Bolivian Ram (Complete Care Guide)

The bolivian ram fish are part of the cichlids fish family. They are peaceful non-aggressive fish, These fish will make a great addition to any community tank.

They are very popular aquarium fish due to there amazing colours and appearance.

Bolivian Ram

These fish are also quite hardy which makes them perfect candidates to add to your tank.

Temperament : Peaceful
Colour : Typically Black and White
Diet : Fish Flakes, Blood Worm, Java Moss
Adult Size : 3 – 3.5 inch
Lifespan : 4 Years
Water Temperature : 77-82°F
Water Ph : 6.0 – 7.4
Tank Size : Min 10 Gallon


Bolivian rams are known by many common names such as Butterfly Ram, Bolivian Butterfly Cichlid and Ruby Cichlid.  They are native to south america and are widely available to buy.

These fish are very popular due to there size and there appearances such they come in a wide range of colours, they have spiny dorsal fins and a mouth shaped like a parrots.

If you plan to add these fish to your aquarium be aware they prefer to be in groups of 6 – 8 other bolivian ram fish.

Typical Behaviour

Bolivian Ram are very peaceful non-aggressive easy going fish.  The only time they might show signs of aggression to other fish is when they are pregnant.

They will get on with any other peaceful fish in your tank.

They are not as active as other fish which could be an issue during feeding time as they might get less food than the other more active fish.


Bolivian rams are small colourful fish which will look great in any aquarium.

They have an oval shaped body with spiny dorsal fins and tail. They commonly come in black and white but are also available in a wide range of colours.

Take a look at the video below to see what they look like.

Life Span

The average life span of a bolivian ram fish is around 4 years if it is kept in ideal living conditions.  By providing good water quality and a stress free environment they should last around 4 years.


A typical bolivian ram fish size will be 3 inches in length when they are fully grown.  Male fish are typically slightly larger and might grow to 3.5 inches.


How can you tell if a Bolivian ram is male or female? To identify if a Bolivian ram is male or female there are a few things you can look out for.

Male : Usually have the first few strands of the dorsal fin larger than females.  Also take a look at the black mid-lateral blotch, if there are no blue spangles inside the blotch it is male.

Female : When the fish is spawning look at the genital papilla, if it is short and blunt it is a female.

Compatible Tank Mates

Bolivian ram fish prefer to have company of other fish.

Due to them being peaceful fish they can be mixed with any other fish that is non aggressive and can live in the same water conditions.  Below are a few fish that are compatible

  • Guppies
  • Gold Fish
  • Platies
  • Silver Dollar Fish
  • Neon Tetra
  • Tiger Barb

Water Conditions

There are two water conditions you need to closely monitor which are temperature and PH levels.


The Bolivian ram is a tropical fish and it needs water temperature of between 77f to 82f to thrive.  Whilst these fish are hardy fish it is not recommended to keep them in water tempreatures less then 77f

If the water tempreature is less then 77f the bolivian ram will not be able to thrive and will be less likely to bread.

I recommend that you monitor your aquariums water temperature by using a digital thermometer.  You can purchase these from amazon  

PH Level

The ideal PH Level for Bolivian ram fish is 6.0 to 7.4 They will survive in PH levels outside this range but they will not thrive.

You can monitor your aquariums water using a PH water tester kit available on amazon

Oxygen level

Bolivian ram fish can not breath with out oxygen, they require an adequate oxygen level in the water to survive.  If they are deprived oxygen it will affect there growth rate and are more likely to be open to diseases.

I recommend to install an air pump in to your aquarium as this will insure that the water is well oxygenated. You can pickup an air pump online from amazon.

If you are keeping your fish outdoors make sure the surface does not freeze over as this will prevent oxygen from entering the water.

Tank Size

Bolivian ram fish requires a large tank of 30 gallons minimum as they prefer to be in groups around 6 – 8.  The tank should have plenty of swimming space as well as places for them to safely hide.

If you are looking to purchase a fish aquarium I recommend you check out the aquariums on amazon


How often do Bolivian ram fish need to be fed? You should feed them two times a day with 2-4 pinches of food. It is not recommended to feed them a larger quantity in one sitting as they will not eat all the food and this will deteriorate the water quality over time.

What should I feed my Bolivian ram? You should feed Bolivian ram fish flakes as this will provide a good balanced diet for them. If you want to give them a treat you can feed them blood worms, frozen or live shrimp and tubifex.

What vegetables can Bolivian ram eat? You can feed Bolivian ram peas and cucumber as these are high in protein, you can also feed them cabbage, broccoli,  spinach.

How long can tuxedo Bolivian ram live without food? Typically Bolivian rams can go up to 2 weeks without food, young Bolivian ram fish will survive for about 3-4 days with out food.


When the males are ready to breed they will spread their fins and will chase the female fish and also chase off other males.

How to tell if Bolivian ram is pregnant? Bolivian rams do not get pregnant, The female will lay eggs on the floor and the male will then follow the same path to fertilise the egg.  If the eggs are not eaten you can expect them to hatch in 3 – 5 days.