View Full Version : Solo Bolivian Ram --- Angry or Bored?

04-28-2014, 10:30 AM
Allrighty then. I have a 40b with the following stock: 12 neon tetra, 12 rummynose (bleheri), 1 blonde bristlenose, 1 Bolivian Ram.

Now, the Bolivian eats well, is attentive, looks good. But he spends more time than I would have thought healthy staring and sulking at his reflection. I know they do this in new tanks, but I would have thought he would have gotten out of the habit by now (I have had him a month).

Of course, his horizontal striping may be normal and he's not being pissy at all. This is a new species for me, so interpreting his striping is hit or miss on my part. But all the pictures I've seen of Bolivians on the internet show a much lighter colored fish, so am slightly concerned that my fish is dark and stripy.

Another person gave me the suggestion that the fish is bored and needs more of its own kind.

I do remember when I'd gotten this fish from the LFS. It had been in a tank with other rams and angels. This specific fish acted aggressively toward *everything* in the tank. Now, in my mind that was due more to the fact that there were more fish in this tank than there should have been, due to the fact that there was a large order of angels separated on hold within it.

That being said, I am slightly worried about introducing fish into the tank that the BR will beat the #%$& out of, especially when I don't intend on breeding rams. I am close to the limit of what I would feel comfortable in placing in there. Would a trio of apistos be interesting enough to keep the BR from being bored, but different enough to keep any aggression down?

Pics for reference attached ... apologies on not great quality cellphone pics. And admittedly, after feeding and at other times, he is less "stressed looking" and the colors are super vibrant. So i might be worried over nothing.

04-28-2014, 03:55 PM
Well, I went ahead and obtained 2 more Bolivians. It appears I have 2 males and 1 female at the moment. The original male is no longer stress barring and is in full orange. But is also chasing the other two all over the place. When does the chasing stop in general? After a couple hours, after a couple weeks?

04-28-2014, 04:42 PM
It totally varies, but I think they will be fine. I may worry about the new fish getting stressed out after not being QT'd, but I think aside from that potential issue things will settle in short order.

04-28-2014, 06:24 PM
Yeah ... I had them home and out of the bag into the transfer/drip bowl when I realized I still hadn't set up the QT tank since moving :dizzy:

I went ahead and turned off the lights, and completely rearranged the rockwork, making more boundary areas with no trapped spots. Am wondering if I should find a second female or make the group a total of five. For some reason I keep reading that they do best in groups of five ... though that doesn't sound right if they prefer to pair off.

I have already observed that when first male attempts to push around the female, the second male will attempt to put himself in between them ... but he won't puff up back. Perhaps once the second male gets more confident and barks back, things might get better.

04-28-2014, 09:22 PM
I always thought the group of 5 thing was to insure a pair when you buy small fry. I think a 40B may hold 2 pairs okay, but a 5th one might have no place to go if both pairs spawn at once.

04-28-2014, 09:26 PM
That sounds more logical to me ... Am thinking leave well enough alone at this point and see what happens. Right now, the aggressive male is occupying the right half of the tank, pacing the boundary every so often, but generally sticking to his same corner. Less stress barring and more color, admittedly ... but still holed up in his same little corner.

The two new fish are huddled on top of each other in a corner on the left side of the tank.

If aggressive male continues being a bastard, I'll rehome him, leaving only a single pair.

04-29-2014, 04:53 AM
Dang this guy is cheeky. I have had kribs in the past that were more pleasantly tempered than this git. Yeesh. I thought BR's were the more even tempered of the dwarf cichlids, lol!

After waking up and checking the tank, the pair are sporting shredded fins and the rummynose are highly stressed from all the chasing and swooping and fussing about going on around them. Normally, I would be about giving it another day or two, but when other denizens are becoming collateral damage, I feel I need to intervene.

I've separated out Mister Hyper-Territorial and I have posted a thread seeing if anyone would like him.

Interestingly, the pair are still behaving like a pair even left to their own devices. So perhaps that is a good thing.

04-29-2014, 07:14 AM
This is a good example of fish being individuals. They all have a personality and some are quite different than the norm for that species. I have had many bolivian rams in the past and never have I had one that acted like Ron's experience here. I have had breeding pairs in a 20L with other b. rams with no problems. Ron you should teach your fish to read the text book so they know how to act...

04-29-2014, 08:54 AM
I wish it were that easy. :(

I have had cichlids before, and anabantids .... so quarrelsome fish I am accustomed to. This one kinda goes beyond that, though, admittedly, only with other cichlids it appears. Perhaps the aggression on the angels and laetacara I'd seen it do in the LFS tank were not totally due to the tank being overfull.

(and I think your auto-correct is auto-correcting my username to Ron, lol)


Apisto Jim
04-29-2014, 09:11 AM
I agree with Ron. Cichlids are intelligent fish and personality variations will naturally follow. My Apisto spawning tanks are 20 gal longs and will usually have a trio for stocking. I have yet to have consistent behavior in spawns. With my A. borellii, I have had 3 females spawn without any fights or predation of competing young, and I have had 2 females that killed each other after taking out nearly everyone of their competitors broods. Some fry have gone through their grow out tanks without damage and others have torn every fin to pieces. To me, this is the challenge and enjoyment of raising cichlids: you NEVER know what to expect.

05-23-2014, 02:44 PM
Well, the angry bastard got a new home, and is doing well, from what I understand. The two I have left have paired, I believe. No spawning (which I really didn't want anyway) but enough of a pair to keep them in good color. All the shredded fins are perfectly healed up, and they look great.