German blue rams are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They will add magnificent color to the tank and are easy to care for.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about owning german blue rams!
German Blue Ram Care Guide
|Scientific Name||Mikrogeophagus Ramierezi|
|Common Name||Blue Ram, Butterfly Cichlid, Asian Ram, Dwarf Butterfly Cichlid, Ramirezi, German Blue, and Ramirez’s dwarf cichlid|
|Size||2 to 3 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size:||20 Gallons|
German blue rams are peaceful freshwater fish that reach up to 3 inches in length. Since they are small, they make great fish for a community tank. They come in beautiful colors such as yellow and blue which can make them the main attraction in your tank.
Appearance & Temperament in Your Tank
Despite the fact that German blue rams are not the easiest fish to care for, they are very popular amongst freshwater aquariums. This is because of their beautiful color appearance and peaceful demeanor.
With their beautiful colors and patterns it is no surprise they are a very popular choice for freshwater aquariums.
With a combination of yellow, blue, red, and orange all over their body they are sure to brighten up any tank.
Another feature that sticks out on the German blue ram is the black stripe running vertically on their head through their eyes.
They also have black or dark blue patches at the front of the dorsal fin and the middle of their body.
Depending on the dominant color of the body, they have either bright yellow or blue spots throughout their fins. They also have the classic cichlid fin shape.
When fully grown the German blue ram is around 2 to 3 inches in length. The adult size that they reach can be impacted by their diet, as well as how they were bred.
This is actually fairly small for a cichlid, making them a great addition to a community tank.
Temperament and Behavior
The German Blue Ram are very mellow creatures that tend to want to do their own thing. Their peaceful nature is another aspect that makes them so popular with fish owners.
They make great tank mates for a community tank because of this.
The German Blue Rams tend to be shyer but love to explore their surroundings. Oftentimes you can find them hiding in plants or digging through the substrate of the tank.
This is because they tend to stay on the lower half of the tank for the most part.
It is easy to tell gender differences in the German Blue Ram once they are fully mature. Females are typically smaller and more compact than males.
Female German Blue Rams tend to be less colorful and have more pointed heads compared to males. Their pectoral fins are also shorter than the males.
They will have a big black spot on either side of their body, as well as a few blue reflective scales inside this black spot.
Male German Blue Rams are much larger than the females and have slimmer bodies with rounded heads.
Their pectoral fins are about twice as long, and they have prominent second rays on their dorsal fins. The black spot on the male will not have reflective blue scales, instead, it is a very dark and matte shade of black.
Typically in captivity, the German Blue Ram has a lifespan of about 3 or 4 years. Although they are not considered beginner fish, their care requirements are not that difficult and can be manageable with the proper research and knowledge.
This is due to the misinformation that a lot of people come across for this species. Understanding their basic needs will allow you to give them the proper care and maximize their lifespan.
Blue Ram Cichlid Diet & Feeding
German Blue Rams are omnivores and not picky eaters, so feeding them is quite easy. The base of their diet should consist of high-quality flake food or pellet food. Other things to add to their diet would be live or frozen food.
The live or frozen food that you provide your German Ram should be protein-rich foods. Great examples of live food are brine shrimp, blood worms, or tubifex.
These will give their diet more enrichment as well as provide balance in their diet.
When you first purchase German Blue Rams they may be harder to feed as they can be quite picky when adjusting to their new tank. At this time, give them more live or frozen food to encourage them to eat regularly again.
It is recommended to feed your German Blue Rams about two or three times a day, only feeding them enough that they can consume within a couple of minutes so as to not overfeed.
After a couple of minutes remove any uneaten food from the bottom of the tank to prevent the water from becoming dirty.
German Blue Ram Tank Mates
As previously mentioned the German Blue Rams have a very peaceful and mellow nature which makes them great for community tanks.
Also because of this, the list of compatible tank mates for them is quite long. A few examples of excellent tank mates for your German Blue Ram are:
- Cory Catfish
- Dwarf Gourami
- Silver Dollar Fish
- Rubber Lip Plecos
- Rummy nose Tetras
- Kuhli Loaches
- Cardinal Tetra
- Bristlenose Pleco
- Honey Gourami
- Discus Fish
- Neon Tetras
These are just a few examples of excellent tank mates for the German Blue Ram. There are plenty more options as long as they are smaller and more peaceful like the German Blue Rams.
They also get along well with a variety of shrimps and snails as well, although they will probably eat the baby shrimp when they find them.
Also, tank mates will need to have similar requirements as the blue rams, and need to be able to live comfortably in similar conditions, such as the warmer temperature of the tank.
Despite the German Blue Rams having quite a long list of potential tank mates, there are some that should be avoided. You will want to avoid larger and more aggressive fish such as:
- African Cichlids
- Jack Dempseys
- Green Terrors
- Red Tail Sharks
If you plan to keep a group of German Blue Rams it is recommended to start with a male and female bonded pair.
