settle and improve.
Always worth deworming fish too, in case of parasites. I do treatment rounds of metroplex; then Prazipro after a week's break. Finally, a product containing levamisole for potential callamanus worms.

Good luck!
 
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