Electric Blue Ram Cichlid Care Guide7 mins read

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Electric blue ram cichlid care guide
Image from Flickr

Ram cichlids are usually recommended for beginners, and the electric blue ram cichlid is no different. In fact, many ram cichlid species are fairly easy to keep with proper knowledge. However, the Electric Ram cichlid will require extra care as it is more sensitive. However, it will reward your efforts with its shimmering vibrant colors and gentle nature.

Therefore, the few care guidelines are all you need to have a thriving communal tank where these stunning fish can thrive.

Breed Overview

OriginSouth America
Lifespan3-4 Years
Size5cm (3 Inches)
Colorselectric blue
Water TypeFreshwater
Tank Size55-gallon communal tank
TemperamentCalm, Docile, Easily Stressed, Territorial
Water Temperature78°F – 85°F (25 ̊ C – 29 ̊ C)
Water pH0 – 7.0
Difficulty LevelEasy to Intermediate

Species Summary

The Electric Blue Ram cichlid (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) is a freshwater aquarium species that is relatively recent in the trade – a product of strategic selective breeding.

The Electric Blue Ram cichlid is endemic to the Orinoco River basins in South America. You may find it under names such as the German Blue Ram, Asian Blue Ram, Butterfly cichlid, Dwarf Cichlid, and Blue Ram. Indeed, Electric Blue Ram is mainly a color morph of the Ram cichlid species. As a result, it’s less common in pet stores than the Blue Ram.

Electric Blue Ram Cichlid Description

Electric blue ram cichlid description
Electric Blue Rams have long-rayed fins, with a spikier dorsal fin that stretches from the gills just up to the caudal fin. Image from pinterest.com

The Electric Blue Ram is one of the most extravagant and breathtaking cichlid fish species in the aquarium trade. Its vibrant, almost neon blue colors pop out against any background décor. With the right lighting and aquarium setting, you will notice shimmering shades of green, subtle yellow speckles, and deeper purples.

Electric Blue Rams have long-rayed fins. Their spikier dorsal fin stretches from the gills just up to the caudal fin. Adults have black stripes on the edges of the dorsal and pectoral fins, though one of the best features is the bright red eyes with a dot or stripe of black.

How To Tell The Genders Of An Electric Blue Ram Cichlid

Are you wondering how to tell the genders of an electric blue ram cichlid? There are a few things to look out for, as this species is otherwise not sexually dimorphic.

  • Adult males have an extended dorsal fin with a more pointed shape at the end, whereas females exhibit a more rounded end.
  • Females are smaller than males and show a reddish color tinge in their pelvic region when they are ready to spawn.
  • Another telltale sign is the black spot on the side of the female Ram, which will usually have more iridescent blue sprinkles surrounding it. The males are more solid black.

Other Color Variations

Generally, Ram cichlids are more of a dwarf cichlid species. In fact, they are much smaller than other cichlid species. Ram cichlids can be found in a few other color variations, besides the Electric Blue Ram species.

Wild Ram Cichlid 

Ironically Wild Rams in their natural habitat have more vibrant colors than those captively bred. They feature the original Ram colorations with prolonged dorsal ray fins, and they are small compared to other Ram cichlids.

German Blue Ram 

One of the most popular Ram species in the aquarium business, they have vivid colors of orange and blue all over the body. In addition, they have bold black stripes and a black dot below the dorsal fin. German Rams are not just appealing fish, but also much more docile, and ideal for communal tanks.

Other Ram Species include: 

  • Bolivian Ram
  • Dark Knight Ram
  • Golden Ram
  • Angel Ram

However, note that these aren’t suitable tankmates for the electric blue ram cichlid! Instead, they make great alternatives if you want more variety.

Electric Blue Ram Cichlid Size And Lifespan

Electric Blue Ram cichlids are relatively small and reach between 5cm to 7 cm (2 – 2.75 Inches) in size with proper care. Females are smaller than males mostly. The largest electric blue ram cichlid size in captivity is 7.6 cm (3 Inches). Captive Electric Blue Rams have an average lifespan of between 3-4 years with proper care and nutrition.

