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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to the forum, not so new to the hobby. I've got a planted 40B, very low tech but heavily filtered. I've been running this tank for 6 years now. It started as an apisto breeder but I was too successful and stopped after 5 broods. It was then turned into a plant propagation tank for 4 years. I just rescaped and started stocking. I already have 10 rummy noses, 8 cardinals, 6 spotted cories and 8 ottos. I want to add 10 more cardinals and feature fish. I'm thinking 3 rams or "something similar". Wondering everyone's opinions and suggestions on that "something similar".

Any help is greatly appreciated
 

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If you get german rams, be prepared for the possibility that they will breed if you get three (unless you get all one sex). Behavior-wise in a community, they are somewhat comparable to apistos, though my experience was that most of the rams I had were slightly less territorial than my apistos were. That said, I think rams would make a beautiful specimen fish; they are among the most attractive small cichlids on the market, both the natural coloration and the morphs.

If you're keeping cardinals and rummynose, I assume you're running it at super-tropical temps already, so that limits your choice of feature fish a bit. Rams certainly do like those temperatures though.

You could possibly keep apistos or kribs if your tank isn't too hot, but kribs, while arguably one of the most colorful dwarf cichlids are also aeguably the most fecund, so I'd keep only females or only males if you don't want to go back to the "too good at breeding" problem. I started with 3 and ended up with 50 in a matter of months.

If you don't want cichlids, a trio of Madagascar rainbow fish would do ok in a warm tank (reportedly they can handle up to 89°F). The males' fins are just fabulous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you get german rams, be prepared for the possibility that they will breed if you get three (unless you get all one sex). Behavior-wise in a community, they are somewhat comparable to apistos, though my experience was that most of the rams I had were slightly less territorial than my apistos were. That said, I think rams would make a beautiful specimen fish; they are among the most attractive small cichlids on the market, both the natural coloration and the morphs.

If you're keeping cardinals and rummynose, I assume you're running it at super-tropical temps already, so that limits your choice of feature fish a bit. Rams certainly do like those temperatures though.

You could possibly keep apistos or kribs if your tank isn't too hot, but kribs, while arguably one of the most colorful dwarf cichlids are also aeguably the most fecund, so I'd keep only females or only males if you don't want to go back to the "too good at breeding" problem. I started with 3 and ended up with 50 in a matter of months.

If you don't want cichlids, a trio of Madagascar rainbow fish would do ok in a warm tank (reportedly they can handle up to 89°F). The males' fins are just fabulous.
Thank you so much for your quick reply!! Yes, I'm running my tank at 82°F. 😂 I kept kribs before and they bred a lot, but luckily the 2 pairs kept eating each other's babies so I only had to rehome a handful. I'm hoping if I get blue rams they wind up being all male's or all females but the ones at my lfs (which is unfortunately a petco) are impossible to tell apart.

This is my first non breeder/ propagation tank in about 8 years so I'm kind of rusty on stocking. Do you think I'd be okay adding 10 more cardinals? I love the way they shoal around my plants but with only 8 they tend to just move the school from one patch of plants to another. I've got 2 internal filters cycling about 200gph and a very well colonized sponge filter.

Sorry for being so long winded.
 

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You might be able to do another 10, depending on your filtration and cleaning schedule. Just remember rams are really grumpy about having clean water, so if you're stocked heavy then you'll need to be really on top of maintenance.

I'd start by adding 2 or 3 at a time to the existing school until they seem to be comfortable so you don't pack the tank more than needed, which will also let the bacteria adjust as you scale up without a disruptive mini cycle that could upset the rams. That's worked well for me when I'm ramping up my stocking in a tank (though I also only live 3 blocks from a nice local aquarium shop, so I tend to go about once a week anyway).

Expect the rams to fuss at the cories. Mine never hurt them at all or even really chased them. It was more like shooing rambunctious kids away and telling them to go play outside, and was sort of entertaining to watch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You might be able to do another 10, depending on your filtration and cleaning schedule. Just remember rams are really grumpy about having clean water, so if you're stocked heavy then you'll need to be really on top of maintenance.

I'd start by adding 2 or 3 at a time to the existing school until they seem to be comfortable so you don't pack the tank more than needed, which will also let the bacteria adjust as you scale up without a disruptive mini cycle that could upset the rams. That's worked well for me when I'm ramping up my stocking in a tank (though I also only live 3 blocks from a nice local aquarium shop, so I tend to go about once a week anyway).

Expect the rams to fuss at the cories. Mine never hurt them at all or even really chased them. It was more like shooing rambunctious kids away and telling them to go play outside, and was sort of entertaining to watch.
I will definitely take your advice on the stocking aspect especially considering my hubby and my child thought it would be cute to add "a couple guppies" last night.... They thought the cories and the rummy noses would eat the babies if they had any.... I now have more guppy babies than I can count. I think I'm going to postpone getting more cardinals and add the rams as soon as I can keep my parameters stable. My ammonia test was about .1 this morning when I tested.

