The Breeding Project: Dark Rams - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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The Breeding Project: Dark Rams

Another cichlid pair for future breeding stock.
I was able to find and have purchased a breeding pair of Dark Black Rams ( F3) from reputable breeder. These offspring are from stock originating from breeders in Israel. Here is a bit about them.



Black Rams... - Other Fish Discussions - CanadaPleco Forums


Some shadowy pictures of my pair from breeders listing:







More pictures and info to come !


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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 01:09 AM
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Hi @Discusluv,

I too enjoy dwarf cichlids including Apistogramma and M. ramirezi. One of our local club members, Dean, has been breeding the 'black rams' for about a year now and has found out something interesting. First they are very sensitive as to water quality, since you know discus that should not be an issue. Second, unlike blue Rams, the size is of the spawn is much, much smaller. Lastly, only about 25% of the spawn are black, the remainder are light colored. I don't believe they are 'albino' per se but almost that color of pigment, it appears that the 'black' / 'dark' gene is recessive. I hope they do well for you! ( I am guessing they were a little on the 'pricey' side / I know what our member paid for his?)
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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @Discusluv,

I too enjoy dwarf cichlids including Apistogramma and M. ramirezi. One of our local club members, Dean, has been breeding the 'black rams' for about a year now and has found out something interesting. First they are very sensitive as to water quality, since you know discus that should not be an issue. Second, unlike blue Rams, the size is of the spawn is much, much smaller. Lastly, only about 25% of the spawn are black, the remainder are light colored. I don't believe they are 'albino' per se but almost that color of pigment, it appears that the 'black' / 'dark' gene is recessive. I hope they do well for you! ( I am guessing they were a little on the 'pricey' side / I know what our member paid for his?)
Yes, pricey, but the cost was less than I have seen offered from online retailers who show pictures of extremely sub-par stock. The black color on this pair looks very, very good.



Not worried about water quality-- Im used to having to keep really good standards as far as that is concerned. Mostly just a bit concerned of there getting to me healthy and acclimating well to the aquarium.



All else Ill take as it comes. Ill definitely keep a journal up to document how the breeding project goes. But, also, just so others can see them in the aquarium, learn their behaviors, and get an idea of their care.
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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 02:21 PM
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I have seen these guys before and thought they were the most amazing fish. I didnt read the website you posted, so shame on me if this question is the first thing they covered. Are these, like many other fish in our hobby, a product of excessive inbreeding? Or are they naturally occurring in the wild and just very rare?
I only ask as the susceptibility to water conditions and spawning rates being lower than blues just screams inbreeding. I think we have all seen this in the hobby though, just interested.
Cannot wait to follow along with this amy!

Edit: and I was right...first thing I read was that it is a specifically bred mutation. Ughhh read first James you fool!
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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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These fish are lost in USPS no -mans land. Heart-broken as they should have been to me 3 days ago. Not worried that the vendor wont make good at this point ( I am getting assurances it will be made good) I am just sick that such a beautiful pair of fish are suffering or dead.

This is why I don't like to use vendors that ship USPS with fish.

This is the 3rd time that this has happened to me in 5 years when I have used vendors that used USPS shipping. Each time I protest that USPS shipping is not my thing and am willing to pay for overnight shipping and each time I am assured that USPS is "almost always" a flawless shipping experience. [I have paid for overnight shipping at least a dozen if not more-times from a handful of reputable vendors and the experience is always, indeed, flawless]. This time, however, I bid for these fish on Aquabid ( a pretty penny at that) and the shipping was predetermined in bid. I felt nervous about it but swallowed this nervousness because this vendor has shipped thousands of fish.

I have ordered USPS shipping of fish 5 times- 3 times of those 5 times were a problem.

Again, I feel so sick about these fish.


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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
These fish are lost in USPS no -mans land. Heart-broken as they should have been to me 3 days ago. Not worried that the vendor wont make good at this point ( I am getting assurances it will be made good) I am just sick that such a beautiful pair of fish are suffering or dead.

