Q. I have two German rams and one female golden ram. They go through the mating rituals and she lays eggs, but they never seem to hatch. Is it possible for the two species to produce fertile eggs? Or does it have to be a male golden ram for positive fertilization to take place?
Londonberry, New Hampshire
A. I have a surprise for you. Blue rams, gold rams, butterfly rams, German rams and the new electric blue ram are all the same species (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi). They are just different aquarium strains selectively bred for color or fin length. So, if they are having problems with fertility, look for other causes.
You may have infertile or immature males. Make sure there is not too much water current in the aquarium. It can wash away the male’s sperm before it can fertilize the eggs. Check the water quality. Rams prefer it on the soft and acidic side. There are reports of fertility problems when the water is not in a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. You may need to adjust the hardness down to below 8 dH. It is also helpful to bump up the temperature to 82 to 84 degrees. Good luck and happy fishkeeping!