Wednesday, March 7, 2007

How to breed and raise Blue Ramirezi

German Blue Ram (Ramirezi) Dwarf Cichlids are small enough to get three or four pairs breeding in the same tank!

Water chemistry:
Blue Ramirezi breed in soft and slightly acidic water, PH of 6.8 or a little lower is fine. The tank temperature should be from 80 - 82 degrees F.

Selecting breeders: The best way to select pairs of breeders is to place about a dozen adult fish into a 30 gallon long aquarium to let them pair off naturally. Pairs will stake out a section of the tank for their own, then protect the territory from other pairs. In a 30 gallon tank you could probably have three to four pairs breeding at the same time without to much trouble. Once three or four pairs have been identified, remove the fish that haven't paired off or any non-paired fish.

Setting up the breeding tank: The substrate (gravel) should be about 2 - 3 inches in depth. Place plenty of artificial plants, large rocks, small clay flower pots or pvc pipes in there. Make sure you buried them deep in the gravel. These will be artificial caves where the fish will breed and hide their eggs.

Fill the tank with a 1-1 mixture of bottled distilled and tap water. The distilled water has no hardness and when mixed 1-1 should make the water soft and acid enough. If necessary, adjust the PH to 6.6 - 6.8. Water changes aren't really needed often so once you get the right water conditions, you're set.

A 150 watt heater set to 82 degrees F. and a few sponge filters will do. A power filter can be used until the fish start breeding.

For lighting you want a something dim or no light at all in a lighted room.

Feeding and conditioning: Feed them a variety of food 3-4 times a day. Live or frozen adult Brine Shrimp, high protein flake, frozen Daphnia etc...

The breeding ritual: Like many other cichlids, when they are ready to breed, you'll notice allot of fin wagging and body flapping. They will start getting very territorial and protective of their spawning area, chasing away any other fish that might happen by.

Now we will get these baby's to breed! Once they have successfully gone through the mating ritual, you're pretty much in the home stretch. Nature will take it's course and before you know it, you have fry. It is not uncommon for one pair to spawn and stimulate the other pairs to lay their eggs on or around the same time! (Note: Temperature should be a steady 82 degrees F. Disconnect the power filter and just run the sponge filters.)

You have eggs, now what? You could take out the eggs to be artificially hatched if you can get them to lay their eggs on or in one of your artificial caves. Or, you can let the parents take care of them. Chances are they will hide their eggs so well, that you won't know that they have spawned until you see a swarm of fry swimming around the parents. I would just leave them in the breeding tank with their parents for about 3 weeks. By then, the fry will be big enough to net out to be raised in a rearing tank with possibly other fry from other pairs in the tank. The parents will round up the fry like cattle and keep them in their staked out territory so don't worry about the other pairs in the tank. They will be doing the same thing.

Feeding and raising the fry: Ram fry are ready to eat live or frozen baby Brine Shrimp as soon as they become free swimming and have absorbed their egg sacks. About 10 days time. If at all possible, feed live baby brine shrimp for the first week. Use a turkey baster to direct the food right into the school of fry. Easy does it. After 2 weeks start supplementing their diet with fine flake food, frozen Daphnia etc...

by Jeff O' Corbett
Article Copyright 2007

Video of German Blue Rams Spawning