Bolivian Ram Cichlid

Bolivian Ram Cichlid

Bolivian Ram Cichlid“Bolivian Ram Cichlid” is the common name for the Mikrogeophagus altispinosus species.

Adult size: 3-4 inches
Minimum tank size: 30 gallon
pH: 6.0-7.5
Temperature: 74-78°F (23-26°C)
Decor: Rocks, Driftwood, and Plants
Substrate: Sand
Lighting: 8-10 hrs/day
Diet: Omnivore

How To Keep Them
How To Breed Them
Other Information


How to Keep Bolivian Ram Cichlids


If you adopt Bolivian Ram Cichlids from a contaminated source, your aquarium may become infected. As a result, you need to ensure you only adopt ones that are kept in a healthy environment.

They can be adopted from:

Before adopting them, understand:

  • Bolivian Ram Cichlids have an average life expectancy of 3-5 years.
  • Bolivian Ram Cichlids may be identified under the common names of: Bolivian Butterfly Cichlid, Ruby Cichlid, Ruby Crown Cichlid

Tank Requirements

Tank Size & Population Density

If your Bolivian Ram Cichlids are in an aquarium that is overstocked, they will become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases, and they won’t grow to their appropriate size. As a result, you need to follow the rule of one inch of fish per gallon of water, but keep in mind:

  • Bolivian Ram Cichlids must be kept in at least a 30 gallon aquarium.
  • Bolivian Ram Cichlids eventually grow to be 3-4 inches long.

How do I setup a fish tank? (Opens new tab)
How do I determine the size of my aquarium? (Opens new tab)

Canopy & Lighting

The canopy of your aquarium ensures:

  • Your fish don’t jump out of your aquarium.
  • No contaminates enter your aquarium.

As a result, equip your aquarium with a canopy that completely covers it.

As far as lighting goes, if you want your Bolivian Ram Cichlids to be most comfortable, the amount of light they get needs to mimic the amount of sunlight they receive in their natural habitat. The amount of time you should leave their aquarium’s lights on to achieve this varies. If it’s in a room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, you should turn their lights on during sunlight hours. However, if it’s is in a well-lit room, then 2-3 hours per day is all that is necessary.

Decor & Substrate

When keeping Bolivian Ram Cichlids, they will thrive if you decorate their aquarium with decor and substrate that mimics their natural habitat. To help with this, you should add Indian Almond Leaves to their aquarium.

In addition, their natural habitat has lots of driftwood, river rocks, and plants, so you should add plenty of them to their aquarium. When arranging these things though, you need to ensure you:

  • Create plenty of caves and hiding places.
  • Don’t create a barrier for them to hide behind.
  • Make sure there is plenty of open swimming water.

Their natural habitat has a sandy substrate, so ideally, you should fill their aquarium with it. With that being said though, gravel is still a suitable option for them. In either case, you need to ensure you:

  • Clean their substrate beforehand. Otherwise, the residue that is on it will make their aquarium cloudy.
  • Fill their aquarium with at least 2 inches of substrate.

Water Parameters

If the water in your Bolivian Ram Cichlids’ aquarium doesn’t reflect that of their natural habitat, they can become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has a pH level of 6.0-7.5 and a temperature of 74-78°F (23-26°C).

• pH
pH can be measured by using a Freshwater Master Test Kit. If you measure your water’s pH level and it needs to be altered: remove your fish, adjust the pH, then acclimate your fish back into your aquarium – since they are sensitive to drastic changes of pH.

• Temperature
To measure your aquarium’s water temperature, equip your aquarium with an aquarium thermometer.

Ammonia, Nitrites, & Nitrates

The subject of Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates tends to be very dry. In its simplest form, they are all a byproduct of fish waste (fish poop & uneaten food) and are toxic to Bolivian Ram Cichlids. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has:

  • An Ammonia concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrite concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrate concentration of 0-20 mg/L.

