Sexing Rams: Ram hiding in Corner

Kait28

Hey yall! I have 2 Bolivarian Rams in a 20 long heavily planted and LOTS of wood and rocks to hide line of sight and cichlid rocks for them to hide in. Ive tried these two together before and she was turning black with stress stripes. So also had parasitic worms so i treated in and bulked her back up have decided to try again. I added her (?) and took him (?) out, rearranged the tank and after she (?) had time to explore and find a safe place i put him back in. It’s only been two days but he (?) has pushed her to the back of the tank more so at feedings time but still pretty common. When hes not flaring and chasing her, he goes to his area of the tank (behind java moss) and she can come out and eat. She doesnt fight back or chase him around (im assuming hes some one established tank boss) do i have a male and female like i think i do or do i have two females? I can the vent on one so i assume shes a female and the vent is tiny on the other so I assume hes a male. He hasnt grown his extension rays yet if he is male and they are about 2 inches long so maybe too soon to tell?
***I ATTACHED A PHOTO FROM WHEN SHE WAS SICK BECAUSE YOU CAN REALLY SEE HER VENT BUT SHE HAS BEEN TREATED AND IS BACK TO GOOD HEALTH**
 

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Flyfisha

I don’t want to try and sex your fish . Sorry I have trouble enough with my own fish.

I have had these guys breed a couple of times. Each time a pair has formed naturally from a group. The most recent pair came from a group of 12 that had been a smaller group of 8 for over a year in a 55 gallon . I added 4 old mature fish from auction.
So what I am saying is I can’t “ make” a pair . For me it only happens when they decide.

I see corydoras in the tank. That’s going to make egg laying very difficult in a 20 gallon long. Not impossible but very stressful on everyone. The platies are likely going to hunt down the school of fry.

A successful pair will try and defend the eggs 24/7 . Taking turns to fight off the other fish that will be picking off eggs . Not ideal and possible stressful enough to wear the parents down? . I ended up removing all but the two adults and have since removed the male.
In an ideal world the fish lay in sand in a shallow nest they dig and use a leaf ( leaf litter) to cover or move the eggs and wrigglers around. Each time the parents move the eggs / wigglers around I think they have been eaten , until a week later there is a cloud of fry swimming under the adults.

At first impression those fish seem still quite young ?
 

Kait28

I don’t want to try and sex your fish . Sorry I have trouble enough with my own fish.

I have had these guys breed a couple of times. Each time a pair has formed naturally from a group. The most recent pair came from a group of 12 that had been a smaller group of 8 for over a year in a 55 gallon . I added 4 old mature fish from auction.
So what I am saying is I can’t “ make” a pair . For me it only happens when they decide.

I see corydoras in the tank. That’s going to make egg laying very difficult in a 20 gallon long. Not impossible but very stressful on everyone. The platies are likely going to hunt down the school of fry.

A successful pair will try and defend the eggs 24/7 . Taking turns to fight off the other fish that will be picking off eggs . Not ideal and possible stressful enough to wear the parents down? . I ended up removing all but the two adults and have since removed the male.
In an ideal world the fish lay in sand in a shallow nest they dig and use a leaf ( leaf litter) to cover or move the eggs and wrigglers around. Each time the parents move the eggs / wigglers around I think they have been eaten , until a week later there is a cloud of fry swimming under the adults.

