Golden Ram Not Eating ( Hiding Amoungst The Plants )

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Offline norie_uk

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Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« on: July 22, 2018, 12:26:20 PM »
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Hi all.. so I've had my golden ram for maybe 6 weeks.. he was fine after integrating with the other rams but was getting bullied by the blue ram but with plenty places to hide it soon died down.. ive just noticed in the past few days it was shying away at feeding times.. i even got food dropped right close to its mouth but it turns away... I've tried flakes / blood worms but its not interested.. now as the days pass its very lethargic moving around the very bottom of the tank.. i fear the worst as i think its a matter of time :(

I do weekly water changes about 30% but last week i actually moved the tank from 1 end of living room to another and did about a 50% water change that week.. i dont have all the testing equipment for nitrates etc just the little test tube with the droplets and everything looks fine ( colour wise ) Tank is 120litres temp 24.. i do have 4 rams in total so not sure if its been bullied until stressed out or some sort of medical condition.. all other fish are fine.  Any ideas ??

Im thinking of getting a small quarantine tank to see if he will come round but not sure if it will make any difference..

Thanks in advance !

Offline Sue

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2018, 12:44:09 PM »
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Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your ram.

Since you say you have another male in the tank the most likely explanation is that the blue one is bullying the gold one. The tank is not big enough for 2 males to have territories so one will bully the other until he leaves the territory or dies. In a fish tank, leaving another fish's territory is not possible.
I think the blue ram is bullying the gold ram, not just physically but also by secreting pheromones to make the gold ram leave. Both physical and chemical bullying will be severely stressing the gold ram.

The only thing you can do to save the gold ram is to remove him from the tank, either into another tank you may have, or to someone else's tank or a shop.



Rams are cichlids. They are very territorial fish, males will not tolerate other males. They will also not tolerate females unless they have bonded.
You say you have 4 rams - we know that one is a blue male, and one is a gold male, but what are the other two? The danger is that if one or both are males, the blue ram will start bullying them when the gold male is removed or dies. If the other two are both females, the blue male may well pair up with one of them and they'll both bully the last female. It is also known that with an unbonded m/f pair of rams, one will kill the other at some point.


The other thing I notice is your temperature. Wild caught rams need a temp of around 28 deg C. Yours will not be wild caught but could have recent wild ancestors - breeders often use a wild fish to widen the gene pool. Rams that have no wild ancestors for many generations can tolerate lower temperatures, but I feel that 24 C is a bit low. But we need to know what other fish you have before altering the temperature.
Rams are also sensitive to nitrate, and that should be kept below 20 ppm.

Offline norie_uk

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2018, 05:54:43 PM »
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Hi Sue and thx for the very detailed & informative reply..  apologies for calling them he as it was a figure of speech.. so after checking and looking up online i think in actual fact i got 3 males and 1 female ( i think )..  blue / bolivian and im pretty sure the other is called a dwarf ram but i can't find much info about it.. the golden is female.. I bought a 5foot tank recently that I'm about to set up but not got all the stuff for it yet.. i may get a small quarintine tank to put the golden ram in.. regards to the temp my other fish seem fine with it..

My fish..

5 cardinals
5 scissor tail rasboras
5 serpae tetras
4 guppies
4 rams
3 plecs
3 albino corys

Hence the reason for the 5 foot tank !

P.s can you suggest a test kit as i see fish keepers posting numbers about water conditions but not sure what kit they use..

Thx again..

Offline fcmf

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2018, 06:31:57 PM »
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P.s can you suggest a test kit as i see fish keepers posting numbers about water conditions but not sure what kit they use..
Liquid-based test kits seem to be more reliable than paper-based test strips. Many people find the API Masterkit the best value, often found at good rates on e-bay. Personally, I have a mix of different brands but find JBL tests easy to use and read although I don't have its Combiset.

