The German Ram has to be one of the nicest looking dwarf cichlids available within our hobby here in New Zealand. With its beautiful blue shimmer, golden face and rainbow tones throughout its fin, I can say without doubt it was one fish that never stuck around long in our shop and for good reason.
The German ram is an incredibly good addition to most community aquariums being that they stay relatively small (around 6cm), unless breeding they are very peaceful and very curious about their surroundings as well as being relatively price friendly for most hobbyists.
However, there is some key points that need to be considered when looking into adding these fish to your aquarium. First off, they really need a well-established aquarium, for me, I would have an aquarium up and running for at least 6 months to properly develop before adding German Rams.
German Rams like their water slightly warmer than your average fish, if you can keep them around 27-28 degrees Celsius they should do just fine.Being a South American Dwarf Cichlid it is best to keep these little guys and gals in a lower pH of 5.5-7.0 and softer water if possible. They are adaptable to higher pH but they really will not thrive in them.
When feeding these fish, I liked to add a feed of frozen food once a week as well as a feed of smaller live food once a week. I found this combination as well as a high quality prepared food really made these little aquarium gems sparkle.
One more thing that really must not be understated is exactly how clean you must keep the water for these fish. If you really want to succeed in keeping these fish at optimum color and health it is essential to keep the nitrates low as they really do not like dirty water.
Spawning these fish is very possible within the home aquarium, it is often best achieved by purchasing a small group of around 6 and letting the fish pair of naturally. However, if you look hard enough you can often find a male and a female in aquarium shops. Sexing is also easy enough, the way I have found the best at a smaller size is to look at the dorsal fin, males have a spike at the front that females tend not to have. As they get older, females tend to be larger and plumper than the males.
Once paired up and spawning, German Rams are very good and protective parents, they will defend their nest come hell or high water, after all they are cichlids. The fry are fairly hardy, but will also require good water and if you can feed fresh brine shrimp in the early stages they will really appreciate it. I tend to try to relax on the water changes for the first 10-14 days for any fry raising, opting for stability of pristine, but after that point I am a firm believer of having good water and good food to really ramp up the development of the fry. To my knowledge there is no disease they that the fry are prone to getting.
Decorating your aquarium for these fish is very easy, plants, wood, caves, rocks are all accepted well and will be used to form a lovely natural environment for these little stunners. As far as tank size goes, a 600x300x300 is okay for a pair and a few other tank mates, but as normal, the more room you can give them the better.