Microgeophagus (Papiliochromis) ramirezi


Size : To 3.5" (9 cm)

Habitat: In sunny swamps, lagoons, and brooks in the savannas of the Orinoco River. SouthAmerica; Venezuela and Columbia S: bottom, middle

Water: pH 5-7 (6.5), dH 0-10

Temp: 73-86°F (23-30°C).

Food : Dwarf Cichlids require a varied diet including live foods in order to thrive. Livefoods such as Brine Shrimp, Cyclops, Daphnia, Bloodworms, mosquito larvae, Tubifex can be fed. Some species may accept flakes.

Ramirez's dwarf cichlid's  occur in Venezuela,  South America. Preferring a soft (GH < 8o), slightly acid water (pH 6.0 to 6.5). The optimum temperature is about 24oC They like to eat mainly live food, but dried food, including freeze-dried, will be taken. Males reach 6 cm; females are generally smaller than the males. There are two dark bands extending the length of the body. The first of these is the longitudinal body band (lateral band) that is typical of all Apistogramma species, which extends from the tips of the snout, passes through the egen and continues across the middle of the flank to the base of the tail. The second band extends from the gill cover, along the belly, to the lower part of the base of the tail. The stripes are particularly conspicuous in courting or aggressive fish. The body has a grey-brown to turquoise-blue colour. The head is adorned with intensely coloured, gleaming turquoise to sky-blue stripes and spots. The pelvic and anal fins of males have a tinge of sky blue. The female’s ground colour is considerably lighter than that of males. The male fish has impressive tall dorsal fin spines. These are erected frequently for intimidation and during courtship.

Breeding: The eggs are laid on flat stones or pieces of wood which the parents have cleaned. Both the parents guard the eggs and fry as well as guarding the territory. Before the fry are free swimming they will hide in the shade, and it is important to ensure that they receive enough food. They are prolific breeders, but successive generations may lack the brilliant colours of the wild fish.

Care: It needs a large tank with plenty of hiding places between stones, or bogwood or in flower pots or coconut shells. Scattered clumps of broad leafed plants should be put in the tank. It is best to keep one male with two females, or three males with a group of females. The males can become aggressive during the mating season. The diet should be live food such as Daphnia, Cyclops, mosquito larvae and worms; dried foods will normally not be accepted. (Though I believe that some of the captivity bred fish will do so).

Description: The body is deep, stocky and laterally very compressed. The basic colour is a delicate crimson but this can be suffused with all the colours of the rainbow. Below the dorsal fin lies a prominent black mark. The body is sometimes covered by indistinct lines. The ventral fins are blood red; other fins are brownish violet with iridescent bluish green dots. The front rays of the dorsal fin, divided from the rest of the fin, are deep black. FEMALES: are smaller; the dorsal fin rays are shorter; during the spawning season the belly turns a deep rich red. MALES: have long rays to the dorsal fin.