Ram selection: Germans or Bolivian? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Ram selection: Germans or Bolivian?

Does anyone have experience with both types of rams? We're in the process of setting up a new tank with the hopes of slowly creating an environment rams will like. We've tried a few in the past, but none lasted past a week. Full disclosure we weren't being super judicious about our supplier (Chaim store rather than LFS) and it wasn't during a time we thought our cycling was good enough and weren't being very rigorous about testing our parameters.

This time were taking our time, getting the scape set up oriented toward their preferences, plan to stock much more thoughtfully. Ive read that the Bolivian rams are hardier, so we considered starting with them, but I love the look of the gold and I'd like to eventually master that challenge. From past threads it looks not uncommon to have both types in the same tank, so I'm wondering if anyone with experience with both can offer more insight about the differences beyond coloring and survival rate. Do they have similar temperments? Hang out in different parts of the tank? School differently? Can we prep our tank for either, or should we pick a lane now to increase the likelihood of success?

Thanks!

Not exactly my first project, but I'm doing something new and ambitious-for-me.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 05:49 PM
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I've had lots of both over the years. Germans are more fragile but if you can get anything tank bred in the US the difference isn't that big. Most chain stores will carry imports because they cost half the price. Rams don't school. Males in particular can be a little nasty towards their own, but are usually placid otherwise. If keeping GBRs, keep the temperature at least 80, Bolivians seem to tolerate it a little cooler. Frozen foods are a plus with either, but be mindful how tiny their mouths are when selecting foods. Anything much larger than adult brine shrimp are going to be quite the mouthful.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ah! I hadn't looked at temperature, thanks!

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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Males in particular can be a little nasty towards their own, but are usually placid otherwise.
We have a 29g, and planned to get a pair, though we aren't really expecting at this stage to get them to successfully breed. Have you had any trouble keeping them with other types of smaller fish? Or is aggression mostly targeted at reproductive competitors?

Not exactly my first project, but I'm doing something new and ambitious-for-me.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 06:14 PM
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If you get a gender pair and they settle in and are happy, they'll almost certainly breed. That's when they get protective and chase others. When not guarding eggs or fry, they leave dither fish alone entirely in my experience. It's other rams that seem to be perceived as a threat.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 02:49 AM
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I've kept both types of Rams together and separate from one another. My general impression is that German Rams are more fragile and more aggressive towards not only other German Rams, but also to bottom feeders and other cichlids in the tank. I kept Germans with a pair of Bolivians in a 46 gallon. The Germans would terrorize the Bolivians, an adult Angelfish, and Corys. I've also kept a single German in a more semi-aggressive tank with a Rainbow Shark, and Black Skirts and it didn't bother anything.

A 29 gallon would be a good size for a pair of either. IMO its comes down to what other tank mates they will have, how dense the tank is with hardscape and plants, and of course personal preference.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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. The Germans would terrorize the Bolivians, an adult Angelfish, and Corys.
Thank you for mentioning bottom feeders. We haven't decided on tank mates but we do love our Cory cats!

Not exactly my first project, but I'm doing something new and ambitious-for-me.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 07:41 PM
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I think they're a poor match just based on temperature preferences anyway.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 02:37 AM
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I’ve kept lots of German blues over the last 35 years. They are really sensitive and require a well established tank. I always say they like a “dirty clean tank”. In my tanks I use well established “dirty” filters with clean aged and warmed frequent (daily on my fry tanks) water changes. Weekly in main tank. A temp around 83-84 makes them really thrive. Any less than 82 and I find blue rams struggle. I currently have 2 males and 4 females in my 125 gallon with 3 female discus and 2 small Bristlenose plecos. When they bred which is every week for the most part, the breeding pair runs the tank. They make a 125 gallon 6 foot tank seem pretty small when they’re guarding. I also use oak leaf litter to add to the water parameters and they like to spawn on the leaves and the fry pick at them.
I would suggest getting your tank temp to 82+ degrees and letting it get nice and stable for a few months before trying German blues or gold rams. Then it’s consistency after that. Keep a nice regular routine going, just like keeping discus. After they get settled they become real hardy with what’s going on inside and outside the tank. My discus and rams deal with a 3.5 year old and a 7 year old bouncing everything off the tank including themselves.. lol and it doesn’t bother them at all. In fact they come over to see what’s going on more then anything. My kids do hand feed the fish so I’m sure they think there’s food in the chaos somewhere lol.
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