Electric Blue Ram Cichlid Tank Mates And Behaviour

Overall Electric Blue Rams are shy and territorial, rather than aggressive. They may sometimes exhibit more aggressive common cichlid traits. Generally, though, this is against their docile, and peaceful reputation.

Finding electric blue ram cichlid tank mates can be a challenge. Never house them with aggressive fish species. Because of their shy nature, aggressive and energetic fish may become competitive when feeding, devouring food before the docile Ram cichlid has a chance to eat.

It’s not a good idea to keep Electric Blue Rams on their own. However, it is similarly not ideal to keep them with other dwarf cichlid species.

Instead choose slow-moving, peaceful fish species such as; Rasboras, some Tetra Species, Dwarf Crayfish, Gouramis, Corydora Catfish or large snail and shrimp species. You could house them together with less aggressive larger cichlids. Just make sure you keep them in a pair or proper male-to-female ratio.

Care Requirements

Care requirements for electric blue ram cichlid
Blue Rams prefer more subdued light and a clear indication of day and night, plants and covers can be used to provide some shade. Image from Flickr

Though Electric Blue Ram cichlids are not suitable for beginners, they are not all that difficult to keep. Their ideal habitat is a freshwater community aquarium with high-quality, stable water conditions.

Otherwise, the electric blue ram cichlid thrives in a male and female pair.

1. Aquarium

For a pair of Electric Blue Rams a 30 to 40-gallon tank size is best, however, with every additional fish, add about 10 gallons more. these fish are very sensitive to nitrates.

The safest option is a 55-gallon tank that is not overcrowded. Rams prefer dense foliage and live plants, and plenty of rock crevices or caves to hide in. Elongated structures such as slates and pebbles help them feel safe to spawn.

  • Water Parameters – It is essential for Electric Blue Rams that their water is pristine quality, and that nitrites are below 0, and nitrates below 10 ppm. Good mechanical and biological filtration systems along with regular water changes help keep water conditions clean and stable.
  • Temperature ranges of between 25° and 29°C ( 78° to 85°F) are ideal with a more acidic pH of between 5 – 7.0, and softer water conditions. Blue Rams prefer more subdued light and a clear indication of day and night. Plants and covers can provide some shade.
  • Tank Décor and Substrate – Natural Aquatic plants are ideal to provide cover, along with densely planted rooted plants, and rock crevices or caves for hiding spots. A sandy substrate keeps plants well-rooted, and elongated pebbles or stones can provide areas for breeding pairs to deposit their eggs. Plants such as Java ferns, Rosette Plants, Amazon swords, Vallisneria, and Wisteria are ideal in more acidic water conditions. In the same way, Java Moss is a good option that will also help to keep water pH levels down.

2. Safely Placing Your Cichlid In A Tank

Electric Blue Ram cichlids are quite tricky to introduce into a new aquarium. In fact, they have extreme sensitivity to water conditions and temperature changes. Your initial tank must have cycled well, and be running at peak levels for a couple of weeks before adding any new Ram cichlids.

Some fish keepers recommend placing new cichlids in a quarantine tank before introducing them into their new home. Quarantine aids in monitoring health and changes in behavior. Therefore you can establish whether conditions are ideal for them.

It is vital to follow these steps to properly acclimate an Electric Blue Ram cichlid. They really do need more time to acclimate than most other freshwater fish species:

Best Acclimatization Tips:

  • Acclimate fish in a period of at least 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Firstly, turn off the tank lights to reduce stress.
  • Float the bag with new fish on the surface of the tank for the first 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Gradually replace the water in the bag with that of the tank, allowing it to run down the sides to prevent splashing.
  • Keep replacing the water at intervals of 15 to 20 minutes until the bag is almost filled.
  • Now you can allow your fish to swim into the tank, or use a soft net to place one fish at a time in the tank.
  • Avoid allowing too much of the water in the bag to enter the tank, as it may be filled with waste.

3. Feeding

Essentially omnivores, Electric Blue Rams require a balanced diet consisting of leafy greens and meat-based foods. Because they are easily stressed, new Rams in your aquarium may need to be coaxed into eating with mosquito larvae and similar protein-based foods, as they will lack an appetite when first introduced.

From there on, feed a good quality cichlid flake or pellet-based food once a day. Snacks such as frozen or live blood worms, larvae, brine shrimp, or leafy green vegetables can work as a second meal.

