German blue ram bullying betaram

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Hey, so i recently got 2 GBR and a clown loach and the 2 rams had nice colour, but when i put them into my tank 1 ram (male i think) slowly lost colour due to being bullied by the larger female ram. the male regains colour but only when sifting through the gravel but is soon bullied away and loses a bit of colour, mostly the dark black spot, he is still very active and normal looking, doesnt seem ill, just a wimp tbh

its worst after feeding when they like to sift through gravel for food andshe bullies him to the back half of the tank, i have lots of plants for cover but he always comes back out for more really quickly.

is this normal behaviour?, he has a couple tiny nip marks which have turned white but its not ick


should i get 1 more ram? i cant rearrange the tank because aquascape. i dont plan on getting many fish, getting an oto and 6 tetras, that should be me for a 15g, some may argue thats too much. (i will rehome the clown when its comes to it)

any GBR experience out here?
 

Nick72

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Yeh GBR are real jerks.

Putting them in a 15g that is too small for them pretty much guarantees aggression, but I've had the same issue in a 50g.

First thing, can you post pictures of both, just to check they're not both the same sex.

It's more common for the male to harass the female rather than the other way round.
 
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The bullied suspect male is the front one, the larger suspect female is the rear one. LFS said they were a pair but once the net is in the tank they all lose colour so i cant be too high on expectations. The second picture is the suspect male with some colour loss, Both feeding absolutely fine, both perky, no signs of distress other than natural behaviour perhaps

IMG_2800.PNG
 

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also please ignore the dirty side of the tank glass lol, its on the outside and its the only bad side. dont judge :D

im aware the suspect female has a nice black dot, but she has the rounded rear dorsal fin and the pink belly, which throws me off, althought the suspect male has loads of blue spangles but very little pink. id go with 2 females if i had too but i really am no expert

the first picture is 1 hour after having them in the tank, the second single fish pic is today, so 6 days later
 
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ok cheers bud. in a tank full of spooked rams what should i look for to make sure i get a male this time around? tbh they seemed to be lacking males. may see if they have electric blue rams and get a male of them

returning the healthier fish shouldnt be an issue to a big store shouldnt be an issue should it, to swap? ill ring them tomorrow, im going in tomorrow for an oto too.

hope the new potential male doesnt reverse the roles lol
 

Nick72

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There are a few things to look for in a male, none are conclusive on there own, but if a GBR ticks most of them then it's likely a male.

  • Body shape less rounded around the belly.
  • First 2-3 spikes on dorsal fin are black and high.
  • Dorsal fin tails off with a point.
  • No luminous dots in the big black dot on side.
  • No red belly.
  • Anal fin finishes slightly pointed (less rounded).

and my favorite:

  • Anal fin extends beyond level with beginning of caudal fin.
 
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having compared online pics and those bullet points they are becoming more obvious, thankyou. fingers crossed all goes well tomorrow
 

sparkyweasel

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Otos are really sociable fish, it would be better to get a group than a single one.
They are also very often in poor health when they are imported; if they look thin in the shop, I would leave them there. If you go back in a few days and they look plump, then they are less of a gamble.
 
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thanks for the advice, i normally ask how long they have had them too. the rams they had for over 3 months due to furlough so i assumed they were on the better end of the scale.

its a fairly reputable shop maidenhead aquatics but its not the shop its the people that matter, i dont mind 2 otos because they are really small, im not sure about 3+ though dont wanna have a packed out lower area of the tank, although their is alot of plants and cover, maybe 3 is good:happy:
 

alto

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. i dont plan on getting many fish, getting an oto and 6 tetras, that should be me for a 15g, some may argue thats too much. (i will rehome the clown when its comes to it)
Please return the clown loach now - they are a very sociable fish that can grow quite large quite quickly when kept in a suitably large tank

https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/features/time-to-get-serious-about-clowns/

https://www.loaches.com/species-index/clown-loach-chromobotia-macracanthus

Allowed a minimum of 75 gallons or more, young Clown Loaches thrive in groups. They require large turnover, efficient filtration systems and current supplied by additional power-heads, frequent water-changes and great attention to cleanliness in the aquarium.

Clown Loaches are often sold at the very immature size of 1.5 inches (4cm) or so, but they should not be considered for the smaller (or even medium-sized) aquarium. They will grow quite rapidly from this cute size to around 5 inches (13cm), thereafter the growth slows somewhat,

They must be kept in groups. The absolute minimum recommendation is 5, but basically the more the merrier.


