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Expected lifespan?

Discussion in 'Fish for Planted Tanks' started by ShadowMac, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I have been having some success (finally!) with my Electric Blue Rams. However my oldest one has recently "followed the white light". My estimation for his age is roughly 2 years old. He abruptly became disinterested in eating, spent more time either hiding or just staying in one space. Behavior was lethargic. The other two rams are fine and younger by probably a year. He was the dominant male, but just seemed to have lost energy and will to live. No visible injuries or signs of infection/infestation. No rapid breathing. My Co2 has been ironed out and is actually lower than it has been in the past (with good results for plants and fish) so I am doubting that type of stress. He rapidly declined over the course of the week. I'm sure his lack of eating compounded whatever was going on. I was about to put him in a hospital tank to ensure he ate, but he deteriorated very quickly in the last 24 hours. He was my favorite :(

    My question is: Was it just his "time"? as in 2 years is a reasonable lifespan for Blue Rams. There is no other sign of distress in any other fish. There has not been a death of any kind in several months. The last was a cardinal tetra at a water change, which I'm assuming some type of stress sent him over to the "other side", not illness.

    What are reasonable lifespans to expect for many of our critters? ie shrimp, characins, apistos, etc.

    To ensure health of my fish I try to feed a varied diet: pellets, flakes, frozen brine, bloodworms, others. I often hold the frozen food with tweezers as it makes it much easier for the rams to eat it before the other fast fish when they don't have to look for it.

    Any other tips?

    The tank was scaped to accommodate the rams. there were locations used for hiding places, stones, and no long lines of sight to avoid fighting. The rams actually got along fairly well. They would have some confrontations, developed a pecking order, and would also spend time around eachother.

    RIP Big Blue
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hmmm...

    Hi Shawn,All,

    I do not have any good references, nor enough experience to say myself and I have to walk-back (a euphemism for I was wrong) some things I have told you and others about Electric Blue Rams, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi. :(


    As far as I can tell the wild Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, in Columbia seem to live a bit better than 3 years in captivity.


    • The Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, bred in Asia and the Czech Republic have a life expectancy of 2 years or so
    • with many reports of sudden unexpected die-offs.

    I realize I had given you (and others) some bad information. I had made an assumption and passed on some misinformation I read, that the domesticated Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, as is true with other Apistogramma, are hardier than their wild caught counterparts.


    I also passed on the misinformation that the bright and distinct colors of the domesticated Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, were a result of selective breeding.:rolleyes:


    {As an aside, I have wild caught Mikrogeophagus ramirezi and found them duller in color, far hardier, far more difficult to breed than the domesticated version.}


    Again, I would feel a little better had I better sources on this, but it appears that the “domesticated” Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, coming out of Asia and the Czech Republic are dosed with hormones that cause them to breed far earlier, intensify the coloration and significantly decrease the robustness and life expectancy. (Should this be true I will advise not purchasing such creatures, for the time being I will stick to "wild caught.")



    One of the things that always gives me pause,


    • is when I see identical or very close wording from supposedly different sources, this is the case here.
      • [*=1]“The German Blue Ram, although a very exciting and colourful fish, has created some discomfort for aquarists. Many aquarists have complained of premature demises of this wonderful fish, most often within a few days or within months after introducing them to their tank, despite being purchased from a very clean and reputable LFS.” From The Aquarium Wiki.


    I am doing more research on the matter, there seems to be something to this.


    I know I blamed your loses on (or assumed) they were related to some issue of water quality and horror-of-horrors, contradicted Tom Barr’s answer that sometimes it is just the batch you get.


    • This was an example of me trying to extrapolate from my rather limited experience with this critter.:eek:

    Biollante

     
    #2 Biollante, Nov 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2011
  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Do you prefer wild caught species? I have heard/read quite the opposite. That wild caught tend to be much more difficult to acclimate and are more sensitive.

    IME, with these fish. The "wild type" coloration has been easy to keep and care for. I have had times when they have spawned. When I began keeping the electric blue variety I really struggled keeping these fish. All were from the same source. I had a high mortality rate within the first week. After that point survivors seemed to be just as hardy as "wild type". I know there are local breeders within the states. I am hoping to find one of these as a source. My last group came from a LFS (semi local 76 miles away) that said he could get me some. They were hardy and in good health. Those are the two I still have. Interestingly, I have had these fish from multiple sources and have noticed variations in physical features. The latest two do not have well pronounced sexual dimorphism and are difficult to sex even at this age. The other one who has just passed, had very pronounced finnage and was a great looking specimen. I have seen others that appear to have been poorly bred and have flatter faces/heads, misshapen tales ( a distinct arch upwards). I think the tale thing develops when breeders chase longer tail and dorsal fins and this feature tends to follow as well.

