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 Blue Ram

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Diana
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PostSubject: Blue Ram   Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:01 am

Written by Mary


BLUE RAM
Type: Tropical Freshwater

Scientific Name: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
Maximum Size: 5cm
Minimum Tank Volume: 60L
Minimum Tank Width: 60cm
Water pH: 5.0-7.5
Water Temperature: 25-30C

Care Rating: Moderate

APPEARANCE
The blue ram is an instantly recognizable and very attractive fish that is not suitable for a beginner tank but will do well in an aquarium that has been cycled for several months. It has a short, stocky body with a high dorsal fin that has separated fin rays, the first of which are black in colour. The male ram raises these to intimidate other fish and also when courting a female.

The body colouration of the male is predominantly electric blue and yellow with black blobs that can expand to vertical stripes when the fish feels threatened or stressed. The facial area is red and yellow and there are attractive white and blue sparkles on the fins. The edges of the fins have a lovely red edging to them. During spawning, the female has a bright red belly but otherwise tends to be slightly duller than the male.

The blue ram can control its colouration at will and has an almost chameleon-like quality to how it displays its body colour and striation.

SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS
Rams are one fish that definitely require specific water conditions. They thrive in soft water, with a pH of neutral to slightly acidic. They are very sensitive to water chemistry so it is essential to keep the aquarium water pristine.

Rams require a well lit aquarium with several refuges in rocks, petrified wood and plants. They also appreciate a gentle water current. They are best kept in pairs or with more females than males. A pair of males will bicker occasionally and one of them will establish dominance over the other, as evidenced by the alpha male nudging the subordinate from time to time just to keep him in his place!

COMPATIBILITY
Rams are one of the few cichlid species that are suitable for a community tank and mix well with most other species. For the most part, they tend to bicker amongst themselves and often, it can be seen that the 'alpha' male will establish dominance over the tank.

Rams are, for the most part, a good-natured and interesting fish that live for the most part in the bottom zone but, like most cichlid species, they do tend to be territorial. They should not be kept with other large, boisterous cichlid species that will bully and harrass them.

DIETARY NEEDS
Rams are not difficult to feed and will appreciate a diet of dry flake supplemented by live food such as bloodworms or brine shrimp. They will also eat specialist cichlid tablets if required.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
* Blue rams are mostly bred in captivity which has weakened the species in comparison with its hardier cousin, the Bolivian Ram, which is mostly wild caught.
* A colour variant that has been line bred is the Gold Ram.
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