Sacramento Aquarium Society

Bringing Aquarium Hobbyists of the Greater Sacramento Valley Together Since 1952

SAS Member Spawning Report

Bolivian Ram

Mikrogeophagus altispinosus

General Information


Craig Benner

Date (yyyy-mm-dd):


Common Name:

Bolivian Ram

Scientific Name:

Mikrogeophagus altispinosus

Aquarium Conditions


6.5 (slightly acidic)

General Hardness (ppm):

~6 (soft) [~100ppm CaCo3]


81ºF [27ºC]

Nitrate (ppm):

< 20 ppm

Tank Size (inches LxWxH):

30” x 12” x 12” = 20 gallon long [76cm x 30.5cm x 30.5cm = 76 liters]

Water Source:

RO water from my LFS (Aquarium Depot on Auburn Blvd in Citrus Heights)

Water Changes - How Often/How Much:

At least 25% every two weeks Note: I lower the pH (and raise the temp) of fresh water by adding RO water boiled with Almond or Catappa leaves (or a small bag of peat granules)

Filtration System(s):

Fluval 260 Cannister (260 gph/780 lph)


Fluval peat granules (half a cup in the third (final) chamber of cannister, changed monthly)

Tank Décor






Finnex 24/7 LED (KL-30A), 29W


Reproduction Method:

Egg Layer

Approx. # of Eggs or Fry:


Date of Hatch or Birth (yyyy-mm-dd):


Date Free Swimming:



Food Fed to Parents and How Often:

Twice daily: alternate between API Tropical Greens (flakes), Aqueon Cichlid Pellets Weekly (or after water change to induce spawn): Frozen bloodworms or live BBS

Food Fed to Fry and How Often:

Initially: 2-3 times daily: Hikari First Bites Every 1-2 days: live BBS, depending on the status of my hatcheries At time of donation: Twice daily: API Tropical Greens (flakes), Hikari Micro Pellets Once a week: frozen bloodworms or live BBS


A tale of beginner’s luck: I initially brought three of these rams home from my local fish store (Aquarium Depot on Auburn Blvd in Citrus Heights), hoping that a pair would form from what I guessed were two females and a male. After about 12 hours in the tank (which had a shoal of seven Green Tiger Barbs in residence), two rams immediately paired up and began chasing the third. When I got home from returning the “third wheel” to the LFS, there were about 40 eggs attached to the base of a driftwood “tree.” They (Jadzia and Worf) are fascinating to watch from the pre-spawn “dancing,” to the digging of pits in the sand (by both parents) and the moving of both eggs and wigglers from pit to pit (again, as both parents ward off any “predators”), and most especially, as the parents “parade” the free-swimmers around the tank using body and fin motions to signal their fry. Initially, the parents could protect the fry for a week or two, however, now when I want to raise the fry, I siphon them out after about three days (as their tankmates have grown bolder and developed a taste for cichlid fry). As the research indicates, having these “dither” fish in the aquarium seems really important; when I gathered spawning pairs from this clutch into small isolation tanks prior to donating them, they were just not motivated to spawn again.