bolivian ram

Bolivian Ram Cichlid: Discover Everything About This Beautiful Species

The Bolivian Ram Cichlid is an incredibly intriguing freshwater fish that has earned widespread admiration in the aquarium community. From its eye-catching colors to its peaceful nature, it’s easy to see why this species is a hit!

However, before you take on the responsibility of housing one, there are some things you need to know. This guide will cover everything you need to know about Bolivian Ram Cichlid care – from appropriately setting up their tank, to their diet and tank mates, right through to how to successfully breed them.

bolivian ram
A cartoon image of a Bolivian Ram in an aquarium, emphasizes the beautiful colors of the fish.

Species Summary

Often referred to as either the Bolivian Butterfly or Ruby Crown Cichlid, the Bolivian Ram Cichlid is endemic to parts of the Amazon River Basin, with Bolivia being its primary home. While belonging to the Cichlid family, this fish is much more docile than other species. What’s more, they’re considered easy to care for and fun to watch, making them a great choice for the beginner aquarist.


With proper care, the typical Bolivian Ram lifespan is approximately 4 years. Of course, this number can be affected by water conditions and the overall ecosystem, so it pays to get it right.

Factors like a stress-free environment and top-notch care are essential to helping your fish reach their full potential.


The Bolivian Ram Cichlid has an elongated oval shape, widest around the dorsal and pelvic fins, and narrowing towards the tail fin. With a muted body color that’s typically tan or silver, it’s the finer details that really stand out. For starters, they have a thick vertical black stripe that goes across their head and eyes. Furthermore, faded black stripes can be seen vertically along their body.

The fins also have their own unique color pattern – the dorsal fin has a small black stripe on the front and red edging, whereas the anal and pelvic fins have light pearly blue streaks. An important indication of gender is the elongated filaments which can be found on the males’ dorsal fins.


When fully grown, these fish usually reach 3 inches in length, with males reaching sizes of up to 3.5 inches, and females staying closer to 2.5 inches.

Bolivian Ram Care

Fortunately, caring for this species is relatively straightforward. That said, sticking to the recommended parameters is key to providing them with the best care possible.

Tank Size

It’s advised to use a 20-gallon tank to house a small group of Bolivian Rams, but a 30-gallon tank is highly recommended. Not only do they love to swim, but they appreciate having plenty of room to explore too. If you plan on creating a larger community tank, make sure you increase the size accordingly – overcrowding will lead to stress and disease.

Water Parameters

Replicating their natural habitat is the ideal way to give these fish the best possible care. To replicate the freshwater bodies they inhabit in the wild, aim for a temperature of between 75 to 86°F, a PH level of 6.5 to 7.5, and not too much of a powerful flow.


The diet of a Bolivian Ram Cichlid should consist of both live and frozen foods. Some great options include bloodworms, brine shrimp, earthworms, and various types of sinking pellets. Feeding them twice a day is enough to keep them healthy.

Tank Mates

Bolivian Rams are peaceful fish, so they can coexist with others without any issues. Just make sure you pick tank mates that will thrive in the same environment. Some compatible fish include Corydoras Catfish, Neon Tetras, African Dwarf Frogs, and Dwarf Gouramis.


Breeding Bolivian Rams aren’t hard either. They’re egg layers and when ready to breed, the female will spread her eggs among the plants. After 24 hours, she’ll gather the eggs into her mouth. Once she releases them, the male will fertilize them. When the fry hatch, they should be fed every few hours. Chopped worms and flake food are perfect for this.


The Bolivian Ram Cichlid is a stunning and surprisingly easy-to-care-for fish that can brighten up any tank. From their distinctive appearance and gentle demeanor, they can be a great addition to an aquarium. As long as you maintain the right tank size, diet, and water parameters, you should be able to keep them healthy and happy for many years to come.

1) As with all fish species, it is important to pay particular attention to filtration and water changes. The Bolivian Ram is no exception; frequent water changes and continuous filtration of the tank will help ensure that the fish stay healthy and in ideal conditions.

2) The Bolivian Ram is a semi-aggressive fish, so it is important to maintain a good balance of rocks and other decorations in the tank. This will help the fish establish their own territories and create a stable pecking order. It is also important to provide plenty of hiding places, as well as open swimming spaces, to give the fish plenty of areas to explore.

3) Lighting should be kept subdued, as this species prefers dark and shaded areas to relax in. Incorporating floating plants such as duckweed can be very helpful in providing low-light areas, as well as providing a snack for the fish.

4) As a carnivore, Bolivian Rams will benefit from having a varied diet. It is important to make sure that the majority of their diet consists of a combination of live and frozen foods, with occasional feedings of flakes or pellets.

5) While Bolivian Rams are generally peaceful fish, they can become aggressive in certain situations, particularly when it comes to breeding. Male Bolivian Rams will often attack each other, so it is important to separate them if any signs of aggression are noticed.

6) In addition to area decorations, it is important to provide plenty of plants in the tank. This will not only provide additional oxygenation, but it will also provide an area for the Bolivian Rams to hide and relax. It is recommended to choose plastic plants over live ones, as these will hold up better over time.

7) If you are looking to breed these fish, begin by providing them with a variety of quality food. Feeding them high-quality feedings of live foods will help to increase their fertility rate and provide the necessary nutrients to help increase the chances of successful fertilization.

8) To encourage mating, try to provide a hogwash environment created with slate, flat rocks, and caves. This might just be enough to trigger the breeding ritual between the two fish.

9) When it comes to breeding, female Bolivian Rams are known to exhibit parenting behavior, carefully protecting their eggs and fry. Therefore, it is important to provide plenty of hiding places throughout the tank for both the male and female to retreat to when needed.

10) The Bolivian Ram is a fairly hardy fish and should do well in most water conditions. However, to keep these fish at their best, it is important to regularly check on the water parameters and make sure that the water is clean and free of contaminants. Any changes to the water should be done slowly and gradually to avoid stressing out the fish.