Ram Tank Design

ExpertBeginnerHA

I think I’m in a pickle. I’ve read about and seen most ram (Bolivian and german blue) tanks are planted but in groups of plants with lots of open swimming space and driftwood, and either I did it wrong the first time I tried live plants (aside from the plants dying, I also had trouble keeping the rams happy/healthily), so I switched to plastic everything, rock structures and lots of fake coral caves for hiding spots and still not the healthiest fish (plus I went through a massive water cycling issue, now fixed), so I’m back to restocking after deaths and getting number recommendations and I kind of went on a rampage with my tank and took out every rock, left the caves/fake coral hiding spots, went nuts adding plants because after deaths and rehoming some African cichlids, war broke out amongst my german rams and I couldn’t stop them from fighting (even though there were way less fish and way more room, I think the African cichlids were the peace keepers).

Anyway, hence crazily planting everywhere to break up line of sight and due to all the new fighting.

So my question is... I don’t think planting EVERYWHERE is technically correct for rams, right? They are supposed to have large open swimming areas, right?

Well here is my pickle, I have no clue why overplanting seems to not only have helped the fighting/line of sight, but my fish have never been more colorful and happy even though I can’t always see them all at once, my bolivians are gorgeous and active as all get out.

So is this just one of those examples where what is “not normal” works and just leave it as is if my fish are happy?

Or do I need to get them back to the aqua-scaping they are “supposed” to be in?

Is there a downside to them staying in such a haphazardly, plants everywhere from front to back landscape (and hiding caves, that they don’t even use right now), with no real huge open swimming space?
 

Rainy day

You can have rams thrive in a bare tank, it's likely water quality issues that hurt your stock. Having barriers to break up lines of sight will help with aggression issues, though, as it seems to have done for you. If your fish are healthy and active you don't need to change anything. Your aquascaping is fine the way it is, if they're doing well.

Just to confirm, you're keeping Bolivians AND Germans in the same tank? How large is it an what's your temperature?
 

ExpertBeginnerHA

I know I know! Everyone has a hang up with that, but I DO in fact have Bolivians, German blue and electric blue rams in the same tank!

I’ll post pics in a moment but it happened and they are happy and colorful and everyone net-feeds out of my small 3 inch net without fighting (how I “trained” them so I can ALWAYS, catch one easily, funny enough though they know the white 3” vs the larger blue and green since I only feed out of the white.

Anywho - to answer your questions, it’s a 75 gallon 48”x18” (20” tall). pH stays around 7 (fluctuates between 6.8 and 7.2) and temp is currently (going to check) actually a little higher than I like to keep it at 81.1, I tend to keep it around 79-80.

I know I know, the water parameters are supposed to be different for the two species to thrive, but I mean, they look really good and are all perky and happy (except one that still stays in the back). I also recently found that apparently german blue rams and electric blue rams will in fact cross-pair! Someone on another thread answered that for me, but I certainly have a confirmed pairing of a large male german blue and an electric blue female. The bolivians stay in the front except one and are super attached to me interacting with them.

I’m open to constructive criticism of course. I know they aren’t supposed to work in the same tank and I know my set up is so not “designed” for them or like their natural habitat (except I do have peat in there for them). It like the less OCD I’m learning to become about making everything perfect and by the book, the more they are thriving, even when my tap water freaked out this week, I freaked out more than they did. No deaths, just a tiny part of my sanity died when I tested the tap water AFTER a WC and was sure my entire tank would die.
 

ExpertBeginnerHA

Rainy day
Here are some pics of each and some together and my haphazardly non-designed tank that is somehow working out at the moment
 

Rainy day

You mentioned deaths in your original post, which fish died? Germans rams are too sensitive to compromise on, unfortunately. How long have you had the current stock?
 

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