What to Know About German Blue Ram

Medically Reviewed by Vanesa Farmer, DVM on January 05, 2023
4 min read

German Blue rams thrive in community tanks and are a great addition to any freshwater environment. They are small, beautiful to look at, and have a peaceful temperament. Although they are not difficult to care for, they are sensitive to water fluctuations and require specific conditions to thrive and stay healthy. Experienced fish keepers who understand how to keep nitrate and ammonia levels low are often the best type of owners for these fish. 

Larger, more aggressive fish may bully smaller German blue rams, which is why you should consider the fish you currently have in your freshwater tank and research whether they would make good companions. Adding these fish to your tank allows you to observe their playful behavior and unique swimming style. These are some things you should know about caring for and keeping your German blue rams safe and happy.

German blue rams do well in groups and with other fish. They often act out playing by chasing their tank mates, which should not be mistaken for aggressive behavior. These fish like to keep to themselves and stay in the middle or bottom levels of the tank. While you should give them plenty of open space to roam, they also require plenty of hiding places. Adding rocks to your tank or dense vegetation will give them a place to take shelter.

Rams can be kept in pairs or alone, but if you decide to keep more than one, you should have more females than males. These fish often become territorial during mating season when they form pairs. Making sure your aquarium is big enough for your fish to have separate territories is another way to prevent aggression between the fish. 

Male rams tend to be more vibrant and have extended dorsal fins. Females are often smaller and have reddish-pink bellies. German blue rams typically grow between two to three inches long, with some growing up to four inches in the wild.

They are sensitive to water fluctuations and require a good filtration system and regular water changes. These fish are susceptible to tuberculosis, and maintaining the specific tank conditions they require is important. Like caring for other pet fish, gaining a solid understanding of the environmental requirements and nutrition they require to live a healthier quality of life can increase their lifespan.

These fish are primarily omnivores and feed on small insects or invertebrates. Providing your German blue rams with insects, pellets, flakes, and plant material is an excellent way to replicate their diet in the wild. Feeding your German blue ram live and frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms can bring out their unique colors.

When adding them to your tank for the first time, they may be reluctant to eat and appear skittish. They typically start eating again as soon as they get used to their new environment. Enticing them with tasty food like live mosquito larvae can help them eat sooner. You should be sure what you're feeding them is small enough to fit into their mouths. Give them two to five pinches of food once daily. The best way to maintain the water quality is by splitting this into pinch-sized portions throughout the day.

These freshwater fish are native to the Amazon Basin in South America. They are freshwater fish belonging to the Cichlid family and inhabit the waterways, particularly in Venezuela and Colombia. In their natural habitat, they inhabit shallow pools, streams and prefer slow-flowing, acidic water with plenty of sandy beds and ample vegetation. 

Mimic their natural habitat by adding moss, driftwood, algae, and other plants. If you're considering adding other fish to the same tank, dwarf cichlids or non-cichlids make great companions for German blue rams.

Some tank companions to consider for your German blue rams include:

  • Catfish cardinal tetras 
  • Silver dollar fish 
  • Bristlenose plecos 
  • Neon tetras 
  • Clown loaches 
  • Dwarf gouramis 
  • Guppies
  • Corydoras

Avoid fish that are large or aggressive, like green terrors. If you plan to add non-fish like shrimp to your tank, be sure they are too large to be consumed by your German blue rams.  Doing your research before adding new fish to your tank will help you determine if they can co-exist in the same environment. When arranging the plants in your tank, leave plenty of room for them to swim and avoid filtration systems with strong currents that they can get swept up into.

German blue rams are sensitive to changing water conditions, and you should keep the temperature between 78-86 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level of 6-7. Plan on buying a 20-gallon tank or larger for blue rams, and for every ram you include in the tank, plan on adding around 10 gallons of water. Aim to replace the water at least once a week. If neglected, water quality could impact your fish's health.

This fish’s average lifespan, when properly cared for, is between two and three years. In some cases, when aquarists give German blue rams the right environment, they may even live up to four years. Poor water management and oxygenation can lead to diseases like tuberculosis, ich, fin rot, or skin flukes. Fish tuberculosis can cause your fish to feel lethargic, experience scale loss, develop lesions, and wasting flesh. 

This disease is highly contagious and can be prevented simply by cleaning the water and sterilizing any decoration in their environment. In some cases, a veterinarian may need to prescribe antibiotics for specific diseases.

If you are planning to breed your German blue rams, you can encourage the process by keeping them together in a small group. Provide them with live foods like shrimp or bloodworms. Adding a piece of yarn to the tank gives female German blue rams a place to lay their eggs. These eggs will typically hatch in about three days. Most German blue rams are captive-bred and have a relatively stable wild population that isn't considered threatened.