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What do you think of this Ram cichlid set up?
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Akona
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Joined: 30 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2006.12.30(Sat)12:50    Post subject: What do you think of this Ram cichlid set up? Reply with quote

Hi, new to the forums, not new to fish, somewhat new to cichlids. I've had a pair of ram cichlids for about a year now, but haven't done much with them because I was away at college for the first time, and didn't bring them with me. This semester has brought new things, however.

I have a 20 gallon that my mother is generously letting me have, and I intend to stock it with:
Fish:
1 pair of rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) (maybe another if you guys don't think it's too much)
12 or so wild-type/feeder guppies
8 to 10 black tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi).

Plants:
Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) left floating
Crypt (Cryptocoryne x willisii)
Anubias nana

Inverts:
bee, tiger, or cherry red shrimp


Hardware:
Plain pea gravel,
bog wood
slate
(perhaps) tree leaves, such as oak
large sponge filter
and 2 plant light bulbs

The idea was to have a fairly natural setup resembling their habitat, though obviously I didn't try all that hard. I intend to use RO water (bought from my grocery store--is that a really bad idea?), and mess (adding peat) around untill I had a pH of around 6. Do need to add some minerals, as it is RO water, and the action of the peat is supposed to take out minerals? Or simply mix it with my tap water (which I don't trust so much)?

The ram's are supposed not to like water movement, so is there any other filter that doesn't produce much of a current? And isn't noisy?

I'd also like to breed the rams in here, any suggestions for that? I figure that between the bog wood, peat, and oak leaves, that ought to acidify the water enough, and I'm not worried about having too hard of water.

Thanks, and sorry for the long post!
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Bob
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Joined: 16 Jun 2006
Location: UK

PostPosted: 2006.12.30(Sat)16:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would stick to just the two Rams (Are they a pair, male and female) unless you have two females, then I would consider getting a male. Rams really like mature tanks with a high water quality.

A 20 gallon tank would be a bit overstocked with your current plan. Black Widows get to about 2.5 inches (Some nearer three), and are a deep bodied fish for a Tetra.

The Guppies will breed like mad and although the Black Widows (And Guppies) will eat most of the young you will always have more stock than you planned for.

If you work on an inch of fish per gallon (I prefer surface area but don't know your tank measurments).

2 Rams = 4 or 5 inches of fish

10 Guppies would average out at 2 inches so = 20 inches of fish

10 Black Widows at 2.5 = 25 inches of fish

A total of 50 inches of fish for a tank that should hold about half that amount.

On a personal note if I was setting up a Ram tank, I would go for much more colourful Tetras like Glowlights or Cardinals, and not add the Guppies.

Hope that helps.

Bob
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Minsc
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Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Location: Framingham, Mass

PostPosted: 2006.12.30(Sat)17:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with what Bob said regarding fish, so I won't go into that.
On the water, I would recommend mixing the RO with your tap to get dGH 2-3. As long as the dKH are also very low, that should give a good water source.
This tank does not seem set up for fast plant growth, so you should be changing at least 5 gallons weekly, 10 is better.

Rams are supposed to like the low to mid eighties temp wise, and I think that will limit you to cherry shrimp or maybe amanos. Most shrimp like it much cooler than that. Understand that the fish might kill the cherries as well.
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sciaccaj20
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Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Location: Long Beach, NY

PostPosted: 2006.12.30(Sat)20:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

My pair of Rams ate every cherry red shrimp in my tank.
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Akona
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Joined: 30 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2006.12.30(Sat)20:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, thank you! I tend make mistakes that are glaringly obvious to everyone but me!
To Bob:
They are a female and a male. I'm very happy with them, because they've done so well, and they are my first cichlid.

I didn't realize that the black tetras would get quite so big, I've been trying to decide between them and neons, so I guess neons are it. Also, my guppies are the wild types, so they only get to about 1 inch, not two. Thought that is still overstocked...I think in my mind I had gotten it mixed up with 30 gallon....

I think I'll knock out the guppies, anyway, and the black tetras. The neons I can get for 3 for one dollar, which is why I would choose them over cardinals. Plus, they're smaller. Is there a reason why I shouldn't do this?

