Conflicting Info on Sexing Bolivian Rams - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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Conflicting Info on Sexing Bolivian Rams

Hey all, I got two juvenile Bolivian Rams a few months ago, and they are very happy in my 60g, have colored up so much compared to at the shop, and eating like pigs. Now that they've grown a bit, I can see that one is getting very distinctive extensions on the tail, like I would associate with a male's finnage on other dwarf cichlids.

So, if this was an apisto or GBR, I would just assume that one was male. However, I have read several places that in Bolivians, the female gets the finnage and stronger coloration, similar to kribensis. So, who is the girl? The "fancy" one, or the simple-finned one?

Both are mainly silver, black and yellow colored with the red in the fins, regular "not spawning" colors, no significant color difference between them right now.

This isn't my first time keeping the species, but I kept single fish in the past and didn't much care what gender they were since they weren't going to breed all on their own. Now, I see the two I have are following eachother around, hanging out very close, and generally acting like they are bonding as a pair (I'll note that in the store, I got them both instead of just one because they were getting along very well and didn't seem to be engaging in territory disputes). I think they are still a bit young to spawn, though there are a ton of stones in there, and even a cave, in the event they decide to. But if I can figure out who my girl is, I can watch for her to look gravid ahead of time.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 05:46 AM
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I think just wait and watch, seems that if they are paired up nicely already your ahead of the game. Could also be they are the only two of a kind in a big ol tank but time will tell.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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I think just wait and watch, seems that if they are paired up nicely already your ahead of the game. Could also be they are the only two of a kind in a big ol tank but time will tell.
In the store, there were 2 others hiding from them, but the ones I got were hanging out together like they were just besties already, so I kind of suspected they might be a pair already bonding naturally. I was like "gimmie those two that buddied up", knowing darn well I'd likely end up with spawns some day. I already have apistos breeding, and used to raise kribs and angels, so I wasn't too worried about what to do with babies if it happened. I figured at worst they got along nicely, even if they weren't opposite sex. I'm fairly sure now that my hunch about them pairing was right now that they are bigger and still so chummy.

Still want to know who my girl is so I can name them. 😉 Besides, I may try putting them in a 10g alone when she looks ready so they can care for the fry in peace, at least the first time, before putting the parents back in the big tank once the fry are a few weeks old. There are rainbowfish, tetras, yoyos, and a young pair of veil angels in their community, so I doubt they could protect the babies from so many mouths. I mean, it's planted so dense I can scarcely find my fish except at feeding, but still.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 06:39 AM
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Cool deal.

Yeah even if they did protect the eggs well enough once the babies get a little hard to coral they start getting picked off much easier.

Good luck sexing them, hopefully some more insight will come along. I havent had any of those guys in a very long time and dont recall ever breeding them.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by MissCris View Post
Hey all, I got two juvenile Bolivian Rams a few months ago, and they are very happy in my 60g, have colored up so much compared to at the shop, and eating like pigs. Now that they've grown a bit, I can see that one is getting very distinctive extensions on the tail, like I would associate with a male's finnage on other dwarf cichlids.

So, if this was an apisto or GBR, I would just assume that one was male. However, I have read several places that in Bolivians, the female gets the finnage and stronger coloration, similar to kribensis. So, who is the girl? The "fancy" one, or the simple-finned one? ...
Generally it's as you're thinking - the male will tend to get the longer trailers on the fins and more coloring. I think what you may be reading as far as that goes is that in some cases the females also can develop some similar traits in given fish which can make it a little hard to sex them when younger. For example, not all that unusual for some females to have at least some pointing to fins and short trailers. With nothing to compare or against another female with less of that, it might mistakenly be taken to be a male.

As they mature things usually become clear. In addition to fins, coloring, head shape, males also typically grow faster and get quite a bit larger. Differences in behavior also starts to show with males tending to be much more dominant and aggressive. Especially so if there are other males. I don't think that I've had any males that got along AT ALL. If yours are beyond the tiny stage and they're still chummy that would be a good sign.

Edit to add:

Meant to say too as far as raising fry... Good idea to pull them into another tank. They'll work together preparing a spot and watching over the eggs initially and they're good at protecting them and can make things miserable for other fish otherwise. Also tend to breed more readily when together in a smaller tank. Water change usually will trigger mine.

But at some point the female starts to become more the one to watch out for as far as eating eggs or fry. If I want to try to raise the batch then I'll usually pull the female out after they're free swimming for several days to maybe a week. If I don't, then they're always goners. The males tend to be good fathers and I've never seen them eat them. At least up through the point that the fry are big enough to be eating well and he's not doing much of anything for them anymore. Then I'll pull him just to be safe.

Last edited by Mike A.; 05-04-2019 at 07:45 AM. Reason: add info
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Yah, only my kribs were able to fully guard fry in community tanks. My apistos do well for a week, then fry scatter too much. I let dry free swim for a week, then take mom and dad away and raise fry without them after that. If spawns happen in the community, I have to siphon the babies out and move to a rearing tank or I lose them to tetras and rasboras too easily, but catching the fry with a siphon is not the easiest...
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