Offline Sue

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2018, 07:21:12 PM »
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You do seem to have a mixture of rams  :)

There are 2 species of ram.
Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is the ram. Blue rams, gold rams, german rams, balloon rams, angel rams are all just varieties of this one species.
http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/mikrogeophagus-ramirezi/
Mikrogeophagus altispinosus is the Bolivian ram. There is only one type of Bolvian ram as far as I know, though I have seen them called royal rams, and they are incredibly difficult to sex until they breed.
http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/mikrogeophagus-altispinosus/

The dwarf ram is probably just a fancy name for M. ramirezi that a shop thought up. There are no extra small rams, just those 2 species.


More than one male of either species - that is 2 or more male M. ramirezi, or two or more M. altispinosus are likely to fight. Just one each of both species should be OK especially in a larger tank.
Females should be OK together.
But a breeding pair could well take exception to every other fish that lives on the bottom of the tank.
And a male and female that have not bonded could end up fighting. Rams of both species (like lots of other cichlids) need to choose their own mates. It's like with humans, a man and a woman might not like each other, and would not get along together.


When you do set up the 5 foot, do you intend keeping the current tank running? if you don't, just move the decor, including plants if you have any, over to the new tank, 'persuade' the current filter media to fit inside the new tank's filter (sponges can be cut up to make them fit) then move the fish over. If you have sand in your current tank, move that over as well, and add more.
If you have gravel at the moment, can I suggest you get sand for the new tank. Rams of both species and cories will be much happier. They feed by taking a mouthful of sand, sifting it for food, then passing it out through their gills. I once had a pair of bonded Bolivian rams and the female got a piece of gravel stuck in her throat, and she wasted away. It was awful watching the male - he kept snugging up to her in a pitiful way and once the female died, he too pined away.
Play sand (since you are in Scotland, try Argos or B&Q) is perfect and cheaper than aquarium sand from the fish shop.

Once everything is in the new tank, and you have your test kit, monitor ammonia and nitrite every day for a week or so to make sure they both stay at zero. If they don't you'll need to do a water change to get down to zero. Though you already know about using mature media for cycling  :)
When you are sure they are staying at zero you can get more fish. Ideally the first  you should get are more cardinals, rasboras and cories of the same species. Personally I would rehome the serpaes as they are nasty nippy fish. I had some years ago for a couple of weeks then they went back to the shop as every other fish in the tank had bits missing.
In a 5 foot tank you will have room for 10 or more of the tetras rasboras and cories and still have plenty room for other species.



I have the API test kit.
You can also find your water hardness somewhere on your water company's website. You need the number and the unit as they could use any one of half a dozen units.

Offline Matt

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2018, 08:18:12 PM »
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One tactic you could try (especially if you are taking down the tank shortly) is rearranging the tank decorate to disrupt and territories that have formed and encourage them to 'start over'. If you removed the fish during this process and separated them before bringing them back together in the freshly arranged tank, this would help also.  It is entirely possible that the fish will resume their prior pecking order though.

What is your water hardness? as you appear to have a mix of soft water fish (rams) and hard water fish (guppies)

Offline norie_uk

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2018, 07:14:18 AM »
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Yup use white sand Sue its pretty cool watching the Rams sift through looking for food debris they were my " cleaners " until i got the corys as algae was easy to grow on white sand but now with the corys turning it over its pristene !! And yes i plan on swapping everything over so the cycle will be quicker but adding more sand ofcourse although i may try splitting the substrate half sand half river slate but still researching this i have a bucket of slate here and plan to boil it or leave soaked in hot water.. any info on using slate as substrate ? I got a variety of small rounded slate stones to medium to large it looks amazing !

Also yes i did feel the store made up the name for the ram as i couldnt find anything on it online searching for blue ram yields photos thst look like my " dwarf " its kinda greeny yellow in colour.. regarding test kits when ppl give nimbers for nitrates and other water conditiins is this from the test kits mentioned above ?? And my water hardness is 36.43...

Btw the ram died last night before i went to bed  :-\ feel so bad i couldn't save her it was smaller compared to the others and probably got to stressed with the blue as it really is the boss of the tank.. would having 2 golden rams help at all would they stick together ??

Thx all for you're replies !

Offline Sue

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2018, 09:42:50 AM »
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I'm sorry to hear that the ram died.

