Monday, April 27, 2015

Species Profile: Golden Ram Cichlid

My Golden Ram Cichlid

My Golden Ram Cichlid is one of my favorite fish. I purchased this fish (yes all photos are taken by me) when it wasn't much bigger than a Neon Tetra and I wanted to share what I've learned from keeping this awesome fish.

Natural Habitat


The Ram Cichlid (Mikrogeophagus Ramirezi is found in Colombia and Venezuela

The Ram Cichlid is native to the Orinoco River Basin. The native water is acidic (ph 5) and usually has a temperature exceeding 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Ram Cichlids do not occupy fast moving waters and they are found in areas with plant cover.

Aquarium Care


Many people are intimidated by Rams. Some hobbyists fear that they won't be able to keep this fish alive because of the difference between common tap water parameters and the Ram Cichlids native habitat. The thing that you should know is that fish can adapt to different water parameters and the Ram Cichlid has. Most dwarf cichlids at your fish store have been tank bred in water with a higher ph than 5. This is because these fish have adapted after being many generations removed from the wild. In my experience as long as you can keep your ph below 7.2 this fish will thrive. The Ram Cichlid will grow to almost 3" and it has a good "plump" body. I would not suggest keeping this fish in an aquarium smaller than 20 gallons. The Ram Cichlid has maintained two behavior characteristics from its natural habitat: occupying the bottom 1/3 of the aquarium and hiding among the vegetation. 


Golden Ram Cichlid displaying natural behavior

The picture illustrates the behavior of this fish. In an aquarium setting make sure you have sufficient hiding places and vegetation for this fish. In my aquarium the fish often hides in the Jungle Val forest I have planted. The Ram Cichlid isn't a picky eater but it prefers to feed in the water column. I use New Life Spectrum Small Fish Formula to feed this fish because it does have a small mouth. You can learn more about New Life Spectrum and maybe purchase some by clicking the link below.


Breeding is possible in the home aquarium but a dedicated breeding aquarium will be your best chance at having success. I wanted to learn as much about this fish as I could before starting to breed it. I won't comment on breeding because I do not have experience in this area of dwarf cichlid care.

Nicolas' Thoughts


All hobbyists should try keeping dwarf cichlids at least once. The Ram Cichlid is a great fish to start with in the Cichlid family. At under $10/fish it's a great, small, colorful and peaceful fish to enjoy. 

"I'm a happy fish in Nicolas' Aquarium!"