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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Female German blue ram dead in my tank when I came home from work. Showed no signs of being I'll . She had been in the tank for almost a month now. 2 other gbr in the tank, 2 male and 2 female. Water parameters are fine. One pair did recently spawn the other night. I know it's incredibly tough to figure out why a fish dies but below are some pictures of her if that helps any. Any expect input is appreciated.





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How big is the tank? When I had "one-too-many" (90 gallon tank) GBRs in my tank AKA I had 3 pairs spawn at the same time and had one lone guy, the lone guy was harassed to death within two days. He showed no outward signs of nipping or whatnot, so maybe you're seeing that with this female?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How big is the tank? When I had "one-too-many" (90 gallon tank) GBRs in my tank AKA I had 3 pairs spawn at the same time and had one lone guy, the lone guy was harassed to death within two days. He showed no outward signs of nipping or whatnot, so maybe you're seeing that with this female?
Possibly. It's a 60 gallon corner tank. Only 2 of the 5 (now 4) had paired but had spawned 2 days ago. I guess it is possible she was harassed

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Yeah I've had to rehome "lone" rams before especially during breeding time. I sat there and watched for awhile once and it was like no matter where the lone male went the other guy would just seek him out for awhile then go back and guard then go chase him around relentlessly. After watching this I understood a little better. That would be tough to endure for hours and hours or all day/night for days, being exhausted and chased and nipped til you can't move. They can be quite fiesty to one another during this time.

You could see on the tail where she was nipped multiple times it looks like. I've seen that on a number of my rams before almost always happens during breeding time. Sometimes you'll see a little piece missing from the tail from the occasional nip but it looks like theres all kinds of little nips on your little ones tail. Normally if you start to see it get bad like that and they are getting chased somebody needs to get moved.
 

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Also i can't really see the colors as well as you can but i would say the dorsal fin comes to more of a point. Identifying it as a male.
That stomach looks pink to me, unless it's skin is transparent and that is the internal organs showing through. I've had female rams that have had dorsal fins more pointed than that so dorsal rays are not a reliable marker IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That stomach looks pink to me, unless it's skin is transparent and that is the internal organs showing through. I've had female rams that have had dorsal fins more pointed than that so dorsal rays are not a reliable marker IMO.
Yes he stomach was pink. I'm quite confident that she was a female. As for the pairs there is only one pair. 1 make Ballon and 1 female. The other 3 rams in the tank were 2 female and 1 other make balloon ram, none of which paired. Which leads me to believe my the other male Ballon ram may actually be a female. The dorsal fin is not nearly as long as my confirmed male balloon ram and he/she hasn't paired with the other confirmed females. Then again he may just be picky.

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I would say the finnage looks like a female. It looks like it comes to a point because the fins are out of water and somewhat clamped. If it were a male, the finnage would probably be a little bigger. I've got plenty of GBR, EBR and so on and after you look at them enough, it's really easy to tell. The only sure way to tell if it is a male or female is the pink belly. Line bred female GBR will always have a pink belly. The finnage can sometimes confuse and mislead so don't pay that much attention, just look for the pink belly.
 

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Sorry for your loss. My pair of GBRs does get aggressive when they are spawning. I recommend not keeping other rams with paired rams, especially when they are spawning. Good luck!
 

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And since there is no harm done to a dead fish, this might be a good time to practice up on a better method of sexing fish. Looking at fins and colors can really mislead you on some types. Have you tried turning it over and doing a vent check? For small fish like that it may take a good magnifier to see well but now is as good a time as any. You do have the advantage of no worry about keeping it out of the water too long or stressing it.
 

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And since there is no harm done to a dead fish, this might be a good time to practice up on a better method of sexing fish. Looking at fins and colors can really mislead you on some types. Have you tried turning it over and doing a vent check? For small fish like that it may take a good magnifier to see well but now is as good a time as any. You do have the advantage of no worry about keeping it out of the water too long or stressing it.
^ To build off that with GBRs, here is an old post of mine:

1. pink stomach on female
2. black spot missing "jewels" on a male (although I have a male right now that has those jewels at the edge of his black spots, but does not have a pink stomach)
3. the black on the pectoral fins (sometimes quite pronounced on females); in my experience, though, the males have had really dark pectoral fins AND were long enough to reach the anal fin.
4. the dorsal rays. Males typically have a couple of their dorsal rays, the 2nd/3rd IIRC, that are much longer than the others. And by much longer, I mean that: one of my males has his so long that they are laying over top of a few other rays.
5. Shape of the head. Males will typically have rounder/snubbed noses while females have elongated heads.

With that being said, just using one of the above to sex a GBR is not a good idea, although the pink stomachs have been the easiest for me --> the sub-dominant females still have some pink speckling on their stomachs IME.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had posted this in another thread of mine about sexing my balloon rams but since it's relevant here I figured id re post to see if anyone wants to take a stab at it. I know its difficult to sex them strictly by the dorsal fin and have found that my confirmed females definitely do have a pink belly. This guy has a short fin and no pink belly so i assumed he was a male but I've also heard that its the whole pink belly thing doesn't always occur in balloon ram females. Also like i have mentioned above I initially assumed the 2 ballon rams were male and wound up adding 3 females which I am positive were female. Only one of the male balloons paired up with a female, the other did not. I know this alone does not mean that i sexed him (or her wrong) however it does add to the suspicion that it may in fact be a female. Anyway before I confuse myself anymore heres the pic lol

 

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I'm not sure if sexing balloon rams is the same as regular rams (I'm assuming it is?). If so, I'd lean towards a male.

You can always wait and see if it develops a vent tube (like female angelfish so when they are about to spawn). Males will have a small, somewhat pointed "extension."
 

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Ugh, grrrr....

Just found yet another dead GBR - was swimming just fine 2 hours ago and now found dead on the leaves.

I have been replacing GBRs bought at the big P over the last month and went through about 10 replacements. With now only 2 still alive. And none that have been longer then 2 weeks in my tanks. That's across 3 tanks, with 1 being a QT. With all other new fish, ottos, rummynoses, dwarf cories, and embers at 0 losses. All with no more then 2 GBRS of opposite sex in a tank at a time, all in non-co2 tanks.

So much for overbreeding and hormones. Just frustrating.

Time to give up on the instant gratification of getting the fish from dog food stores. Time to go back to reputable breeders.

Thank you, I feel better now. Not by much.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry to hear that. I've lost 5 blues since I've started keeping them in March. The most recent have been completely unexpected just like yours. It's very frustrating.

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