Ram Cichlids are a really cool variety of Cichlid to have in your aquarium. They are extremely beautiful, often being brightly colored with blue, pink, green, red, purple, silver, and other such colors. They usually live for around 4 years and grow to around 7 cm (close to 3 inches) in length.
They are native to South American countries such as Venezuela and Colombia and are thus warm water tropical fish. Just like all other fish out there, they need a certain habitat, water conditions, food, and other things to be happy and healthy.
Let’s get to it and go over our comprehensive Ram Cichlid care sheet. We are going to tell you everything you need to know to keep Ram Cichlids alive, healthy, and happy.
Housing The Ram Cichlid
In all reality, these fish are not too difficult to house as long as you meet the required conditions for survival. It’s not exactly a fish that is ideal for beginners, but it’s also not all that difficult to care for either. The Ram Cichlid does like to have a fair amount of space to itself.
You can house a single Ram Cichlid in a 10 gallon aquarium (we have reviewed some good options here). However, these guys do not like to be along, so keeping them in pairs is highly recommended. A pair of Ram Cichlids needs a tank of at least 20 gallons in size at the minimum. If you want to keep two pairs of Ram Cichlids, you will need an aquarium that is 40 gallons in size at the very least, but a larger aquarium is preferable.
You do want to create an environment that mimics the natural habitat of the Ram Cichlid as closely as possible. This will help to reduce stress and make the Ram Cichlid feel at home. The best way to go about this is to provide your Ram Cichlid with lots of cover. This can be in the form of underwater plants, floating plants (we have covered our top 6 here), and things like rock caves and wooden logs/tunnels. The ideal housing for a Ram Cichlid is an aquarium with lots of densely planted areas with an open space reserved for swimming.
Ideal Water Conditions Ram Cichlid
Just like all other aquarium fish out there, you need to provide your Ram Cichlid with some fairly specific water conditions to ensure that they remain happy and healthy. The first thing to keep in mind is that these guys need fairly clean water. The less organic waste, particles, coloration, odor, and natural things like ammonia and nitrites are present, the better it is for your Ram Cichlid. This means that you need to engage in regular partial water changes.
This also means that you need to have an efficient filter that engages in all 3 major stages of filtration including mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. When it comes to the temperature of the water Ram Cichlids like it to be between 78 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (more on temperature here). They like warm water as they are tropical fish. Moreover, they like the water hardness to be pretty medium and they like the water to be fairly acidic, usually between 5.0 and 6.0 pH, but anything up to 7.0 will do.
Feeding Your Ram Cichlid
One of the good things about the Ram Cichlid is that it is not very picky and will eat most things given the chance. The Ram Cichlid is an omnivore, which means that it needs part of its diet to be plant based and part to be animal/meat based. Like we said, they will eat mostly anything.
One thing to keep in mind is that Ram Cichlids can be a little skittish, especially when stressed out due to a recent move or inadequate environment. If your Ram Cichlid is not eating, you might have to entice it with some mosquito larvae or other such foods.
A good mix of vegetables and meat based foods is necessary for these guys to be healthy and well fed. A rough ratio to follow is about 1:1 vegetable and plant matter to meat protein. You can feed the Ram Cichlid things like mosquito larvae, daphnia, brine shrimp, blood worms, boiled peas (no shell), sliced and blanched zucchini, and other veggies too.
Pellets and flakes will work just fine too. Like we said, these guys are not picky, which is a big bonus when it comes to feeding time. On a side note, the Ram Cichlid is fairly slow moving, so don’t keep them with fast fish as they might starve due to all of the food being gulped up by the quicker fish.
Tank Mates For The Ram Cichlid
There are plenty of good tank mates for the Ram Cichlid, but there are many which are not suitable either. Simply put, do not put them with really fast swimming and energetic fish because the Ram Cichlid will never get to food. Also, never house Ram Cichlids along with other species of dwarf cichlids as they will probably get into fights. However, you should not keep Ram Cichlids on their own because they do like a certain amount of company. Of course, other Ram Cichlids are suitable tank mates.
Realistically, any smaller, slower swimming, and docile fish that is not aggressive will make for a good Ram Cichlid tank mate. Whatever the case, go for fish that won’t eat away all of the food before your Ram Cichlid has a chance to eat. Ram Cichlid can get a little aggressive, but this is usually when there is too much open water and too little vegetation.
If your Ram Cichlid is being aggressive towards other fish, try getting some more vegetation, rocks, and caves. Being able to hide will probably diffuse any aggressive tendencies. Some fish that make for good Ram Cichlid tank mates include various guppies, various tetra fish, mollies, platies, and swordtails.
Breeding Ram Cichlids
Breeding Ram Cichlid, if that is something that suits your fancy, is probably the hardest part of keeping these fish. First of all, sexing them, or in other words, determining their sex can be virtually impossible. Ram Cichlids with longer dorsal fins are usually male, but it’s not a surefire way of telling.
Your best bet is to either buy them already paired, which is expensive, or just buy a whole group of young Ram Cichlids and they will pair off by themselves. What is interesting about Ram Cichlids is that they are monogamous. Both the male and female Ram Cichlid are active parents.
- You need to have several flat stones in the aquarium. Ram Cichlids like to lay their eggs on flat stones. Breeding slates work too for this.
- Some Ram Cichlids like to dig pits or holes while they are in the breeding phase. Therefore, you should have some kind of digging friendly substrate in the aquarium, such as aquarium sand.
- Ram Cichlids are more prone to breeding when the water has a soft hardness level and is fairly acidic. A pH level ranging for 5.5 to 6.5 is ideal for Ram Cichlid breeding.
- The temperature of the water should be fairly high, with 82 degrees Fahrenheit being ideal for Ram Cichlid breeding.
- Ram Cichlids are used to conditions where the length of day and night are about the same. Your Ram Cichlid should get 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark in order to encourage breeding.
A pair of Ram Cichlids will either clear a stone or dig a pit in the substrate (we have covered our top 6 here), which is often done near a stone. If both the female and male are swimming erratically, nudging each other, twirling, and sliding against each other, it is a sign that spawning will soon commence. The female will deposit her eggs on the stone or pit.
There will be up to 300 eggs which are adhesive and will stick to whatever or wherever they are deposited. The male will then fertilize the eggs. If the conditions are right the eggs should hatch within the first 40 hours after fertilization.
When the eggs hatch you will need to supply them with foods ideal for fish fry. However, taking care of Ram Cichlid fry is not very hard for you because both parents actively guard and take care of their offspring. Unlike other fish which tend to eat eggs and fry, Ram Cichlids take good care of their offspring.
New Ram Cichlid couples may fight a lot or eat their eggs, which does happen on occasion, but this is only due to a lack of experience. If spawning fails the first time, just give it a few more shots because your Ram Cichlids are likely to get better at it. If the offspring keep dying or spawning never occurs, you need to make sure that all of the conditions such as temperature, acidity, cover, and all of those things are adequate.
If you have never had a Ram Cichlid before, we would definitely recommend checking these little guys out. They are fairly hardy fish, not too hard to take care of, and absolutely stunning to look at.