German Blue Ram (Electric Blue Male & Golden Female)
Method of Reproduction: Egg Layer
Number and Gender Distribution of Parents: 1 Male (Electric Blue), 1 Female (Golden) Pair
Origin of Parents: LFS (source unknown)
Approximate number of fry: Originally hatched ca. 75
Date of Birth: Free Swimming 18 September 2019
Approx. Number of Fry at 30 Days: ca. 45
pH — 7.5
GH —5 drops / ca. 90 ppm
KH — 2 drops / ca. 35 ppm
Temperature: 81 degrees Fahrenheit
Average Nitrate: 20 ppm
Aquarium Size: 29 gal; in inches, 30.25” wide x 12.5” deep x 18.75” high
Water Source: town / city water
Water Changes: 60% every 2 weeks
Filtration System: Hang-on-back, Emperor 280 (with bio wheel)
Holding / Fry Tank:
pH — 6.3 (50 % R.O. water added daily)
GH — (tests were difficult to read) 5 drops / 90 ppm
KH — (tests were difficult to read) 5 drops / 90 ppm
Temperature: 81 degrees Fahrenheit (same as 29 gal, Fry Container suspended in Tank)
Average Nitrate: 25-30 ppm
Aquarium Size: Lee’s Large Specimen Container; in inches, 7” wide x 3.25” deep x 6” high
Water Source: R.O. bottled water
Water Changes: 50% daily
Filtration System: none; in future, we plan to add a micro sponge filter to cycle the container)
Decor & Environment
(Spawning Tank) Live Plants: Heavily planted tank featuring: dwarf baby tears, rotala indica, ludwigia ovalis, ludwigia repens, red melon swords, wisteria, bronze crypts, java moss
(Spawning Tank) Caves or Similar Hiding Places: one small plastic cave, and several salt-and-pepper rocks rams prefer to lay eggs on
(Spawning Tank) Substrate: Eco-complete black substrate
Lighting Type and Timing: One blue coral T-12 (?) fluorescent with LED strip lighting (used ca. 12 hrs / day), and additional LED utility light (used for only about 4 hrs x day)
(Fry Container) Live Plants: small Water Lettuce sprouts
(Fry Container) Caves or similar hiding Places: none, bare bottom
(Fry Container) Substrate: none
(Fry Container) MISC: Several snails added to process some waste, and lightly running air stone suspended inside
Food Fed to Parents and How Often: Fluval Bug Bites, Cobalt Fry Minis, Hikari Freeze-dried BBS, Live BBS (2x / day)
Food Fed to Fry and How Often: Live baby brine shrimp, Sera-micron (2x / day)
Comments & Additional Information
Mikrogeophagus Ramirezi, best known as the “German Blue Ram,” are the fish that really got us into breeding. Our first attempt last year ended in failure. But then we were able to raise 7 fry from a second batch to maturity. One major goal has been to raise a BAP viable batch of 10 or more.
In brief, we set up the decor so that the rams will spawn on a small rock which is then removed to a separate container with a suspended air stone to “tumble” the water over the eggs. Between 1/2 to 1 ml. of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is added 1x every 12 hours, for just two doses to fight off fungus. The fry hatch in ca. 2-3 days, seen as wigglers. Once they eat through their yolk sack and are free-swimming, the challenge begins.
Sometimes a male does not properly fertilize the eggs. Another time the eggs were laid in an area too difficult to “pull” in order to hatch. With this pair - an Electric Blue Male, and a Golden Female - their first batch did not survive past three weeks. We tried feeding on hard-boiled egg-yolk and Sera micron, but without an early transition to live food, they did not grow properly.
With this (submitted) batch, we determined to move them over to baby brine shrimp earlier. This has made all of the difference in survival rate. Furthermore, we have since been able to successfully move more batches over the two-week threshold with this feeding plan. We feed the rams 2x / day, feeding BBS and a light dose of Sera-Micron mixed in water. Daily vigilance is essential with Ram fry. We carefully siphon off all waste and uneaten food off the bottom, and draw out 50% of the container water. This is replaced by R.O. water that has been suspended in the tank to reach tank-temperature (ca. 81 degrees Fahrenheit).
We plan to transition these small fry first to a “well-seasoned” 5.5. gal aquarium containing a fair amount of algae and plants to grow out for a month or so. From there, we have a 20 gallon long that will be the larger ram-colony grow out tank until the rams are ready to be culled, moved on to our LFS, or selected for ongoing breeding projects.
Three other batches were also grown in this period. Another small one from the same parents had only 6 fry survive. Two other batches from 2nd generation GBR born in our water had 4 fry and ca. 50 fry respectively. Apart from the first few days where fry are free swimming and need food that they can consume, the crucial time frame for survival is the 2-3 week point. In this period, the rams tend to crash with just a few survivors — or en masse — they tend to press through and survive as a larger group.
Water quality is crucial, as any buildup of Ammonia or Nitrate leads to early fatalities. It is difficult to keep the containers fully cycled with this approach. Nitrite tends to read higher than preferable. In the future, we plan to implement micro-sponge filters in the Specimen Containers to cycle them once the fry are large enough to avoid being hurt.