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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,

NEWB - just getting my feet wet so to speak.
;)

I'm planning a Waterbox 25 Peninsula as my first planted aquarium. I've spent months watching YouTube videos attempting to learn whatever I can and planning this initial foray. Cichlid Rams seem to be the most colorful and interesting freshwater fish you can get in a small tank. The one requirement I see stated repeatedly is that they require relatively hot water temps - 82 to 86 F. If this is the case are there plants that would also thrive in this hot aquarium environment? I've also seen mixed opinions on ease of care for Rams.

My fallback position is to use Apistogrammas instead of Rams which require a more conventional tank environment and are purportedly very easy to care for.

Any thoughts ?

Thanks.

Regards,
Scott
 

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I'm guessing that you're focused on GBR's right? They're the rams that standout as having the higher temperature requirements.

What about Bolivians? They aren't as colorful as GBR's but are still quite colorful and I'd argue have bigger personalities. They can do standard tropical temps at 76-82 degrees. I keep mine at 78 and they're perfectly happy in a moderately planted tank. Bolivians are still on the more difficult side in terms of keeping water parameters stable and what not, but they aren't as finicky as GBR's too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm guessing that you're focused on GBR's right? They're the rams that standout as having the higher temperature requirements.

What about Bolivians? They aren't as colorful as GBR's but are still quite colorful and I'd argue have bigger personalities. They can do standard tropical temps at 76-82 degrees. I keep mine at 78 and they're perfectly happy in a moderately planted tank. Bolivians are still on the more difficult side in terms of keeping water parameters stable and what not, but they aren't as finicky as GBR's too.
Hi...

Yep - they (GBR's) seem to be the nicest looking freshwater fish I've ever seen. I did look at other Rams and the included specs all listed high temps - I'll certainly take a look at Bolivians. After putting this down in writing - perhaps the more prudent path with be to go with Apisto's for their "easy care" for my first time out ?

Thanks for taking the time to provide your insights.

Regards,
Scott
 

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Hi...

Yep - they (GBR's) seem to be the nicest looking freshwater fish I've ever seen. I did look at other Rams and the included specs all listed high temps - I'll certainly take a look at Bolivians. After putting this down in writing - perhaps the more prudent path with be to go with Apisto's for their "easy care" for my first time out ?

Thanks for taking the time to provide your insights.

Regards,
Scott
There's nothing inherently difficult about Bolivians (or GBR for that matter). They just require an established tank and some initial monitoring to make sure they settle in. If your tank is established and they adjust easily then they'll be fine in the long run. I think you'd be just fine giving Bolivians a shot so long as you have an established tank (or are using media from an established tank).

Rams can be kept in groups but its trial and error. I'll let someone else speak to how to go about it. Essentially you can get a bunch, see which ones pair off and keep them. Or wait until you can get some sexed rams and get a same sex pair. If they're a breeding pair they'll get aggressive toward other fish when breeding so be mindful of whether you want a peaceful community tank or not.
 

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I'm going to chime in and say go for the apisto first. They are VERY forgiving of newbie mistakes for a dwarf cichlid and are just as feisty. Once you've got a handle on keeping stable parameters then I'd look into rams as they are quite expensive to lose for rookie mistakes. If you should decide rams are what you really want I'd get bolivians to start. I'm a fully seasoned aquarist and I'm even cautious to think about gbr.
 

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The difficulty with German rams is that people try to "fudge" on the temperature requirement. This will simply not work long term. They require temps above 80 degrees. I keep mine at 82 regularly and raise temp to 84-86 when encouraging breeding behaviors.
Of course they need clean water ( I change 50% watter volume weekly) and a good (smaller) cichlid pellet. They are also "earth-eaters" ( geophagini) essentially- so they need sand as substrate. If you watch them eat in sand you will see them take up pellet and "sift sand" out through their gills.

 

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The difficulty with German rams is that people try to "fudge" on the temperature requirement. This will simply not work long term. They require temps above 80 degrees. I keep mine at 82 regularly and raise temp to 84-86 when encouraging breeding behaviors.
Of course they need clean water ( I change 50% watter volume weekly) and a good (smaller) cichlid pellet. They are also "earth-eaters" ( geophagini) essentially- so they need sand as substrate. If you watch them eat in sand you will see them take up pellet and "sift sand" out through their gills.

Keeping temps stable at that level in smaller tanks can be very tricky for newer aquarists. They can often overlook the stress signs of over heating and being too cold. Not disagreeing any, just adding a side note.
 

