Hello, I have a 36 gallon bowfront aquarium that has been cycled and running with fish in it for almost a month. I wanted to do a community tank with both mollies and a pair of bolivian rams (or, if possible, 2 females and 1 male ram). My tank has an Aquaclear 70 HOB
filter running on it and is a planted setup. I do 50% water changes 2x weekly and use the API Freshwater Master Test kit. My ammonia and nitrate levels are 0ppm. I am not new to fish keeping but I am new to keeping bolivian rams. The temperature in the tanks stays at 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
Currently, I have 6 mollies living in the tank along with a male betta and 3 otos. I also have 6 baby mollies in a breeding net that I will give away to my LFS
when they are a month old (born last week) so they will not be permanent residents. The mother molly died a week after giving birth to them and was healthy until her sudden death. I was sad to lose her so I decided to net her babies and raise them until they are big enough to be given away next month.
I would really like a pair of bolivian rams and was wondering what the best way is to have a pair? I heard that buying a group of them increases the odds.
I started with 2 Bolivian rams (bought the last 2 my LFS
had in stock about 2 weeks ago) and suspect they are both males. After a week of exploring their new tank together, the 2 rams split up and each occupied a side of the tank, chasing the other ram away if they wandered into each other's established 'area.' The two rams both have lots of color (bright yellow bellies) as well as extended rays on their fins. One ram is slightly bigger than the other and seems to be the "boss" of the tank. Although I think they are both male, I'm not an expert on sexing rams, and the "example" pics I saw really couldn't help me confirm their genders.
I went back to my LFS
and purchased 5 more rams with a total of 7 currently living in my tank. I know that's a lot of fish (way overstocked) but I did this hoping that 2 out of 7 would eventually pair off. The new rams are a little bit smaller than the first 2 I got but everyone seems to get along fine. I have been keeping an eye on them and will continue to monitor their behavior in case there is aggression. I tried to choose rams at the LFS
with shorter fins in hopes at least 1 or 2 of the new ones were females. I know it is possible to sex them by the shape of their sexual organs under their bellies but I'm not confident I can tell the difference.
My plan is to eventually give away/sell 4 or 5 of the 7 rams and keep 3 (2 females, 1 male) or just a mated pair of rams.
Could I get away with having 7 in my tank for a couple of months if I do 2x weekly water changes and minor ammonia/nitrate levels? Again, this will NOT be permanent.
What are signs of pairing behavior? I got 7 to try and increase my chances. I can also try to post pictures of a few of them if anyone here knows how to sex them.
Any advice on this matter is greatly appreciated.