German Blue Ram - stationary but healthy?

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Mar 16, 2023
Hello all!~
I've had my little German Blue Ram for about 6 months now and he's been doing very, very well. Whenever I come over to the tank, he'd greet me and whenever he saw the food container, he'd absolutely lose it.
He has two small corys along with two small tiger barbs that we got when he was purchased and they're in a 20 gal - a few plants, cichlid rock, and other places to hide.
Recently, he's been at the bottom of the tank and it seems like he wants to swim to greet me, but he just can't lift himself. He hasn't been eating either. His colors are still that beautiful blue and yellow and he genuinely seems healthy.
It started off as him hiding in the cichlid rock which I have rarely seen him in and it's ended up here over the past few days. I tested the water yesterday and besides a slight, slight spike in ammonia but I mean it was barely anything. Water temp is sitting at about 80 and I know they like it warmer but he hasn't seemed to mind over the past 6 months.
Other than that, the only thing that's changed is I used to sit with him all day when I worked from home because his tank is in my office. I now have to work on site and so the room he's in is empty all day - I don't think this has anything to do with it though.
Any and all advice is much appreciated!
Hi and welcome to the forum :)

What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?

Can you post a 1 minute video of the fish?
You can upload videos to YouTube, then copy & paste the link here.
If you use a mobile phone to film the fish, hold the phone horizontally so the footage fills the entire screen.

Can you also post a picture of the fish and one of the entire tank?

What are the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels in numbers?
What sort of filter is on the tank?
How often and how do you clean the filter?

How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?
Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do a water change?
Do you dechlorinate the new water before adding it to the tank?

Did you add anything new to the tank in the 2 weeks before this started?
Did you do anything to the tank on the day before this started?

What do you feed the fish?
What does the fish's poop look like?
Does the fish look fatter than normal?
Is the fish sitting on the substrate or in the water column a bit above the substrate?


Assuming the fish isn't sick and the water is good, some fish do sulk if their owners go away. Cichlids in particular can sulk if something changes in their life. It can be the addition of new fish, rearranging the tank or adding/ removing items from the tank. The fish might be upset because you aren't there all the time now. However, we need to check it for diseases and we need to know the water quality.

Second issue is the number of tiger barbs. All barbs do best in groups of 10 or more and they stress when kept in small numbers. However, your tank might not be big enough for that many. Do the 2 tiger barbs get along or do they fight?
Hey there! Thank you for replying - I'm at work so I'll try to answer as many as I can!
Tank dimensions I can measure when I get home but it's a pretty slandered, box 20 gal! I clean the filter about once a month or as needed! Water change is done every other week with about 40% swapped out. Substrate is a black sand but never really has been cleaned as I don't believe it needs it? I could be wrong. Water was dechlorinated and tank was cycled for two weeks before adding everyone. Nothing new added in the past two weeks and nothing done to the tank since it's last water change on the 4th!
I feed the fish a mix of cichlid flakes and sometimes pellets, poop looked normal although I haven't seen him go potty myself in a few days. His coloration is normal, still vibrant colors and he's hovering over the substrate. It seems like he wants to swim, but almost like he's being weighed down almost :(
Tiger Barbs are super active and don't seem to mind! They hang out with my Cory's quite a bit! And they don't fight really at all, they're just always close to each other.
I'm keeping an eye on him because I love this little guy - he's usually always so happy to hang out with me :(
I'll reply again with dimensions and water information!
How do you clean the filter?

If you have a gravel cleaner, try cleaning the gravel and see how dirty it is. If it's clean, that is fine, but if it's dirty, then use the gravel cleaner whenever you do a water change.

Pics and video too please, when you get home :)
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