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Keeping temps stable at that level in smaller tanks can be very tricky for newer aquarists. They can often overlook the stress signs of over heating and being too cold. Not disagreeing any, just adding a side note.
Need a high-quality heater that goes above 90 degrees. I think many of the issues with temp control on smaller tanks is because economy heaters are used that are insufficient to be used at higher temps . I recommend this heater -- model depending on water volume:

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Hi Folks,

Thanks for all the great responses. I'm glad I stumbled across this forum - as Marine forums seem to be all the rage with little interest in their freshwater counterparts.

So back to my initial query - are there plants that thrive in 82F-86F water so you can have a planted aquarium with these beautiful fish?

This is my inspiration from that MD guy on YouTube:
1029132


I plan on having sand in front and some type of aquasoil on top of lava rock behind a fossilized rock barrier - scaled down to my Waterbox 25.

Regards,
Scott
 

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Hi Folks,

Thanks for all the great responses. I'm glad I stumbled across this forum - as Marine forums seem to be all the rage with little interest in their freshwater counterparts.

So back to my initial query - are their plants that thrive in 82F-86F water so you can have a planted aquarium with these beautiful fish?

This is my inspiration from that MD guy on YouTube:
View attachment 1029132

I plan on having sand in front and some type of aquasoil behind a fossilized rock barrier - scaled down to my Waterbox 25.

Regards,
Scott
I have struggled with all plants in my discus and ram tanks where temperature is above 82 degrees. But, I dont use CO2 and am really bad at being consistent with fertilization. Will you be using CO2?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have struggled with all plants in my discus and ram tanks where temperature is above 82 degrees. But, I dont use CO2 and am really bad at being consistent with fertilization. Will you be using CO2?
Hi Amy,

Thanks - yeah undecided - I noted that you should only run CO2 during lighted hours - so that just adds another layer of complexity and timers. LOL - so much to learn. I'm leaning more and more towards a cooler Apisto tank. Cooler is better at limiting algae growth - someone mentioned along my path thus far.

Regards,
Scott
 

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You are getting good advice here , as always , but being a beginner I would start with some "regular" fish like Tetras , Barbs , etc to give you a learning curve of how to take care of a tank as an ongoing concern . The one thing about this hobby is nothing comes/happens fast . If you kill a regular fish as you are learning , sad but expected . But if you kill a pricey GBR or even a Bolivian that's a different thing altogether . I like the fact that you want to achieve the level of tank you pictured , but I can say that you will not get that on your first try without some very expert help . I am not trying to discourage you , in fact quite the opposite . I feel if you , as a beginner , try these lofty goals and fail that you will leave the hobby for good and that is not what I or any of us want . We want you to succeed and some day be an advisor to us all on this and other forums . Just remember that we all started somewhere to get where we are today . I don't mean to step on anyone's toes , just wanted to input my thoughts . good luck and come here for advice no matter what path you take .
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You are getting good advice here , as always , but being a beginner I would start with some "regular" fish like Tetras , Barbs , etc to give you a learning curve of how to take care of a tank as an ongoing concern . The one thing about this hobby is nothing comes/happens fast . If you kill a regular fish as you are learning , sad but expected . But if you kill a pricey GBR or even a Bolivian that's a different thing altogether . I like the fact that you want to achieve the level of tank you pictured , but I can say that you will not get that on your first try without some very expert help . I am not trying to discourage you , in fact quite the opposite . I feel if you , as a beginner , try these lofty goals and fail that you will leave the hobby for good and that is not what I or any of us want . We want you to succeed and some day be an advisor to us all on this and other forums . Just remember that we all started somewhere to get where we are today . I don't mean to step on anyone's toes , just wanted to input my thoughts . good luck and come here for advice no matter what path you take .
Hi...

Sounds like good advice to me - appreciate your insights.

Regards,
Scott
 

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Just to add to what's been said already and to echo similar sentiments, stick with what's easy and learn from your mistakes. Work in an environment that would be more forgiving. I don't believe achieving something similar to what is pictured is impossible, nor that it would require the assistance of someone more experienced, after all MD always just "chucks it in" when it comes to plants and I believe I've achieved really good results doing the same without expert assistance.

If you've never done a planted tank before, I'd advise to steer clear of higher temperatures and CO2. Once you get a bit of experience under your belt, you'll feel more confident going into either of the two.

Welcome to the hobby. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to seeing your setup once it's done.
 
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