German Blue Ram Cichlid (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) Species Profile & Care Guide
German Blue Rams Cichlids are low maintenance and easy to keep due to their peaceful temperament and hardy nature. These rams make an excellent addition to the community aquarium but make sure you don't house them with much larger, boisterous tankmates.
The German Blue Rams often have a mix of yellow, blue, red, and orange all over their body. Most of the time, the dominant colour on the front half of their body is yellow, and the dominant colour on the back half is blue. However, this can vary. Some individuals are more yellow on the front and back thirds of their body, with few faded dark blue towards the middle.
Two of the most prominent features in this fish is the black line that runs vertically across their face over their eye. This band is relatively thick and gives them kind of a bandit look and their red eyes.
There can also be some very dark blue or black patches on the front of their dorsal fin and middle of their body. These are also relatively large and will usually match the colour of the band over their eye.
You will also find dots on the fins of specific individuals. These are either yellow or bright blue depending on their dominant colours.
|Scientific Name||Mikrogeophagus ramirezi|
|Other Names||Blue Ram, Asian Ram, Butterfly Cichlid, Ramirez's Dwarf Cichlid, Dwarf Butterfly Cichlid, Ramirezi|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Best kept as||Pairs|
|Lifespan||3 - 4 years|
|Temperature||72 - 79 ℉ (22.2 - 26.1 ℃)|
|PH||5.0 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 12|
Natural Habitat of the German Blue Ram Cichlid
German Blue Rams are native to the Orinoco River basin, in Los llanos of Venezuela and Colombia, east of the Andes in north-western South America. They inhabit warm, slow-flowing water that can be anything from dark tea-colour stained from tannins to completely clear. Their habitats are usually covered in aquatic plants or submerged land vegetation.
Other Cichlids of interest
German Blue Rams will readily accept a wide range of different foods in the aquarium. Provide the fish with a varied diet of high quality dried flakes, granules and pellets along with live and frozen fare such as mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, blood worms, earthworms and artemia. Also, try to add some vegetables and plants to keep a balanced diet.
Feed them several times a day with small helpings rather than feeding them a large amount once a day as this will help to maintain the water in the aquarium.
Breeding the German Blue Ram Cichlid
It is relatively easy to breed German Blue Rams. The first few tries may be unsuccessful as the parents need to learn how to become good parents, but once they have figured it out, they should spawn once a month without any problems. German Blue Rams will reach sexual maturity around 4 - 6 months old.
If you want to influence your rams into breeding, provide them with soft water and increase the water temperature by a few degrees. You may also want 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 crucial 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.
German Blue Ram Cichlids will become more aggressive than usual during the breeding period so make sure you provide plenty of hiding spots and natural borders in the aquarium.
When ready to spawn the red patch on the females will grow larger and become much brighter 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 usually 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 guarding their territory.
A parent will apply 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 territories for pathogens.
The eggs will usually hatch around 35-40 hours later, 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 turns to escort them as they forage for food.
Initially, you should provide the fry with infusoria type foods introducing them to crushed flake food and small live foods as they grow bigger.