Ram Cichlids and Guppies – Can You Keep Them Together?
Ram cichlids and guppies are common aquatic pets, and you may be wondering if you can house them together. Ram cichlids are generally peaceful, and they will get along with your guppies. Guppies also exist peacefully in a community tank.
However there are few things to consider when keeping ram cichlids and guppies together. Below I’ve highlighted some of the most important aspects:
Tank Setup for Guppies and Ram Cichlids
So, what is the best fish tank setup for guppies and ram cichlids?
It is recommended to keep ram cichlids in a 20-gallon tank at minimum for a pair. A bigger tank is therefore needed for several of them.
The pet appreciates hiding spaces and territories, so the aquarium should be adequately structured. Use plants, rocks, and other decorations to create caves for the cichlid.
The animal likes to dig in the sand, and you should use a sand substrate. Dark sand will create a lovely contrast with its bold hues. Using gravel will only increase the chances of the cichlid hurting themselves. It will shy away from bright lights, so you should provide dim lights in the tank. You can use fluctuant plants to reduce the amount of light in your setup further.
The dense background should be supplemented with a lot of swimming spaces, as the ram cichlid is an active swimmer.
Any tank over 10-gallons can be used to keep guppies, depending on how many you get. Guppies typically grow to two inches in size, and one guppy will be comfortable in a minimum of two gallons of water. Guppies love the company of each other, and you will need at least three of them to avoid stressing your pets.
You can use sand or gravel as a substrate, or even leave the tank bare. The substrate should be thoroughly cleaned. Like ram cichlids, guppies also love the hiding spaces created by plants and decorations.
Guppies are not very demanding when it comes to lighting, although you can use LED lights to brighten your setup.
Water Parameters for Ram Cichlids and Guppies
Below you can find the ideal water parameters for guppies and ram cichlids:
Ram cichlids favor temperatures between 75 to 81 °F (24-27 °C). The natural habitat of the fish has warm waters as well as low mineral content. The PH should be between 5.2 to 6.7 and the water hardness between 6 and 8 °GH. You can use Java Moss and driftwood to keep the water’s PH low.
Ram cichlids thrive in clean and well-aerated waters. They prefer to stay at the bottom of an aquarium, and concentrations of ammonia and nitrates can impact them. Keep testing the water to detect any levels of the elements, and do frequent water changes to maintain high water quality.
Unlike guppies, ram cichlids are not ideal beginner aquatic pets. They have strict demands on the quality of water in the tank and are very vulnerable to diseases.
Guppies are quite hardy, which is why they appeal to beginners.
They love temperatures between 72 to 84 °F. You will require a reliable heater, in addition to a thermometer to keep the temperature between this range.
When it comes to PH, guppies can withstand a wide range between 5.5 to 8.5. The ideal PH is between 7.0 to 7.2. Keep monitoring the PH level to ensure that any ammonia in the tank does not become toxic. If the PH exceeds 8.5, the toxicity of ammonia will quickly kill your guppies. The water quality can further be enhanced via dechlorination and frequent water changes.
An efficient filtration system will also prevent problems with ammonia. A hang on back filter will suit smaller systems, and you will need an external canister filter for a large tank. Get a filter rated for a fish tank that is twice as large as the one you have.
Guppies are very active, and they need well aerated-water. In addition to having a good filter, invest in an air stone for the extra oxygen. Your guppies will also get excited by the bubbles created by the air stone.
Feeding Guppy Fish and Ram Cichlid
How to feed your ram cichlids and guppies in a community tank?
Ram cichlids are naturally omnivorous, and wild species feed on a variety of small organisms and organic matter. To ensure their vitality and health, you will need to feed them appropriately.
You can supplement flake food with live meals like Daphnia, white worms, Brine Shrimp, and bloodworms. Chopped and well-cleaned earthworms make an excellent treat.
You can check local pet stores for Ram Cichlid pellets and flakes. Ensure they have plant and meaty ingredients, and that they are suitable small for your pets. Since the animals are bottom residents, look for high-quality sinking pellets.
Ram cichlids should be fed two or three times a day. If they are in a community tank with guppies, your cichlids will be timid during feeding times. Watch them closely to ensure the cichlids are getting enough food. Do not allocate them more food than they can eat in about five minutes.
