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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made the leap into cichlids today with a quartet of Bolivian Rams for my heavily planted 40g. I've heard so much about how much personality the cichlids have that I got my heart set on having a breeding pair. On a suggestion, I got four in the hopes that there will eventually be a bonded pair. I understand that sexing them is very difficult. The other two will be moved (if necessary) to other tanks. It's a 6 month old tank with dither fish to give them courage.

Here's my question:

The darn suckers are schooling better than some tetras right now! I wish I could take a video. I spent so much time arranging breaks in line of sight, caves, and thickets of vals for them to keep aggression down and they're acting like a group of teenage girls at the mall. Is this normal with newly introduced rams? Will they grow out of it? Right now they can barely stand being out of sight of each other.
 

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If a pair forms, those two will continue to stay close to each other most of the time, and the others will be chased until they're out of sight. Nothing too bad, as long as there are plenty of hiding places and the line of sight is broken up, as I gather from the description of your tank that it is. Often they'll lay eggs right after being introduced to your tank if they're sexually mature, and often they need several tried to "get it down" and not eat the eggs or lose the larvae. If this happens and you have more than one female, the male will often breed with the other female after losing a clutch and will chase his former mate away. About how big are they right now? If they're of breeding size, you could try turning up the heat a bit. A temperature of around 80F degrees seems to get them in the mood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They're about two inches each, not including their tails. I'm never too clear on how I should measure fish. They've colored up nicely now that they're out of the empty tank at the store and have a lot of hiding places.

They're not schooling as much now, they've started to spread out as they've settled. I'm hearing a lot about how stores don't tend to carry the females, so I'm worried I have four males. I do have one that doesn't have a clear stripe through the eye, so I have my fingers crossed that's a girl. Is there something about the shape of the pelvic fins I can look out for?

I love how peaceful these fish are. They completely ignore the betta imbellis (who ignore them in turn) and peacefully join in with my cories. Having 15 other fish roaming has them bravely taking in the entire tank already. My husband has declared that my rams are nothing more than oversized cories after watching them all gang up on a strip of zuchini alongside the cories. The rams chase each other a bit but nothing serious. I can't believe I waited this long to add them to the tank.
 

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The males tend to usually be larger then the females, and their fins tend to show longer fin extensions. Behavior of dominance is another way. The more aggressive ones will more then likely be the males, while the females take more of a submissive role which will be more easily noticeable when they become sexually mature, and they are a sub-family of Geophaginae which is mostly the geophagus "earth eater" family of cichlids. Corys are part of the catfish family :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, Cryptic. As they set up shop, I think I've got four males. All four seem to take it into their heads that certain areas belong to them. Not a bad thing as they've sorted themselves out peacefully and still hang out as a group, but no breeding pairs.

He was joking about the 'rams are cories' comment. They look very different, but the cories will happily school with them and the rams appreciate the company. They've gotten so brave that they're at the front as soon as they spot me.
 

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When you attempt to measure a fish include the tail as well, but can you get pictures? because if they are as "small" as you say they are theres a good chance they are still juvenile's.
 

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Rams are awesome. I have a GBR and he used to school with my black skirt tetras (I think he believed he was a black skirt!). I have since moved them, and he has become the king of a particular corner in the tank. He chases the cories and others away, but never hurts anyone. The cories are brave though......they all gather up and lay right in his area, until he decides they have to go. hahaha
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Rams are awesome. I have a GBR and he used to school with my black skirt tetras (I think he believed he was a black skirt!). I have since moved them, and he has become the king of a particular corner in the tank. He chases the cories and others away, but never hurts anyone. The cories are brave though......they all gather up and lay right in his area, until he decides they have to go. hahaha
My rams are so laid back with the other species. My albino cories don't see all that well and the rams don't mind them blundering about. My baby bulldog pleco can escort them out of his cave without issue. The only altercation I've seen was one of my betta males deciding to stand his ground over a tasty tidbit and the ram gave way. Bettas are tough little pukes. I've seen the rams liplock on occasion at feeding time, but nothing serious and certainly no damage.
 
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