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Mikrogeophagus altispinosus



    Bolivian Rams are fairly common in the trade. They are tough, attractive fish. They are enthusiastic and easy to care for fish which is marking them popular amongst aquarists. In addition, they are quite peacefull intemperament and make a good community fish.

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum.
Size: 2 – 3inches (6-9cm)
Tank: 30 Gallon recommended.
Strata: Will go everywhere.
PH: 6.5 to 7.5
Hardness: Soft. dh Range 4-10
Temperature: 71°F to 81°F (22°-27° C)


Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genera: Mikrogeophagus
Species: altispinosus

Common name:


Bolivian Ram

    ,Butterfly Ram, Ruby Clown Cichlid


    South America: Amazon River basin. Rio Mamore around the junction the Rio Guapore, near the town of Trinidad; the river basin of the Rio Guapore at Santa Cruz. In Bolivia; the Rio Quizer near San Ramon; the depression below Todos Santos in Bolivia and at the mouth of the Igarape near Guajara-Mirim in Brazil.

General Body Form:

    Compressed elongated body. Males are slimmer and less stocky than females. Males have a more pointed dorsal fin and longer filaments on their lyre-shaped tail fin than the females.


    Body is an overall solid color that ranges from a dull brownish gold through to a grayish blue. They can have blue-green highlights and red bordered fins set off the brown-gold body They may have a black spot in the middle of their body below the middle area of the dorsal fin, and may or may not have a crescent vertical black line that runs through their eyes. (Their eyes are not red like the Ram Cichlid.). Males have a more pointed dorsal fin and longer filaments of the tail fin. Unlike the Ram Cichlid, females do not have a pink belly.


    These fish demand high water quality and a mature tank to be placed in. They are at their best in planted tanks and can be kept with other peaceful cichlids. A 60 liter (15 gal.) aquarium represents the minimum for a bonded pair, but to experience more of the dynamic behavior of these fish, a larger aquarium is needed. Weekly 30% water changes and regular filter cleaning maintained water quality acceptable to these cichlids. Hardness works hand-in-hand with pH, and rams of all varieties require a low pH and water hardness. These peaceful community fish can live for up to 4 years and are only mildly aggressive territorially within species. Not at all aggressive by cichlid standards. Providing an environment with rocks, driftwood, flowerpots for hiding and subdued lighting will make them feel comfortable. They will also enjoy several dense plant clusters, but leave some open space for swimming.


    Primarily a carnivore that can be fed a mix of meaty foods that are live or frozen; such as brine shrimp, blood worms, white worms, chopped earthworms, cyclopeeze, and artemia. Some may eat flakes and pellets, but these should not be the staple of their diet. Feed 2 to 5 small pinches of food a day in smaller amounts instead of a large quantity once a day to help maintain the higher water quality.


    Freshwater streams and pools.


    Dimorphic. First 3-5 spiny rays of male’s dorsal fin are elongated, and his tail is slightly lyre shaped. Being smaller than the male, the female lacks these features. Open Substrate Spawners. They appreciate smooth pebbles or wide leaves to spawn on, a temperature of 77 – 82.4 ° F (25 – 28 ° C), and low light. Keep one male with a few females. Male will chase females and eventually pick one to court. The courtship ritual may consist of reciprocal lateral displays and mouthing rocks in the courtship area. After a few days, courting pair will start to clean a surface – possibly removing sand from around a rock or bit of wood, or possibly cleaning a rockface. After this point, the pair will have bonded – the bond may last indefinitely. After the surface is prepared, a couple of days later the female’s breeding tube will appear and a few hours later the pair will start to spawn. The female will lay a line of eggs then the male will quickly swim in and fertilize them. This will repeat for between half an hour and an hour, with up to 200 legs being laid. Female will tend the spawn whilst male guards the general area


    Common Diseases non specific to species. If water quality is ignored, as with all cichlids, disease and death can occur. One common problem is Ich. It can be treated with the elevation of the tank temperature to 86 ° F (30 ° C) for 3 days.

References:Keeping and Breeding the Bolivian Ram, Microgeophagus altispinosa (Haseman, 1911)
Bolivian Ram
Bolivian Ram (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus)
Fish base
Mikrogeophagus altispinosus – Bolivian Ram
Mikrogeophagus altispinosus


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