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German Blue Ram Swollen Lips And Swimming Towards Top Of Tank

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Sep 27, 2015
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Hey Guys,
I'm new to the forum since I recently started creating my tank again after about 15 yrs. I have never had german blue rams before and I got 2 in my 20 gallon long along with 4 tetras, 4 cory, and 2 indian algae eaters. 
I recently saw that the 2 german blue rams (they are both male i believe), were chasing each other around the tank and ramming into each other from time to time. They would also spin in circle around one another almost like a dance. 
I did a 50% water change this past weekend (nitrate level was above 20ppm) as i had done the previous week. However, this time around it looks like one of the rams's lip appears to be swollen (bigger in comparison to the other fish). This ram has also stopped eating much, it takes a peck or 2 at a pellet and thats about it. It doesn't appear to be moving his mouth very much but gills are moving just fine. He is also hovering towards the top of the tank. Fins are upright so i think he is physically okay other than this. 
I checked my ammonia and nitrite and they were both at 0. Nitrate is now down to 5ppm. i have also added seachem stressguard the past 2 days of seeing this.
The other ram and other fishes seem fine.
was wondering if anyone can help me out with this. I don't want the ram to die. I have lost ONE ram when i first put 2 rams for my aquarium but I think that was due to shock because the fish died with 24 hrs and the other ram was perfectly fine for 2 weeks since then. 
No other fish are displaying any symptoms...in fact the indian algae eaters have gotten quite fat. 
Have you thought about getting some females to help with the aggression?
the sick german blue ram passed last night. The other one is doing fine..now he is becoming territorial. he is going after the indian algae eaters if they come near a particular area of the tank. He is leaving the cories and the neon tetras alone for the most part (only seen him go after them a few times).
I think i'm going to stick with just this one for now. The indian algae eaters have gotten quite big since I got them and they are almost the same size if not bigger than the GBR in length so i think they can hold their own if needed. 
I thought GRB were community fish..atleast that is what they stated at the pet store. 
The "ramming into each other" is not a good thing at all.  This is what is considered body shots and can damage internal organs. It is a highly aggressive maneuver.  With the one ram having swollen lips -- there was probably some lip locking going on as well.  I would say that your one ram passed because of injuries sustained from fighting with the other one.  Unfortunately rams are not really "community" fish in the general sense.  They are aggressive to other similar fish and can be pretty aggressive to other bottom dwellers as well.  I imagine your neons should be fine since they inhabit the middle part of the water column and the cories should be ok as long as he doesn't get to territorial or you add a female and they spawn which could be bad news for the cories.  
Another tidbit -- the indian algae eaters (most commonly known as chinese algae eaters) are not suited for your tank.  These guys get really large, don't eat algae after a certain size, and are very aggressive.  
Pet stores don't necessarily give good advice so it is always advised to do research before buying any fish. 

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