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Author Topic: No more golden rams for me,I think  (Read 20637 times)
RogerD
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« on: March 12, 2012, 12:29:58 AM »

After 3 deaths in 3 months, am I doing something wrong or what?

My 20 gal well planted tank with a large angel and a couple of neons was just waiting for some new residents. I've always liked the Rams and my LFS wasn't getting in Germans so I bought a couple of Goldens in early December, gender not guaranteed. One was clearly dominant and kept driving the other off into a corner, but after a while they figured out the territory and got along OK. The angel would chase them, but didn't seem to "get" them ever. This is a very clean and healthy tank with NH4 and NO2 at 0, nitrates kept below 40 with weekly 50% changes, pH varies with municipal sources, but generally slightly acid (6.4 to 6.9) and quite soft, and kept at 76 F.

The fish did well for about a month, then I noticed that the non-dominant one was hanging on the bottom and not coming up to feed, when the day before she had been just fine. No external signs, no spots, sores, etc. My LFS expert had no advice and none of my references helped. She died two days later.

A week later I got a replacement. Again the dominant one chased it off at first, but 4 days later they started doing the flirty thing and spawned! So I can safely say "he" and "she" now. Of course they ate the eggs, but at least I knew who was who. But a few days later I noticed a small raised bump on the side of the female. Not open or looking infected or ulcerated or anything and she seemed fine, swimming, eating well. We came back from a weekend away and the bump had turned into a red spot and she was not doing well, hanging on the bottom. The next day she was dead.

Now, two weeks later, the male after looking bright and colorful and healthy, suddenly started hanging on the bottom. No obvious external signs. (MAYBE a dark internal spot?) He died this morning. I HATE killing fish through ignorance or bad management, but I don't know what to do, so I'm leaving these little guys to someone else until someone can give me a clue as to what caused this.
Any advice would be appreciated.
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steffelem
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Tanks: 55 gal w/neons & pepper corries, 33 gal w/ rasboras & danios, 20 gal w/ dwarf puffer, 135 gal not yet filled.
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 12:47:24 AM »

Im sorry for your loss.  Did you quarantine any of the rams before putting them in the tank? 
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Spuds
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 07:01:12 AM »

Hey,

Sounds like you might brought in a sick fish and it infected the rest. An Angel fish doesn't really belong in a 20gal anyways and i imagine it stressed out the rams, Its also not great having 3 rams in a 20gal... one will always get harassed, Its not always easy to notice aggression because when your near the tank they usually have food on their minds  Smiley.

So i imagine Stress and the introduction of something from the new fish cause it... Iv also heard German rams are pretty hard to keep.
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 08:07:20 AM »

I agree with Spuds as to the cause of death.  Sad

At this point, this is just a reminder that you shouldn't add any new fish to a tank which had deaths for 6 weeks from the date of the last death.  If you happen to have another one, the clock begins again.  So, you will have plenty of time to qt any new additions you may want while you are waiting for your tank to shake down.
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When in doubt, do a water change.
RogerD
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 02:04:17 PM »

Thanks for the input and condolences.
No, I didn't QT the rams. My LFS (The Wet Spot in Portland) is normally very good at selling only healthy fish that they QT before putting out for sale. Not foolproof, I guess I got spoiled. The pair I initially introduced were in the tank for a month before the one got sick and died and nothing else was introduced during that time, so I don't know if a couple of weeks of QT would have helped.
There were never 3 rams in the tank at once. To recap: Added 2, one died a month later, replaced it a week later, it died a month later, then one of the original pair died a week after that.
Yeah the 20 is a bit small for the big angel, so I could see that would stress the others. He kind of chased everybody around but later settled down when they all figured out where they are supposed to be. But yes, that was likely a stressor.
I guess what's still a mystery is what killed these fish. I thought stress acted to lower the immune system and an opportunistic infection would be the fatal agent. Can fish just die of "stress"?
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 02:10:36 PM »


 The pair I initially introduced were in the tank for a month before the one got sick and died and nothing else was introduced during that time, so I don't know if a couple of weeks of QT would have helped.


QT should be for a 4-6 week period.  Some things manifest themselves much slower than others.

And, yes, stress can lead to death.


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When in doubt, do a water change.
RogerD
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 03:45:23 PM »

Ok, thanks for the clarification. I thought a good QT was just a couple of weeks. At least they did not seem to make anybody else in the tank sick, so the outcome would have been the same: 3 deceased rams. I'll see how things shake out over the next few weeks, though, before trying anything else.
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pokey6
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2012, 07:03:51 PM »

Roger,

I also go to Wet Spot and I always Qt for at least 4 weeks. They have a habit of getting fish in and dumping them in their tanks as soon as they arrive. Don't think that they QT their fish. As you see when you go in, they don;t have any extra tanks or any tanks that say under QT.
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JT88
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2012, 11:03:05 PM »

It certainly could be a sick fish that caused this, but what you described has happened to me even with healthy fish and good water quality.  Since you bought these fish at the Wet Spot I think it is at least safe to assume that these Rams were not pumped up on hormones for color which causes them to die early. 

