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Is this CO2 poisoning or something else?

Discussion in 'Fish for Planted Tanks' started by ShadowMac, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I have recently added 5 electric blue rams (beautiful fish) to my 37 gallon planted tank. They have been in the tank for a week without any troubles, however yesterday i noticed one at the top of the tank gasping at the surface. All other fish and shrimp didn't show signs of stress, just this one fish. It subsequently died. Today, I had another one doing the same, it was the only fish showing stress. I performed a water change and fish behavior seemed to improve however he was soon back to the top. The fish appears to be exhausted. None of the other blue rams show signs of stress.

    If its CO2 stress/poisoning why aren't other fish showing stress? All the rams have been in there for a week with same CO2 levels without a problem, just recently.

    Could 5 be too many electric blue rams for a 37gallon tank and after sorting out territories this fish is the "loser" and is exhausted from being chased around?

    Could night time LED's be preventing fish from "sleeping" or whatever it is they do at night resulting in a gradual build of deprivation leading to exhaustion?

    Anyone who is able to help or offer there advice would be appreciated. I really enjoy these fish and would like to keep them healthy and happy.
     
  2. Szkalak

    Szkalak Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think that it's very possible that new additions to tanks with gas injection may very well find elevated co2 levels problematic. I've not had very much luck with the "electric" rams of any sort, and most of the fish I've purchased of this type have never really lasted very long - a number of others I've known have experienced similar issues with these fish. Some of the reading I've come across by professed ram fans, all seem to point out that these fish (electric blues, ballon rams, yellow rams, etc) are relatively weak fish that generally suffer from poor breeding and flawed genetics, but I am not really certified to comment; I do think that the argument has merit though in most particulars. I do have a number of Bollivian and German rams that have flourished, and spawned numerous times, that are 2 to three years old in the same conditions that the electrics failed in. In the end I just gave it up on these critters. Overall, I'd say... given stability in all other relative variables... that if your shirmp and other fish and displaying normal behavior then most likely your levels are okay and I'd look to your acclimation methods when introducing new species. Others in the forum are more qualified to comment on the C02 issue. Good Luck.

    Best Regards,
    Justin
     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Probably Not CO2

    Hi,

    Electric Blue Rams, Papiliochromis ramirezi are difficult fish to keep.:)

    A quarantine period is always a good idea, in this case not only do you get make sure they are not carrying parasites or disease, but it also provides an opportunity for them to settle down and adjust to your water conditions. :gw

    Really good water conditions.

    At this point how much hiding space do you provide?

    Papiliochromis ramirezi need open swimming space with plenty of “cave” and hiding places. If possible three or four densely planted areas as well. Flat stones placed around the tank if you want them to breed. To breed after they have matured and acclimated a little peat and elevate the temperatures a bit maybe 26-27 C (79-82 F). :cool:

    Biollante
     
  4. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    thank you for your replies.

    Biollante,

    the tank is densely planted, so there are plenty of places to hide.

    as far as good water conditions what specifically do I want? It is the same 37 that a month ago I had some difficult time with algae and you offered your help. Frequent water changes and altering my dosing routine have completely cleared the algae. Perhaps my water isn't quite optimal yet. I do get a clear film at the top of my tank towards the end of the week prior to a water change.

    I was thinking of adding an airstone to run during the night. I would rather not if you don't think it will help.
     
    #4 ShadowMac, Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2010
  5. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Difficult But Worth The Trouble

    Hi,

    That is a nice looking tank, I am glad that the problems are clearing up. :D

    In addition to densely planted areas which are good, Papiliochromis ramirezi really need caves or holes to hold up and hide.

    Clay pot turned on there sides work well. PVC pipe can be hidden in the planted areas and down into the substrates. :)

    Water needs to be very clean, on the soft side I generally keep about 4dGH and 2dKH and on the acidic side. I know many shoot for no or very little alkalinity, I am not comfortable with less than 2dKH.

    Even if the water conditions are excellent, fluctuations in water chemistry harm them.

    Metals are killers as well as ammonia and Nitrites. These guys generally do not tolerate most medications.

    Additionally P. ramirezi are disease prone and do not tolerate shipping at all well.

    These can be very frustrating fish to keep, as I said earlier these fish are difficult. They are also incredibly beautiful and entertaining. Once you get the hang of it they breed readily and do very well. :gw

    They like a wide range of food and I do recommend live food, but I really do think that it is best to grow the food yourself so you can avoid parasites and disease.