(I almost wish shops would not trade in clown loaches - their extreme cuteness as juveniles means that many are bought impulsively and few are housed appropriately - and not many shops even attempt to ensure suitable homes)

You don’t mention dimensions of your 15gal aquarium but I’d suggest just keeping your favourite single ram, the 2 likely females you have at the moment sound to get along quite well for non-breeding rams in a relatively small tank: the subdominant fish quickly returns to wherever she wants to be, eats, is active etc
(I’d make sure that food settles in back of the tank as well, so she can pick through plants etc)

- blue spangles in the black spot is one of the most dependable ways to determine sex in wild type coloured rams, eg, “Holland reds” (which now are bred everywhere, just as “German blues”) display heightened red coloring, including red belly in males
- while switching one ram may lead to a better matched “pair”, it may also lead to a more adverse “pair”

If you want to keep a “pair” of rams in this tank, I recommend choosing a couple from the sale tank that already appear to be going though the rituals of spawning, eg, protecting an area, cleaning a place, creating a shallow depression for eggs etc
This usually means staff will need to take some time netting the 2 fish

https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/mikrogeophagus-ramirezi/
lots of nice photos and good basic information
 
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Please return the clown loach now - they are a very sociable fish that can grow quite large quite quickly when kept in a suitably large tank
roughly 15 years ago i owned a clown loach for 3-4 years before giving it away and he seemed a happy chappy and didnt really grow too much which did bug me and that was in a 150l tank, i understand your concern but one day ill have a bigger tank and he/shewill be the titan to the babys. less than 6 months

tank size is 24x15x12, flat substrate, heavily planted

the weaker one feeds fine, they both have food from the left and right, its just when its alot sparcer and crumbs are to be had the dominant one becomes dominant, sometimes the dominant one retreats and lets her munch for a bit, its a weird dynamic. the weaker one has figured out i leave a flake or two floating on the top for her too.

alot of the GBR did have pink bellies its was really tough tryning to find a male, one stood out like a sore thumb, pure black but red belly, once the net was in, they all dart around and lose colour, the fishman has a tough job tbh.

i doubt i can return the weaker ram as, it has a fin nip which doesnt look great, i like the weaker ram more personality.

i was fairly set on a pair of rams as my main fish and they seem more of the type of fish that needs a pair due to how they pair off and do stuff together, ill try once more but if it comes to naught ill keep one and stop messing about. the sale tank is just a tank with about 20 GBR in, their really active difficult to see pairs

clown loach seems happy aswell he just swims around, goes next to both the others, even chills next to them at night time, i only found out about their socialness after purchasing, they did inform me of their size and disdain for people buying 1 and not realising their size.

Thanks for the link i generally do alot of research on fish and compatability that website looks good
 

alto

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they seem more of the type of fish that needs a pair due to how they pair off and do stuff together
The problem is that M ramirezi is not actually a pair bonding dwarf cichlid, so when people attempt to keep them as such, it often leads to one fish being harassed for various reasons; larger groups tend to do better long term but as they are such a small fish it’s difficult to convince people they need a large tank to be easily kept - tank decor is also important

Some (bred) lines of M ramirezi are more aggressive than others


But then you can also get it just right and end with a pair such as this

Beginning on post #318

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/green-pekoe-pond-40-litres.27575/page-16
 
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ah ok, thats interesting. i returned the dominant fish back to the shop and they are getting in more rams next week as they had about 8 females left and no males, in the shop tank i could see the pecking order in play aswell.

my fish was easily the most colourful once added back in the shop tank, i kinda miss her now haha.

picked up 4 oto fish for £12 didnt realise they were actually tiny, also asked for 6 neon tetras and got given 9 for £12 which is a bonus whoo

really hope the future male ram is chilled out, i have high hopes. probably done stocking my tank now, possibly a pair of guppies in a few months and that would be it.
 
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The problem is that M ramirezi is not actually a pair bonding dwarf cichlid, so when people attempt to keep them as such, it often leads to one fish being harassed for various reasons; larger groups tend to do better long term but as they are such a small fish it’s difficult to convince people they need a large tank to be easily kept - tank decor is also important



I have also found this to be true. A breeder that I used to buy from always mentioned how Rams thrive in large groups and that it dampens the aggression. However the desire to pair them off becomes the goal and their overall health and temperament in close quarters is overlooked. Shame, because they are beautiful fish but vastly misunderstood husbandry wise. If I remember correctly, where they exist in the wild, the waters are awfully acidic.
 
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