Wild Caught German Black Ram 2-3 inch
The latest color morph of the common ram cichlid, the electric blue ram has proven to be a popular addition to the hobby, though it is slightly more difficult to keep than its wild-type cousin. A cichlid fan describes exactly what it takes to maintain this vibrant fish.
One of the more recent additions to the aquarium trade is the electric blue ram, a color morph of the ram cichlid (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) that was developed in 2009. Electric blue rams are still less commonly available than other ram varieties, and may be more expensive. Be wary of electric blue rams sold at "bargain-basement" prices as they may have been treated with hormones, a practice that weakens the specimens and reduces their lifespan. Always buy from a trusted, reputable dealer or breeder.
Housing an Electric Blue Ram
The electric blue ram is not recommended for beginners, but it is not overly difficult to keep either. One pair can be housed in a 20-gallon aquarium, while two pairs will require a tank of at least 40 gallons. As always, more water means that it will be easier for you to keep the water quality high and stable, and since the electric blue ram is sensitive to organic waste, such as nitrate, it is unwise to skimp on tank size if you manage to get your hands on this rare and expensive fish.
Since the electric blue ram is a type of ram cichlid, your safest bet is to provide it with an environment similar to the habitat of its wild ancestors. Give your electric blue ram plenty of cover, ideally by including aquatic plants or submerged land vegetation in the setup. Densely planted areas and surface cover, combined with at least one open area for swimming, would be ideal. In addition to plants, the electric blue ram should be given a few caves to shelter in.
If you intend to breed the electric blue ram, provide it with several flat stones or breeding slates in the tank to choose among, since this fish likes to deposit its eggs on a flat, horizontal surface.
The electric blue ram should never be housed with aggressive fish or quick and energetic species that will devour all the food before the ram finds it. A common mistake is to house ram cichlids and electric blue rams with other dwarf cichlids—avoid this at all costs. Keeping electric blue rams on their own isn’t recommended either; they need some peaceful and docile species in the aquarium to feel safe. Go for slow-moving and tranquil species that won’t outcompete the rams at mealtimes.
If your electric blue rams start displaying aggressive tendencies toward tankmates, try including more hiding spots in the setup. A scarcity of suitable sheltering spots can lead to aggressive behavior. Also, electric blue rams always get aggressive during the breeding period because they need to keep their youngsters safe.
Keeping Electric Blues
Electric blue rams should not be placed in newly set up aquariums; they need a stable environment with low levels of organic waste. Successful keeping normally includes mechanical and biological filtration as well as regular water changes. Strong water movement will not be appreciated because wild ram cichlids live in slow-flowing waters.
The normal temperature range for wild ram cichlids is 78° to 85°F, and the water in which they live is soft and acidic. A pH value in the 5 to 6 range is ideal for electric blue rams, but aquarium-raised specimens normally adapt to anything below pH 7.1. There are even reports of aquarists successfully housing German blue rams in moderately hard water, so this might be possible for electric blue rams as well.
Feeding an Electric Blue Ram
The electric blue ram is an omnivore and needs to be kept on a diet of both meaty and green foods. The stress of being moved to a new environment can make the fish lose its appetite, so be prepared to coax it with mosquito larvae or similar foods. Once it’s eating enough, you can start introducing other types of food, such as flakes and pellets, as well. A well-acclimated electric blue ram normally accepts many different types of food.
Keep an eye on the fish during feeding time. As I mentioned, electric blue rams are a bit slow-moving and may starve if kept with faster-moving species.