The tank measures 24 length, 12 width. Do you go by the 12 sq inches of surface area per fish, or what?

To Minsc:

If I substituted a plant like, water sprite, and given that hornwort (in my experience) grows very quickly, would you say that I could do smaller water changes? I would like that idea, though 5 to 10 gallons doesn't sound all that hard.

And thanks about the water temp tip, I had somehow missed that about the shrimp.

I actually had the idea that if I got a large enough colony of shrimp going, that they could serve as food for the rams...thought know that I think about telling other people that, it seems like the bio load would be too high...

Thank you both for the replies!
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Cathy G
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Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: 2006.12.30(Sat)22:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rams are nitrogen sensitive, and you will be hauling lots of water if you go the RO route. I did it for months... Especially if you want to breed them. You've got to keep the nitrates under 5-10 for weeks. Usually this means a water change every night.

The tetras will eat the ram fry. If you want fry, you should get another kind of fish unless you are going to pull the eggs and hatch them yourself. In that case, you'll need another 10 and a very well seeded sponge filter and even more RO water!

If you are sure your rams will not eat the eggs, the wrigglers or the free swimmers, then skip the tetras and go with a couple of pencil fish.

I ended up getting into breeding rams and buying an RO unit. Seriously, I was hauling 15gallons every 2 days... it got old. Very old.

You will need to add back minerals and stuff to the RO water. Kent makes some good products, RO Right, pH Stable and pH reducer... I just mix RO with some tap to get my water parameters where I need them.

Cathy
P.S. In case you are interested, here is a link to my site, click on my aquarium link at the bottom right and you'll get way more information on breeding rams.
http://www.cathygeier.com
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Akona
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Joined: 30 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2006.12.30(Sat)23:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm perfectly willing to do that many water changes if it means I get to see these guys breed!

I choose the tetras after reading the dither fish section on the krib.com, http://www.thekrib.com/Apisto/dithers.html, which is a website devoted to dwarf cichlids (apistograma, kribs, and a few ram keepers, too). I thought they'd be good, as they seemed to be one of the species that those folks had good luck with.

In any case, the ram pair is untested, which means I might have to rear the fry separately, something I will be prepared to do.

Tap water mixing seems the best. Defiantly going to be careful and test everything, and often.

Hehe, I've already book marked your site Smile
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Minsc
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Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Location: Framingham, Mass

PostPosted: 2006.12.31(Sun)14:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Akona wrote:

To Minsc:

If I substituted a plant like, water sprite, and given that hornwort (in my experience) grows very quickly, would you say that I could do smaller water changes? I would like that idea, though 5 to 10 gallons doesn't sound all that hard.


Healthy plants will always improve the quality of the water, but I don't think it is advisable to do smaller water changes unless you have really researched different methods. And a ram tank probably isn't the best place to start experimenting Smile

If you are interested in using plants as filtration, you can check out this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Ecology-Planted-Aquarium-Practical-Scientific/dp/0967377315/sr=11-1/qid=1167597675/ref=sr_11_1/002-5214801-7075216
and this article: http://www.barrreport.com/articles/433-non-co2-methods.html

For your tank, I would advise between 30-40 watts full spectrum/daylight flourescent or compact flourescent bulbs.

One thing you may want to consider, instead of mixing RO and tap, instead using straight RO and adding 1-2 dGH with Seachem equilibrium, or this product:
http://www.gregwatson.com/proddetail.asp?prod=GHBooster
And adding a good trace mix such as Seachem Flourish as directed on the bottle.
This will go a long way in keeping the plants happy.
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Akona
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Joined: 30 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2007.01.01(Mon)22:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And a ram tank probably isn't the best place to start experimenting Smile


no kidding. I'm gonna take it very carefully, I just got over excited with chirstmas and every thing Embarassed

Quote:
For your tank, I would advise between 30-40 watts full spectrum/daylight flourescent or compact flourescent bulbs.


That's what thought, I've got 40 watts, though they are GE's plant and aquarium bulb.
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