Bolivian Ram

Bolivian Ram
Latin name:
(Mikrogeophagus altispinosa)

Care Level

Expert Only







Preferred Conditions

72-79° F, KH 0-10, pH 6.5-7.5

Avg. Max Size


Minimum Tank Size

30 gallons


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Bolivian Ram: A Splash of Color and Tranquility in Your Aquarium

Have you ever gazed upon the vibrant hues of a Bolivian Ram, a captivating cichlid that brings a touch of the Amazonian rainforest into your aquarium? With its striking colors and peaceful demeanor, the Bolivian Ram is a popular choice among hobbyists seeking a splash of color and tranquility in their underwater world.

Characteristics of the Bolivian Ram

The Bolivian Ram, scientifically known as Mikrogeophagus altispinosus, is a small cichlid native to the rivers and streams of Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil. These fish typically reach a maximum length of 3 inches, making them a suitable choice for smaller aquariums.

Their most striking feature is their coloration. Bolivian Rams display a vibrant mix of red, orange, yellow, and blue, with intricate patterns that vary from fish to fish. The males tend to be more colorful than the females, especially during breeding season.

Ideal Tank Setup for Bolivian Rams

To ensure the well-being of your Bolivian Rams, it’s essential to provide them with a suitable tank setup that mimics their natural habitat.

  • Tank Size: A 20-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a pair of Bolivian Rams. However, a larger tank is always better, as it provides more swimming space and reduces the risk of aggression.
  • Water Parameters: Bolivian Rams prefer soft, slightly acidic water with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. The ideal water temperature range is between 75°F and 82°F.
  • Substrate: A fine gravel or sand substrate is best for Bolivian Rams. Avoid sharp or rough substrates that can damage their delicate fins.
  • Decorations: Provide plenty of hiding places for your Bolivian Rams, such as rocks, driftwood, and plants. Live plants are especially beneficial as they help maintain good water quality and provide a natural grazing area.

Behavior and Compatibility of Bolivian Rams

Bolivian Rams are generally peaceful and non-aggressive fish. They are best kept in pairs or small groups, as they can become territorial if kept alone. They are also compatible with other peaceful community fish, such as tetras, rasboras, and corydoras catfish.

However, it’s important to note that Bolivian Rams can be shy and timid, especially when first introduced to a new tank. Provide them with plenty of hiding places and avoid keeping them with overly aggressive or boisterous tankmates.

Breeding Bolivian Rams

Breeding Bolivian Rams is relatively easy in a well-maintained aquarium. When the fish are ready to spawn, they will select a flat surface, such as a rock or a piece of driftwood, and clean it thoroughly. The female will then lay her eggs on the chosen surface, and the male will fertilize them.

The eggs will hatch in about 2-3 days, and the fry will become free-swimming a few days later. The parents will guard and care for the fry until they are large enough to fend for themselves.

FAQs About Bolivian Rams

  1. Q: What is the lifespan of a Bolivian Ram?
    A: With proper care and maintenance, Bolivian Rams can live for up to 5 years in an aquarium.
  2. Q: What is the best way to feed Bolivian Rams?
    A: Bolivian Rams are omnivorous and will accept a variety of foods, including live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods. They also enjoy grazing on algae and biofilm in the aquarium.
  3. Q: How can I prevent aggression in Bolivian Rams?
    A: Provide your Bolivian Rams with a spacious tank with plenty of hiding places. Avoid keeping them with overly aggressive or boisterous tankmates. Additionally, ensure that the water parameters are stable and within the ideal range.


The Bolivian Ram is a captivating and peaceful cichlid that adds a touch of color and tranquility to any aquarium. With its vibrant hues, interesting behavior, and relatively easy care requirements, the Bolivian Ram is a great choice for both experienced and beginner aquarists.

So, if you’re looking for a splash of color and a touch of peace in your aquarium, consider adding a Bolivian Ram or two to your aquatic community.