This is why I don't like to use vendors that ship USPS with fish.
Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear this. Just awful. Hopefully they arrive alive and still manage to acclimate, but I know the feeling in your gut right now. Fingers crossed for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @Discusluv,

I too enjoy dwarf cichlids including Apistogramma and M. ramirezi. One of our local club members, Dean, has been breeding the 'black rams' for about a year now and has found out something interesting. First they are very sensitive as to water quality, since you know discus that should not be an issue. Second, unlike blue Rams, the size is of the spawn is much, much smaller. Lastly, only about 25% of the spawn are black, the remainder are light colored. I don't believe they are 'albino' per se but almost that color of pigment, it appears that the 'black' / 'dark' gene is recessive. I hope they do well for you! ( I am guessing they were a little on the 'pricey' side / I know what our member paid for his?)
I wonder if that's not a matter of more than simple recessive genes, then? If crossing two visual animals with the same simple recessive gene (or set of genes), you'd expect all offspring to resemble the parents. I bred corn snake mutations for a couple of decades and got pretty familiar with genetics on that scale -think back to the punnet squares from science class. My immediate thought is that the yellow (typical) rams are co-dominant themselves, or else the black individuals will show dark color even if only carrying the gene.
For example:
BB (true dark ram)
Bb (visually a dark ram, but only carries one allele)
bb (normal ram)
But in that supposition, you'd still expect all dark fry from a spawn of 2 dark individuals. This thread has taken me down a rabbit hole. Just read a 66 page topic on another forum with people discussing their breeding trials. Seems some folks are experiencing 100% black fry. Which would lead me back toward thinking it's a recessive gene with a visual heterozygous form. At any rate, I hope these make it and we get to learn more!

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
These fish are lost in USPS no -mans land. Heart-broken as they should have been to me 3 days ago. Not worried that the vendor wont make good at this point ( I am getting assurances it will be made good) I am just sick that such a beautiful pair of fish are suffering or dead.

This is why I don't like to use vendors that ship USPS with fish.

This is the 3rd time that this has happened to me in 5 years when I have used vendors that used USPS shipping. Each time I protest that USPS shipping is not my thing and am willing to pay for overnight shipping and each time I am assured that USPS is "almost always" a flawless shipping experience. [I have paid for overnight shipping at least a dozen if not more-times from a handful of reputable vendors and the experience is always, indeed, flawless]. This time, however, I bid for these fish on Aquabid ( a pretty penny at that) and the shipping was predetermined in bid. I felt nervous about it but swallowed this nervousness because this vendor has shipped thousands of fish.

I have ordered USPS shipping of fish 5 times- 3 times of those 5 times were a problem.

Again, I feel so sick about these fish.
That's definitely a bummer. I hope they get found soon and that the whole experience is a setback rather than tragic. I've experienced this a couple times with plant orders and once with a shrimp order, definitely very frustrating, but many times worse when it's livestock. The shrimp actually wound up being perfectly fine...I hope the same can be said for your rams.


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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 10:59 PM
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Here's hoping USPS gets its ducks in a row. I've always been too anxious to ship anything living via USPS without going the Express route. Even then, I prefer FedEx Overnight or air freight via Delta or Southwest.

Maybe this situation will help motivate the seller to offer another shipping option for buyers in the future.
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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
I wonder if that's not a matter of more than simple recessive genes, then? If crossing two visual animals with the same simple recessive gene (or set of genes), you'd expect all offspring to resemble the parents. I bred corn snake mutations for a couple of decades and got pretty familiar with genetics on that scale -think back to the punnet squares from science class. My immediate thought is that the yellow (typical) rams are co-dominant themselves, or else the black individuals will show dark color even if only carrying the gene.
For example:
BB (true dark ram)
Bb (visually a dark ram, but only carries one allele)
bb (normal ram)
But in that supposition, you'd still expect all dark fry from a spawn of 2 dark individuals. This thread has taken me down a rabbit hole. Just read a 66 page topic on another forum with people discussing their breeding trials. Seems some folks are experiencing 100% black fry. Which would lead me back toward thinking it's a recessive gene with a visual heterozygous form. At any rate, I hope these make it and we get to learn more!
Hi @Blue Ridge Reef,

How about this:

bb = dark ram (two recessive genes)
bB or Bb = light ram with dark gene
BB= light ram

In theory 3/4 would be light colored and 1/4 would be dark colored.
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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @Blue Ridge Reef,



How about this:



bb = dark ram (two recessive genes)

bB or Bb = light ram with dark gene

BB= light ram



In theory 3/4 would be light colored and 1/4 would be dark colored.