I am not an expert on Rams but have kept them off an on over the years, and Spuds was on the mark with the statment "An Angel fish doesn't really belong in a 20gal anyways and i imagine it stressed out the rams, Its also not great having 3 rams in a 20gal... one will always get harassed, Its not always easy to notice aggression because when your near the tank they usually have food on their minds."

These little guys are incedibly sensitive to stress from any source, I think the stress compromises their immune system and they get sick and usually die.  You might try two females tougether or a bonded male female pair with no other fish species that will chase them around (which probably means no other cihchlids, except maybe Bolivians, or Discus if you have a much larger tank than 20 gal available). 

Even so, mine typically die somewhere between one and two years old, very frustrating, but they are one of my favorite fish so I keep working at it.
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winn0923
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2012, 12:06:53 AM »

Ram only lives for about 2 years in the wild, so if you can keep them alive for 2 years that sounds about right

If your ram is wild caught, might as well hit them w prazi or metro in the QT tank, most wild stock carry some parasite. 

Tank or farm raised, keep them in a QT tank and if they feed well after 3-4 weeks move them to your tank.  I think the most important aspect of keeping blue/gold ram is that the temp have to be 80 plus.  Yes many people have argued that tank raised stock can handle lower temp, but I think that weaker their immune system greatly.  You don't see people keep dosmetic discus in sub 80 temp, and ram and discus comes from the same water. I keep rams with my discus at 88F.
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Equidae7
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2016, 12:23:21 AM »

I realize this is an old thread, but it still turns up on internet searches for Golden Ram Care and I wanted to reply in case there are others out there with similar problems.  As someone who has had golden rams for years, I can see why you are losing fish.  1) Your ph is too high and it fluxuates, and 2) Your water is too cold.  That, in addition to the harassment by the Angel fish, would be sufficient to kill them from my experience.  I keep either species specific tanks or make sure that the fish I keep in the same tanks all share common needs as far as parameters - especially ph and temp.  Golden rams need a ph between 5 and 6.5 (preferably closer to 5) and their temperature must never go below 80 degrees (preferably between 84 and 86 degrees fahrenheit).  Ph is critical and many fish can adapt to ph out of their ideal range, but not when it fluxuates, especially if it fluxuates repeatedly.  I raise golden rams and I keep their ph at, or very close to 5 by measuring the ph out of the tap (mine is always 7.5) and then diluting the ph by adding distilled water until I get to my desired number.  In my case, I add 1 and 1/4 gallons of distilled water for every 5 gallons of water replaced during my water changes.  This assures that my ph stays at 5 consistently.  Also, I never let my water temp get below 80 degrees EVER in the Ram tanks (a danger of water changes), and I keep the tanks between 84 and 86 degrees.  I have found over the years that this is so important that I will heat my water and check it with a digital thermometer to ensure I am between 80 and 86 degrees before I put in the replacement water during water changes.  Also, my heater is right next to the intake for the HOB filter, it is set at 85, and I have a thermometer at both ends of my 20 gallon tanks to ensure steady and consistent temperature.  This may seem like a lot of work, but it is mostly set up.  Once you've got everything worked out, its not much different than any other aquarium care - and, to me anyway, it is definitely worth it for these beautiful, charming fish. 
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russ
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2016, 07:41:35 AM »

Equidae7,

Welcome to Badman's and thank you for the update of information. I have raised Rams also in the past.
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Equidae7
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2016, 11:23:34 AM »

Hello Russ and thank you for the welcome!  I've learned a lot from this site and I'm happy I can contribute some of my experiences that may help others.

In re-reading my earlier (and first) post, I realized that my concern over not making the post too long may cause some confusion.  In my earlier post, I said that I use distilled water to lower my pH, but I want to say that is what works for my situation because of the parameters from my tap water.  Distilled water in and of itself will not lower pH below 7, neutral, as that is the lowest that water ph can go (anything lower is not water, but a water - acid solution and very dangerous to mess with).  However, because my problem is excessive buffering components in my water, my kH is 80...no, seriously, it's 80 (I had it tested at the state lab when my master kit tests kept coming back so high) AND because my nitrates are 20 ppm right out of the tap (I'm on well water in a very agricultural area), distilled water is a necessity for me.  But only as dilution, NOT for the whole tank.  Adding distilled water reduces the nitrates and, as a bonus, it reduces the buffering (kH) components of my tap water and that allows the pH to drop.  I do not normally advocate messing with the pH of aquarium.   
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RogerD
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2017, 10:38:59 PM »

Wow my 5 year old post is still alive! I've learned a lot since then. Going to start an apistogramma single species tank. Still need to determine how to get to the acid ph they want. I don't know how you "diluted" tap water with distilled to get to acid ph... makes no sense chemically.
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russ
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2017, 10:09:29 PM »

"Distilled water in and of itself will not lower pH below 7, neutral, as that is the lowest that water ph can go (anything lower is not water, but a water - acid solution and very dangerous to mess with). "

Huh? Granted, pH can get tricky by to mess with, but..........The more that distilled water comes in contact with surrounding atmosphere (air), CO2 will start to dissolve into it and form carbonic acid. This will bring the water below pH7. It is still water. Now true pure water, that may hardly be classified as wet.




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"For every difficult question, there is an answer that is clear and simple and wrong."
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