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Bolivian Rams vs German Blue Rams

Discussion in 'Other South American Dwarf Cichlids' started by gobigorgohome, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. gobigorgohome

    gobigorgohome New Member

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    Which do you prefer and why? I would like to hear from some people who have had experience with both keeping and breeding both of them but those with less are welcome to chime in too!
  2. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    On the upside, Bolivian Rams are less delicate, are less demanding on water values, and tend to be better parents. On the down, they take longer to mature and start breeding. Orinoco Rams (German Blue, Gold etc.) tend to be more delicate and more demanding of water values and need temperatures outside of typical aquarium temps. They are notoriously poor parents. For all of their less than stellar qualities, I personally prefer Orinoco Rams - preferably wild. To me they are prettier.
  3. wethumbs

    wethumbs Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Bolivian ram is also harder to sex. I was lucky..very lucky to get two pairs from the 4 juveniles I picked up (or maybe I am that good at sexing them). Both pairs were very attentive parents and more importantly unlike GBR, the fry can take newly hatched artemia right away. The Bolivian ram fry also grow slower than the GBR's. The GBR frys are usually at sellable size at around 3.5 month while the Bolivian ram will take up to 5 months. I also agree with Mike that GBR, GR, or EBR are way prettier. As for GBR parental behavior, I have very good luck again with both GBR and GR that were great parents. The EBR is another story but that just make it more interesting and challenging to work with.

    Here is a pic of GBR parents with fry.
    [​IMG]

    Here is EBR with fry.
    [​IMG]
  4. slimbolen99

    slimbolen99 Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I find the bolivians, especially in breeding dress, to be quite beautiful. They don't have the sharp contrast in colors that the blue rams do, but they still have plenty of color. I'll go downstairs and snap a few pics of my bolivians with fry...plus, they aren't as "common" as the blue rams...and like Mike said, not as picky!
  5. Melanochromis

    Melanochromis Member

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    I like both rams very, very much. They both are some of my most favorite cichlids. In my opinion, they are quite different in terms of looks and behavior and it's hard to compare. But the German rams did give me headaches for their habit of squabbling all the time and the difficulty of finding good food for the fry. So I tend to prefer the Bolivian Rams a little bit more if I'm looking to breed the fish.

    "Orinoco Ram". I like the name. I always thought it's kind of weird to call a South American fish "German Ram".

    Occasionally, I heard "Venezuelan Ram". Can I ask what you think of this name?
  6. sasikan

    sasikan Member

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    at what temperatures do you keep the blue rams and the bolivian rams? is it different when trying to breed them?
  7. gobigorgohome

    gobigorgohome New Member

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    Well I decided to go with GBRs and I love them they are so beautiful! Not sure if I will be able to get them to breed succesfully but they are awesome fish!
  8. WhiteDevil

    WhiteDevil New Member

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    With the right water they should breed pretty quickly, they are crap parents so pull the fry or the parents when fry are present and raise them yourself(not hard if you have 2-3 hours a day to dedicate to their water upkeep) they are more delicate but mine(EB,GBR,BR) are all in water that is 84 degrees and a MAXIMUM Ph of 6.3 it usually sits around 5.8

    I like them all to be honest, they all have their qualities and all leave some to be desired but nothing is perfect. As far as activity goes out of the rams discussed here all but the BR is very active. I see the BR more now that the water is finally back on RO rather then just DI but he still hides out watching everything else in the tank.

    The GBR's are a great choice, they really are the spotlight fish in my 210g discus tank, sad but very true, the discus are tree stumps compared to the ram's energy.
  9. Chromedome

    Chromedome Member 5 Year Member

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    I find it both interesting and annoying how common names evolve over the decades. In the 1970s-80s, German Rams were a population line bred in Germany for very heavy, dark black markings. When I saw them here in the US, they were specially imported; in my area, a local breeder who was originally from Germany brought some back on a personal trip over there. They were quite distinct from the common Blue Ram. They also proved out to be much hardier than the commercially bred common Rams, even though this was in the days before the excessive use of antibiotics to allow massive crowding while raising them.

    Now the name has come to replace the common Blue Ram, and most don't even realize where the name came from. It's supposed to denote fish that originated from German lines, but is being applied to fish whose ancestors have never even been anywhere near there - the very fish we were trying to avoid before. I've seen fish labelled "German Blue Rams" that have almost no black markings at all. I agree, Orinoco Ram, or Venezuelan Ram would be preferable common names. The one I like? Wild Rams.
  10. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I agree on all counts. The original 'German Blue Rams' not only had darker blacks but a deeper body, too. I prefer the wild forms, too. They take longer to color up, but are beautiful fish.
  11. mummymonkey

    mummymonkey Member 5 Year Member

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    I still call them butterfly cichlids. It's what they were known as here when they first became popular.
  12. Melanochromis

    Melanochromis Member

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    Butterfly cichlid is a very beautiful name. I like it personally. It seems to be translated from the latin name Papiliochromis?

    Chromedome and Mike Wise, thanks for the explanation of the name's origin.
  13. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Actually, you have it backwards. Kullander proposed the genus name "Papiliochromis", based on the common name "Butterfly Cichlid" that was used in the hobby.
  14. DezertRacer

    DezertRacer New Member

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    I love the German Ram, its my all time favorite out of any cichlid. Mine breed often and are excellent parents, the dad especially, anytime a fry in its wiggler state wiggles too far from the "rock nest" he goes and picks it up and spits it back in the nest!
  15. Melanochromis

    Melanochromis Member

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    Ah, I see. It's good to know!


    You're too lucky. I never trusted them with the eggs and fry. They were always eaten if I left them.
  16. Unicorrs

    Unicorrs New Member

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    Bolivian Rams:
    Subtle but beautiful colors (if kept well).
    Good parents.
    Higher level of intelligence and sociable interaction (particularly with their owner).
    Cute.

    German Blue Rams:
    Brilliant colors (if kept well).
    Poor parents.
    Not the most intelligent of fish.
  17. Melanochromis

    Melanochromis Member

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    Good summary. It's interesting (and funny) that you think Bolivian Ram is intelligent and the Blue Ram is not.

    PS. May I add that the German Blue Ram is also annoyingly aggressive. They're so obsessed with trying to intimidate each other, while the Bolivian Ram is generally oblivious to aggression.
  18. Unicorrs

    Unicorrs New Member

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    Hehe, but I love Blue Rams! I just wish my blue rams are more affectionate or something, LOL
  19. Melanochromis

    Melanochromis Member

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    They are so not. But honestly I don't think Bolivian Rams are either.

    The most "affectionate" dwarf cichlids I have seen are those African Congochromis dimidiatus. The pair always stay very close to each other and seem to be very gentle to each other. The two ram species, on the other hand, tend to form a pair that either constantly fight each other or act peacefully at first but later end up fighting anyway. LOL.