From there you can start to add more German Blue Rams, it is recommended to have at least 2 females for each male in the group to avoid territorial disputes.
Water Parameters & Tank Conditions: Ideal Tank Setup
The recommended minimum tank size for the German Blue Ram is 20 gallons. This will allow them ample space to explore and swim around.
The extra room in the tank is very important as a lack of extra room can impact their happiness as well as their overall health in the long run.
For the German Blue ram, maintaining the tank water is one of the most important parts of their care.
Similar to all fish, they need certain water parameters to thrive in life, however, this species seems to be affected more by less-than-ideal water parameters.
Ideal water parameters for German Blue Rams are:
- Water temperature: 80°-84°F
- pH Levels: 5 to 7.5
- Water Hardness: 5 to 12 KH
When you first obtain a German Blue Ram it is recommended to do frequent checks on your water parameters to make sure they are optimal and stable for them to adjust.
German Blue Rams also require very clean waters, staying on top of the cleanliness of your tank is very important for them to thrive.
As with most freshwater aquarium fish, you will want to replicate their natural habitat as much as you can when setting up your tank.
A very important addition to your tank for them would be to include live plants. They love to hide amongst the plants, and if the tank isn’t adequately vegetated they will not feel safe as well as stressed, as these plants give them protection.
Water wisteria and hornworts are great options for live plants for German Blue Rams, they also love to have floating plants in their environment as this will also filter the light, they do not need much light.
Just keep in mind to not overcrowd your tank and leave them plenty of room to swim around in.
Even though the German Blue Rams are not bottom dwellers they do dig around in substrate quite often, this is common cichlid behavior.
Because of this, you will want to opt for a sand substrate, or very fine gravel, as this is safest for them to be diffing around in. A gravel substrate can cut and injure them as they dig around.
As previously mentioned, the German Blue Rams do not require a lot of light. They prefer moderate to dim lighting.
This goes back to their natural habitat as in the wild the waters have thick vegetation filtering a lot of the natural sunlight.
This can be achieved by placing floating plants as stated previously. Or when purchasing a lid for your tank, you can invest in one where the light can be adjusted on it.
It is also recommended to have a low-flow filtration system, as in the wild they come from slow-moving waters. A slow current in the tank is preferable for this species.
Breeding German Blue Rams in Your Aquarium
Fortunately breeding German Blue Rams is very simple in an aquarium. As mentioned earlier it is good to start up with a bonded male and female pair, and then add more to your tank.
The more German Blue Rams, as well as bonded pairs, in your tank the better chance you have at breeding.
As with most freshwater species you’ll want to set up optimal tank conditions to increase your chances of breeding to occur.
There are a few things to create the ideal conditions for them to breed in as well as mimic their natural habitat.
Also to make the breeding process even easier it is best to use juvenile pairs, this is not a necessity but does make breeding a little easier. The German Blue Ram will reach sexual maturity at about 6 months.
It is best to place the German Blue Rams in their tank for breeding, even though they are very peaceful during the breeding process they can become territorial with other kinds of fish.
The breeding tank should be set up like their natural habitat and tank conditions to ensure optimal breeding.
German Blue Rams need a higher water temperature for breeding, over a few days you will want to slowly raise the temperature of the water so as not to shock them.
Optimally you will want to do 1 or 2 degrees at a time until you reach a temperature of 84°F.
During the few days that you are raising the temperature you will want to start the parent fish on high-protein foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp feeding them up to five times a day.
Depending on how well the females are conditioned for breeding, they can lay up to 200 eggs.
You will want to make sure you add flat rocks in your tank as this is where the female will lay her eggs. German Blue Rams prefer flat surfaces to lay their eggs.
Adding Java moss is another good idea as this is where the parent fish will herd to the fry later on for protection.
The breeding process will start with the male, as he chases the female around to an ideal nesting location.
The female will then lay her eggs, which the male will then go over and fertilize them. The parents will attend to and defend their nest during this time, they may also eat some of the eggs as well.
After about 3 days the eggs will hatch, at this time you can remove the female parents from the breeding tank.
For the first few days, the male will feed the larvae until they are free swimming. At this time you will want to feed the fry infusoria as well as microworms for 1 to 2 weeks.
After this, they can be fed larval brine shrimp. When they are mature, after 6 months and 1 inch long, they can be added back into the main tank.
Natural Habitat & Distribution
The German Blue Rams originate from South America. Most specifically in Venezuela and Columbia in the Orinoco River basin.
They live in slow-moving and slightly murky waters. The waters are heavily vegetated, this keeps them safe as well as how they find food in the wild.
The German Blue Rams were introduced to the aquarium trade almost immediately after they were discovered in 1971.
As they quickly became a sensation worldwide with captive breeding programs starting all over the world.
However today they are mostly imported from Asia and are also considered one of the best dwarf cichlids available.