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This profile was written by Pandora, a knowledgeable and helpful hobbyist.

South America


Ram cichlid

Mikrogeophagus ramirezi


    A beautiful, small and peaceful Cichlid the ram should not be placed with aggressive species. Not the hardiest of species the ram should be placed in a well established well maintained aquarium.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 4" (10cm)
    Tank: 24 inches
    Strata: Bottom, middle
    PH: 5.0 to 7.0
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 0.0 - 10.0
    Temperature: 73°F to 86°F (23-30°C)


    Order: Perciformes
    Suborder: Percoidei
    Family: Cichlidae
    Genera: Mikrogeophagus

Common name:

    Butterfly Cichlid or "ram"

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum

    Not in IUCN Red List


    The Western tributaries of the central Orinoco River.

General Body Form
    Generally oval in shape, rather than long and is laterally compressed. The first Dorsal fin rays are not connected to each other at the tips. In the male the third and forth rays are longer than the rest. The caudal fin is fan shaped. The Dorsal and Anal fins are roundish. They have small mouths. They grow to be about two inches long with the female slightly smaller.

    The Ram is one of the most colorful Cichlids. The body and fins are a pastel blue-red to pink with the sides showing a rainbow of colors depending on the light. There is a dark almost black spot under the Dorsal fin. A curved dark band runs from the nape, through the eye to the throat area. The coloration of these fish varies and there are several different color forms available.
Male ram
Female ram

    The Rams should have a large well planted tank with plenty of caves, driftwood and other hiding places. If the fish is not happy in its surroundings it will just lurk in a corner and be very pale. The water should be soft, slightly acidic and the temperature in the range of 73 to 77 degrees. Feeding is not to hard as they accept flake food and really love any live food you can offer. The Rams are very intolerant of poor water conditions and the quality must remain high. They also do not take to medications well, so the use of them should be limited. They only live about two years. The rams are a timid fish and should not be kept with others that are aggressive or overly busy, good tankmates would be smaller Tetras and Rasboras.

    If optimum conditions are kept the Ram is easily breed. The water temperature should be raised to about 80 degrees. They usually lay their eggs in caves or rocks. Both the male and female share brood protection. The eggs will hatch in about 48 hours, then the young will be moved to a shallow pit in the substrate. After four or five days they are free swimming and herded together in a group and looked after by the male. Each brood can contain as many as 150 to 200 young. The fry should be feed live or frozen brine shrimp nauplii.



Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Sam
Me and the wife love our rams... They live a 20 gallon long tank, meet us when we walk up to the tank and also feed right out of our fingers!! very cool! they are sitting over a 100 eggs right now and hopefully we will see the parenting skills up close. I recommend them if you just keep up the water changes. IME 20% every 5-6 days.
From: wyjmk6
I have 6 juvenile Bolivian Rams in a 55 gallon tank with 6 juvenile Angels. The tank is heavily planted and has lots of rocks, driftwood and hiding places. The Bolivians have been an absolute pleasure to have in the tank ever since I got them (3 weeks ago). They are always out at the front of the tank looking inquisitively around at their surroundings. They get on perfectly fine with the young angels - there have been no arguments at all and the two species seem to coexist quite peacefully. My water stats are nothing special: (Temp 26 degrees C, pH 7.0) but the rams seem to thrive as long as the water is clean and stable. I would highly recommend this fish to anyone wanting a fish with some character and appeal.
From: Sarah
I have 2 Bolivian rams in a 36 gal planted tank with a Keyhole and a few others small fish. These guys are so much fun very active and cute. Great fish for a community tank with plants. The Bolivian rams tend to be a bit more hardy then the Blues.
From: Dean
My experience with this fish wasn't the greatest. I bought 2 Gold Rams a few years ago and had them in a 10 gal tank and they died 2 days later. The water quality was good enough for my tetras but not for the rams. These fish are beautiful and now I'm thinking of setting up a 20 gal tank or more and getting a pair after I've made sure the water quality is perfect.
From: Zach
I have one of the longfin variety in my 55 gallon and I got to say that these are not as hard to keep as I had expected. Mine is not shy and greets me when I approach the tank. He also dose not at all bother other fishes and is eager to eat. He is also the only fish I have that sits still long enough to be photographed.
From: Hayley F
We keep a German blue in our 30 gallon community tank (which I forgot to mention in my comment on paradise fish, oops) who is absolutely stunning. He likes to hang out in his cave, but is more often than not cruising around in open water or weaving his way around the plants. He's never been much of a hider and gets on very well with the other species in the tank. Very much worth the money, despite one unfortunate bought of pop-eye which responded to treatment extremely well I'm happy to say. Try shining a LED torch on one of your own for an explosion of colour, but don't shine it at him or her for too long, you don't want to blind the poor thing.
From: Alex
I have had my one female ram for about a year in my 55 gallon tank. She is my favourite fish, and is always wanting to follow my finger around on the glass. I would highly recommend this fish to a person who wants a smaller attention drawing fish. The one disadvantage is that they only live for 2 and a half years. She will eat regular flake food just fine, but likes a clean habitat.
From: Bill
I bought two of these guys because they were pretty fish and given my water conditions would be perfect. They are very curious fish. When I look into the tank they come up to the glass to show that they know I'm looking at them. I have two kinds of plants in with them anachris and cambomba. I've kept my tank at about 78 degrees a ph of 6.0 and soft water. They're colors at first wasn't so great but now they are the most colorful fish I have. They share a 20 gallon tank with one angel, one blackskirt tetra, two long finned blackskirt tetras, one long finned serpae tetra, one rainbow shark, five yo-yo loaches, one peppered cory cat, three red-eyed tetras, two zebra danios and one fish that I don't know what it is. They all get along great together. They definitely prefer soft water with a low ph and they love bloodworms and high quality flake food. I feed mine Wardleys spectra max.

From: Joe
I have a gold and blue ram it is a beautiful fish that likes blood worms I also have two gold rams which are beautiful to they like blood worms the rams are an easy fish to care for and a very enjoyable one at that.

From: Russell
Just a few weeks ago I got four Blue Rams and they are all doing quite well, their colour has improved and are looking just great. I recently had the luck of getting three of the Gold Rams and after keeping them in quarantine allowed them into the community tank. They really enjoyed that! The Orange-red on them is beautiful. They have to be the best "fish" investment I have made so far!
From: Trevor
I recently bought two of these fish and found that they like to eat the fins off of my weathered loaches, but do not bother any of the rest of my fish which are active and don't just lay on the bottom.
From: Karen
Our Rams (we have about 6) are our most entertaining fish. We keep a community tank, and they have shown no aggressive behavior to any of our other fish (angels, mollies, kisser.) They love to play in the plants and caves we have for them.





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