A few short questions about bolivian ram cichlids

rebe

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1. Feeding. (I will be feeding a mixture of frozen, dry and live foods.)
  • What type of dry foods would you feed to them, and is there anything special you did during feeding for them?
  • Fluval has a good "Bug bites" range. Clearly there are different formulas between the micro granules and the cichlid formula but does anyone have any insight into the importance of the difference between these? For example, why might it be bad to feed cichlids food labled as "for small fish" like tetras?
  • Do you have brand recommendations for cichlid dry foods?

2. Gender (I'm looking to get a male BR, for a community tank.)
  • What is the best way to spot a male bolivian ram in a mixed tank of juvenile/small keyhole cichlids and bolivian rams?
In a group of happy and mature bolivian rams, it seems obvious which are males or females. However in a mixed LFS tank with young fish, I am not sure I'll be able to clearly see which fish are males. Especially because they won't colour up properly until they are settled in a nicer environment. Unfortunately the tank is awkwardly high up, so I can't see the base or back of the tank. This will make it harder to properly observe their behaviour, and identify a male that way. I think it will be a bit risky to rely solely on the shopkeepers 🤷‍♀️
  • If I mistakenly bring home a female bolivian ram, would there be any concerns? This LFS (the only one I would go to for fish) is not close enough to travel back any time soon and there aren't proper transport links to get to the city ether. I would prefer to have a male BR.

Thank you for any help or advice 😁
 
The Latin name says a lot. Mikrogeophagus. Mini eartheater. They should have fine sand, and they like to sift through it for food. I never gave them pellets, but flakes. They will sift all day, happily.

I like bug bites for my fish, and maybe regular and the ones that have algae in them would be good. They eat plant matter as they sift. As long as you avoid goldfish food, you're good. These guys need quality, but they aren't picky.

I truly doubt you will know their sex if they are young, but I don't get your concern about females. They are as easy going as males, and look very similar. You can look at the front rays on the dorsal, and a higher one increases the chances of a male. You will probably never get full colour of behaviour from one though. In slightly larger tanks in small groups they seem more colourful to me.

Keep that water clean with these guys.
 
It will be pot-luck down at the LFS with male/female if you get one Ram. That's my bet, for 2 reasons

1. I hope I don't go to Hell for this comment, but if some of the knowledgeable on here have trouble sexing juvenile Bolivian Rams, not sure how they will do it as the LFS :)

2. And if you trying to judge it on behaviour in the LFS tank (a good idea actually), once that net goes in from the LFS staff, all bets are off probably :)

However, on the positive side, might not make any difference to you whether or not it's male or female. Or in this day and age, it might even be a non-binary.
 
I've got some nice brown, soft sand that I think will do nicely. Makes sense about the plant matter in their diet, I think the cichlid specific food has a higher carb content. I would say that it is because of the plant matter you mentioned.
I truly doubt you will know their sex if they are young, but I don't get your concern about females.
I'm not concerned about having a female ram, more that I don't know much about the behaviour/social difference between the sexes in the wild. Byron explained a bit before in a thread that ... (see quote below), so I was only thinking of a male because that is what seemed more common. I would enjoy the colours of a male bolvian ram, the pictures I've seen online are beautiful!
Compatibility/Temperament: Peaceful, an excellent cichlid for a community tank of characins, smaller catfish species, rasbora, small loaches, gourami; will co-exist with angels and discus. Fish will sometimes display aggression toward members of their own species including simple chasing, ramming, and lip-locks; while usually non-harmful, targeted fish may be weakened to the point of death. This can apply to mates especially if they did not bond on their own. Best kept as a single fish, or in a bonded pair.
This species was first imported by Horst Linke and Wolfgang Staeck in 1985, and their reported habitat observations suggest that this species appears to live in solitude (individual fish alone) apart from reproduction periods (Linke & Staeck, 1994). Single fish are therefore good cichlids for a community aquarium. More than one can be housed if the tank provides sufficient floor space for individual territories, and they are introduced at the same time--but peace may not last regardless. The fish remains in the lower third of the water column, spending most of its time browsing the substrate for bits of food.
Given the tank size here, I would go with a solitary male. As noted above, it feeds from the substrate, and it will if annoyed push Corydoras away from "his" food, as they eat the same things (bug bites, shrimp pellets, frozen shrimp and daphnia). A male will own the tank sapce, without doubt, and all the other fish will know it. But nothing usually proceeds from this, provided the fish are suited to the environment in all respects.
 
There are 2 colour types in the hobby that I've seen and kept. One is beige brown based with a neon red edge on the dorsal. It's the common one.

Much nicer, but not seen often in Canada is a bluish one, very pearly and very colourful. They seem to come in wild more often than cultivated, but I don't know why they aren't farmed.

I imagine Irish ones would come from the same farms, so you might get the brown morph. I'd be curious to know. But I don't think gender will matter. Both sexes are similar.

Bolivian rams are so much easier to keep than Venezuelan ramirezi. They don't need the warmer water, and have far longer lifespans. They are bigger though.
 
There are 2 colour types in the hobby that I've seen and kept. One is beige brown based with a neon red edge on the dorsal. It's the common one.

Much nicer, but not seen often in Canada is a bluish one, very pearly and very colourful. They seem to come in wild more often than cultivated, but I don't know why they aren't farmed.

I imagine Irish ones would come from the same farms, so you might get the brown morph. I'd be curious to know. But I don't think gender will matter. Both sexes are similar.

Bolivian rams are so much easier to keep than Venezuelan ramirezi. They don't need the warmer water, and have far longer lifespans. They are bigger though.
I think it will most likely be the brown morph, but I do remember the person working there saying they had one "blue" one left. But I think this might have been a german ram, I'm not sure. There was the tank with the keyholes and Bolivians, then a tank with two golden German rams and then another tank with some kind of cichlid and then a blue one apparently.
I was at this place last week, but only to take down names of fish they hand in stock and to get some sand. This Wednesday I'll be going on the way home from a city appointment, that'll be when I can get some (researched) fish. With a Bolivian ram if all goes well!

Actually Gary, you know what you are talking about with the colour morphs. In your experience is there a lot of difference visually between the sexes? In pictures I see online, the females seem to nearly be just brown. Without the reds, and hints of blue I see in the males. Though this could be because they are pictures I've seen online, and not observed in person.

The larger size of a bolivian ram is just fine for my set up. First an established 54L QT, and then while I am quarantining the fish, I will be planted cycling a 280L to be the permanent tank. The QT is small by comparison, but it is only temporary and the fish seemed really small last week. Definitely juveniles or young adolescents at most. Probably under 2 inches.
 
I can easily sex larger ones, and younger ones, I can brilliantly sex at about 50% efficiency.

It's a talent I have.
 

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