Monday, May 12, 2008

Ram Cichlid

Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Microgeophagus ramierzi, Papilochromis ramirezi,
Other Names: Ram, Blue ram, German blue ram, Asian ram,Butterfly cichlid, Ramirez's dwarf cichlid, Dwarf butterfly cichlid and Ramirezi
South Africa
Adult Size: 4 inches (10 cm)
Social: Good
Lifespan: 2 years
Tank Level: Mid to Top

Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons
Diet: Omnivore
Breeding: Egg Layer
Care: Intermediate
Ideal pH: 5-7.5
Temperature: 79 - 83°F (26 to 28 C)
Tank setup: The Rams should have a large well planted tank with plenty of caves, driftwood and other hiding places.

The female has a crimson belly and the male has longer dorsal fins.


Ram Cichlids are stocky in shape and can be differentiate from their dorsal fin rays - the first Dorsal fin rays are not connected to each other at the tips. In Male Cichlids, the third and forth rays are longer than others. A black vertical line runs across the eye and red patch around it.

Ram Cichlids are one of the most beautiful cichlids, and there are many species of Ram Cichlids. Each species has their own unique coloration, from the German Blue which has attractive blue coloration on its body to the Microgeophagus ramierzi, which has a wide combination of colors on its body.


Ram cichlids come from South America, and are found in the rivers of Venezuela, and Columbia. They require a warmer waters, and having water temperature of 79 - 83°F (26 to 28 C) is ideal. Ram Cichlids requires established water and can be picky eaters at first - and may die relatively quickly if the water condition is too cold or if the waters is not 'old' enough.

As with other cichlids, there should be some hiding places provided in the tank. For Ram Cichlids, the interior decor is very important, the tank should be provided with rocks, plants and hiding place for shelter when there is aggression especially during the breeding period. These fish are noted to be fussy about their surroundings - should it be unhappy with its surrounding, it will go to a corner and gradually lose its coloration. For this reason, they are not recommended for beginners.

Mixing with other fishes:

Ram Cichlids look best when keep in groups of their own kind. It is not recommended to keep them with other Cichlids, as their small size would mean that they will get bullied. Ideally, Ram Cichlids should be kept with fish that are slow-moving, as these fishes tend to hide if made nervous. Smalll tetras, barbs, and evenHeckel Discus fish can be kept in the same aquarium as Ram Cichlids.


Ram Cichlids are omnivores. While they will accept most flake food, frozen or live foods are preferred. It has been noted that Rams that are newly introduced to the aquarium sometimes tend to picky eaters, refusing food or just nibbling. To encourage them to eat, it is recommended that frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp and live foods are given to these fishes. As it is observed that they are starting to eat more freely, slowly, pellets, flakes and other foods can be fed.


Once sexually mature, the species forms monogamous pairs prior to spawning. The species is known to lay its small 0.9 - 1.5 mm adhesive eggs on flattened stones or directly into small depressions dug in the gravel. Like many cichlids, M. ramirezi practices biparental brood care with both the male and the female playing roles in egg-tending and territorial defence. Typical clutch size for the species is 150-300 eggs, though larger clutches up to 500 have been reported. Parental M. ramirezi have been observed to fan water over their eggs which hatch in 40 hours at 29 ºC (84.2 ºF). The larvae are not free-swimming for 5 days after which they are escorted by the male or the female in dense school for foraging


Ram Cichlid, like any other fish, may occasionally suffer from some diseases from time to time. These diseases may be due to infections by bacteria, fungi, or parasites. Thankfully there are a wide range of commercial solutions available to treat your pet. These solutions can be usually purchase from your local pet store.

Sluggishness, color loss, fraying of fins, bloating, inflammation of the skin, the fins, and the internal organs, bulging and cloudiness of the eyes, sores and abscesses, and breathing difficulties, are all symptoms of bacterial infections. Exophthalmia, or Pop-eye (bulging eyes), and ulcers are among some of the bacterial infections.

Fungal infections may result in the fish darting across the aquarium somewhat erratically. Symptoms may also include the growth of cotton-like tufts over the mouths, eyes, or skin.

Infections by parasites may also lead to sluggishness, heavy breathing, appetite loss, growth of mucus on the body, visible spots, worms, and scratching. Leeches, anchor worms, and lice are some Cichlid parasites.

Another very common cichlid disease is Ich or Ichtyophthirius. With this white salt-like marks appear on the head first, and then spread over the whole body. Breathing is quick, the fish scratches a lot, and the eyes and fins, both, become cloudy.

If the abdomen is swollen, and if there are red scales surrounding this area, it is probable that your cichlid is suffering from Dropsy. This could be due to bacteria, parasites, or cancer. Salt treatment is recommended to cure this disease.

Finrot , Ammonia Poisoning, and Fish Pox are usually due to poor maintenance of water quality. To ensure that your fish is healthy, it is highly recommended that at least 20% of the water be changed regularly.

References Cited:

1. Ram Cichlid, [Online], Available, Accessed 12 May 2008,

2. Microgeophagus ramierzi [Online], Available, Accessed 12 May 2008,

3. Ram Cichlid, [Online], Available, Accessed 13 May 2008,

4. German Blue Ram Cichlid, [Online], Available, Accessed, 14 May 2008

5. Cichlid Disease,Pooja Chakrabarty [Online], Available, Accessed, 15 May 2008

6. German Blue Ram Cichlid, [Online], Available, Accessed 15 May 2008,

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