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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

After waiting a while, my LFS finally got German Blue Rams in stock. I picked two up on the weekend and spent 15 minutes trying to make sure I ended up with a male and a female, but I'm not sure that I did. One of them has a few blue spots in its black spot on one side only. I've attached pics of that one. I haven't been able to get good pictures of the other one yet but I'll post when I do. Thanks!
 

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The biggest giveaway to me when sexing GBR is the females have a pink belly. There are their ways to distinguish them like reflective scales in the false eye spot and there dorsal fin. To me it looks like you have 2 males and they also look like they have sunken bellies. These fish can be very finicky and prefer water temps upwards of 84 degrees.

Good luck
 

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Female.

And she does look like she has a sunken belly. Try feeding them well and see if they fatten back up. They might have internal parasites though so they would need a dewormer like Praziquantel (found in Hikari PraziPro).

Sexing by a pink belly is not a reliable method to ID. Females will only get the pink blemish when they are old enough and in breeding mood. Though even males can have the pink belly if they were subjected to hormone exposure.
 

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Female.

And she does look like she has a sunken belly. Try feeding them well and see if they fatten back up. They might have internal parasites though so they would need a dewormer like Praziquantel (found in Hikari PraziPro).

Sexing by a pink belly is not a reliable method to ID. Females will only get the pink blemish when they are old enough and in breeding mood. Though even males can have the pink belly if they were subjected to hormone exposure.
Never seen a male with a pink belly and all the young females I've ever purchased always had a pink belly. Now when they are in the mood that pink belly is much brighter, I will give you that.
 

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Those pictures are two sides of the same fish, not two different fish.

The other one that I have is definitely a female because the blue specks clearly run through the black spot. I'm starting to think the one in the pictures is also a female.

What do you guys mean by a sunken belly? I just added them to the tank yesterday so could it be stress related from the move? They ate a bit today when I put food in the tank and they're coming out from cover to look around.

As for red belly, neither of them has one but the both have redness on their fins, and the one that isn't in the pictures has a bit of redness on her head.

I looked into what sunken belly looks like and it sure looks the same. Not sure about the other fish because the lights are off now. Should I just return the sick one?
 

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I'd bet its a male. I find most of those commonly used traits to sex these fish are often wrong (extended 2nd dorsal ray, specs in the black spot etc). What I find to be the best indication is the length of the anal fin. On males that anal fin usually extends past the "joint" between the body and caudal fin (tail); and on females the anal fin usually stops at or before the beginning of the caudal fin.
 

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As to the sunken belly, if you look at your first picture, the space right behind the side fin should follow the curve from the head to the tailfin in a healthy, well fed fish. In yours, it's stomach is concave, or sunken in. This could be a stressed fish that just hasn't eaten well in transport and the pet store, but it is often a sign of illness or parasites. All in all, he/she just doesn't look as healthy as I'd like, especially for a fish that can be fairly finicky.

I know it's a small picture, but compare the belly of the ram in my profile picture to the ram you posted. That area below the black spot should be plump and rounded, not sunken in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update: I just saw the two of them fighting and get really coloured up. It kind of looked like mating but I doubt that's the case. Do females fight with each other or males only?
 

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Update: I just saw the two of them fighting and get really coloured up. It kind of looked like mating but I doubt that's the case. Do females fight with each other or males only?
cichlids will fight with each other. females will fight with females, females will fight with males, males will fight with males! They can be aggressive and really dont seem to care who they fight sometimes.
 

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I have little doubt that the fish in the picture is a male, but in relatively poor shape. He looks very thin and underfed, probably from the stress associated with harvesting and shipping. If you knew what these guys go through to get to your lfs, you'd understand. Most of the rams currently available in pet shops (especially PetCo and other big box stores) are raised on fish farms in Florida. These guys are raised in outdoor ponds (mud-bottom pits) until they are large enough to be netted out. From there they are moved to holding tanks in the facility where they clean up the water and allow them to purge for a few days. They are then shipped to the big wholesalers where they are treated pretty heavily with salt for parasites. Then they are shipped to the pet stores for sale. Rams really need warmer water to really do well, between 82-86 degrees. Neither the fish farmer, nor the wholesaler keep their tanks that warm, and I am sure your local pet doesn't keep them that warm either. At lower temps (below 80) Rams will survive, but they do not thrive. Due to all the stress related to their collecting and shipping, they become very stressed, and at lower temps, they become very susceptible to infections and outbreaks of diseases like Ich. I believe that's why you see so many posts regarding Ich and Rams. In your case, the fish seem relatively healthy other than just being stressed and underfed (but don't overfeed him). If you can, just raise the temps up to at least 82, if your plants can handle the warmer temps, and feed him (them) good quality foods that are higher in protein.

For help in sexing your fish, this may help you out in the future: http://somefinsfishy.com/fish-tips/breeding-rams/sexing-rams.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the reply and the breeder info.

So you think that one is a male? I'll post newer pictures when I get home tonight.

Both fish have coloured up quite a bit since they went into my tank and both are out and about and eating well. They fight each other and have established their territories, so would they be both the same sex then? This is my first time with cichlids so I don't have any experience with these sorts of things.

I was really hoping to not have to put a heater in the tank because they're not very attractice, and I've been able to hide my filter inlets/outlets and my skimmer successfully. I'm not sure that I can hide a heater as well. I'll check and see what the water temperature is tonight, but it'll be around the air temperature in the house so likely mid to high 70's.
 

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I'll check and see what the water temperature is tonight, but it'll be around the air temperature in the house so likely mid to high 70's.
Thats far too cool for german blue rams. Really too cool for most tropical species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok. I'll put a heater in tonight.

Based on the way they fight and they've separated to opposite areas of the tank, do you think they're the same sex?

I'm debating buying two more to try to get a pair. Should I wait?
 
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