Bolivian Ram: The best Dwarf Cichlid for the Community Aquarium?
Bolivian Rams (also known as a Bolivian Butterfly), are beautiful freshwater tropical fish that can get along with others without any issues. That is, unless the other critters are a good size smaller, and then they are Bolivian Ram Food.
Bolivian Rams (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus) are part of the Dwarf Cichlid family, but they’re not as aggressive as other species in this group. This species of fish is endemic to the Amazon River basin in Brazil and Bolivia. The species is similar in profile to the larger geophagine cichlids.
These guys will make a fantastic addition to your community tank with their striking colors and friendly, gentle dispositions to their tank mates.
The average life cycle for a Bolivian Ram is 4 years, but it’s not uncommon to see them live much longer. Poor water conditions and lack of food are usually the leading causes for shortened lifespans in this species.
Bolivian Ram Appearance
Bolivian Rams are quite unlike any other fish. They possess an eye-catching golden brown color, reddish highlights on the dorsal fin and caudal fins.
The Rams shine in the bright light of the fish tank with pearly turquoise-blue highlights on pelvic and anal fins
And finally, they have a black ‘spot’ located centrally atop its body, with a black line running from top to bottom along eye to head.
Bolivian Ram Behaviour
The Bolivian Rams have an interesting defense mechanism! They can use their fierce rayed fins as an effective way to defend themselves against predators. The rays help them with impressive agility in the water, and they will spike the mouth of any unfortunate would-be predator.
Bolivian Rams have sexual dimorphism, which means they have few physical differences between males and females. However, compared to males, females tend to be smaller overall and display elongated dorsal filaments, which help them attract mates during mating season.
Bolivian Ram Size
The typical fully grown Bolivian Ram size is around 8 cm in length when fully grown. Males can get slightly more prominent and reach 9cm while females generally stop growing at 7cm.
Bolivian Ram is a peaceful fish that requires at least 100 litres of space in the tank, alongside dense plant groups and open swimming areas.
The best tank for them would be one with plenty of hiding spots as well.
Bolivian Ram Care
If you want to keep Bolivian Rams, they are relatively easy to care for. But must meet their needs for them to stay healthy. So here is a list of guidelines:
Bolivian Ram care starts with the water parameters such as pH and temperature, which should not fluctuate too much, or else this can lead to specific health problems down the line.
They prefer soft acidic waters, so don’t go overboard on using chemicals like chlorine because these will deteriorate your tank’s ecosystem long-term – definitely something no one wants! And make sure there aren’t any algae growing either; rinse off rocks twice per week if needed but other than that, follow all directions carefully when adding plants and decorations into your aquarium space.
Bolivian Ram Water Parameters
The best way to care for a Bolivian Ram is by recreating their natural habitat. It’s essential not only in what you have inside your tank but also in the water quality they are subjected to.
Ideally, they should be swimming in warm, slightly acidic water with a slow-flowing filter that doesn’t overpower them.
Water temperature: 26 to 26 degrees Celsius
pH levels: 6.0 to 7.5 (ideal is around 6.5)
Water hardness: 0 to 10 dKH
These omnivorous fish will eat anything you give them. In the wild, they’ll sift through rocks for tiny organisms and can also munch on plant material.
Bolivian Ram does just fine on dry food. They primarily stay at the bottom and middle of an aquarium, so sinking pellets are what they need to have. To spice up their diet, you can also give them chopped earthworms or brine shrimp once in a while!
Bolivian Rams are always hungry, so you should feed them at least twice a day.
If you’re looking to introduce other fish into your aquarium, the Bolivian Ram is one of the most peaceful and beautiful options. The first thing you need to consider before getting any new species in the tank is size – smaller ones may be seen as food, so try sticking with similarly sized creatures or those that can’t fit through a hole large enough for the larger fish’s mouth.
Bolivian Rams prefer living in groups and love company. They enjoy being with up to 8 fish at a time but do well enough on their own too!
Aside from their fellow Bolivian Rams, much other calm-water fish will peacefully coexist in an aquarium without posing much harm.
Silver Dollar fish
Rummy Nose Tetras
Breeding Bolivian Rams is a relatively easy process and will happen naturally with no special conditions in the tank. But be aware of the varying breeding cycles of the female Rams.
Breeders should keep track of how many times each Ram has mated with others; some females will only mate once every few years while others may do it up to three times per year.