Bolivian Ram Cichlid (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus) Fish Species Profile & Care Guide
The Bolivian Ram Cichlid is a very beautiful, small, and peaceful cichlid with a friendly and intelligent manner. These Cichlids are one of the easiest of the dwarf cichlids to care for making them suitable for the beginner aquarist as well as the more advanced aquarist as well as being an excellent choice for a community aquarium. However, these fish will not fair well in a tank with aggressive fish but will get along well with other non-cichlid fish with a similar temperament and other peaceful Dwarf Cichlids.
The Bolivian Ram Cichlid has an elongated oval-shaped body enhanced with long pointed tail and fins. The body colour ranges from a light brown to a greyish blue with orange or red edging on the dorsal, anal, pectoral and tail fin. Often they are accentuated with a yellowish front half, and a black spot in the centre as well as a black curve running through the eye.
It is advisable to perform water changes frequently to keep the water quality good otherwise as with all cichlids, disease or death can occur.
|Scientific Name||Mikrogeophagus altispinosus|
|Other Names||Bolivian Butterfly, Bolivian Ram, Ruby Crown Cichlid|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Pairs|
|Lifespan||up to 4 years|
|Maximum Size||up to 8 cm|
|Temperature||74 - 78 ℉ (23.3 - 25.6 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 7.5|
|GH||6 - 14|
|TDS||18 - 179|
Origins of the Bolivian Ram Cichlid
The Bolivian Ram Cichlid originates in the Rio Mamore near the mouth of the Rio Guarpore river at Trinidad, the Guarpore Basin at San Ramone, the mouth of the Igarape river at Guarjara-Mirim, and in Flood plains below Todos Santos in Bolivia and Brazil in South America.
These species inhabit tributaries, marginal zones, U-shaped rivers, lakes, streams, pools and lagoons covered in dense vegetation like submerged tree roots and branches which provide these fish with shaded areas and plenty of hiding places. Their substrate generally consists of mud and sand.
Other Cichlids of interest
In the home aquarium, you should provide Bolivian Ram Cichlids with a variety of live and frozen fare such as daphnia, bloodworm, grindal worm and artemia supplemented by high quality, sinking dried foods of a suitably small size. These fish may initially refuse the dried foods but usually learn to accept them over time.
Breeding the Bolivian Ram Cichlid
The Bolivian Ram Cichlids are a biparental substrate spawner and is best bred in a devoted set-up with no other fishes present.
There does not seem to be any specific trigger for the spawning process with the main requirements being a good diet and strict maintenance regime.
Unless you can tell the sexes apart in adults, it is probably most beneficial, to get underway with a group of young fish and allow pairs to form naturally.
The eggs are typically laid on a solid surface such as a piece of driftwood, a flat rock, a broad plant leaf or directly on the aquarium glass.
Courtship is known to involve various body actions including, quivering, head shaking and preparation of spawning sites such as shallow pits. The male mainly undertakes these behaviours in the aquarium and are known to last for about 48 hours.
Spawning usually occurs with the female laying one or more rows of eggs, and then the male moves in to fertilise them. They will repeat this process numerous times.
Inexperienced pairs may initially consume their brood, but after a few attempts, they will start to get it right.
If maintaining the adults in a community aquarium, it is recommended to remove either the tankmates or the eggs should you wish to raise a higher yield of fry. Both the male and the female will participate equally in caring for their fry.
The incubation period is usually for around 2-3 days after which the fry remain mostly immobile for an additional 5 to 8 days during which they do not require any supplementary food.
If left with the parents, the fry will be moved to a pre-built pit in the substrate once hatched, and are often carried between several holes daily.
Once the fry becomes free-swimming, you can then introduce them to foods such as microworm and artemia nauplii.