If you need to test these concentrations, use a Freshwater Master Test Kit.

If you need to reduce these concentrations, ensure proper:


Bolivian Ram Cichlids are omnivores, with Carnivore tendencies, so their diet regimen should consist of protein and vegetables.

They should be fed three times per day – for a total of 21 feedings per week. For a majority of the feedings, they should be fed a staple food consisting of either flakes or pellets. For the other feedings, they should be fed special foods.

During each feeding, they should be fed as much food as they can eat in 2 minutes. The exact foods they should be fed varies, depending on their size:

Of course, this is just our feeding method. You are more than welcome to design your own diet regimen for your Bolivian Ram Cichlids. In either case though, ensure you:

Health Issues

Bolivian Ram Cichlids are most-commonly affected by Ich.

Tank Mates

Bolivian Ram Cichlids can be kept solo or with other fish. If they are kept with other Bolivian Ram Cichlids, it’s best to have a ratio of 1 male to at least 2 females. Maintaining this ratio will help minimize the male’s aggression towards the females.

In regards to keeping Bolivian Ram Cichlids with other kinds of fish, ensure the species you keep with them with are compatible. To determine if they are, use this Compatibility Chart.


How to Breed Bolivian Ram Cichlids

Reproduction Process

The Bolivian Ram Cichlid will reach sexual maturity a4-6 months after they are born. When that time passes, they begin to assemble into exclusive mating pairs (for life).

When its time for the reproduction process to begin, the abdomen of the female blushes with a pink or red coloration. At this time, her male mate will either clear a flat stone or dig a pit for her. After the stone is cleared or the pit is dug, the pair of fish will nudge and twirl with each other for a while. Eventually, though, the female will place her batch of 150-300 eggs on the flat stone or pit that her male mate has prepared. As soon as the eggs have been laid, the male will fertilize them.

While the male and female wait together for their eggs to hatch, one of them will sometimes fan fresh water over the eggs to prevent fungus and bacteria from growing. They don’t have to do it for long though because the eggs normally hatch with 40 hours of being fertilized.

After the eggs hatch, it will normally take about 5 days for the offspring to become free-swimming fry. As soon as they are free-swimming, though, the fry are kept together in a dense school and cared for by the both parents until they can fend for themselves.

Our Recommended Breeding Technique

Required Aquariums:

  • 40 gallon (Bonding)
  • 20 gallon (Breeding)
  • 10 gallon (Grow-out)


  • Place a group of 6-8 juveniles into a 40 gallon aquarium and provide them with the appropriate aquarium setting. This step is necessary for the fish to form their bonds with their life mates.
  • Once a pair has formed (you will notice them always swimming together and dancing together) remove the pair and place them into their own 20 gallon breeder tank.
  • Make sure the breeder aquarium has lots of flat rocks, this will make it easier for them to breed. You can even add a few Indian Almond Leaves to their aquarium to help with the inducing spawning.
  • After the reproduction process occurs the fry will be free swimming within 4-10 days. Once they are, remove the fry into their own 10 gallon grow-out aquarium.
  • The 10 gallon aquarium should not have any decorations or substrate, this makes it easier for them baby fry to eat. It should also have a sponge filter so they don’t get sucked up. In the early stages, it is best to feed them New Life Spectrum Small Fry Starter.


Other Information About Bolivian Ram Cichlids


The Bolivian Ram Cichlids is native to the soft acidic waters of Bolivia and Brazil. They can be found in the river drainage’s throughout these two countries.

Conservation Status

Bolivian Ram Cichlids have not been evaluated by the IUCN, therefore their Conservation Status isn’t listed on the IUCN Red List.

Taxonomic Status

The Taxonomic Status of Bolivian Ram Cichlids was most recently published in 1911 by John Diederich Haseman as:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Sub-Family: Geophaginae
Genus: Mikrogeophagus
Species: M. altispinosus


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