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View Full Version : Tankmates for German blue rams in 55 gallon tank



Mythic Figment
12-28-2012, 5:45 PM
I currently have a 55 gallon rectangular tank with 4 juvenile turquoise severum (2.5-3" long), 5 GBRs (all roughly 3" long) and a bristlenose pleco. So I will be getting either a 75 or 90 gallon tank in the near future to rehome my severums into so they have space to grow and hopefully a pair will form and breed. I have been thinking about what I should add to the 55 with the GBRs once the severums are situated. I have read a lot of forums asking similar questions and the only thing I seem to read unanimously in all of them is that angelfish or discus are a great tankmate for GBRs. I would not mind angels, but all of the local stock is ugly and almost completely cream or white with little to no black. I would love to keep discus, but with prices ranging from $50-120 locally with no one willing to guarantee them for more than 48 hours, its too big a financial risk for me right now. If I could definitely get my money back if they died in the first week, I would save up and go for it, but alas, tis not the case.

So I have been trying to think outside the ram box here and I have come up with a few ideas that I would love to hear opinions about. The first and top of my list are festivum. I love severum and festivum sound and even look a little similar, so it sounds like a good fit for me. But the catch is that I have read males reach sizes of up to 8" and they need to be in groups of 4 or more. I also read they are gentle at smaller sizes, but can get aggressive as they reach their 6-8" sizes. Can I house 4-5 festivum in a 55 gallon with 5 GBR?

Second on the list are Cupid cichlids. Now this was a random post and the only one I saw recommending them, but I looked at their info and pictures and I like their appearance. They appear to be a pretty sensitive fish according to some and they are not readily available to me, so I may pass on them if I have to rely on shipping a sensitive fish. Any thoughts on these guys?

Beyond that, I am out of ideas, so all suggestions or opinions are more than welcome. I would like to avoid shipping in fish if possible (or I will see if my LFS can get them in). The tank is set up with small tan/brown gravel, live plants, flower pots and 4 pieces of medium/large driftwood. I am hoping to avoid changing anything in the tank, so fish that will do well in the environment will get the most consideration.


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Mythic Figment
12-28-2012, 8:33 PM
Bump


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Mythic Figment
12-28-2012, 8:42 PM
Oh, and the temp of the tank is kept around 80-81 degrees.


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gutted
12-28-2012, 10:12 PM
There aren't too many cichlid options with GBR's since they're small and peaceful. You can look into Rainbow cichlids, H. Multispinosus, as I've heard they're are one of the most peaceful CA cichlid. Apistogramma are another dwarf cichlid that could work.

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Cyberman
12-28-2012, 10:21 PM
Keyhole cichlids are good with Rams, I've heard.. I'd also have a catfish or two there (not to large) to scavenge uneaten food.. just fish that will not challenge the Rams or upset them and put them off eating... also these catfish will prevent the water getting poluted as Rams are very sensitive to ammonia and Nitrates..

Discus I've seen mixed with Rams, so theres plenty of options there :D

Mythic Figment
12-28-2012, 10:58 PM
There aren't too many cichlid options with GBR's since they're small and peaceful. You can look into Rainbow cichlids, H. Multispinosus, as I've heard they're are one of the most peaceful CA cichlid. Apistogramma are another dwarf cichlid that could work.

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I am pleasantly surprised by some of the pretty coloration of some of the rainbow cichlids. I asked my LFS about apistos months ago before I had my 55 fully cycled because I wanted a dwarf cichlid. Well they get some in, but they are bland and lackluster. They don't get any of the good ones in, like cockatoos(sp?). I will have to ask if they can get any rainbow cichlids in. I really like the yellow one with black bars and hints of blue on its lower body (Archocentrus multispinosus). I think that would be an excellent addition to the tank. Some of the red ones are pretty too.


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Mythic Figment
12-28-2012, 11:05 PM
Keyhole cichlids are good with Rams, I've heard.. I'd also have a catfish or two there (not to large) to scavenge uneaten food.. just fish that will not challenge the Rams or upset them and put them off eating... also these catfish will prevent the water getting poluted as Rams are very sensitive to ammonia and Nitrates..