All the colour varieties of ram behave the same; having two gold and a blue, for example, just means you have 3 rams. Bolivian rams, being a different species, will not mix with rams.
You have to be careful with cichlids. Males defend a territory on the bottom of the tank. They will not allow males of the same species into it, and may also chase away males of similar species. So having M. ramirezi (ram) males and M. altispinosus (Bolivian ram) males in the same tank may not work long term. And just buying more rams won't guarantee anything either. If you got more males, the current males would object. if you got more females, they may not get on, and could kill each other. Rams, and Bolivian rams must choose their own mates. The usual way is to buy 6 rams or 6 Bolivian rams as juveniles, let two pair up then rehome the other 4. But this won't work here because you already have rams in the tank.
What you really need to do is work out exactly what you have. How many male and female rams, and how many Bolivian rams, though it will be impossible to say whether those are male or female. Then decide which you want. You will have a few options - keep the bolivian ram(s); keep the 'ordinary' rams; or even part exchange all the rams you currently have when buying more fish for your new tank, then get half a dozen juveniles of either rams or Bolivian rams, let them pair up then take the rest back. With non-Bolivian rams, you can mix colours.

As for your sand, I'm sorry to tell you but white is just about the worst colour from the fish's point of view. If it is bright white it will stress the fish because they have evolved over, and therefore expect, dark substrates. This is why fish look dark when we look down on them so that they blend in with the substrate (river, lake bottom) and are less easily seen by predators. Fish are also pale underneath so they blend in with the sky, so that predators lower down in the water can't see them properly.
I would be inclined to mix your current white sand with a darker sand in the new tank so it comes out a dark and white speckled mix.
Provided the slate has no sharp edges whatsoever, it could look good say piled up in one corner. Our member @Matt  has an amazing aquascaping website to give you some ideas  :)


When we give numbers for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, those are all ppm as measured by our test kits. Just about all test kits contain those 4, but some contain others as well. The 4 are the ones you need while the extras are really optional. It depends how much money you are willing to spend. Some of the extensive kits are mainly aimed at people who have a lot of live plants and need to know the levels of all sorts of things for their plants.
I have the API kit. That contains 2 pH testers but as you are in Scotland with soft water the chances are you also have pH below 7.6 so you wouldn't need the high range pH bottle.
All liquid nitrate testers have more than one bottle - usually 2 or sometimes 3 bottles. The instructions say to shake one of those bottles very well, and also the test tube just after the drops are added. This is because one of the reagents isn't actually soluble and it settles on the bottom of the bottle. The shaking is necessary to get it spread evenly through the liquid, and failure to shake is the most common cause of false nitrate readings.

Your hardness of 36.43 - is that mg/l CaCO3 or mg/l Ca?
Water companies could use any of half a dozen units. Fishkeeping uses only 2 units - ppm, which is the same as mg/l CaCO3, and dH, which is another name for German degrees.
So if your 36.43 is in mg/l CaCO3, that is 36.43 ppm and 2 dH. But if it is 36.43 mg/l Ca, that converts to 92 ppm and 5 dH. While both of those are classed as soft, you do need to know if your water is very soft or just soft.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2018, 01:23:08 PM »
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Sorry to hear about your ram.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2018, 10:26:37 PM »
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Aw - sad news about the ram; sorry to read that.  :'(

Offline norie_uk

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2018, 07:28:48 AM »
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Hi my water is hardness of 36.43 mg/l CaCO3 in German degrees 2.04.. Bummer about the sand although there is only a few patches as mostly its covered in plants or bogwood but to keep them fully happy I'll try something else for the big tank.. As for testers i have the 2 bottle nitrate test kit that uses the colour chart I'll get the PH test kit just to be safe any other test kits i need as my water is soft ?

Offline Sue

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Re: Golden Ram not eating ( hiding amoungst the plants )
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2018, 09:47:22 AM »
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Ammonia and nitrite are essential, you didn't mention those? At the first sign of something not right with any fish, testing for ammonia and nitrite should be done immediately.
You don't need any other tests but pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. If you want to buy other testers, that's fine, for example testing phosphate might flag up a problem in a tank with excessive algae.

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