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Two New Ram Fish

I am very pleased that there are two relatively new varieties of ram fish available in the aquarium hobby.

Posted: September 8, 2010

By David Lass

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Rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) are freshwater fish that have been around in the aquarium hobby/industry for many years. Most ram fish available for sale are farm-raised, either in the Far East or Florida. True wild ram fish are not around that much, and when they are they can be very difficult to keep in an aquarium.

For years, most of the rams came in from the Far East, in both normal (blue) color form and also in a gold form. Both of these ram fish also came in a “veiltail” variety. None of these rams have proven to be easy to keep, and most stores had bad experiences -- verging on the disastrous -- with the Far East rams. I stopped carrying those fish years ago in my little fish wholesale business as I could not keep them alive.

I am very pleased that there are two relatively new varieties of ram fish available in the aquarium hobby from the Far East; both of which are very hardy and do well in tanks. One new ram fish is called the “Electric Blue.” It is bluish/gray with a splotch of bright blue on the front of the fish. When I first brought them in, I put six fish in a 29-gallon tank upstairs in the house. They have been doing great. It’s been several months, and while they haven’t grown much in size, they are starting to pair off and show spawning behavior.

The other new type of ram fish is what is called “balloon belly.” These rams have a compressed body (but not grotesquely so), and usually come in at a good size. They are available both in a blue and gold form, and I have had great success with both of them, as have the fish stores I’ve sold them to.

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Reader Comments

Chocolate Delight    Moose Pass, AK

10/26/2011 1:26:08 PM

Is this correct?:

Balloon bellied rams are inbred stock of the natural form of the blue ram. A breeder has selected the fish with a short-body deformity and bred them. They are inherently not hardy fish because of the line breeding.

Chocolate Delight    Moose Pass, AK

3/19/2011 10:41:13 PM

I just feel sad regarding the balloon belly ram - not sure how it was brought about but I don't care for any balloon belly anthing...

ethan    brownsville, TX

10/7/2010 12:24:00 PM

rams at petsmart lol

Fred    Upper Sandusky, OH

9/17/2010 7:22:25 AM

There is some speculation on the internet that the "balloon" rams are the product of a chemically induced deformity. If so, this is animal cruelty and they should be avoided by wholesalers, stores and aquatic hobbyist.

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