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GBR pair showing signs of breeding


Slick_Nick
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Hoping someone can help me find the missing piece to getting some eggs laid by this pair of rams! I picked them up young at my lfs about 8 months ago now and from the moment I added them to my 29g they’ve stuck by each others side. I run pressurized co2 so my ph moves some but it usually in the middle to upper 6’s my gh is 10 and kh is 3. My water is fairly hard same as the lfs they came from 5 minutes from my house. The temp was at 80 degrees but I recently bumped it up to 83 degrees. I feed plenty of live bbs and frozen brine shrimp the females belly gets nice and plump. Every day for a period of time they do a dance together next to each other head to tail and spin around then they nip at each other a bit and go face to face and lock lips. I wouldn’t say they are being too aggressive and they go at each other equally the male occasionally nips down by her breeding tube. Which always seems to be out. Just not sure what I’m missing at this point I’d love to see some eggs from them. I tried to get a couple pictures of them going at each other but I didn’t get the greatest picturesFEC50578-C0BB-4622-B666-04465A57549C.jpeg.3fd0f6d369d4903429cc3ce05234ec83.jpeg4D658B42-D89F-4681-9FB3-1872785D2441.jpeg.cdb4e15912a657141220630068c033c2.jpegF5978CE7-94EC-407D-9E91-746B3D09C687.jpeg.cccc5f95149116dccaabc774fe973e0a.jpeg

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On 6/12/2022 at 12:32 PM, SandSea said:

i wonder if this would help, 50% water change, lower temp to 76, try to keep pH around 7.

super nice looking tank btw

oh and some live worms, from like petco

 

Thanks for your reply! I never thought of trying a cooler water change with rams because everyone always talks about high temps when breeding them. I’ll have to give that a try! They both went on for a while now they are hanging out down low in the rotalas like they usually do afterwards. Never see any eggs being laid or area being cleaned to lay eggs. I’ll give the cooler water change a try though thanks again

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Have you tried feeding baby brine? When I know mine were at prime breeding color I would put some baby brine. After 2 days I would do a water change. But when I do water changes I would make sure the water is slight cooler then my tank water, GBR like the water hot. This simulates rain which supposedly triggers breeding. 
 

Also, I can’t tell from the photos you posted but are you seeing breeding colors from them? The female’s belly will get a nice red. The male’s nose will turn reddish too.

Looking at the photos again, are you positive you have a male/female pair? I can’t confirm they are a pair from the photos that were uploaded. I just say this because lip locking isn’t as much of breeding behavior. I’m I tend to see more tail whipping at each other, but that I am not 100% sure. 

On 6/12/2022 at 12:32 PM, SandSea said:

i wonder if this would help, 50% water change, lower temp to 76, try to keep pH around 7.

super nice looking tank btw

oh and some live worms, from like petco

 

Why the lower temp? I know rams love the heat cranked up. 

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On 6/15/2022 at 4:38 PM, ChargerstoLA said:

Have you tried feeding baby brine? When I know mine were at prime breeding color I would put some baby brine. After 2 days I would do a water change. But when I do water changes I would make sure the water is slight cooler then my tank water, GBR like the water hot. This simulates rain which supposedly triggers breeding. 
 

Also, I can’t tell from the photos you posted but are you seeing breeding colors from them? The female’s belly will get a nice red. The male’s nose will turn reddish too.

Looking at the photos again, are you positive you have a male/female pair? I can’t confirm they are a pair from the photos that were uploaded. I just say this because lip locking isn’t as much of breeding behavior. I’m I tend to see more tail whipping at each other, but that I am not 100% sure. 

Why the lower temp? I know rams love the heat cranked up. 

ChargerstoLA I feed live baby brine shrimp twice a week every week on top of frozen brine shrimp and pellets. I can definitely tell when they have their breeding colors they both get way more vibrant the male gets a nice orange on his head not sure about red I could be slightly color blind lol he definitely has a brighter yellow to him and the black on the female gets very black and her belly is a nice pink not red either. I’m going to try the cooler water change this weekend and see if that sparks anything. They are definitely a male and female here’s a better picture to see that. The photos I posted before were when they were in the middle of their flirting so I wasn’t able to get the best photos! Thanks for your help 🙂23E48A1F-EB15-4E0C-AAC6-2611F1743785.jpeg.237c36481353824f8e4e9f744f75cac8.jpegF25E11C0-20DC-4D9A-A05A-7365540BB95B.jpeg.52f71bf6cd5064ca70570e2bb9abada1.jpeg