At first impression those fish seem still quite young ?
Hi there! Thanks for the reply!
Sand is coming ASAP! Im currently rearranging my stocking, corys are in the tank my possible female came from. She is no longer with them anymore. Platys are moving soon too, i just gotta do some rearranging of fish and tanks. But, to answer your question as well, they are young. Probably no more than 6 to 7 months. I had read spawning starts around 8 months so im taking the next month (on top of the 2 months ive had them but seperated) to beef them up, get some vitamins in them and add sand. I upgraded the platys from their 10 gallon 4 or 5 months ago and brought the eco complete with them to help cycle the tank along with their seeded filter. I then rescued the sick ram and she (?) was the centerpiece in my 20 high (pictured with corys.) i fell in love and i got another one as a centerpiece and population control for my platys in the 20 long, they were breeding faster than i could keep up with. Platys tank should be cycled soon but the cichlids are also going to a 40 breeder once i finish the pond for my turtles in the 40 breeder, sand will come this week in the 20 L for them though as i know they prefer it better. At this point, im just hoping they get along well enough to coincide until i can add a group of them to the 40 breeder. Ive seen that if i have the same sex or they dont pair that may not be possible. So im keeping a close eye on them, they are in my room so i can check on them throughout the night. The bigger one is coloring up nicely now that the other one is there and shes (?) not showing signs of stress. She was docile and kept to herself in the other tank as well. Her territory was on top of the sponge filter which is what she has claimed again. But they both do so well in the longer tank versus one in the taller tank. Its all a mess right now lol.
 

Flyfisha

No worries, I understand a little of the game “musical fish.”.

Apart from adults with fry I have not seen nipping from this species. With any luck they will share some space together.

I do understand mess. That I am very familiar with.
Good luck in the future with the breeding .
 

Kait28

I figured it out now that i can see their differences. Theyll getting along great and doing well together. Thanks yall!
 

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chromedome52

Your title should have specified Sexing Bolivian Rams. There are a couple of people on the forum who have experience with this species, but not the regular Rams. I cannot recall who it was, though.

My own experience is that the fins on those two fish have female characteristics. Neither analfin reaches the base of the caudal fin. Neither fish has points on the corners of the caudal. They may just be immature, but I think you have two girls. Females are more likely to get along with no males present.
 

Kait28

Your title should have specified Sexing Bolivian Rams. There are a couple of people on the forum who have experience with this species, but not the regular Rams. I cannot recall who it was, though.

My own experience is that the fins on those two fish have female characteristics. Neither analfin reaches the base of the caudal fin. Neither fish has points on the corners of the caudal. They may just be immature, but I think you have two girls. Females are more likely to get along with no males present.
Im new here, thank you for the tip! I did get a picture of the presumed male’s vent. They are about 6 months old if not younger. Havent hit 2 inches yet.
 

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Flyfisha

The bloodline I am working with has no noticeable difference in fin shape between males and females. As is often the case with fish that a tank breed for many generations. As I have fry swimming in a tank today and have ( had ) two fish defending the cloud of fry I know 100% I have a male and female. Nobody can tell the sex of these fish in my tank. Even with the breeding tubes out it is very difficult to tell my fish apart.

As no new bloodline is being imported into Australia I will eventually sell the offspring. Whoever looks after this next generation will have no better idea than me of who is who. Thank goodness the fish can work it out.

Aggression.
Perhaps it’s the bloodline I have? A mixture of four different strains brought in different parts of Australia plus my own offspring but I have absolutely no aggression at all even at feeding time. Currently with the parent in a 55 with her fry I have ten adults in a 40 gallon. They have not shown any aggression to each other or to the much smaller tank mates even at feeding time. When dwarf cichlids have fry they are aggressive enough to bite a humans hand.
 

Kait28

Your title should have specified Sexing Bolivian Rams. There are a couple of people on the forum who have experience with this species, but not the regular Rams. I cannot recall who it was, though.

My own experience is that the fins on those two fish have female characteristics. Neither analfin reaches the base of the caudal fin. Neither fish has points on the corners of the caudal. They may just be immature, but I think you have two girls. Females are more likely to get along with no males present.
Her vent
The bloodline I am working with has no noticeable difference in fin shape between males and females. As is often the case with fish that a tank breed for many generations. As I have fry swimming in a tank today and have ( had ) two fish defending the cloud of fry I know 100% I have a male and female. Nobody can tell the sex of these fish in my tank. Even with the breeding tubes out it is very difficult to tell my fish apart.

