Electric Blue Rams have only recently become widely available. Rams and German Blue Rams have been a part of the hobby for decades now. While the Electric Blue Morph is still slightly pricier no one can doubt that it makes up for it in sheer beauty!
Unfortunately, they are a little more difficult to keep than standard Ram varieties due to their inbreeding. However with a little extra attention to water quality, Electric Blue Ram care need not frighten you away from these fascinating dwarf cichlids!
Ram Cichlids are native to Venezuela and Colombia in South America. Specifically the Orinoco River basin on the northern part of the continent. They are found in clear and blackwater streams where the pH can be extremely acidic.
There are nearly a dozen varieties of Rams commonly available but Electric Blue Rams are likely the most in-demand right now!
- Common Names: Electric Blue Ram
- Scientific Name: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
- Origin: South America (tank-bred)
- Length: 2-3 inches
- Aquarium Size: 20 Gallons
- Ease of Care: Moderate
- Temperament: Peaceful to Semi-Aggressive; Territorial
Electric Blue Ram Care
In this section we’ll cover what you need to know about aquarium size, water quality, and care requirements.
Being dwarf cichlids, Electric Blue Rams can be kept in smaller aquariums than most of their cousins. Oscars, Jack Dempseys, Frontosas, and the like need 55-75 gallons of space or more. Rams are quite comfortable in aquariums as small as 20 gallons once fully mature.
If you intend on keeping more than one male or even several females, you should provide at least 5-10 gallons of space per additional Ram. While they are mild for cichlids they still are territorial and aggressive towards each other.
A subordinate male that doesn’t have enough room to run from the dominant male can easily end up being killed. And if a pair of Rams decides to spawn they will make life very difficult for the others in a small tank. Like all cichlids, Rams are ferociously dedicated parents.
99% of the Rams in captivity are captive bred these days. As a result they are very tolerant of hard water and alkaline chemistry. However, they still have a strong preference for the acidity of their home waters.
When kept at a pH of 5.5-7.0, they show much better colors, have a higher feeding response, and are way more likely to breed. Once the pH starts to climb higher they are very unlikely to breed and they may decline in health.
Unfortunately, Electric Blue Rams are already somewhat sensitive due to the inbreeding required to isolate the electric blue scale gene. I strongly recommend keeping them in ideal water parameters as they simply aren’t as resistant as standard or German Blue Rams.
Their native waters are blackwater streams that flow through flooded forests and savannas. These environments are rich in peat and dead leaves that fill the water with plant tannins and low in dissolved minerals. The water is usually either extremely clear or stained tea colored by the tannins.
- · Relieve aquarium stress of fish and shrimps....
- · Mimic the natural habitat of fish and shrimp....
- improve aquarium animals’ health.
To buffer the pH towards acidity I recommend using either Indian Almond Leaves or bottled blackwater extracts. Indian Almond Leaves have a slow release effect similar to driftwood but it’s not as significant as adding bottled extract directly. The leaves also create a very natural aquascape and provide biofilm for shrimp, snails, and other bottom feeders.
- Establishes similar water conditions to those...
- Help simulate the onset of the rainy season for...
- Enhances the effectiveness of plant nutrient...
If you’re not a fan of the dead leaf look and want a more consistent product, I strongly recommend sticking with a bottled extract. That way, you’re not having to guess at the effect a given volume of leaves will have on the pH. Also, the effect is instant, rather than slow-release.
As near-equatorial fish, Electric Blue Rams should be kept at very high tropical temperatures. 76-86℉ is best, especially if you intend on breeding them. Any cooler and they are likely to lose color, appetite, and become prone to ich, body fungus, and fin rot.
Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate need to all be as close to 0ppm as possible to keep these sensitive little guys happy. The best way to do so is to ensure you only add them to a fully mature, cycled aquarium. New tank syndrome is a recipe for disaster when keeping Electric Blue Rams.
Plants and Substrate
Unlike most cichlids, Electric Blue Rams are very easy on plants! This is mostly because they are so tiny. They still love digging but they are too small to do much damage. Small carpeting plants like Monte Carlo and newly planted specimens might get uprooted before they get well established, especially in sand.
Rams also like to try pulling at plants when preparing to spawn. But if your plants are well established and healthy, you should see little to no damage from these dwarf cichlids.
Considering how hot they like their water, make sure to choose your plants carefully because not all plants grow well above 80℉. Plants that thrive alongside Discus, which also love hot water, are great choices!