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On 6/15/2022 at 10:04 PM, Slick_Nick said:

ChargerstoLA I feed live baby brine shrimp twice a week every week on top of frozen brine shrimp and pellets. I can definitely tell when they have their breeding colors they both get way more vibrant the male gets a nice orange on his head not sure about red I could be slightly color blind lol he definitely has a brighter yellow to him and the black on the female gets very black and her belly is a nice pink not red either. I’m going to try the cooler water change this weekend and see if that sparks anything. They are definitely a male and female here’s a better picture to see that. The photos I posted before were when they were in the middle of their flirting so I wasn’t able to get the best photos! Thanks for your help 🙂23E48A1F-EB15-4E0C-AAC6-2611F1743785.jpeg.237c36481353824f8e4e9f744f75cac8.jpegF25E11C0-20DC-4D9A-A05A-7365540BB95B.jpeg.52f71bf6cd5064ca70570e2bb9abada1.jpeg

Beautiful looking pair. They are m/f for sure. Honestly I have no idea, how often do you do water changes ? Do you have any caves around ? Any flat rocks around ?

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On 6/16/2022 at 5:51 AM, ChargerstoLA said:

Beautiful looking pair. They are m/f for sure. Honestly I have no idea, how often do you do water changes ? Do you have any caves around ? Any flat rocks around ?

Thank you. I do water changes every weekend about 50%. No caves at all just dense plants! I only have wood in this aquarium. Maybe I’ll try sticking a flat piece of stone somewhere in the back? I’ve seen when they don’t have a flat surface they make a small divot in the ground and lay their eggs there. Maybe a flat stone will be more appealing I’ll plop one in before I head to work today. I live in Arizona and right now it’s very difficult to get cold water out of the tap so I’m going to get my water change water ready a day early so it has time to get nice and cool! I’ll keep posted if I have any luck or not

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  • 2 weeks later...

So far still no luck on getting the rams to breed! I’m just gonna give up and enjoy them the way they are lol. Who knows maybe they’ll decide to do it on their own time! I figured after about 10 months of them being together I’d have witnessed something at least once. Still gorgeous fish definitely my favorites that I own!

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On 6/24/2022 at 3:56 PM, Slick_Nick said:

So far still no luck on getting the rams to breed! I’m just gonna give up and enjoy them the way they are lol. Who knows maybe they’ll decide to do it on their own time! I figured after about 10 months of them being together I’d have witnessed something at least once. Still gorgeous fish definitely my favorites that I own!

I haven’t bred them either, but I’m planning on it and I’ve been sponging up advice from expert breeders on the forum. Something that I hear a lot is that it’s a good idea to get a group of six and then keep the ones that pair off. 

Edited by Patrick_G
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On 6/24/2022 at 4:03 PM, Patrick_G said:

I have bred them either, but I’m planning on it and I’ve been sponging up advice from expert breeders on the forum. Something that I hear a lot is that it’s a good idea to get a group of six and then keep the ones that pair off. 

Thanks Patrick! I have actually heard that as well. I think the odds would definitely be better to have a group of them and let them choose their own mate! I just chose the prettiest looking male and female from a whole tank full. I’m just glad they get along with each other they are fun to watch!

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@Fish Folkwould love to hear your thoughts on @Slick_Nick's issues with breeding his pair? And I would certainly say from my experiences with dwarf SA cichlids that is a pair. 

What kind of cover do you have for them? Are there dither fish in the tank? 

In looking at KeepingFishSimple's videos on breeding GBRs and their color morphs they like to have pieces of terracota that they can use as caves and also flat surfaces for them to lay their eggs on. 

He has also mentioned in his videos that he keeps Endlers and other harmless and smaller fish in the tank as dithers. 

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At initial glance, your photos appear to present a pair of healthy Rams. There are occasions when that can be tough to pin down. I suggest keeping the temperature up 80-F or higher. But you can perform a water change with cooler water to simulate rainfall. Maybe avoid _cold_ water . . . but water say at 70-F might stimulate them. I also agree that feeding live baby brine shrimp can stimulate spawning. They will appreciate a palm-sized smooth, flat "skipping stone" to spawn on. Terra cotta pots can work fine as well -- and are preferred by some breeders. I refer the stone, because it is easy to pull and hatch out in an isolated hatching container.

If you cannot get anything to happen, consider adding a second female. Realize that you might need to move a Ram out eventually, because once a bonded pair forms, other Rams are chased away pretty vigorously. But sometimes that addition of an additional fish can trigger a pair to form. Your female (as we all assume) appears to be a bit larger than the male. Typically, males grow larger. It is possible that he isn't quite able to court her to spawn yet.

