bye bye cherries
rams are very good hunters, in my experience. they are also fairly easy to sex compared to some cichlids (angels and discus, for instance) The best way is to keep an eye on the ones in the lfs. the males will usually be larger, with taller "spikes" on their dorsal fin, where females will have a spike, but it is usually "dagger" shaped, where the males is thinner, longer, and looks kind of like a feather sticking out of a hat. happy/healthy females will also have a pink/purple hue to their bellies that is a hint that they're ready to spawn. If you're lucky, you can find a pair, usually around decorations, filters, or huddled in a corner of the tank, courting, and possibly spawning at the LFS. Healthy rams will spawn, but the fry are notoriously difficult to keep alive to adulthood. I've had multiple spawns, a few of which made it to the free swimming stage, but none ever got larger than 1/3". I don't have any rams currently (got a couple pairs of kribs that i'm attempting to breed at the moment to build up my confidence for another go at rams or apistos), but the next time I try to breed them, I would remove the parents and hand-rear the fry with microworms, baby brine shrimp, etc. without the possibility of a hungry or stressed parent making a snack of the babies. I would also rate them medium difficulty, but it's mostly because of unexplained death and overall fragile nature of many big operation fish farm stock. If you find a reputable dealer, they're supposedly quite hardy, and much easier to breed. I would also recommend staying away from the gold variety, as they've never lasted more than a month for me. Oh, and a ten gallon with a pair or two pairs of guppies should be perfect. if you're intending to breed, also include a few flat rocks or bare pieces of driftwood for spawning sites. rams will occasionally use caves, but they usually spawn on hard flat surfaces or in pits in the substrate. Best of luck if you get some rams, and let us know how you like your new friends
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