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Yet Another Bolivian Ram Sexing Question Help

Discussion in 'Ram Cichlid' started by RandyO, May 15, 2019.

  1. RandyO New Member Member


    I know that these are notoriously hard to sex, hence the multiple requests or help.

    I had, originally in my tank, a Male BR that was born without (or lost due to injury) a tail fin. He also is quite small and I'm unsure if fish can be "runts" or if he is just really young.

    Nevertheless, I had purchased a female (I hope) to add to the tank to keep him company. However, with the other identifiers (dorsal fin, analfin, etc.) I am worried I got another male. BUT, looking at the vent, it may be a female after all. Can anyone help me sex this fish please? Thanks!

    Also, bonus question lol, with the large size difference between the two, I was worried my smaller Male would get bullied, but it's the opposite! My little guy is chasing the new ram around, fluffing his fins, "spiking" his dorsal fin and coloring up. Also he seems to be "lipping" the side of the new fish when he catches up to it. Is this fighting, or courting behavior?

    Thanks again!

    Attached Files:

  2. RandyO New Member Member

    Also, here's my little guy for reference lol

    Attached Files:

  3. Nick72 Valued Member Member

    I hope she's a female - I've followed your other thread regarding the little fella without a trail, the last thing he needs is to be in a dominance contest with another male.

    I think the new Ram is too juvenile to say either way, but lets bring in the experts @AquaticJ @coralbandit

  4. Feohw Well Known Member Member

    Could you get a clear pic of the breeding tube looking directly at it from the side? How big is this new one would you say? As for the behavior that's most likely just fighting. When mine are courting they stick close, my male twitches, if she tries to swim to another area of the tank he blocks her, flicks her with his his fins and flares. Standard chasing, lip-locking, flaring of the dorsal etc are just territorial displays. If he is getting nice colour to him he could be interested in breeding though. Once they start staying with one another you will know they want to breed, they might also flash against the substrate - that would be them digging breeding holes. If you can't get a clear pic of the fish here's some pics of mine to compare with yours in person, first is male, then masculine female, then female. What I find is that the females is thicker and it has a more pronounced dip in the bottom of the tube.
    I really like your rams, the male especially. Poor little guy is very cute!
  5. RandyO New Member Member

    I hope so too! Although, over the last few days, there hasn't been any contest. The little guy (I named him Champ) is DEFINITELY the aggressor/dominant one in this scenario. It seems like they do well and just hangout around each other at times. Then other times, Champ chases the other one around a bit. I'm new to rams, but it doesn't seem overly violent. Almost just establishing the pecking order.

    Thank you so much for this! This is a huge help. When I get home tonight I will try to get a better picture of the vent. Also, I am unsure if it is due to his missing tail fin, but it also looks like when Champ goes by the new ram, when he flares his dorsal fin, he kind of tilts on his side pointing his dorsal fins at the new ram. Does that mean anything? Because he's so small it's kind of cute to see him "flex" like a little chihuahua but of course each of their safety is my biggest concern. As for the size of the new ram, I'd venture to guess around 3", with Champ coming in at about 2"or a tad longer.

    Thanks again for your help. In my short time here, I have found this site and forum to be invaluable!
  6. Feohw Well Known Member Member

    Mine never tilt so that their dorsal is pointing at the other. They do swim side by side and thrash their caudal fins at each other at times. Is he actually on his side when he does that? I'd guess its due to his missing fin. Their interactions are definitely cute - one of the best things about having them. As well as they they all look and act so distinctly that you can really tell them apart and know each of their personalities. Such a great fish.

    As for the size - usually a large male will max at 3 inches. Females tend to be a bit smaller than that. If it is full grown and mature then I'd say its definitely a female based off its appearance. I'd guess its smaller than 3 inches though unless its a nice big female. They do tend to look bigger than they are though ;)

    Fishlore definitely is a great site! Plenty of great people. I'm very glad that I decided to join up when I did!
  7. angelcraze Well Known Member Member

    I say female based on the appearance of the breeding tube.
  8. AquaticJ Fishlore VIP Member

    Looks female to me, the second one you posted looks super skinny, likely has internal parasites unless it’s deformed or something.
  9. angelcraze Well Known Member Member

    Actually it looks like part of his back end is missing. That's why he is so short maybe? A deformity or bad injury when he was young. How long have you had him? His belly does look concave though.
  10. coralbandit Fishlore VIP Member

    I can't sex BR ! I have what I think is a pair that never breeds ?
    I would worm the one without a tail ..
  11. Feohw Well Known Member Member

    He said that he bought him like that. There was an older post where he talked about getting it because he felt bad for him. Saw it in the shop with most of its fin gone and isn't sure if its a birth defect or a bite. He definitely does look bent at the midsection though. My guess would be birth defect with maybe some parasites in there too.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  12. RandyO New Member Member

    That's correct. He was in there alone with a heap of pictus cats and was hiding and just looked like he was living on borrowed time. So, at least in my head, I figured that death was certain for him if he stayed in there and chances of being purchased would most likely be minimal. I had not considered bugs since I had assumed the tail was the big defect/injury. I was more thinking about him being out competed by the pictus for food and being stressed/starved to death.