Another trick that sometimes works is to separate the pair, and carefully feed them both on quality foods to help roe and milt development. I like to try a variety of quality foods, live, frozen and dry to stimulate healthy development. After a couple weeks, do a large water change, reintroduce the pair, and immediately feed live baby brine shrimp.

If you're bored, you can scroll through this long journal I've kept here on the Forum concerning GBRs. You might find something here or there of interest...

 

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On 6/25/2022 at 1:51 AM, Fish Folk said:

At initial glance, your photos appear to present a pair of healthy Rams. There are occasions when that can be tough to pin down. I suggest keeping the temperature up 80-F or higher. But you can perform a water change with cooler water to simulate rainfall. Maybe avoid _cold_ water . . . but water say at 70-F might stimulate them. I also agree that feeding live baby brine shrimp can stimulate spawning. They will appreciate a palm-sized smooth, flat "skipping stone" to spawn on. Terra cotta pots can work fine as well -- and are preferred by some breeders. I refer the stone, because it is easy to pull and hatch out in an isolated hatching container.

If you cannot get anything to happen, consider adding a second female. Realize that you might need to move a Ram out eventually, because once a bonded pair forms, other Rams are chased away pretty vigorously. But sometimes that addition of an additional fish can trigger a pair to form. Your female (as we all assume) appears to be a bit larger than the male. Typically, males grow larger. It is possible that he isn't quite able to court her to spawn yet.

Another trick that sometimes works is to separate the pair, and carefully feed them both on quality foods to help roe and milt development. I like to try a variety of quality foods, live, frozen and dry to stimulate healthy development. After a couple weeks, do a large water change, reintroduce the pair, and immediately feed live baby brine shrimp.

If you're bored, you can scroll through this long journal I've kept here on the Forum concerning GBRs. You might find something here or there of interest...

 

Holy cow thank you for all of the info! Something that you pointed out and I have noticed as well is how much smaller the male is than the female. He eats just as much as she does but he hit the size he is now and just stopped growing. I had a single male a couple years ago and he was much larger. I’ve had this pair for 10 months so he should definitely be fully grown. I have a group of 11 cardinal tetras 4 corydoras and some amano shrimp in the tank with them. I put a small flat stone in the tank about a week ago. I’m about to do some maintenance on the aquarium now so I will try the cooler water change again. The tank currently sits at 82 degrees. I will have to read through your journal when I have time and see if there’s something you did that I can try! Thanks so much for your help 

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I sat and watched the tank for about an hour after doing maintenance and then feeding some frozen brine shrimp. I watched the male chase her around like they usually do in the mornings and it looked like she was trying to lead him back to the stone but he’d stop chasing her and chase off one of the cardinals. A couple times I noticed her just sitting right above the stone but not trying to clean it off or anything. Any time the male would go in there he would just chase her and do the same thing over again. I have some live bbs that will be ready to feed tomorrow morning. The female doesn’t seem to be fully colored up at the moment like she is sometimes. D4914CA1-0BAA-4C7E-924C-723BB628D192.jpeg.c56ae9c03510e4cb6829ba71bdba87a9.jpeg

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Alternatively, you could try adding a small mirror to the tank for 30 or so minutes once every other day.  I’ve bought a small hand held mirror for make-up or one barbers use to show you the back of your head when you get a hair cut.  I like this method compared to adding another female because I normally won’t have tank space to house a spare female or I won’t run a tank hot enough to house it (I always kept my rams at 84 degrees). Reading through your thread, you seem to have all the points checked for breeding: water quality, Male and Female, quality feeding regiment, spawning site. 

I do recall reading you have Corydoras in the tank, so just a bit of food for thought: If you are planning to raise the fry, I would think about removing the spawning site.  I have had issues with cories harassing my rams to get at the eggs, and either they get to the eggs or the parents are stressed out enough to the point they eat their eggs themselves.  

I hope you can crack the code on the pair you have, they are very beautiful!

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On 6/25/2022 at 1:38 PM, Aaron Hanson said:

Alternatively, you could try adding a small mirror to the tank for 30 or so minutes once every other day.  I’ve bought a small hand held mirror for make-up or one barbers use to show you the back of your head when you get a hair cut.  I like this method compared to adding another female because I normally won’t have tank space to house a spare female or I won’t run a tank hot enough to house it (I always kept my rams at 84 degrees). Reading through your thread, you seem to have all the points checked for breeding: water quality, Male and Female, quality feeding regiment, spawning site. 

