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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 20 gallon long moderate-heavily planted tank that houses 4 nerite snails, 1 mystery snail, 2 amanos, 6 pangio semicincta (kuhlis), and 10 pangio cuneovirgata (dwarf kuhli). I would consider 10 cuneovirgata to have the bioload of 5 regular kuhli, maybe less.

Long story short, the most activity I see throughout the day is the shrimp moving around. I am dying to get some active fish in there and I am hooked on Bolivian Rams and would love to get one (any tips on them would be great, especially types of foods).

I was wondering if there are any other active compatible fish for the mid/upper regions of the tank (keep in mind it's only 12" high). Preferably not a fish that requires a very large school as most tiny fish are pretty expensive at my LPS.

 

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Hi,

Bolivian Rams (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus) need a 30 gallon aquarium at minimum. They will not be able to thrive long-term in a 20 gallon long.
 

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I will offer an alternative opinion. In my experience a 20 long would be fine for a pair or two. Good structure for territory and they will be happy happy


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A 20 with plenty of cover would be better than a larger tank that's fairly bare, so I think a pair would be okay. It's sorta a judgement call based on the individual and their experiences. If you wanted to be less on the fence and love smaller cichlids, check out some apistos! Love those guys
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I will offer an alternative opinion. In my experience a 20 long would be fine for a pair or two. Good structure for territory and they will be happy happy


A 20 with plenty of cover would be better than a larger tank that's fairly bare, so I think a pair would be okay. It's sorta a judgement call based on the individual and their experiences. If you wanted to be less on the fence and love smaller cichlids, check out some apistos! Love those guys

Wouldn't a pair get aggressive while breeding? I was also looking at apistos but I was leaning towards a more longer-lived dwarf cichlid, hence why I was considering the Bolivian. I think my LPS only stocks male apistos as well.
 

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Bolivian rams are typically less aggressive than most dwarf cichlids. When I has a pair they bread in a community tank and only bothered anyone that actively tried to eat eggs/babies. A 20 long is plenty for them. I don't know if they are going to give you want you want though as dwarf cichlids tend to stay at the bottom of the tank. Also if they do breed it could be an issue with the kuhli's due to them sharing common area. Maybe something like honey gourami? They stay small, will go all over the tank but will mostly stay in the mid to high sections of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Bolivian rams are typically less aggressive than most dwarf cichlids. When I has a pair they bread in a community tank and only bothered anyone that actively tried to eat eggs/babies. A 20 long is plenty for them. I don't know if they are going to give you want you want though as dwarf cichlids tend to stay at the bottom of the tank. Also if they do breed it could be an issue with the kuhli's due to them sharing common area. Maybe something like honey gourami? They stay small, will go all over the tank but will mostly stay in the mid to high sections of the tank.


I just want a fish that I can see moving throughout the day, unlike the kuhlis, so I don't mind that they stay near the bottom. Sounds terrible but it's like staring at a tank with only plants. The rams have really caught my eye.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'd say go for the rams. As for schooling fish, you can't go wrong with some neons, cardinals, or rummy nose tetras.


I just asked the guy that runs the fish department at my LPS if he can sex them for me. He said he could definitely sex German blue rams but he would try his best with the Bolivians. So, not sure if I should get 1 or a pair or if I should get the German/Bolivian.

I had originally been interested in the Bolivians due to their longer lifespan and possibly being a little hardier than Germans.
 

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They are much hardier than the blue rams. There are many methods to sexing Bolivians. Size is one. Deeper color is another. I use the anal fin. The male will be more pointed and extend further into the tail. Works for me. Others use the head shape. I will see if I can find a picture or two to illustrate


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The male is in the left in this picture



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Discussion Starter #11
The male is in the left in this picture

Do you mean the male is the one with just the end of the tail showing on the left, not the one in the middle of the pic? The one in the middle looks like it has a pointed anal fin but what do I know. Lol :)
 

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I will share a few experiences and opinions.
First, in my opinion if you have two it should be male female. These fish have a strong pair bond once established. I have seen a healthy male stand guard over his sick female, and visa versa. When they spawn they work together. It is pretty cool to watch

Second, they will establish a hierarchy. If you have all males you won’t see their best color and the battles are sharper. Male female will fight as well. She will test him to ensure he is strong enough

Third, a male, female does not ensure a pair bond but you will see the flirting






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Discussion Starter #15
I will share a few experiences and opinions.
First, in my opinion if you have two it should be male female. These fish have a strong pair bond once established. I have seen a healthy male stand guard over his sick female, and visa versa. When they spawn they work together. It is pretty cool to watch

Second, they will establish a hierarchy. If you have all males you won’t see their best color and the battles are sharper. Male female will fight as well. She will test him to ensure he is strong enough

Third, a male, female does not ensure a pair bond but you will see the flirting


Thanks for taking the time to reply. I just want to get this right the first time. Hopefully I'll get a male/female, I'd hate to get 2 males and have them fight.

I was only going to get 1 if it was hard to sex them at the store but I read 1 ram would be stressed out.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to reply. I just want to get this right the first time. Hopefully I'll get a male/female, I'd hate to get 2 males and have them fight.

I was only going to get 1 if it was hard to sex them at the store but I read 1 ram would be stressed out.


They are a gregarious fish. I would not do one for any length of time.

They will fight a little, male-female, male-male, female-female. I call it a pillow fight. In the end they are Cichlids and will establish a hierarchy.

I feed mine mostly a pellet from kens fish. Earthworm sticks and black worms are favorites. In the beginning I feed the hikari vege rounds. They like those too. Enjoy this fish. Subtle beauty!


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Discussion Starter #17
They are a gregarious fish. I would not do one for any length of time.

They will fight a little, male-female, male-male, female-female. I call it a pillow fight. In the end they are Cichlids and will establish a hierarchy.

I feed mine mostly a pellet from kens fish. Earthworm sticks and black worms are favorites. In the beginning I feed the hikari vege rounds. They like those too. Enjoy this fish. Subtle beauty!


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Thanks, I definitely don't want to keep just 1 then. I was more so worried about them picking on the kuhlis but it seems they shouldn't. As long as the fighting is between them. I was wondering what kind of food they liked; I have bug bites, omega one veggie rounds, frozen brine and bloodworms. Might pick up another dry food.
 

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You will love how they beg for blood worms! Flakes have never worked well for me and my Rams

I “think” the loaches will be fine. They generally are more nocturnal. Cory’s are ok unless you want to breed


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Discussion Starter #19
So I still have my heart set on the rams but as a backup is there anything else I could stock in the tank instead of them?
 
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