Discus I've seen mixed with Rams, so theres plenty of options there :D

I like the contrast of black and white with the keyholes. I like the idea of rainbow cichlids a bit more, but keyholes are a strong 2nd. Never honestly been a huge fan of catfish. I like loaches, but they are too busy for most cichlids and I like cichlids more. :) Plecos are more of a necessity fish than one I like. I only have the pleco because my girlfriend got him for her 20 gallon, then decided she wanted a colony of cherry shrimp instead, so he got moved to my tank for cleaning purposes.

Discus would be my first choice if not for that horrendous price tag. I would even risk it if they were $20 each, but with recommended groups being 6 or more and them costing $50 minimum each, I don't have $300 to drop on them. LOL And the $50 are the so-so colors, not the awe inspiring colors everyone wants.


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Mythic Figment
12-29-2012, 7:47 AM
So if I can get rainbow cichlids or keyholes at one of my LFSs, I might remove 1 or 2 of the rams that are not paired up. The girlfriend would really like some Dennison barbs. Do you think I could have a school of 6-8 barbs with 3-4 rams (two are a breeding pair) and either 3 rainbow cichlids or 2 keyhole cichlids? That should work because the barbs are top dwellers and everyone else is bottom, right?


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Mythic Figment
12-29-2012, 4:17 PM
Bump


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Mythic Figment
12-29-2012, 7:55 PM
Any thoughts on rams with rainbow cichlids or keyholes and Denison barbs? Also, what are the thoughts on mixing festivum with rams? I read a lot of mixed opinions.


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bbortko
12-29-2012, 8:30 PM
Check for local fish clubs in Orlando. You probably won't get a guaranty but discus will cost half what the do at an lfs(atleast thats how it is in chicago). They will be a good source for cupidos and many other nonbread and butter species. Cupidos are not the hardiest fish around but I found them much easier to keep than gbr. Curviceps and dorsigera might be worth a look, size and temperament are matches but cant recall parameter requirements.

Mythic Figment
12-30-2012, 1:39 AM
Check for local fish clubs in Orlando. You probably won't get a guaranty but discus will cost half what the do at an lfs(atleast thats how it is in chicago). They will be a good source for cupidos and many other nonbread and butter species. Cupidos are not the hardiest fish around but I found them much easier to keep than gbr. Curviceps and dorsigera might be worth a look, size and temperament are matches but cant recall parameter requirements.

I never knew those existed. There is only one club and it is a little less than 2 hours away, but definitely worth checking out. They have a meeting in about 2 weeks and they have mini auctions at each one with 2 big auctions each year. Thanks for the advice!


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Mythic Figment
01-01-2013, 2:35 AM
Can I squeeze any more out of this? Any more suggestions for possible tankmates for German blue rams?


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Cyberman
01-01-2013, 7:57 AM
Look into types of smallish characins... but honestly if you got a few Rams up to their max size of 3" what more would you need? :D

Mythic Figment
01-01-2013, 9:14 AM
Look into types of smallish characins... but honestly if you got a few Rams up to their max size of 3" what more would you need? :D

LOL There is some truth in that. They are quite the little characters. Well I am going to see about rainbow cichlids or keyholes, but if neither are easily available, I will just hold out until some nicer angelfish come along. Now if I get angels, I will probably get a medium sizes (2-3") barb or tetra (likely tetra since few of them are fin nippers). But if I get my rainbow or keyholes, can I get 6-8 of the 6" max Dennison barbs? The girlfriend really wants them and I think they are pretty, but I don't want just a Dennison barb and ram tank.


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tiger15
01-01-2013, 9:42 AM
I think Rainbow will be too big and will overpower Rams. Male Rainbow can grow to 6 inch, nearly twice the size of male Ram. Rams are best to keep a in colony of their own so you can watch their interesting territory and courtship display. Angel and Discus tankmates are good company as they are peaceful and take up the middle and top column of the water. Other bottom dwelling cichlid that won't overpower rams to consider is African Butterfly cichlid, which look and behave like rams.

Mythic Figment
01-01-2013, 12:00 PM
I think Rainbow will be too big and will overpower Rams. Male Rainbow can grow to 6 inch, nearly twice the size of male Ram. Rams are best to keep a in colony of their own so you can watch their interesting territory and courtship display. Angel and Discus tankmates are good company as they are peaceful and take up the middle and top column of the water. Other bottom dwelling cichlid that won't overpower rams to consider is African Butterfly cichlid, which look and behave like rams.