I do recall reading you have Corydoras in the tank, so just a bit of food for thought: If you are planning to raise the fry, I would think about removing the spawning site.  I have had issues with cories harassing my rams to get at the eggs, and either they get to the eggs or the parents are stressed out enough to the point they eat their eggs themselves.  

I hope you can crack the code on the pair you have, they are very beautiful!

Thanks Aaron a mirror to make them think there’s more in the tank? I’ve never thought of that one lol I’d feel better doing that then risking adding more fish to my already established tank. I feel like the sides of the aquarium already put off a reflection where they can see themselves though. I do have a 10g running with just some cherry shrimp that I plan to move the stone into if I ever spot any eggs. I appreciate the tips!!

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On 6/25/2022 at 9:03 PM, Slick_Nick said:

Thanks Aaron a mirror to make them think there’s more in the tank? I’ve never thought of that one lol I’d feel better doing that then risking adding more fish to my already established tank. I feel like the sides of the aquarium already put off a reflection where they can see themselves though. I do have a 10g running with just some cherry shrimp that I plan to move the stone into if I ever spot any eggs. I appreciate the tips!!

I suppose I should’ve explained the method of “mirror therapy.” You are trying to simulate another pair of Rams in the tank and in the pair’s territory. The pair you have will flare and flash in front of the mirror, and this will promote behaviors to establish, or maybe in your case strengthen, a pair bond. In regards to the reflections from the aquarium, I’m assuming there’s not enough reflection on the glass the pair can see or recognize the reflection to be another pair.

Ted Judy has a really good video talking about what he does when setting up a tank to breed wild apistos which he explains in more detail his method behind “mirror therapy.” Not all the information is needed to spawn domestic rams, but it does have some good general information for spawning dwarf cichlids that I’ve used with great success. He talks about the mirror at 8:30 for a time stamp.

 

 

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On 6/26/2022 at 6:17 AM, Aaron Hanson said:

I suppose I should’ve explained the method of “mirror therapy.” You are trying to simulate another pair of Rams in the tank and in the pair’s territory. The pair you have will flare and flash in front of the mirror, and this will promote behaviors to establish, or maybe in your case strengthen, a pair bond. In regards to the reflections from the aquarium, I’m assuming there’s not enough reflection on the glass the pair can see or recognize the reflection to be another pair.

Ted Judy has a really good video talking about what he does when setting up a tank to breed wild apistos which he explains in more detail his method behind “mirror therapy.” Not all the information is needed to spawn domestic rams, but it does have some good general information for spawning dwarf cichlids that I’ve used with great success. He talks about the mirror at 8:30 for a time stamp.

 

 

Wow thank you Aaron that was a great video! I appreciate you providing me more info about the mirror! I’m definitely going to pick up a mirror and give that a try! Worst case scenario I’ll get some awesome pictures of them displaying to the mirror. Thank you again 🙂

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On 6/26/2022 at 12:15 PM, Slick_Nick said:

Wow thank you Aaron that was a great video! I appreciate you providing me more info about the mirror! I’m definitely going to pick up a mirror and give that a try! Worst case scenario I’ll get some awesome pictures of them displaying to the mirror. Thank you again 🙂

You’ll definitely get some great photos! If you have a hard time finding a mirror, I think I just bought a cheapish ($5-$8 it looks like now) on amazon.  I had a really aggressive male who would constantly beat on my female regardless if I had dithers in the tank, added extra hiding places, etc. I tried “mirror therapy” once per day for 20-30 minutes (that seemed to be about the time they became disinterested in the reflection), and I ended up with a spawn at the end of the week. 

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On 6/26/2022 at 11:06 AM, Aaron Hanson said:

You’ll definitely get some great photos! If you have a hard time finding a mirror, I think I just bought a cheapish ($5-$8 it looks like now) on amazon.  I had a really aggressive male who would constantly beat on my female regardless if I had dithers in the tank, added extra hiding places, etc. I tried “mirror therapy” once per day for 20-30 minutes (that seemed to be about the time they became disinterested in the reflection), and I ended up with a spawn at the end of the week. 

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91621217-A53C-4B51-8BB9-A5FBE0B83667.png

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Those are some gorgeous fish I absolutely love the colors on them 😍 I have some shopping to do today if I don’t find one at the store I’ll check out Amazon. My male does chase the female a lot but mostly in the morning he does go after the cardinals occasionally and tries to go after the corys but they don’t have a care in the world lol.

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