German Blue Ram Cichlid Water Conditioning?

coolfishguy12

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Hey guys;
 
Thinking about getting a pair of German Blue Ram Cichlids. From what I've read, they require water that is on the softer side, with low pH (5-7). My municipal tap water is moderate on the hardness scale, but the pH is relatively high (~7.5). 
 
Do you have any suggestions on how to regulate the pH of my tap water to reduce it to tolerable ranges for the fish without the risk of sudden changes? 
 
Instead of risking sudden changes in pH, if use drip acclimation do you think it would be ok to keep German Blue Ram Cichlids in medium water with 7.5pH?
 
My plan is to either just buy 1 pair for a single tank or one pair with a small school of neon tetra (I've heard having dither fish will reduce their stress).
 
Thanks!
 

fluttermoth

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If they're tank bred rams, they might be okay in your water, but I'll warn you now they are, in general, a very tricky fish to keep, even in perfect water
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For wild caught rams, you would have to look at mixing your tap water with RO, IMO.
 
I don't think rams need dithers, TBH; they're pretty bold compared to some dwarf cichlids. I had one that killed a load of neons. She just started grabbing them by the head and shaking them :(  
 
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coolfishguy12

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Thanks a lot, any other opinions are welcome! Maybe I'll hold off on the neons :S

I'll keep this thread posted on how it goes.
 

Byron

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The common ram (whether blue, German blue, Gold, or any of the other several varieties of this species) will be healthiest if kept in water parameters that are close to those in which is was spawned/raised.  Fluttermoth was alluding to this.  Wild fish must have very soft water, but the many varieties are all commercially raised (as are most of the "original" species available in stores).  It is not always easy to track down the hatchery where they came from, so I would say to go with what you have coming out of your tap and hope for the best.  Referrig here to GH and pH.  And the GH is the more significant as the minerals especially calcium cause internal issues for soft water fish.
 
One parameter that does impact these fish is temperature, and they need warmth.  I would not have the tank less than 80F/27C, and many sources recommend 82F/28C as minimum.  Kept in warm water this species should live for around four years.
 
On the issue of dither fish, this is advantageous.  All cichlids are somewhat retiring or shy, and having other fish in the tank will be less stressful.  Outside noises and such will bother the fish less if they see other fish swimming around them.  They do need places of refuge however; chunks of bogwood, plants, or similar decor.  With this they will be less stressed and thus out and about even more.
 
When it comes to tankmates, the warmer temperature must be kept in mind.  Neons would literally melt at this high a temperature, but cardinal tetra are often kept with rams and fare well.  However, this species is best in soft acidic water; the tank-raised fish that are becoming more widely available now may or may not be as sensitive, but I would err on the side of caution and stay with soft water.  You mention moderate hardness, but not the number; this might be fine.  Keeping in mind that rams like most of the Neotropical dwarf cichlids are substrate feeders and thus remain in the lower third of the tank, look for upper water fish to balance things out.
 
Byron.
 

DrSlackBladder

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I've had a GBR for about a year now in my community tank with neons and others.  A second GBR didn't fair well, I think it was bullied by the first one.  The GBR (now adult) and neons seem to get on great, no problems.  Temp is 27C and pH around 7.5.
 

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