Really? Everything I have read so far online has led me to believe rainbows only reach 3-4". So is it a territory space issue or an aggression issue with rainbows? I have seen and heard good things about keyholes, so I still might stick with getting a pair of keyholes and removing 2 of the rams. The only LFS that has told me they can get them say they are seasonal and they won't likely be available until late spring and early summer. Well I have lots of options. I am going to the TBAS fish club meeting in 2 weeks for their plant auction. Hopefully I can network myself in with some of the breeders and see if they have anything I might be interested in. I might even try for 2 pairs (found out last night I actually have 2 females and 3 males). The tank is heavily planted, so I think they will plenty of territory. Right now the bottom is being taken up by the 4 severum and the breeding pair of GBR I have. The other 3 stay in the middle mostly. I think once the severum are out, the female that isn't paired up will pick one of the males (they both try to court her, but I think the lack of space for egg laying is causing her to stave off the males) and settle down.


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adixon816
01-01-2013, 4:08 PM
Really? Everything I have read so far online has led me to believe rainbows only reach 3-4". So is it a territory space issue or an aggression issue with rainbows? I have seen and heard good things about keyholes, so I still might stick with getting a pair of keyholes and removing 2 of the rams. The only LFS that has told me they can get them say they are seasonal and they won't likely be available until late spring and early summer. Well I have lots of options. I am going to the TBAS fish club meeting in 2 weeks for their plant auction. Hopefully I can network myself in with some of the breeders and see if they have anything I might be interested in. I might even try for 2 pairs (found out last night I actually have 2 females and 3 males). The tank is heavily planted, so I think they will plenty of territory. Right now the bottom is being taken up by the 4 severum and the breeding pair of GBR I have. The other 3 stay in the middle mostly. I think once the severum are out, the female that isn't paired up will pick one of the males (they both try to court her, but I think the lack of space for egg laying is causing her to stave off the males) and settle down.


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Have a look at Honduran red points, they're one of the more peaceful CA's and you can house two pairs in my opinion in a 55 if there is decent line of sight. They turn a nice blue just make sure you get some sp. Rio Danli as these are the true ones. Males will normally reach about 4" females 3" with the possibility of an extra inch on each sex. If you chose these I would get in contact with a trusted breeder to get a pure strain you don't want any that are crossbred with convicts. Jeff Rapps at Tangled Up In Cichlids has some.

felix453
01-01-2013, 4:09 PM
Possibly kribensis

tiger15
01-01-2013, 5:12 PM
I have kept kribensis with rams and Kribensis is larger and will over power ram. Hondurus red point belongs to convict familty, and is only peaceful relative to big CAs. Rams don't look good unless they are in charge, and the choice of other cichlid tankmates is limited. Apistogramma and cupid cichlid will work, and so are angels and discus which don't compete for the same territory.

adixon816
01-01-2013, 5:35 PM
I have kept kribensis with rams and Kribensis is larger and will over power ram. Hondurus red point belongs to convict familty, and is only peaceful relative to big CAs. Rams don't look good unless they are in charge, and the choice of other cichlid tankmates is limited. Apistogramma and cupid cichlid will work, and so are angels and discus which don't compete for the same territory.

HRP's are similar to convicts but not in the same genus. I keep my honduran red points with swordtails with zero issue. They are no where near as aggressive as a convict ime.

Mythic Figment
01-01-2013, 5:38 PM
Have a look at Honduran red points, they're one of the more peaceful CA's and you can house two pairs in my opinion in a 55 if there is decent line of sight. They turn a nice blue just make sure you get some sp. Rio Danli as these are the true ones. Males will normally reach about 4" females 3" with the possibility of an extra inch on each sex. If you chose these I would get in contact with a trusted breeder to get a pure strain you don't want any that are crossbred with convicts. Jeff Rapps at Tangled Up In Cichlids has some.

So after doing a fair bit of research on the red points, I find myself attracted to both the hybrid and the original. Now I assume the hybrid is at least half as aggressive as regular convicts (please correct me if I'm wrong), so they are pretty much out. The original looks awesome, but I am not sure I want to pay another $100-150 to get fish shipped to me. I prefer to not ship where possible. I will definitely keep these in mind though. Maybe see if my LFS can get them in stock. People on this forum make great suggestions and its making me realize my LFSs are not able to get much of anything unusual or outside the norm as far as fish keeping goes. They are better than Petsmart in care and variety, but not by much.


