Ram cichlid - Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
Scientific name: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
Common name: Ram cichlid
Usual size in fish tanks: 8 - 10 cm (3.15 - 3.94 inch)
Recommended pH range for the species: 5 - 7
Recommended water hardness (dGH): 0 - 12°N (0 - 214.29ppm)
0°C 32°F30°C 86°F
Recommended temperature: 23 - 30 °C (73.4 - 86°F)
The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning
Where the species comes from: South America
Temperament to its own species: peaceful
Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful
Usual place in the tank: Middle levels
Ram cichlids are delightful dwarf cichlids that are beautiful and peaceful. This species is endemic to the Orinoco River basins in South America and display a wonderful colouration, this statement includes both sexes, with some species the females tend to have a drab colouration compared to the males. They prefer slow moving currents and this should be replicated in the aquarium, they will also benefit from the addition of Blackwater extract, in fact this can often induce spawning if you have both sexes present.
They tend to become a bit territorial when they are spawning. They do very well with other docile companions and should be kept in a small group or a pair. They require good water quality in a planted tank. They make nice tank mates and compliment any South American themed community aquarium.
Feeding the Ram Cichlid
A varied diet is required by the Ram Cichlid. They should be offered a quality flake or small pellets but this should also be supplemented with meaty foods with live or frozen foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp.
Sexing the Ram Cichlid
Males may display a brighter colouration compared to the females and the males will also have a slimmer body shape. Mature males will develop extended rays on the leading edge of their dorsal fin. The females will also display a pink belly especially when they are in spawning mode.
Breeding the Ram Cichlid
If flat rocks are present in the aquarium these may be chosen as spawning sites otherwise they may dig small pits in the substrate ready for the eggs. Both parents will protect the nest and you may even see them both fanning water over the eggs. After a few days the eggs should hatch but the fry will not require feeds until they are free swimming, this stage should occur 4-5 days after hatching. If you wish to breed these fish it is best to purchase wild specimens as many tank breed fish may have a lower fertility level compared to their wild cousins.
Questions and Answers
On March 25th 2011 the following answers were added here due to merging aqua-fish.net/answers with related pages.
Why do Ram cichlids have to be in pairs?
Answer: The Ram cichlid is a very shy fish, keeping it in a pair will install more confidence into the fish. The pair should consist of male and female, try to avoid using 2 males as aggression will inevitably occur.
What size tank does a ram need?
Answer: Rams should always be kept in pairs, for two of these fish the minimum tank size is 20 gallons (90.92 litres, 24.02 US gallons).
Thanks to Alberto Villarroya and Tom for pictures. Other pictures were bought by aqua-fish.net from jjphoto.dk. Another are from Dessi!