Electric Blue Ram Cichlid (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) Fish Species Profile
The Electric Blue Ram is the latest colour morph of the common Ram Cichlid, and its beauty has made it a popular addition to the hobby, though it is slightly more challenging to keep than its wild-type cousin. Someone developed this Ram species in 2009. Electric Blue Rams are less commonly available than other Ram varieties and may be more pricey.
The Electric Blue Ram is not recommended for beginners, but it is not to difficult to keep either. It would be better if you do not house Electric Blue Rams with other dwarf cichlids so avoid this at all costs.
These Rams are best maintained as pairs in a peaceful community setting, and should not be housed with any aggressive species which may bully them and out-compete them for food. You can keep small groups of Rams together, but you may find that specific fish pair off, and when breeding, they can become a little territorial towards others. Tankmates should be slow-moving, small, peaceful and calm. Also Keeping these Rams on their own isn't recommended either as they need friendly and docile species in the aquarium to feel secure.
The Electric Blue Ram is a tank-bred colour strain of the Ram. Unlike other species, this fish has a neon blue body colouration with some orange shading rather than a mixture of different colours; their fins are also a neon blue colour. They do however still possess the red eyes just like other Ram species.
|Scientific Name||Mikrogeophagus ramirezi|
|Other Names||German Blue Ram, Butterfly Cichlid, Ramirez's Dwarf Cichlid, Dwarf Butterfly Cichlid, Ramirezi|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Pairs|
|Lifespan||3 - 4 years|
|Maximum Size||up to 10 cm|
|Temperature||78 - 85 ℉ (25.6 - 29.4 ℃)|
|PH||5.0 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 12|
|TDS||18 - 179|
Origins of the Electric Blue Ram Cichlid
Ram Cichlids are endemic to the Orinoco River basin, in Los llanos of Colombia, Venezuela and east of the Andes in north-western South America. They inhabit slow-flowing warm water that can differ from dark tea-colour stained from tannins to completely clear. Their habitats are usually covered in submerged land vegetation or aquatic plants. Because the Electric Blue Ram is a type of Ram Cichlid, it is probably best to keep it in a setting similar to the habitat of its wild ancestors.
Like their ancestors, Electric Blue Rams will readily accept a broad range of different foods in the home aquarium. You should provide these fish with a varied diet of high quality dried flakes, pellets and granules alongside live and frozen fare such as mosquito larvae, earthworms, brine shrimp, blood worms and artemia. Also, try to add some vegetables and plants to keep the diet balanced.
It would be best if you fed them several times a day with little helpings rather than feeding them a large amount once a day as this will help to sustain the water in the aquarium.
Breeding the Electric Blue Ram Cichlid
It is relatively straightforward to breed Electric Blue Rams. The first few tries may not be successful as the parents need to learn how to become good parents, but once they have solved it, they should spawn once a month without any problems. Electric Blue Rams will reach sexual maturity around 4 - 6 months old.
If you want to sway your rams into breeding, you should provide them with soft water and increase the temperature of your water by a few degrees. You may also find it better to use a timer for the aquarium lights because shifting day and night patterns can confuse them and interfere with normal breeding behaviour.
It is vital to include flat stones in the aquarium as they will use this as breeding sites; however, some pairs prefer to dig small holes in the gravel and use these as breeding sites instead.
Electric Blue Rams will become more aggressive than usual during the breeding period so make sure you provide plenty of hiding spots and natural borders within the aquarium.
Once they are ready to spawn the red patch on the females will grow larger and become much more vivid than usual. The fish will clean a flat stone, or either of the fish will dig out a pit. The pair will also start nudging each other, or the male will slide against the female's body. At this point, the female will attach small adhesive eggs on the flat stones or in the small pits.
The female can typically lay up to 300 eggs, once laid you should allow the parents to stay with their offspring as they co-parent their brood, looking after them and defending their territory.
A parent will employ fresh water over the eggs to prevent attacks from bacteria and fungi as well as consuming any unfertile eggs to stop them from turning into breeding areas for pathogens.
The eggs will usually hatch between 35 and 40 hours, and then five days after that, the fry will become free-swimming. The parents will keep the fry together in a group and care for them, taking shifts to accompany them as they forage for food.
Initially, you should provide the fry with infusoria type foods then introducing them to crushed flake foods and small live foods as they grow larger.