    Biollante
     
  6. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    Have actually found Discus easier to keep than the Ramirezi. Both appreciate similar water conditions but I have actually had better luck with the gold variety of the Rams. Have kept them in moderately or slightly hard water along with domestic Discus.
    Longest I was able to keep a group was three years, but I am reluctant to admit the numbers lost in the interim.
     
  7. Htomassini

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    Nice tank. I 've kept and raised discus without any issues and wild cardinals, So I tried german rams. I bought 7, 2 males and 5 females. 2 of them always kept going up to the top, adding and extra airstone helped (this was in my overcrowded 90 btw) but was was still not right, I placed her in a 90 biocube was highly oxygenated she did better but never looked right. Eventually i moved her to the 90 with 2 stones running. One day lost power overnight and woke up to 3 dead roselines, 3 dead bosemanis, and 3 dead rams. All of the weak ones failed. In my new 210 tank where o2 stays at 8+ppm with co2 running and 84F the remaining 4 rams have paired off and spawn regularly. They are very active and healthy. Something tells me that these domestic rams may have inefficient gills or issues, and only 4 out of 7 were hardy enough (they survived very low oxygen when my 90 gave out)
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Trickier Than Discus...

    Hi,

    I suspect that one of the problems with “difficult” fish, particularly P. ramirezi is the shipping and handling part.

    I know these fish are tough to ship; I think that sometimes the critters are “damaged” or weakened and never really fully recover. :(

    I do understand why people become obsessed with these fish. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  9. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Shipping aside, there's also the probability that the more the color morph varies from the wild variety the more inbred the fish. Eventually you end up with a really pretty fish that keels over if you look at it funny. Not all breeders bother to reintroduce other lines to their stock to eliminate hereditary weakness over time. i.e. you may just have ended up with a batch of inbred, super delicate fish. This kind of thing is unfortunate as it's usually going to be the prettiest fish with the best personality that keels over dead long before the others do.

    -
    S

     
  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I'm still interested in keeping these fish and breeding them is an intriguing idea. That being said, how should I proceed. It sounds as if I can expect some reasonable losses purely from shipping and acclimation stress. I would like to start by successfully keeping a group of about 8 healthy and happy in my tank. I plan on adding some cave like areas this weekend. My water is on the harder side so should I do something to soften the water? should i consider using RO water? I have an RO system that hooks up to my tap which would be a PITA to implement but if necessary I will suffer through it. I was thinking of implementing 2x or 3x a week water changes. Would that goof with my EI dosing routine? Any suggestions on what to look for or test for or shoot for would be appreciated. Thanks all for your help, advice, and information.
     
  11. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    About last year I bought a group of 5 Ottos. There was one of them who breathed heavily and swam erratically. So I moved it to a bucket full of plain water (the tank was CO2 and EI dosed). It recovered fine. I kept it in the bucket for one day and moved it to the tank again. This time it took longer to show the stress symptom. It was moved back to the bucket again.

    I tried moving it to the tank for another time the next day (or 2-3 days later I'm not sure). This time it acclimated successfully.
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Continued Minor Rant: Quarantine Need Not Be Complicated OR Expensive

    Hi Nipat,

    This is a good example of the “magic” of quarantine, a couple of weeks quarantined, even in a bucket, can do wonders for adapting our fish to their new home along with keeping disease and parasites out of our aquariums. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  13. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I'm thinking of doing a similar process when I get some more electric blues. equipping a small cheap 10 gallon with heater and HOB filter to quarantine the rams in for a while, then transfer back any stressed fish after they have been placed in the main tank. perhaps that will improve my success with these fish.
     
  14. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    I believe you are on the right track. Were it me, I would set up a 10 or twenty gallon tank with 50/50 mix of my tapwater and RO water and drip acclimate the fish to this water.
    Over time ,slowly, I would reduce the RO and perhaps slowly add tapwater /tank water in small, increasing increments.
    Warm temps between 82 and 86 degrees F , and perhaps look for young fish rather than some of the tired old breeder's that are often found in Fish stores.
    Would not place too many in tank for although they are not as aggressive as many cichlids,they will need room for territories and much bickering is often the norm in smaller tanks with these little warrior's.
    they will establish a pecking order and the odd man out will be under considerable stress.
     
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