Guppies, like ram cichlids, are omnivorous, and it will, therefore, be convenient to feed the two species. Guppies require a varied diet to thrive.
They will accept tropical flakes and dried foods. These meals should be supplemented by nutritious live and frozen treats, including bloodworms, mosquito larvae, shredded earthworms, Daphnia, and Brine Shrimp. Frozen food is more recommended than live food, mainly because the latter can spread diseases. Tubifex worms, for example, are known to contain toxic bacteria.
Your guppies will also need vegetable matter, mostly in the form of algae and spirulina. You can also clean and chop spinach, zucchini, peas, lettuce, and cucumber to give to the pets.
To boost the nutrients that the guppies will be getting, give them fruits a few times every week. Cut fruits like grapes and grapes into small pieces, or any other fruits that have high sugar content.
If you breed your guppies, take into account the special requirements of the fry. Give them micro-worms, a mixture of water and egg yolk, and chopped beef heart.
Feed the guppies once a day, although they have a tendency to develop a large appetite. Overfeeding them will increase the volume of waste in the tank.
Social Behavior of Rams and Guppies
Will ram cichlids attack guppies? Should you worry about your rams getting attacked by guppies? Let’s find out how these two fish species behave in a community tank.
Ram cichlids love to roam in the lower and middle regions of an aquarium. In their wild habitats, the fish live with other aquatic species, and they can naturally co-exist with other animals.
The only time they get aggressive is when they have no space they can claim. Some aquarists have reported seeing the cichlid become possessive and territorial in their tanks. To minimize the aggression, equip your plants with many hiding spaces. Use plants, driftwood, coconut shells, rocks, and other decorations to create territories in the water. Your cichlids will generally keep to themselves in such a setup.
Guppies are peaceful and will spend a lot of time swimming around. You will need to keep them in schools to avoid getting them stressed.
Aquarists have noted seeing guppies chasing each other in the tank. Male guppy will typically chase and badger the females as part of their mating rituals. If the males outnumber the females, the females can get stressed by the constant chase. Keep more females than males in one tank.
Male guppies can also become territorial with each other. Check for injuries frequently if you are keeping several males together.
Fish Diseases that Affect Rams and Guppies
It might be frustrating to deal with fish disease, but if you keep pets, you need to know that this can happen.
Ram cichlids, like any other aquatic pet, will be prone to diseases if the water quality is compromised. They can fall victim to Ich, which is typically diagnosed through small patches on their gills, fins, or body.
The cichlids will also have a loss of appetite, in addition to frayed fins and breathing problems. Ich will be triggered by poor water parameters, sudden fluctuations in temperature, and stress. Aquarists will typically raise the tank’s temperature to 86 °F for three days.
The cichlids are also susceptible to various parasitic infestations, including Costia Disease and infections by tapeworms and flatworms. They can also be impacted by fish tuberculosis.
Like ram cichlids, guppies will also be affected by poor water quality. They are also prone to getting Ich, where they can be seen rubbing their bodies against rocks.
If you notice rotting tails and fins in your pets, they have fallen victim to bacterial infection. Ammonia and dirty water are the major causes of the infection.
Protozoan guppy diseases will affect mostly the guppies in a community tank. The parasite bores its way through the skin into the bloodstream. It can be addressed by treatments like Formalin and copper medicine, and a partial water change.
If your guppies have raised scales and swollen abdomens, they have contracted dropsy. This infection will be deadly if it advances to the kidney, and it is caused by infected food.
The cottonmouth disease is attributed to a mouth colony that starts at the mouth. The guppy will have difficulty when swimming and lose their appetite. The infection is quite contagious as it can kill all the guppies in your tank.
Guppies and ram cichlids are popular among aquarists, primarily because of their peaceful nature. The two species need the same water parameters and share a similar diet.
They will generally co-exist peacefully, provided there are lots of hiding spaces in the tank. Ram cichlids are, however, very sensitive to water quality, and they may need a more mature tank than guppies.
While guppies are hardier, they will be prone to diseases if the water conditions are not ideal.