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adixon816
01-01-2013, 5:47 PM
So after doing a fair bit of research on the red points, I find myself attracted to both the hybrid and the original. Now I assume the hybrid is at least half as aggressive as regular convicts (please correct me if I'm wrong), so they are pretty much out. The original looks awesome, but I am not sure I want to pay another $100-150 to get fish shipped to me. I prefer to not ship where possible. I will definitely keep these in mind though. Maybe see if my LFS can get them in stock. People on this forum make great suggestions and its making me realize my LFSs are not able to get much of anything unusual or outside the norm as far as fish keeping goes. They are better than Petsmart in care and variety, but not by much.


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I think with a convict x hrp it's really a toss up on aggression you could get the side of either, but with the rams do you truly want to risk it? The hrp's themselves aren't bad it's 38.50 for 6 then whatever shipping is. But I'm sure there are other vendors of them, when mine have babies I'd be willing to give it a shot shipping to you, you'd just have to pay for shipping. If you'd like I'll post some pictures tonight of mine they are around 2" and coloring up nicely. As far as your fish store if you try to go through them make sure they are getting from a reputable source. Also make sure they are not a. siquia Rio Mongo.

Mythic Figment
01-01-2013, 6:12 PM
I have kept kribensis with rams and Kribensis is larger and will over power ram. Hondurus red point belongs to convict familty, and is only peaceful relative to big CAs. Rams don't look good unless they are in charge, and the choice of other cichlid tankmates is limited. Apistogramma and cupid cichlid will work, and so are angels and discus which don't compete for the same territory.

Yeah. I kept kribs a few years ago and they just get so brutal when they spawn. They killed all 15 of the cherry barbs I had in the 30 gallon tank with them over the course of about 2-3 days. And I means killed....not eaten. LOL I was fishing body parts out for several days.

I am just going to wait and see what this fish club has to offer before I go filling the tank with anything. I might get lucky and find a local breeder with cupids or keyholes. Or maybe even cockatoo apistos or angels. I might chance discus if I could get them while they are relatively young and cheap. A local discus breeder would almost guarantee strong discus who would not be as sensitive as distributor ones.


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Mythic Figment
01-01-2013, 6:18 PM
I think with a convict x hrp it's really a toss up on aggression you could get the side of either, but with the rams do you truly want to risk it? The hrp's themselves aren't bad it's 38.50 for 6 then whatever shipping is. But I'm sure there are other vendors of them, when mine have babies I'd be willing to give it a shot shipping to you, you'd just have to pay for shipping. If you'd like I'll post some pictures tonight of mine they are around 2" and coloring up nicely. As far as your fish store if you try to go through them make sure they are getting from a reputable source. Also make sure they are not a. siquia Rio Mongo.

No, I don't want to risk it. It's one of the reasons I am asking so many questions and coming up with tons of ideas for people to either shoot down or agree with. I want something that is appealing to me, but that comes with little to no risk. And even if its appealing, if it has too much risk, I won't go through with it.

I would love to see some pics of your HRPs. And if you breed them, I would be willing to pay for shipping to get a few if I haven't found something else by then (or maybe have a new tank with room and compatibility).


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adixon816
01-01-2013, 6:23 PM
I'll be home in a few hours, will gladly post some pics for ya. You can keep a pair in a smaller tank I'd say 30g even if you decide on something else for now. I expect them to be to breeding size in the next 4-6 weeks.

Mythic Figment
01-01-2013, 7:35 PM
I'll be home in a few hours, will gladly post some pics for ya. You can keep a pair in a smaller tank I'd say 30g even if you decide on something else for now. I expect them to be to breeding size in the next 4-6 weeks.

Awesome. My LFS says the earliest they get keyholes in wont be for another 8-10 weeks and they have never seen rainbows or true HRPs on their list of available fish to order. I attend the first fish club meeting in 2 weeks, but its a big plant auction, so I don't think there will be fish sold this meeting. The next meeting won't be for 6 weeks from now and I don't even know if there will be anything I like there. So honestly you will probably have fry available before I can get ahold of anything else. LOL


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Mythic Figment
01-02-2013, 9:39 AM
Where would you be shipping them from? Overnight shipping can get expensive. LOL


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