    It is very difficult to get reliable information in this hobby about some things, and I appreciate your help Biollante. At the very least taking an analytical approach can help.

    I am asking questions about sources and treatment from now on. I want to ensure I get good stock.
     
  4. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Everything I've read and heard at the LFS pretty much says the german blues will do fine, and then *pfft*. Mine usually have stopped eating, lie down on the bottom, and then develop some sort of fuzz on them and die almost immediately thereafter. Unfortunately none of this is really useful since all it does is pass on more anecdotes and nothing definite. I know angels can be pretty lousy at times with all the culls you find in the LFS, but they're usually good and I've had seemingly solid specimens hit 7-8 years+ so I'm not really sure what the "real" lifespans of any of the fish we have.

    -
    S
     
  5. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I haven't kept the electric blues, though my father had recent misadventures.
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I Think the Commercial Breeding Technique Barbaric & Wrong

    Hi,


    I heard from a friend[SUP]1, 2, 3[/SUP] a little bit ago that asserts rather forcefully that the wild-caught and there non-hormone induced descendants should in a well-kept aquarium live for more than four years.:)

    It turns out I have no experience with the commercially bred version.
    :rolleyes::)

    Further to this conversation is that sexing, which is easy among the wild-caught is quite difficult in the hormone injected bunch. To make matters worse the breeders cull many of the females to keep the competition down.
    :(



    This is a tough one for me, I made the same assumptions about wild versus captive, I had purchased a dozen from a friend[SUP]1[/SUP] who had bred them and I thought them “domestic” as it turned out these are descendants of wild-caught that he had purchased.



    Out of the dozen I got three pair that bred (after a couple tries) quite readily. I assumed I would do what I had done with a number of other species, selectively breed for color, robustness, and getting along in an aquarium.[SUP]4[/SUP]

    Along the way, I was able to purchase 10 wild-caught specimens from Columbia; a friend[SUP]1[/SUP] did a marvelous job of acclimating and quarantining.


    I have had a good bit more trouble with these guys, no fatalities (I attribute this to the acclimation process), but they are sensitive to even slight changes in water. It appears two have paired and three have paired with second generation from my original group. :cool:


    Biollante
    [SUP]1[/SUP]Evil plant monsters as you may know do not actually have friends; I use the term to mean anyone not actively trying to kill me, rescue family members or hand me over to the authorities, usually involves copious amounts of cash and/or blackmail.
    [SUP]2[/SUP]As many of you know, it is my policy to “collect” “high-friends in low places” and “low-friends in high-places,”
    [SUP]3[/SUP]Definitly a “low-friend…”
    [SUP]4[/SUP]I am not a fan of extreme inbreeding in any critter and always believe introducing new bloodlines.



     
  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I currently have a query in to liveaquaria.com about the source of their fish. This might be common knowledge among those "in the know". I will wait and see what they say. Their pricing is a bit steep compared to other places. The other place I'm looking into is "The Wet Spot" out of Portland. They have a wide variety of fish frequently posted on aquabid. Many wild specimens as well. They have not responded to my email regarding my interest.
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Know the Source, Demand A Clear Statement

    Hi Shawn,

    Given what I now know, I would not purchase any Mikrogeophagus ramirezi without knowing there source and a flat statement that they have not been injected with any hormones or dyes.:)


    I suspect there are more than a few ethical and moral folks in the fish trade that are coming to grips with this moral outrage. :gw


    • My sense is that many folks are scrambling for alternative sources…
    • However, it is difficult once people get used to the idea of these critters at low prices
    • it is often hard for the ethical folk to compete.


    If you are still looking at the end of the year, I should have some I can let you have.:)


    Biollante

     
  9. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    The Wet Spot has very high standards for a big retail operation, and they carry lots of neat stock. However, there's one guy I'd trust above all to order anything related to apistos or rams; apistodave aka David Soares. The man literally wrote the book on apistos (and other dwarf cichlids) with Uwe Romer. If you have questions, he knows more than any of us. He gets all kinds of wild species, including rams, and sells on aquabid seasonally. His e-mail is: apistodave@bendcable.com
     
  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Thank you very much for the information, Dan. I have seen his postings and always take a look at his interesting fish.

    Glad to hear The Wet Spot is a good source. I did look into them a bit before inquiring.

    It is important to be an empowered consumer. Especially in this hobby. I do spend much of my expendable time and money on it :)
     
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