- Scientific name: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
- Synonyms: Papiliochromis ramirezi
- Common name: Butterfly cichlid or "ram"
- Group: Cichlids
- Habitat: South America; The Western tributaries of the central Orinoco River
- Size: 6-8 cm.
- Biotope: In sunny swamps, lagoons, and brooks in the savannas of the Orinoco River
- Social behavior: A peaceful, timid fish that can be kept in a community tank with other non-aggressivefish. Do not combine the Ram with aggressive cichlid species for they will disturb this fish. Pairsform monogamous bonds.
- Diet: Live, Artemia, bloodworms, glassworms, small insects, insect larvae, Tubifex, pellets, occasionally flakes.
- Breeding: Quite easy
- Tank: Minimum 80 litres.
- Population: 1 pair for 90 litres
- Decoration: Provide hiding places with plant thickets,roots, wood, rocks, and over-turned flower pots.Leave open swimming areas. A cover of floating plants to diffusethe lighting is welcomed.
- Temperature: 26-29°C
- pH: 6-7,5
- Hardness: 6-14 NK°
- Lifespan: 3-5 years
Description: Generally oval in shape, rather than long and is laterally compressed. The first Dorsal fin rays are not connected to each other at the tips. In the male the third and forth rays are longer than the rest. The caudal fin is fan shaped. The Dorsal and Anal fins are roundish. They have small mouths. They grow to be about two inches long with the female slightly smaller.
The Ram is one of the most colorful Cichlids. The body and fins are a pastel blue-red to pink with the sides showing a rainbow of colors depending on the light. There is a dark almost black spot under the Dorsal fin. A curved dark band runs from the nape, through the eye to the throat area. The coloration of these fish varies and there are several different color forms available.
The Rams should have a large well planted tank with plenty of caves, driftwood and other hiding places. If the fish is not happy in its surroundings it will just lurk in a corner and be very pale. The water should be soft, slightly acidic and the temperature in the range of 73 to 77 degrees. Feeding is not to hard as they accept flake food and really love any live food you can offer. The Rams are very intolerant of poor water conditions and the quality must remain high. They also do not take to medications well, so the use of them should be limited. They only live about two years. The rams are a timid fish and should not be kept with others that are aggressive or overly busy, good tankmates would be smaller Tetras and Rasboras.
If optimum conditions are kept the Ram is easily breed. The water temperature should be raised to about 80 degrees. They usually lay their eggs in caves or rocks. Both the male and female share brood protection. The eggs will hatch in about 48 hours, then the young will be moved to a shallow pit in the substrate. After four or five days they are free swimming and herded together in a group and looked after by the male. Each brood can contain as many as 150 to 200 young. The fry should be feed live or frozen brine shrimp nauplii.
(Lesser bleeding heart tetra)
(Clown botia, Clown loach)
(Coolie Loach, Kuhli Loach)