    His midsection has always looked like that (at least during the month since I've had him). But he is SUPER personable and always comes up to the glass to say hi when I come in the room. He was a super dull grey and over the last few weeks has darkened up at least a little. He's a good eater and has a lot of energy. Now that I'm hearing parasite I'm kind of worried. That's an aspect I had absolutely not thought of.

    I'm definitely at the mercy of y'alls wealth of information. Any suggestions on what I should do next in regards to a possible bug?
  13. AquaticJ Fishlore VIP Member

    Okay i see now, it’s definitely deformed. Not trying to insult your fish, I respect you getting him and giving him a good life. However, this is a prime example of irresponsible mass breeding. A fish like that is either culled or kept, not sold. Like these two Rams from one of my batches, they were both born with defects and they will just stay with me for their life, not sold. The one on the right has little “arms” lol.

    Attached Files:

  14. RandyO New Member Member

    Oh I am not insulted in the least. Thank you for your honesty, and I completely agree with you. As you said, a fish like this should be kept not sold, and I was afraid that most other interested fishkeepers going into that particular big box store would also agree, and therefore not purchase. I knew I was taking in a long shot, so to speak. But I figured if he wasn't going to make it anyways, I might as well try and offer a "better" life for him.

    And even more sad to say, the LFS that I got the new female, had other rams with deformed dorsal fins like yours in the picture. That's such a bummer! But, at least there are keepers like you who are doing the right thing :)

    Thanks again for all the feedback!
  15. angelcraze Well Known Member Member

    I also respect that you decided to take him in. I have had odd ball fish as well, they somehow become our favorites with their sometimes cute gimpy behaviour (like pointing dorsal rays at opposing rams perhaps).

    Were these two different LFSs? Even if it was the same one, who is shipping these fish? The LFS really should not be doing business with them. I guess they are hoping the aquarist won't notice because buying these defective fish is asking for them not to be rehomed and they are actually not making money. Oh well, glad I don't own that LFS lol.

    For future, do you know anyone that sells rams locally? A locally bred ram from a fellow hobbyist or breeder is generally so much healthier.

    How long have you had him though? I agree fully with @coralbandit, his belly looks just like my EB ram's belly when he had callamanus. I think along with his tail deformity, the concave belly makes him look even more contorted. I used Levamisole and followed the loaches link closely.

    The female is at risk if you don't. And all the other fish if there is any. Sorry it went like this you asking about gender, but kinda good it did because I didn't notice a problem for 2 years with callamanus, now I can spot symptoms more easily. And maybe prevent the other fish from getting sick.

    He might not make it I have to tell you :( But without a dewormer, the other fish are at high risk too.
  16. RHONDA PIMENTEL Valued Member Member

    They are gorgeous.
  17. RandyO New Member Member

    Thank you so much for this! Actually, the male I got from PetSmart, and the new ram I got from a small fish store by my office. I actually don't have any connections or contacts of breeders but based on what I'm now learning, that may be the way to go in the future!

    As for the callamanus worms, other than the belly concave, or by actually catching them exposed from the anus, what are other symptoms to look out for? From what I've been reading treatment for this worm is horrendous! OF course, I'll do it but before I undergo the process I also want to be sure to know what I'm looking for. OR, would it be in my best interest to just treat for it regardless? If I do that, is it harmful to fish should they be uninfected?

    Thank you!
  18. angelcraze Well Known Member Member

    Callamanus were in my tank for at least two years before I noticed and I consider myself very conscientious, especially since they were my favorite fish. All I noticed before was maybe a pinkish dot at the vent when the light first turned on (thinking worms are nocturnal). They were never hanging out and retract completely in my case, so I say no, you can't tell for sure unless you test his poop under a microscope :( And I'll say something is def wrong if he's actively eating, but not gaining weight. His belly shouldnt look like that. As long as you stick to the 2ppm dosage, it shouldn't do damage to unaffected fish. When I dosed my tanks, I wasn't certain who had worms and who didn't. My newest/youngest fish (not the ones I got with callamanus) all lived. No problems, not even my pleco.

    All I know is that it raises red blood cells or something temporarily as the med is an oxidizer, but at that dosage, it's been safe for many aquarists dealing with this.