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Old 11-06-2013, 01:22 PM   #1
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German blue rams

I am looking at breeding German blue rams in a 20 gallon tank. It's going to be a species only tank and I was wondering how to start. What sort of environment should I create? How many rams should I start with. What should the water conditions be? And any other tips on how to keep them breeding, happy and healthy.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:38 PM   #2
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tank setup and tankmates

When you set up the aquarium, it is best to mimic the natural environment of the German blue ram. As mentioned above, wild rams are normally only found where there is plenty of cover consisting of aquatic plants or submerged land vegetation, and including such elements in the aquarium set up is therefore recommended. Densely grown groups of plants separated by open swimming space is ideal. The fish will also need a few caves to seek shelter in. If you want your fish to breed, provide them with flat stones in the aquarium.

German blue rams should not be kept in aquariums smaller than 75 L (20 gallons). Keeping two pairs together will require a 150 L (40 gallon) aquarium, and so on. The larger the aquarium, the easier it will be to keep the water quality high enough. The German blue ram is sensitive to organic waste products such as nitrate and is therefore not a suitable choice unless you know how to keep the levels of organic waste down.

Many aquarists believe that the German blue ram is really difficult to keep, but this is not really true. The problem is that many aquarists combine the ram with unsuitable species, such as aggressive fish that will harass the ram or overly energetic fish that will gulp down all the food before the ram gets a chance to eat. Other types of dwarf cichlids are also an unsuitable choice. Your German blue ram will do much better if you combine it will peaceful species that will leave some food for the rams. Keeping rams on their own is not recommended; they feel safer when combined with braver fish (so called dither fish). If your German blue rams become aggressive towards other fish in the aquarium, it is most likely caused by a shortage or suitable hiding places. It is also normal for them to become aggressive during breeding since they want to protect their offspring.

Caring for German Blue Rams

The German blue ram is not a suitable fish for newly set up aquariums; wait until the aquarium have been inhabited for quite a while and contains a thriving population of beneficial bacteria. You must also carry out frequent water changes and install adequate filtration. Wild German blue rams are typically found in areas with slow-flowing water, so vigorous water movements are not recommended in the aquarium.

Try to resemble the natural environment of the German blue ram in the aquarium, e.g. by using soft acidic water with a pH-value of 5. In the wild, the German blue ram is used to a water temperature of 25.5-29.5 C (78-85 F). Aquarium kept specimens will normally do fine up to 80 F (27 C) and they can usually adapt to a pH-value from 5.0 to 7.0. Some aquarists have even managed to keep German blue rams in moderately hard water. If you find it hard to keep the water in your aquarium acidic, add peat moss.

Feeding German Blue Ram

The German blue ram is an omnivore that needs food from both the animal kingdom and the plant kingdom to stay healthy and happy. When they arrive to a new aquarium, it is not unusual for them to loose their appetite and become really finicky. Don’t be surprised if your rams only nibble at the food or embarks on a full blown hunger strike. Try to coax them into eating by giving them really tasty morsels like frozen or live mosquito larvae or similar. Once they have started eating again, you can gradually let them try flake food, pellets and other types of food. After a while, most rams will readily accept a wide range of different foods in the aquarium.

Sexing German Blue Ram

The female fish is smaller than the male and have more pink pigmentation on her ventral region. If you look at the anterior region of the dorsal fin, you can see that her fin rays are less developed. It is also common for females to have a plumper body shape and more rounded edging of the tailfin. The back of the dorsal and anal fins have a more pointy edge in the male ram, and the tail fin is also more sharply edged. The male ram can be recognized on his V-shaped tail fin and the elongated second ray that is present in the dorsal fin.

The German blue ram forms monogamous pairs and both parents engage in brood care. If you want a breeding pair to form you can purchase a group of juvenile fish and let them grow up together. They will then form their own pairs as they reach sexually maturity. German blue rams can reach sexual maturity at a fairly young age; sometimes the fish is no older than 4-6 months.

If you want to coax your rams into breeding, provide them with soft water and increase the water temperature a bit, up to 28 C (82 F). The recommended pH range is 5.5 - 6.5. Use a timer for the aquarium lights, because erratic day and night patterns can confuse them and interfere with normal breeding behaviour. It is important to include flat stones in the aquarium set up. Some pairs prefer to dig small pits in the gravel and use as breeding sites instead or in combination with stones.

Don’t forget that German blue rams will become more aggressive than normally during the breeding period. Plenty of hiding spots and natural borders in the aquarium is recommended.

When its time for breeding, the red patch on the belly of the female will grow bigger and become much brighter than normally. A flat stone will be cleaned or a pit will be dug out by either of the pair. The couple will also start nudging each other and/or twirling, and the male fish can dart away at a high pace or slide against the body of the female.

During spawning, the female will place small adhesive eggs on the flat stones or in the small pits. The eggs are 0.9-1.5 mm in length (0.035-0.059 inches). A typical batch will consist of 150-300 eggs, but some batches contain no more than 20 eggs while others contain over 500 eggs.

Both the male and the female fish should be allowed to stay with the offspring because this species practise biparental brood care and the parents work together to care for the eggs and guard the territory. A parent will fan fresh water over the eggs to prevent attacks from fungi and bacteria. The parents will also eat unfertile eggs to prevent them from turning into breeding grounds for pathogens.

The eggs will normally hatch within 40 hours if the water is kept in the upper part of the recommended temperature range. It will then take roughly 5 days before the offspring becomes free swimming. The free swimming fry will be kept in a dense school and be cared for by the parents. They will be escorted by their mother or father during foraging.

Don’t lose heart if the first few spawnings are unsuccessful. A lot of things can go wrong and it is common for German blue rams to spawn a few times before they get everything right. They might for instance eat a few batches before they become good parents. Once they have started breeding, you can however expect a new batch once a month or so. Young pairs are known to fight quite a lot and the aquarium must contain plenty of hiding spots to avoid stress and injury.

If your couple continues to eat their offspring even after several spawnings it can be a sight of distress in the aquarium. Try to figure out what stresses your fish and do your best to make the aquarium more relaxing for them.
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:51 PM   #3
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Thank you this is really helpful. Would this be the same if I wanted electric blue rams?
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:11 PM   #4
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I would think so
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