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Thread: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

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    Platinum Member Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    One of the newest morphs of M. ramirezi are the black rams, also known as Dark Knight rams. I first came across this morph on Shahar Danziger's Facebook. He's also the supposed creator of "albino dantum" angelfish (which are nothing more than albino x Peruvian scalare, IMO) and a few other unusual things. There is also a breeder in South Africa working to refine the strain and make it deeper black.

    I was lucky enough to get some fish from Martin B. in Illinois. They are not solid black but they definitely carry the dark genes. His pair throws both dark rams and normal colored rams, with a handful of jet black rams per spawn. My hope is to do some line-breeding and get a deeper color without sacrificing the health and vigor of the fish. The ones he sent me are very healthy, happy, aggressive fish. The dark ones seem particularly aggressive compared to normal M. ramirezi. I received them at about 12 weeks old and had my first spawn within about 2 weeks. They parent-raise.

    Here is the male with the eggs.


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    Platinum Member Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    The parents moved the wrigglers to a pit once the eggs hatched and after 5 days I had free-swimmers.




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    Platinum Member Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    After nearly a week free-swimming, the parents continued to get more anxious and aggressive. The female went nuts every time I got close to the tank which made it very difficult to take videos. I mostly left them alone because I didn't want them to get upset and eat the fry.


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    Platinum Member Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    At about 10 days free-swimming I decided to remove the parents because they were making it impossible to do water changes, of which the tank really needed.

    Today they will be 2 weeks free-swimming. They look like tiny rams.


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    Platinum Member Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    A few observations so far:

    - These fry are bizarre. They barely eat from what I can tell. I never see bulging, orange stomachs after a brine shrimp meal the way I do with other cichlid fry. I never see them actually going for the brine. I was concerned that there was an issue and the fry were sickly, yet we are at 2 weeks and they're obviously growing, so they must be getting an adequate amount of nutrition.

    - There is a ton of mulm and debris every day requiring at least a 50% water change. I'm guessing it's a combination of feces and dead brine but considering how small the fry are it just seems to be an unreal amount. You can see it in some of the videos, and that amount is what accumulates in less than 24 hours because I vacuum it daily.

    - I initially feared the fry were sickly because they hang listlessly at the top of the tank or lie on the bottom. It took me a while to realize that this is a defense mechanism -- they only do it when I'm in the room. If I sneak in on them they're happy schooling about in the middle of the tank. The second they spot me, it's crammed into the top corners or lying flat on the sand. Most fry at this point are oblivious, or better yet they've learned to associate me with food and rush to the front of the tank. By contrast, my latest batch of Heros fry were nibbling on my arm hair at this age when I did tank maintenance.

    - It looks like I have a handful of normal-colored rams, a very small number of jet black rams (and they seem to be the smallest and weakest ones), and about 90% of them seem to be a dark color (while not jet black) like the parents. This was noticeable even at a couple days free-swimming.

    My hope is these fry continue to grow well and don't show any abnormalities. It's always hard to tell at this size. The goal is to keep line-breeding them to see if I can get darker fry, or even a line that breeds true. Right now they throw three distinct colors that I can see: normal, dark, and a couple jet black.
    Last edited by Ryan; 08-27-2018 at 01:04 AM.

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    Silver Member two utes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    That's very interesting Ryan. l had a feeling that you wouldn't be laying idle after you unloaded your discus. I'm unable to view your clips at the moment, but i'll be sure to return later for a look see. Nice to see you back on here again. Would be interested to see footage of these fry once they get bigger, and the progression following after. Good luck with you endevours
    We're here for a good time...not a long time

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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    This is really cool Ryan. I am following along in this endeavor of yours

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    Moderator Team Adam S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    Ryan, your rams sound a lot like black angelfish: weaker and more aggressive than other morphs. Even the color patterns of your spawns sound similar to how black angels came around in the 1950's.

    Seems like you are doing great now, but I wonder if crossing a female jet black fry with a wild ramirezi male and back-crossing would eventually be worthwhile. I don't think you'd lose much doing this like you would with a standard blue morph.

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    Platinum Member Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    Yeah, the plan is to eventually add in some wild blood, but the wild rams that have come in the last few years look really emaciated. I’ve bought two separate groups of them and lost them. Maybe I’ll get lucky eventually.

    They are a lot like the DD black angels — I’ve noted heightened aggression in the black angels as well as the rams. The rams also have much taller spikes on the front dorsal rays which is an odd trait.

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    Platinum Member Larry Bugg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    I actually have some coming from Martin next week. The behavior you describe sounds just like my electric blue rams. They are smaller than GBR when they are born. I pull all my ram eggs and move them to a 10 gallon bare bottom. When they go freeswimming there is not any swimming. It looks like they are sitting dead on the bottom of the tank. Watch them long enough and you will eventually see movement but it is slight. I do 80% water changes because of the bbs waste. My problem is I can't get all the old bbs up because the fry move so little. With other fish when I put the siphon tube in the fish move. Not with these guys so I just do large water changes until they finally get bigger and decide to start swimming in a group.
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    Gold Member ODwyerPW's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

    Ryan and Larry,

    Take a look at a thread here on SimplyDiscus that a member Dane and I have gone back and forth on.. http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?130990-My-Rams
    Dane is in South Africa and actually has some of Marco's Dark Knight Rams... with Video. Cool stuff. I'm definitely getting some of these.

    Here's some info on Marco Du Toit's Dark Knight Ram taken from two threads on a forum in South Africa:
    https://www.tropicalaquarium.co.za/t...amirezi.28666/
    http://www.tropicalaquarium.co.za/th...-8#post-386108

    So we have mention of Mishmar from Israel, Marco from South Africa, Unknown from Czech Republic, Pete (not me) from New York, Martin from Illinois and now you Ryan from Florida, involved with this dark strain. Looking forward to seeing what you all continue to accomplish. Thanks for sharing the videos!
    Last edited by ODwyerPW; 08-29-2018 at 10:50 PM.
    Peter
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