4. Breeding

Breeding of Electric Blue Rams
Electric Blue Rams will breed in their initial aquarium provided that they have enough shade, soft acidic water, and an elevation in temperatures is done up to 29 °C (84 °F). Image from wikipedia.org

Once you have sexed a male and female Electric Blue Ram, they will form a monogamous pair. Unfortunately, Blue Rams do not tolerate other males, thus only a single male can be kept.

Electric Blue Rams will breed in their initial aquarium provided that they have enough shade, soft acidic water, and an elevation in temperatures is done up to 29 °C (84 °F).

Females may use breeding slates, or pebbles that have a larger smooth surface area to lay their eggs on, and in some cases may dig a pit in the substrate. The female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them as she lays them. Anything between 200 – 500 eggs can be laid, according to recordings and studies done so far.

The females will fan the eggs to keep them aerated and well-oxygenated. Eggs hatch within around 40 hours. Then the parents will round up and care for the young fry, keeping them in a school.

There have been a few cases where Rams tend to eat their eggs, especially as new parents. However, around their second spawning, they start to get the hang of it. Now, they only eat unfertilized eggs to prevent fungus growth from affecting other eggs.

5. Tank Maintenance And Water Changes

Because ram cichlids require clean and specific water parameters, they require regular water changes of at least 30 % to 50%, depending on the size of the tank. Generally, larger tanks with fewer fish require a less substantial water change.

Proper maintenance is required, which means removing dead plants, and food waste, and cleaning décor in your tank.

Common Ailments In Cichlids

Common ailments in cichlids
Malawi Bloat is mostly found in African cichlid species, though it can also affect Ram cichlids. It is caused by poor water conditions, and a poor diet, though the causes are still debatable. Image from pinterest.com

As mentioned, Electric Blue Ram cichlids are very sensitive to water conditions, and organic waste in their water. Sudden changes and poor water quality can quickly affect their health. Similarly, poor nutrition, or not eating enough can lead to health issues.

Common health concerns in Ram cichlids:

  • Fin Rot – Your fish may suffer a physical injury or high ammonia build-up can cause burns that can quickly become infected. Frayed and discolored fins are the first sign on the condition Fin Rot, a bacterial infection.
  • White Spot/Ich – Usually adding new fish or plants to your tank can introduce certain parasites such as the protozoan parasite Ich. This will affect your fish, and cause white spots on their body.
  • Swim Bladder Disease – An infection of the swim bladder caused by poor diet or water conditions can lead to fish struggling to stay upright and swim. Mainly Swim Bladder disease is a fungal or bacterial infection of the swim bladder organ.
  • Malawi Bloat – Malawi Bloat is common in African cichlid species, though it can also affect Ram cichlids. It originates from poor water conditions and a poor diet.  A bloated abdomen, loss of appetite, and discolored feces are common signs of Malawi bloat.

Ideally, you can treat these health conditions by improving water quality. Do a water change and administer medication from a pet store or vet that is suitable for the specific condition, and always ask professional advice if you are unsure.

To Conclude

The Electric Blue Ram cichlid is a true beauty that can add a splash of color to your tank. Though they are shy and docile creatures, now and again, their active and more aggressive antics may surface. They are cichlids after all!

With pristine water conditions and a proper diet, the Ram cichlid can be one of the best options to add to a communal tank. Especially with the right tank mates and a pair of male and female cichlids, they are a vibrant and welcome pet for any aquarist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ideal Tank Size for Electric Blue Rams?
As a rule, most research suggests a tank of at least 20 gallons for a single pair of Electric blue Rams, or 40 gallons for two pairs, which is not highly advised. Ideally having one pair, with a few other fish species as tank mates, according to their tank size requirements, the best bet would be around 55 gallons.
How Long do Electric Blue Rams Live?
On average, according to most studies they live between 3-4 years in captivity with optimal care, though there have been cases where they have lived up to 5 years.
What are the best Tank Mates for Electric Blue Rams?
Because of their shy nature, they should not be kept with active fish that will compete for food, but rather more docile species of slow-moving fish such as catfish, Gouramis, Rasboras, and snails or shrimps.
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