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Maximum size : 8 cm

Bolivian Ram Cichlid - Mikrogeophagus altispinosus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The captivating beauty of the Bolivian Ram Cichlid, (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus), is unmatched. These small and gentle Cichlids possess an endearing and intelligent personality, making them a popular choice among both novice and experienced aquarists alike. Their easy-going nature makes them excellent companions for other non-aggressive fish species, particularly other peaceful Dwarf Cichlids. Maintaining pristine water quality is crucial for the health and well-being of these Cichlids. Therefore, it's recommended to perform frequent water changes to keep their environment clean and healthy. The elongated oval-shaped body of the Bolivian Ram Cichlid is adorned with long pointed tails and fins. Their fins display bright hues of orange or red, beautifully contrasting against their light brown or greyish-blue body colour. A black curve running through the eye, a black spot in the centre, and a yellowish front half adds to their unique and charming appearance.

Bolivian Ram Cichlid Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Bolivian Ram Cichlids is a fairly simple task. Mature males tend to be bigger and leaner than females, boasting a pointed dorsal fin and elongated filaments on their tail fins, which are complemented by more vivid and striking colouration.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameMikrogeophagus altispinosus
Year Described1911
Other NamesBolivian Butterfly, Bolivian Ram, Ruby Crown Cichlid
OriginsTrinidad and Tobago Brazil Bolivia
Max Size8 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
Lifespanup to 4 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH6 - 14
TDS18 - 179
74 - 78
23.3 - 25.6

Natural Habitat

The Bolivian Ram Cichlid is a fascinating species that originates from 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. In their natural habitat, these fish are often found inhabiting a wide range of aquatic environments, including tributaries, marginal zones, U-shaped rivers, lakes, streams, pools, and lagoons, which are covered in dense vegetation, such as submerged tree roots and branches. These features provide these fish with shaded areas and plenty of hiding places, which they need to thrive. Bolivian Ram Cichlids tend to prefer a substrate consisting of mud and sand, which mimics their natural habitat.


The Bolivian Ram Cichlids are a fascinating species of substrate spawners that require specific breeding conditions for successful reproduction. To increase the likelihood of successful breeding, it is recommended to house them in a separate, dedicated aquarium with no other fish present. To initiate the spawning process, maintaining a strict maintenance regime and providing a high-quality diet are essential. It is often easier to allow pairs to form naturally in groups of young fish, as it is challenging to differentiate the sexes in adult fish. During courtship, the male performs various body actions and prepares shallow pits as spawning sites, which last for about 48 hours. Spawning occurs when the female lays one or more rows of eggs, which the male then fertilizes, repeating the process several times. Although inexperienced pairs may consume their brood initially, they learn to care for their fry after a few attempts. Both parents care equally for their offspring, and if left in a community aquarium, it is recommended to remove the tankmates or the eggs to increase the yield of fry. After an incubation period of approximately 2-3 days, the fry remain immobile for another 5 to 8 days and do not require supplementary food during this time. Once they become free-swimming, they can be introduced to foods such as microworm and artemia nauplii. If you are interested in breeding the Bolivian Ram Cichlids, providing the ideal breeding conditions and a nutritious diet can ensure successful reproduction and a delightful sight to behold.

Diet & feeding

To maintain optimal health and nutrition, a varied diet is essential for the Bolivian Ram Cichlid in captivity. Offering a combination of live and frozen foods such as daphnia, bloodworm, grindal worm, and artemia in addition to high-quality, sinking dried foods of a suitable size is highly recommended. While they may initially refuse dried foods, providing them over time will typically result in acceptance. It is essential to note that relying solely on dried foods may not provide the full spectrum of essential nutrients, making the inclusion of live and frozen fare an integral part of their diet.

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