• Scientific name: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
  • Common names: German Blue Ram, Ram cichlid, Ramirezi
  • Distribution: South America
  • Family: Cichlidae
  • Lifespan: 2-3 years
  • Maximum length: 4 inches (10 cm)
  • Tank level: middle
  • Temperament: semi peaceful
  • Tank size: At least a 20 gallon fish tank for a pair
  • Temperature: 74-86 °F (23-30 °C), optimal 80-81°F (27-28°C)
  • Hardness: 0-12 dGH
  • pH range: 5-7
  • Aeration: medium – hard
  • Filtration: medium – hard
  • Lighting: low – medium.

About German Blue Ram cichlid

female-German-blue-ramGerman Blue Ram, source

They feature stunning color, with yellow- orange bodies, and red markings in the eyes and fins, and iridescent blue spots all over. They also feature black markings, including a vertical stripe through the eye, and spots on the dorsal and pelvic fins. The glowing blue color and vertical black bands make them very desired species in the freshwater aquarium.

There are various types of Ram cichlid; however, German Blue Ram is the most common type specific by the blue color and gold dots in their body that sparkle like a diamond in the aquarium. All types of Blue Ram are very beautiful and attract anyone who see them the first time.

Despite of the stunning beauty, keeping Blue Rams healthy isn’t an easy work for beginners because they are very sensitive with the changes of water environment. If you want to keep these beautiful fish as your pets, the information in the following sections will help you.

Aquarium setup

ram-cichlid-aquarium-setup

Open aquarium space is needed for these active swimmers. Plants should be arranged in dense groups instead of spread out over the tank bottom. Blue Rams tend to stay toward the bottom of the tank, seeking cover in plants, driftwood, or rock caves. They love caves where they can hide, any hollow aquarium decorations with correct sizes will work fine.

The German Blue Ram is very sensitive to water chemistry and easy to die because of bad water conditions. It is important to keep the water stable and free of pollutants, so a good filtration system and weekly water changes should be well performed because the fish are very sensitive to nitrogenous toxins (Ammonia and Nitrite) generated by fish wastes and leftover food.

New purchased Blue Rams won’t usually display their prettiest colors until they’ve settled into the new home and have started to feel safe! In a good environment, they stand out the most beautiful colors. In polluted water, the dark stripes clearly appear along their body.

Check the aquarium water conditions regularly to ensure that the environment is good for the fish. Soft to medium-hard water, a temperature range from 74-86 degree Fahrenheit, and pH range from 5 to 7 are recommended. A good new is that the Blue Ram is a less infected species.

Temperament and tank mates

ram-cichlid-aquarium

German Blue Rams are a delightful fish for community aquariums. Rams will have their own individual personalities. While many are very active, others will just lazily glide through the water. They are also very social fish that will form monogamous pairs. They are generally peaceful, but at times they may quarrel between themselves!

Rams aren’t known to physically hurt other fish, but could eat some of the smaller ones. I keeps three Blue Rams with some Guppies in my 20 gallon planted tank without any problem. Rams are peaceful towards tank mates except when they are spawning.

Rams should be kept in pairs or over three specimens with other tank mates in a minimum 20 gallon community tank. Blue Rams will fare well with any other peaceful fish species, but they should be mixed with other fish of the same size. They can be mixed with Discus, Gouramis, Loaches, Tiger Barbs, Neon Tetras and other Tetras, Angelfish, and Zebra Danios.

Foods and feeding

TetraMin Tropical FlakesTetraMin Tropical Flakes

TetraColor Tropical GranulesTetraColor Tropical Granules

Tetra blood worms freeze dried treatTetra blood worms freeze dried treat

These omnivores will eat a wide selection of fish foods including tropical flakes or granules, freeze-dried foods, and live foods. They love live brine shrimps and worms. Occasionally feeding of frozen or live foods benefits their health and coloration.

You should feed them twice a day. Feed them the amount they can consume in 2-3 minutes. Leftover food should be removed as soon as possible because they will compromise the water quality and negatively affect the health of your fish.

Breeding Ram cichlid

Sex discrimination

Blue Rams don’t develop their best colors until they’ve reached sexual maturity. The Ram’s sex can be identified by the dorsal fin, males will be longer than females. As in most cases, females will also be lighter in color. Females will also have a pink colored area located on her belly.

male-German-blue-ram

Male German Blue Ram with long body and short fin, popular form. Source

female-German-blue-ram

Female German Blue Ram.

The male’s front dorsal fin rays are much longer than the female’s. The dorsal fin of the male also have a pointed shape near the caudal fin. The female’s dorsal fin is more rounded. Females are smaller and have a reddish tinge on their pelvic regions. The black spot on the side of the female may have iridescent blue spangles throughout while the male’s tends to be solid black.

Breeding

Reproduction and growth of offspring is not difficult for this species as long as you ensure some specific conditions for reproduction. The recommended breeding tank must have around 40-50 liters with a height of 25 centimeters. They don’t need huge tanks because are quite small in size.

There are two ways of growing the fry, alone in a separate aquarium or together with the parents in planted tanks. Its recommended to grow the fry in a separate aquarium because Blue Rams are not what some would call very good parents and may eat the eggs in their first 4 or 5 spawns.

For spawning, the pair of fish will be introduced in the tank along with some floating plants (Ceratopteris) and also is recommended a bunch of Java Moss to be added because it will help develop abundant micro fauna that will serve as first meal for the young Blue Rams. Two dark flat stones can be used as substrate for spawning. The water temperature for breeding must be at 28 °C (82° – 84 °F); the nitrates and phosphates values must be as low as possible; the water hardness must be very low, not exceeding 8 degrees because hard water may kill spawned eggs, the fry failing to hatch. The pH must be slightly acidic or neutral.

The spawning is held when the pairs are mature. To avoid the eggs being destroyed by fungi like Saprolegnia is better to add 2 ml of hydrogen peroxide at every 10 liters of water two or three times per day, after spawning and removal of the parents from the aquarium.

ram-cichlid-breeding

The fry hatches after a 50-60 hours period and after 4 days they will start swimming freely. This is the moment when we need to start feeding them, infusoria is recommended as first meal, after 2 days, infusoria combined with freshly hatched artemia and after that, only artemia.

The aquarium water changes will be done once or twice a day, at 25 percent from the capacity of the tank. These changes of water will help the fry develop faster and when they reach 2 weeks of age the water temperature can be gradually reduced to 26 °C. At this time the fry would need to be doubled in size, after 15 or 18 days of life the young fish will take the form of adults although they are still almost transparent. At three weeks old, the young fish would have around 8mm and will feed on almost everything, dry flakes, daphnia, cyclops or artemia.

So, good luck in breading and raising Ramirezi.

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