Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
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Mikrogeophagus ramirezi

Common Names: Blue Ram
Butterfly Cichlid
Golden Ram
Synonyms: Apistogramma ramirezi
Microgeophagus ramirezi
Papilochromis ramirezi
Family: Cichlidae
Category: Cichlids
Distribution: America - South; Columbia and Venezuela
Main Ecosystem: River; River
Temperament: Timid; This fish can be shy at times, and dither fish are recommended. Otherwise, they are very peaceful when not breeding.
Diet: Ominvore; Omnivore
Care: Feed a variety of foods, including a good flake or pellet as a staple and the occasional fresh or frozen treat. Plant tank with dense clumps of plants, but leave some room for swimming. Some hiding places are also needed. Hard to keep, as they can be very sensitive to water chemistry. Use a good water conditioner when changing the water as the Blue Ram is very sensitive to chemicals. Blue rams are also very sensitive to nitrate, which should be kept low with frequent water changes. Many blue r
5 - 7.5
25°C - 29°C
77°F - 84°F
5 dH - 12 dH
Potential Size: Male: 5.5cm (2.2")
Female: 5.5cm (2.2")
Water Region: Middle, Bottom; Middle-Bottom
Activity: Diurnal; Diurnal
Gender: The male's front dorsal fin rays are much longer than the female's, forming the telltale "spike." The dorsal fin of the male also tends to have a pointed shape near the caudal fin, where the female's is more rounded. Females are smaller and have a reddish tinge on their pelvic regions, especially when getting ready to spawn. Also, the black spot on the side of the female blue ram may have irridescent blue spangles throughout, and the male's tends to be solid black.
Breeding: Breeding German Blue Rams is usually easy once a pair bond is achieved. Often times, rams will not pair up just because a male and female are together. Getting multiple juvi's and letting them grow together often results in pair bonds.
Once a pair bond is formed, a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is the best for the Adults, eggs, and fry. Parents will tend to the eggs and fry, and will protect them.
Variants: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is available in many colour and build morphs,and has been rather unscientifically renamed to represent breeds and types from different areas of mass production.

"German" Blues are usually high colour blue specimens, originally sourced from german captive stocks, although this is often no longer the case, and the name often overused.

Gold rams are a primarily yellow morph. Popular i the hobby, but possibly even more fragile than the standard form.

Balloon rams are rather unfortunate heavily selectively bred creatures with massive midbody swelling and spinal curvature giving them a bloated appearance.The average specimen will be plagued by ill health and the legacy of deformity.

Venezuelan rams are indeed Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, but their range is not limited to that country although they are an importer of wild specimens, and "singapore" rams are simply the same species all mass produced, often at low quality from the aformentioned region.
Comments: A very pretty fish , and a rewarding captive for those able to put in the the precision, time , and effort required to keep one healthy, but often a beginners first mistake. While neither sizeable or especially aggressive, this is a species that does not do especially well in a heavily stocked community situation, despite seemingly fitting the bill, mostly thanks to a high sensitivity to nitrates.

Captive bred specimens are becoming increasingly fragile and most of the specimens in the marketplace now require the kind of water quality excellence and bacterial control practised by discus keepers.

Wild specimens often exceed four years in age, captive specimens by contrast, unless given the very best water quality, comperable with their native habitat, and suitably high temperatures, often well into the 80's farenheit,rarely make more than two. Blue Rams succumb to infections like hexamita, and various other bacterial gastrointestinal ailments if kept in less than perfect conditions. Despite being bred in varying hardnesses, maintaining ph, and hardness levels accurate to type locality is important for the longevity of this species.

Bolivians, or Red Rams as they are also known, are less shy, more disease and water quality tolerant, and an altogether more robust and suitable species for the first time small cichlid keeper, and only slightly less attractive.
Main Colours: Yellow, Black, Blue
Markings: Striped And Spotted
Mouth: Normal
Tail: Flat
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Submitted By: Adam
Contributors: bodangit, longhairedgit
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