I'm overly obsessed with tank upkeep. I do daily 2.5- 5G changes, once a month I do a 10G (25%) change and rinse filter medium, every 3 months I prune and maintain plants. I only run sponges and micro floss in my filters now because all my tanks are over 10 years old. This particular tank cycles water through at 50X per hour plus I run a large sponge filter. I test my water every morning at lights on and a half hour after lights out (I run lights for 8 hours). I got into the habit and I'm now retired in my 30s so, yea, I'm delving back into enjoying the hobby again instead of seeing it as a job.

I'm looking forward to having rams. I never got into breeding them because the demand I had was for larger cichlids and, for some reason, apistos and plecos/ wood cats. Watching them interact they remind me of betta. I love their grumpiness. I plan on just getting a trio, though I might get 4 just in case, I have a 20G long "garbage can" tank that houses my plant clippings until propagate and I use/sell them that would make a good home for the extra one.

I've done some research and I know my current parameters are pretty far off from the normal breeding standards for rams (my tank is dhk 2 ph 6.5) but I'm not sure if that's changed since most rams are now commercially bred. I tried to get my parameters as close to petcos as I could but my ph never hits 7 without adding ph+ and I refuse to put that much effort in. The problem that I'm afraid of happening is that the rams will be so used to the water at petco, which usually has ammonia of between .25 and .5 and traces of nitrites and nitrates. I usually have 0 ammo 0 nitrites and trace nitrates (from liquid ferts). I'm afraid of shocking them because I have heard they are very sensitive to changes in parameters, not necessarily sensitive to "bad" parameters. Do you think I should drip acclimate them?
 

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I would go ahead and drop acclimate if you're concerned about the parameters being too far off. Commercial breeding of rams has made them a bit more tolerant than they used to be, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to err on the side of caution. I adjusted mine by putting them and the pet shop water in a mixing bowl and adding a cup of my tank water every 10 minutes until it was about 70% my water in the bowl, and that seemed to be fine. I've also done "pop and drop" with the ones from my LFS, but they are close by and have the same municipal water source as I do, so parameters are pretty close already.

If you want to bump up your ph a little without constantly adding chemicals, you could drop a small media bag of crushed coral into the filter. That will slightly increase the harness and help offset the low ph naturally, and you can pretty much set and forget (though water tests should be used to monitor it until you know how much it impacts your tank).

Good luck with the guppies. You'll have millions soon unless the rams start eating the extra babies. My angelfish did a pretty good job controlling the population, but the rams might take a stab at the really small fry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would go ahead and drop acclimate if you're concerned about the parameters being too far off. Commercial breeding of rams has made them a bit more tolerant than they used to be, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to err on the side of caution. I adjusted mine by putting them and the pet shop water in a mixing bowl and adding a cup of my tank water every 10 minutes until it was about 70% my water in the bowl, and that seemed to be fine. I've also done "pop and drop" with the ones from my LFS, but they are close by and have the same municipal water source as I do, so parameters are pretty close already.

If you want to bump up your ph a little without constantly adding chemicals, you could drop a small media bag of crushed coral into the filter. That will slightly increase the harness and help offset the low ph naturally, and you can pretty much set and forget (though water tests should be used to monitor it until you know how much it impacts your tank).

Good luck with the guppies. You'll have millions soon unless the rams start eating the extra babies. My angelfish did a pretty good job controlling the population, but the rams might take a stab at the really small fry.
Omg lol I totally forgot about the crushed coral 😂 I had to do that for African cichlids I actually have a bag of crushed dead "live rock" in my 220G goldfish tank filter for that purpose. My hubby uses it in his turtle tanks to keep the hardness up too. I guess I've spent so much time with SA cichlids that's all I'm used to now.

I, stupidly, popped and dropped my my first additions- cories and ottos. It put me into a cycle and I lost 3 cories, surprisingly every Otto survived. When I added the cardinals and rummy noses I popped and dropped them in a 5G bucket and then netted them and transferred. I lost 2 rummy noses and a cardinal, but I didn't start a cycle. Im assuming the losses were bad stock, I bought them out of both (12 rummy noses, 9 cardinals) and the ones that didn't make it were already struggling in the bag. I think I'll see if they can give me a gallon of water and drip acclimate in a 5G bucket over the course of an hour. Thank you so much for your help!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Plant Pet supply Fish supply Organism Grass
Plant Pet supply Fish supply Organism Grass


don't know why it posted twice, but there it is... I rescaped again and am dealing with the bailout now. I'll be removing more of the java fern and replacing it with better cuttings. Will most likely replace anubias with swords and add more aponongoton, crypts and maybe some cabomba. I'm not looking for the clover to carpet but rather have a few dainty tufts around the clay pots. Substrate is gravel but there's a layer of laterite and plant substrate (forgot what kind) for the bottom inch and I use root tabs. I also micro dose liquid npk and use a 3/4 dose of API CO2 boost. I recently passed on all of my "high tech" gear (pressurized CO2, farm grade HO LED grow lights, dosimeter (sic?), sump tank etc) to my friend to take over my plant propagation business so this low tech thing is kicking my butt. No feature fish yet as I am currently attempting to clear the tank of guppies and I am honestly struggling 😂
 
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