As no new bloodline is being imported into Australia I will eventually sell the offspring. Whoever looks after this next generation will have no better idea than me of who is who. Thank goodness the fish can work it out.

Aggression.
Perhaps it’s the bloodline I have? A mixture of four different strains brought in different parts of Australia plus my own offspring but I have absolutely no aggression at all even at feeding time. Currently with the parent in a 55 with her fry I have ten adults in a 40 gallon. They have not shown any aggression to each other or to the much smaller tank mates even at feeding time. When dwarf cichlids have fry they are aggressive enough to bite a humans hand.
I would LOVE to see yours when you get a chance! That is amazing how youve created essentially your own bloodline.
Ive been doing more research on them and ive come across a breed synopsis of them and seen they may not get their extension rays until after breeding and females can have them too. Ive also read that males can have very feministic traits and females can have very masculine traits. The only way to sex the properly is vent shape and size but that changes throughout their growth and day to day processes. I have two in a tank together right now and they are doing swell together execept one chases the other off at meal time. The only reason im even asking for sexing advice is so i can prepare. If they are two males, they may fight, if its a male and female he may cause death by stress and if its female and female they may be alright together. And if its male and female that by chance pair up, i need to set up proper breeding space and territory and get the last 3 platys i have in there out. Im an overthinker and an over preparer so i just want to be ready. Honestly the pictures i get are while they are in motion, they see me and think it’s time to eat so their analfin is to the side any way and hard to see shape and size. One is growing alot faster than the other and fins are turning deep red. The marks on the face are turning pitch black, belly is yellow. The other one’s colors are more muted, with a pink belly and blocky face. Her vent has always been bigger and blockier, so im almost positive she is a girl.
thank you for your insight and again, id love to see them!
 

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KeeperOFnano

This type of Dwarf Cichlid is very hard to sex, especially at an early age. About the 2" mark is when you should be able to see differences by their 'vents' area behind the analfin. Small ponted vents are male and larger are female.

This is not easy, and going by dorsal spikes is not a guarantee either. IME going by the vents has been the way to distinguish between, but not until they reach 2" in size.

Males, given sand is in their environment, will create divets or circular imprints in the sand to impress a mate. This has been they way I have determined the sex when going by the vents is confusing for whatever reason that fish has developed in that manner. Because like previously mentioned, even with a group it can still be hard to tell.

Hope this helps and best of luck with your Ram adventures!
 

Flyfisha

Just a couple of snapshots.
This is our female today with the fry out front of the 50 for the first time.

D17BBBBB-205D-4BC4-9AE6-60697F6FD7A5.jpeg

And an old picture of of a fish in breeding dress.

28A12197-5650-4AF1-A297-8FBC35DC27FE.jpeg

Good luck .
 

chromedome52

Last photo is clearly male, the analfin extends beyond the base of the caudal fin. That fish also has very large filaments on the tail.

There is the risk, small though it may be, of hybridization. The recently described new species of Mikrogeophagus maculicauda is very similar to altispinosa, has actually been in the hobby for some time, and may have been sold as that species. However, I see no indications of the new species in any of the photos here.
 

Kait28

Last photo is clearly male, the analfin extends beyond the base of the caudal fin. That fish also has very large filaments on the tail.

There is the risk, small though it may be, of hybridization. The recently described new species of Mikrogeophagus maculicauda is very similar to altispinosa, has actually been in the hobby for some time, and may have been sold as that species. However, I see no indications of the new species in any of the photos here.
This helps so much, thank you! I for sure thought he was a male but have gotten comficting information because he is young.
Im not trying to force a breeding pair I just wanted to make sure he wasnt going to stress my female to death. Hes only antsy with her when there is food in the tank. But now that I have one of each, i will watch them closely and take him out as needed to re arrange the tank. Thank you!
Just a couple of snapshots.
This is our female today with the fry out front of the 50 for the first time.
View attachment 860223

And an old picture of of a fish in breeding dress.
View attachment 860224

Good luck .
He is gorgeous! how old is he?

thank you!
This type of Dwarf Cichlid is very hard to sex, especially at an early age. About the 2" mark is when you should be able to see differences by their 'vents' area behind the analfin. Small ponted vents are male and larger are female.

