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Healthy Male Ram hiding a lot, CO2?

Sammy Islam

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12 Mar 2019
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692
Location
Hertfordshire
Hey people hope all is well!
Recently my male ram has been hiding a lot, he seems to be out and about during the 2nd half of the photo period. When he's hiding, i can usually find him hanging out in the left hand corner in the rotala. He's still eating loads but just hiding. Hiding so much the shrimp are confident to come out a lot more.

My first thought was high CO2, but nothing has changed in months and he's usually always out and about without any signs of stress. I thought maybe because he has got much bigger the CO2 is effecting him more. I consider him the biggest fish because he's really thick (even though my "red robin gourami" is bigger in size). The gourami is also showing signs of stress by breathing really slowly and not moving alot compared to the smaller honey gouramis.

So i have turned my CO2 down, drop checker green, but he hasn't come out of hiding. I also have good surface agitation, from a lily pipe and a small pump in the opposite corner and do big 80% water change a week. He's fully out and about after lights off, when the co2 levels are much lower.

My second thoughts were the male and female had laid eggs and maybe he was guarding them, but thats doubtful as i don't think they have paired, and the female can be seen pretty much all the time.

Tank info:
• AS900 186L (probably 150L with soil, hardscape & plants.)
• Filter - oase biomaster 600 with glass lily and surface skimmer intake.
• Additional small pump in opposite corner to glassware
• Lighting - twinstar 900SA II 100% 10/11cm above water, 8hrs total photoperiod, 45m ramp up & down.
• Water - Tap, degassed PH 7.9, GH22, KH 13, with CO2 PH7.3, temp 24°c.
•EI ferts, co2 on 2.5hours before lights, and off 1hr 15m before lights off.
 
Last edited:

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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He's fully out and about after lights off, when the co2 levels are much lower.
This seems an indication that respiratory effects are the source of his behaviour changes (but you may still need to treat with some medication to reverse the issues)
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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Water - Tap, degassed PH 7.9, GH22, KH 13, with CO2 PH7.3, temp 24°c.
I was also going to suggest possibly decreasing temperature (for higher dissolved oxygen) but hesitate as you’re already at 24C - perhaps sift through Filipe Oliveira comments re his breeding rams, there’s some back and forth on temperatures to keep rams (and discus) ... I just don’t recall which temp FO is keeping his rams (definitely closer to 23/24 than 27/28)

That water hardness will also act as a stressor for M ramirezi (it’s more difficult to predict for your Red Robin gourami as they’re likely a hybrid), within a group not all fish will react the same, so it’s not unusual for your male ram to be potentially more affected than your female ram
(I wonder if they aren’t breeding re water parameters, it’s usually fairly obvious when M ramirezi spawn, but some pairs can be very low key, and go unnoticed in a heavily planted tank)
 

Sammy Islam

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Sorry I don’t have a lot of ideas but I’m very sceptical of heavy metal poisoning ... it’s unlikely to affect a single fish (especially as invertebrates are usually MUCH more susceptible), most water conditioners also contain some active ingredients designed to chelate normal “possible” levels of heavy metals in tap water etc

This type of behaviour is unfortunately not unusual in domestic M ramirezi

Can you isolate this fish and feed levamisole~food?
You might also start with metronidazole~food which is much more palatable (and will treat some different possible pathogens)
Before beginning with medicated food, you might treat with an external parasite remedy and see if that impacts fish behaviour - this can usually be easily done in the main tank with minimal impact to plants and invertebrates (just don’t choose a copper remedy!)

It’s possible that both the male ram and red gourami have been stressed (perhaps even by the CO2/O2 levels) for sometime, and consequently, low levels of pathogens which are normally present in fish (and Life) have increased and are now impacting the fish (which are now showing symptoms of sensitivity to previously acceptable CO2/O2 levels)
As many pathogens have some part of their path of infection in gill tissue, treating for external parasites may alleviate symptoms, though I’d also incorporate some other changes in tank conditions (eg, adding a midweek 50% water change)
Depending upon your plant growth, it may be possible to slow this (re Filipe Oliveira, Jurijs mit JS methods) and then you should also be able to reduce CO2 levels without negative impact on plant/algae health

I agree that most dwarf cichlids can be more sensitive to reduced oxygen/increased CO2 levels
But I’d expect to also observe (much) more rapid shallow breaths with reduced activity - and this should alleviate when you reduce CO2 levels

If you’ve picked up The Manual of Fish Health, reread the discussions on fish respiration (and compare to what you’re observing)
Thanks, I have reduced the CO2 more and he has been a little more active today, the gourami has improved too. Drop checker is a solid green rather than lime, i have also reduced the time before the co2 comes on as it takes less time to get to the stable ph i'm currently targetting. The tank has also been trimmed so there's "maximum" flow until the rotala grow back.

I will do more water changes from now as i have reduced the CO2 to reduce the chances of algae bloom and more importantly helps the fish.

I haven't medicated them since when i put them in. Maybe usuing the esha200 would be a good place to start.
 
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Raws69

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5 Oct 2020
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Essex
Hi

i’m no expert, but it’s unlikely to be co2 related as I understand the symptoms are normally gasping at the surface and erratic swimming. If I’m reading your details correctly your co2 profile is 7.9 to 7.3 at lights on which to be honest seems low, not high. Assuming you have a heavily planted tank minimum should be green drop checker at lights on.

agree with Alto, unlikely to be metals as my understanding is that shrimp would be affected first.

from what I’ve read Rams can be very sensitive to water conditions have you tested the usual amonia /nitrite levels?
 

Sammy Islam

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Hertfordshire
Hi

i’m no expert, but it’s unlikely to be co2 related as I understand the symptoms are normally gasping at the surface and erratic swimming. If I’m reading your details correctly your co2 profile is 7.9 to 7.3 at lights on which to be honest seems low, not high. Assuming you have a heavily planted tank minimum should be green drop checker at lights on.

agree with Alto, unlikely to be metals as my understanding is that shrimp would be affected first.

from what I’ve read Rams can be very sensitive to water conditions have you tested the usual amonia /nitrite levels?
None of the fish are gasping or even swimming near the top, so thats why i thought it was more of a problem to the two biggest fish in the tank.

Drop checker was lime green at lights on and pretty much yellow after an hour. Now a nice solid green the whole way through and they seem a bit more active. My ph drop might seem low to you but you have to consider i have a kh of 13. So it's harder for the dissolved CO2 to drop the PH, but doens't mean i haven't got enough if you are measuring PH alone to gage CO2
 

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