That sounds about right when dealing with heterozygous traits. Two animals that are ď100% hetĒ would produce about 20-25% of their offspring in that particular color morph.


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post #11 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 03:59 AM
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So sorry to hear about your currently missing fish. Hoping for the best for you.

I order very little that has to be shipped to me as I have a really good LFS that will also do special orders when they can. But I do know what it's like when you see that rare or special fish that you really want. So I've ordered maybe half a dozen times and fortunately only one order got delayed 2 extra days over a weekend (USPS, of course). But in my case, all fish made it. Really hoping the same it true for you. Keep us posted.
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post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @Blue Ridge Reef,

How about this:

bb = dark ram (two recessive genes)
bB or Bb = light ram with dark gene
BB= light ram

In theory 3/4 would be light colored and 1/4 would be dark colored.
That works, assuming the hets are visual dark rams. Which does happen with a few things. But if you lay this out as you drew up, the dark rams would both be bb which would only produce dark fry. I'm thinking this must be a matter of visual hets. Or something more complex entirely.
Quote:
Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
That sounds about right when dealing with heterozygous traits. Two animals that are “100% het” would produce about 20-25% of their offspring in that particular color morph.
This is probably accurate -what makes it unusual is that hets aren't generally visual for the trait they are heterozygous for. I'm of the mind that these must be one of those exceptions in which the het animals are actually visual. In corn snakes, we had this with tessera, a striped corn mutation. It was at first believed to be a co-dominant gene, but after some breeding trials we realized that the Bb version of this gene looked just like the bb version. You couldn't tell them apart unless bred back to a normal. If 100% were striped, the animal was considered a "super tessera," and if 50% did, it was a regular tessera. But for love or money you couldn't distinguish the two apart. Wonder if dark rams aren't either a 2 gene combination or something a little more complex than just one recessive gene. I can't think of a scenario in which two animals showing the same recessive gene only make 25% of offspring showing it.
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post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
That works, assuming the hets are visual dark rams. Which does happen with a few things. But if you lay this out as you drew up, the dark rams would both be bb which would only produce dark fry. I'm thinking this must be a matter of visual hets. Or something more complex entirely.

This is probably accurate -what makes it unusual is that hets aren't generally visual for the trait they are heterozygous for. I'm of the mind that these must be one of those exceptions in which the het animals are actually visual. In corn snakes, we had this with tessera, a striped corn mutation. It was at first believed to be a co-dominant gene, but after some breeding trials we realized that the Bb version of this gene looked just like the bb version. You couldn't tell them apart unless bred back to a normal. If 100% were striped, the animal was considered a "super tessera," and if 50% did, it was a regular tessera. But for love or money you couldn't distinguish the two apart. Wonder if dark rams aren't either a 2 gene combination or something a little more complex than just one recessive gene. I can't think of a scenario in which two animals showing the same recessive gene only make 25% of offspring showing it.
I had this thought as well, that dark rams could be a codominant color mutation, and getting jet blacks could be their "super" variant. However, if that were the case, one should be able to breed a black ram to a normal ram and still get dark offspring. If that's not the case, then the signs point to it being a recessive trait with the heterozygous animals carrying a visual marker, like you're saying. It's very interesting.
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post #14 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SueD View Post
So sorry to hear about your currently missing fish. Hoping for the best for you.

I order very little that has to be shipped to me as I have a really good LFS that will also do special orders when they can. But I do know what it's like when you see that rare or special fish that you really want. So I've ordered maybe half a dozen times and fortunately only one order got delayed 2 extra days over a weekend (USPS, of course). But in my case, all fish made it. Really hoping the same it true for you. Keep us posted.
Thanks, Sue- I will let you all know. So far- nothing...


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post #15 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 01:48 PM
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That's a bummer Dluv, I hope they come through for you.

Farm tour that makes the Black Rams

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