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Blue Balloon Ram
(Microgeophagus ramirezi)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Intermediate to Expert
Temperament: Peaceful
Maximum Size: 3"
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Water Conditions: 76-82° F, KH 1-8, pH 5.0-6.8
Diet: Omnivore
Origin: Farm raised, selective breeding
Family: Cichlidae
Species: Rams
Aquarium Type: Cichlid-New-World
Species Information
The Blue Balloon Ram or as it is also called the Blue Angel Ram, is a selective bred variant of the German Blue Ram. Which is a color variant of the original wild Ram. The Blue Balloon Ram is a selectively bred variant which focuses on altering the body of the Ram to be taller, shorter and more stout the otherwise more stream lined standard Ram body.
Since Rams have a relatively short natural life span of a little over 2 years, they mature from juveniles to adults rather quickly. The short lifespan of this species is also a factor when selecting individuals for purchase as the larger more colorful specimens tend to be older individuals.
Older specimens also go through a form of menopause where they no will no longer spawn, thus hobbyists looking to breed need to select young specimens.
Aquarium Care
Blue Balloon Rams are generally considered to be an expert level only fish species due to their rather specific water parameter requirements. Rams require soft acidic water with very stable pH and water temperatures. However, with more and more Rams being farm raised and selectively bred in aquarium conditions, they are slowly becoming more tolerant of a wider range of water parameters.
While their small size makes them suitable for smaller aquariums (20 gallons), it is generally easier to maintain more consistent water parameters in larger aquariums. Blue Balloon Rams also do better in groups of 5 to 10 individual Rams than as a single specimen or a pair, thus they will need a reasonably sized aquarium (30 gallon plus) to properly support the group.
Rams require excellent water quality with a low TDS (total dissolved solids), along with solid biological, mechanical and chemical filtration. This is usually achieved by using a canister filter that is sized for the next larger aquarium than the one being used to house the Rams. Weekly partial water changes are also good at keeping TDS low and overall water quality high. Keeping them in heavily planted aquariums is also an effective, as plants readily remove ammonia and nitrate from the aquarium as they use it as a food source.
Rams are best housed in groups of 5 or more individuals, as they would live in social groups in the wild. While they are peaceful towards other tank mates, they fight amongst themselves to establish a group hierarchy.
Larger groups of fish help to spread out their in-fighting, which makes it easier on the group as a whole. They prefer aquariums with a sand, gravel or mixed substrate, plenty of plants and driftwood. Rocks, live plants and driftwood also work to create territory within the aquarium so that individuals can establish their own space within the tank.
Feeding & Nutrition
As the Blue Balloon Ram is a selectively bred farm raised species, thus they are very used to consuming commercially processed flake and pellet foods. They are generally considered aggressive feeders, who will eagerly swim to the aquarium glass as the hobbyist approaches in anticipation of being fed.
As with most fish species, it is best to feed them a variety of food items in order to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system. Meaty flakes, mini-pellets, freeze-dried worms and frozen brine and mysis shrimp are ideal. They should be fed a couple times per day and amount that they will consume within five minutes.
Additional Photos