This is not easy, and going by dorsal spikes is not a guarantee either. IME going by the vents has been the way to distinguish between, but not until they reach 2" in size.

Males, given sand is in their environment, will create divets or circular imprints in the sand to impress a mate. This has been they way I have determined the sex when going by the vents is confusing for whatever reason that fish has developed in that manner. Because like previously mentioned, even with a group it can still be hard to tell.

Hope this helps and best of luck with your Ram adventures!
Thank you so much! Ive also been told to only go by the vents and they both have vastly different ones.
 

Kait28

This type of Dwarf Cichlid is very hard to sex, especially at an early age. About the 2" mark is when you should be able to see differences by their 'vents' area behind the analfin. Small ponted vents are male and larger are female.

This is not easy, and going by dorsal spikes is not a guarantee either. IME going by the vents has been the way to distinguish between, but not until they reach 2" in size.

Males, given sand is in their environment, will create divets or circular imprints in the sand to impress a mate. This has been they way I have determined the sex when going by the vents is confusing for whatever reason that fish has developed in that manner. Because like previously mentioned, even with a group it can still be hard to tell.

Hope this helps and best of luck with your Ram adventures!
I added oolite Arganite to the tank today and terra cotta pots. One of them is moving sand our of the pots and digging holes in the sand. They are also dragging and rubbing their body in the sand. Normal female behavior too?
 

Flyfisha

Thanks for the update.
The dragging in the sand could be the beginnings of nest building, as the nest is just a shallow depression in the sand ? It’s likely if they have not been on sand for a while they are enjoying themselves and may not focus on one area at first?
Picking up sand with there mouths is very normal behaviour.
Later if they have fry the parents spit sand into the cloud of fry. I can only assume it has small amounts of some kind of food in it when it’s been in a tank long enough?
Don’t forget a leaf or two if you want to see the full game of spawning . Mine drag a leaf around at first then later they seem to hide the fry under a leaf.
 

Kait28

Thanks for the update.
The dragging in the sand could be the beginnings of nest building, as the nest is just a shallow depression in the sand ? It’s likely if they have not been on sand for a while they are enjoying themselves and may not focus on one area at first?
Picking up sand with there mouths is very normal behaviour.
Later if they have fry the parents spit sand into the cloud of fry. I can only assume it has small amounts of some kind of food in it when it’s been in a tank long enough?
Don’t forget a leaf or two if you want to see the full game of spawning . Mine drag a leaf around at first then later they seem to hide the fry under a leaf.
They dont leave eachother’s side. Entire tank is territorial freedom for both and they do everything together. Would two females do the same thing or could i possibly have a pair building? Still unsure of sexes. But their behaving is different than id assume id see with same sex.
The bigger one is dragging body in front of one of the pots and only one. They kicked the snail out, unsure if it’s just claiming territory or nest building. My little one is still skinner than id like to see (she has boxy vent and im assuming shes a female) before spawning so im a little nervous about that.
Almond leaves will be here tomorrow!
 

Flyfisha

I have not read specifically of Bolivian ram females pairing up . I just mentioned dwarf cichlids can do it in an earlier post so you did not get disappointed or surprised if they failed to breed successfully. If you see both fish laying eggs it’s not good. Otherwise what you describe reads well for the future. If not this time then the next time.
 

Kait28

I have not read specifically of Bolivian ram females pairing up . I just mentioned dwarf cichlids can do it in an earlier post so you did not get disappointed or surprised if they failed to breed successfully. If you see both fish laying eggs it’s not good. Otherwise what you describe reads well for the future. If not this time then the next time.
I added pictures of who I believe is my male now that theybare coloring up to the light substrate. This is the one doing the sand/ dominant male behaviors but vent still looks female. Im so confused.
 

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