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Mikrogeophagus ramirezi 'Gold' (Gold Ram, Microgeophagus ramirezi, Apistogramma ramirezi)

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A very popular aquarium fish and one of the most easily obtained dwarf cichlids. Males and females are similar, but the males have taller, pennant-like dorsal fins.

Selective breeding has resulted in several varieties including the 'Euro blue', 'Gold', and 'Purple' forms. The 'Gold' forms lack any colour other than yellow on the body, while the others have more blue or purple. The new 'Electric Blue' form has a vivid blue body and bright red eyes.

Despite their obvious attractions they are not easy fish to keep because of their need for optimum water conditions.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

These fish will only thrive if kept in warm, soft, and slightly acidic water conditions. Depending on your local water conditions you may have to acclimatise them to their required conditions slowly. If maintained in hard, alkaline water these fish invariably prove to be short lived and breeding is virtually impossible. Slightly warmer than normal water conditions seem to be important to overall health. Nitrates must also be very low, otherwise Hexamita and other diseases become very troublesome.

Breeding is easy as long as they are given optimum water conditions, and the pair will usually settled down at once. They are somewhat territorial, but not quite so aggressive as kribs, the other popular dwarf cichlid commonly kept by hobbyists. Sexing can be a little difficult, but generally males have elongated dorsal fins.

It is a good idea to have one male to at least two females. The spawning tank should have a fine substrate with a flat rock which they will use for spawning. Condition the fish on a good and varied diet, and once a pair have formed, place them in the breeding tank.

The female will lay her eggs on the rock. Both fish will make good parents and once the fry have hatched they will be guided to a hollow in the gravel. The fry should be free swimming after five to six days when they can be fed on the usual fry foods.

Family Group: South and Central American Cichlids
Distribution South America
Temperature 28-30 C
Size Around 6 cm
Water Parameters Soft, slightly acidic water essential
Water PH 5.0-7.0
Diet Adaptable
Care Level Difficult
Water Chemistry less than pH 7 - acidic
Schooling Fish No
Sociability Peaceful