Best Buddies For Electric Blue Balloon Ram?

Hugecrisis

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Hi all,

We've got a 130 litre (34 gallon) planted tropical freshwater tank - it's about 2 months old now and fully cycled. We have 1 male dwarf gourami, 8 diamond tetras, 11 neon tetras and 1 electric blue balloon ram. We've noticed that our ram gets stressed at feeding time, as he just can't compete for the food. We feed the fish a good flake food, and we've tried putting in some sinking pellets for the ram, but he tends to get overwhelmed by the other fish and hides in the plants. We're thinking of maybe getting another tank for him with some slower tank buddies, but not sure what the best options would be. We'd love some advice - this is our first aquarium, so still finding our feet. We keep the tank at 26 Celsius (79 F); ammonia and nitrites are basically zero and nitrates are around 20 ppm. Ph is around 7.2. None of the fish are showing signs of stress ( other than the ram at feeding time). Many thanks, Chris
 

gmc1

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Hi.what do you mean by basically zero.these readings should be zero all the time.
Rams should feed the same as all other fish.if the tetras are manic when feeding try feeding with lights out.any pics?
 

Byron

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I would recommend separating the ram here.  You have noticed the problem of the ram's more sedate nature and this is why they are not suitable in every tank.  There is also another problem here, temperature.  All forms of the common or blue ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) require warm water, 80F or 82F is best, but you have fish that will not be healthy long-term at this high a temperature, primarily the neons, who should be around 76-77F max.  A couple degrees either way may seem like nothing, but to a fish whose entire metabolism is driven by temperature (being cold blooded) this is very significant.
 
Rams like most cichlids are primarily bottom feeders, so sinking foods such as those meant for corys and loaches tend to suit them.  However, upper fish that are aggressive feeders, like the Diamond Tetra, can still be problematic.  Feeding in darkness is not going to solve much as the cichlids are not nocturnal..
 
I would move the ram out, and lower the temp to around 76F for the remaining fish.  As for companions for the ram, remember they must manage with warmth, and the tank size will be important.  Upper fish are best, so the ram is less bothered in the lower half/third of the tank.  Cory catfish, but only those few species who can withstand the higher temperatures, would work (Corydoras sterbai is one often available).  Upper fish could include some of the medium-sized rasboras, or some of the pencilfishes.  Not all species are suitable, and the tank size needs to be known.
 
Byron.
 

Munroco

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Hugecrisis said:
Hi all,

We've noticed that our ram gets stressed at feeding time, as he just can't compete for the food.
He possibly has problems competing because he is deformed and can't swim so well.
 

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