Mikrogeophagus ramirezi male (left) and female (right)
Name: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
Origin: Colombia, Venezuela
The Blue ram is indeed one of the most peaceful and beautiful cichlids of all. They are dwarf cichlids as they grow to 5cm. They comprise of many enchanting colours but since most are tank bred, lack these amazing colours. Even a gold strain of the ram has been developed. The most striking feature of the blue ram are its blue irridescent flecks and the black spot and vertical band it has. The males are more colourful than the females. Females are rounder with a pinkish abdominal area. As far as water is concerned - it has to be perfect or close to it. These fish have a bad reputation to die, they only live for 2 years or if you're lucky, maybe 3 years. They must have clean and crystal clear water with an acidic pH and it also must be soft. Rams are very, very delicate so only the advanced aquarists are experienced enough to look after them well. Note that rams don't take to medications well and prefer to be in a species tank with driftwood and amazon sword plants.
I have been hooked on the Dwarf Cichlids. I have a pair of Blue Rams (two males!!) in a 175 L tank. They do chase each other but never destroy fins. They live at peace within a community tank with Rainbows, Rasboras, Tetras, Danios, Hatchets, & a few Corys. The colors are wonderful purple, yellow, black, red, and irridescent. I maintain the tank at 26°C and pH 6.6. It is heavily planted with Amazon Sword, Crispus, Fanwort, Java Moss, and Madagascar Fern. Territories are mandatory and each time I add another Dwarf, re-arrangement of the tank will force everyone to find new homes. Good careful maintenance of a tank will ensure they thrive.
I have a Blue Ram living in a mild brackish tank with a freshwater moray eel, some mollies and an atlantic puffer. The ram is doing very well. She is the oldest fish in the tank, being in my posession for over three years. Prior to this I had a few rams living with some jewel cichlids but were picked at so much I transfered them into this tank. All but the one died shortly after. I just wanted to put in my few cents and say they can live over three years.
One of the most amusing little fish I have ever seen. The squabbles they have with each other over their territories are fascinating!
I think rams are pretty easy to take care of. I have kept some gold and german blue rams for a long time, and I have had only one problem, they got ich. They did survive through it though. There are many types of rams, like german blue, gold, german gold, long finned blue, long finned gold, and rainbow. These fish have personalities between each fish. They like to fight but it is mostly just a bluff. So, don't worry beginners you can keep rams without worry!
I've had a pair of Blue Rams for about 6 months and I really like them. Their colors have brightened alot since bringing them home and giving them good food and appropriate water conditions. I'm not totally sure if I have a male and a female or 2 males as they look the same. They aren't the least bit quarrelsome, though, so I'm not concerned either way.