Amazon Sword Plants are found naturally alongside German Blue Rams. not only do they grow impressively large but their broad leaves even provide convenient places for Rams to lay their eggs on.
Tank Mates for Electric Blue Rams
Dwarf Cichlids can be a little challenging to match with other fish. While not exactly aggressive they aren’t quite peaceful, either! Typically, you’ll only have trouble if your Electric Blue Rams are breeding or you have another fish that looks very much like them.
Stay away from Electric Blue Dwarf Gouramis or blue Bettas, for example, as the dominant male will treat it like any other Blue Ram. Apistogramma are closely related dwarf cichlids and you may also run into trouble if your tank isn’t large enough for everyone to form territories.
Be careful if you intend on keeping your Rams with invertebrates. Like all cichlids, they are insatiably curious. Most tend to ignore shrimp but occasionally you may get a Ram that decides to give chase.
Other than these cases you should have no trouble keeping your Rams with other fish that thrive in soft, acidic conditions!
Good Tank Mates for Electric Blue Rams
- Gouramis, Barbs, Tetras, Rasboras, Danios, and other soft water Community fish
- Corydoras, Otocinclus, and other smaller Catfish
- Other Dwarf Cichlids (in larger aquariums)
- Dwarf Crayfish
- Apple & Nerite Snails
Poor Tank Mates for Electric Blue Rams
- Larger Cichlids
- Predatory fish
- Livebearers and other hard water Community fish
- Dwarf Shrimp & Small Snails
Feeding Electric Blue Rams
Electric Blue Rams are what we call micro predators! This means that while they are carnivores they only hunt down tiny invertebrates, fish fry, and other prey. Worms, insects, tiny shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, and other items are what they eat in nature.
Fortunately, in the freezer section of your local fish store, you’ll find several items that they will absolutely love! Brine shrimp, bloodworms, tubifex, and daphnia provide them with a load of nutrients prepared foods often lack.
- Tropical fish food that contains up to 40%,...
- High in multiple proteins like whole salmon –...
- Fortified with essential vitamins, amino acids and...
However, if you choose a prepared food high in animal protein, you will not only get great color but maximize your chances of breeding your Blue Rams! I prefer Fluval Bug Bites for carnivores like dwarf cichlids and tetras because the main ingredients are insects and salmon!
Stay away from standard flakes and pellets that mostly use starch-based fillers to cheap out on fish nutrition. They also contain more plant matter, which as carnivores, Rams can’t really digest!
Sexing Electric Blue Rams
Ram Cichlids can be a little trickier than most to accurately tell the difference between males and females. Unlike many fish, the females are as colorful as the males! However, there are a few ways to tell and ensure you have a pair.
When fully grown, males are visibly larger than females but not by much. Male Rams of all kinds also have longer dorsal and pelvic fin extensions when seuxally mature (1 to 1⅓+ inches). The pelvic fin extensions on an adult male often reach all the way to the anal fin.
Female Rams have shorter fin extensions that never stick out as impressively. They are also thicker bodied at all times and have a ruddy red belly.
Note: Electric Blue Ram females don’t have a red stomach so you’ll have to rely on the other methods.
If you have the space, getting a group of 4-6 Electric Blue Rams allows them to naturally pair off. I recommend doing this because there’s no guarantee that a male or female will necessarily like each other enough to breed. Also, infertility is common in fish as inbred as Electric Blue Rams.
If you find you still have trouble sexing Electric Blue Rams, take a look at this video!
Breeding Electric Blue Rams
Assuming you’re giving them ideal water conditions, live plants, the right temperatures, and plenty of high quality food, breeding is virtually guaranteed! Males will grow increasingly aggressive and restless and the females will begin to swell with eggs as they approach the right time.
If you’re keeping a group of Rams, provide plenty of tank space, driftwood, live plants, and other breaks in line of sight to keep subordinate fish from being harassed continually.
The eggs are laid on flat surfaces, typically a rock or broad plant leaf. First time Ram parents may not always succeed at hatching their eggs. They may sometimes be infertile or even eat them. However they usually get it right by the second or third spawning.
Once your Rams spawn, you’re better off removing the other Rams in anything under a 40 gallon aquarium. The parents are very devoted and nip at any fish or human fingers that get too close to their eggs and fry. Other Rams in particular will be viciously chased by them.
The fry are fairly large, which makes them easy to care for. Ram fry can be fed on live baby brine shrimp 2-4 days after hatching and absorbing their yolk sac!