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sexing ram cichlids

How to Sex Rams

The German Blue Ram is a popular and colourful dwarf cichlid.  It has undergone color and body morphs resulting in new ram varieties.  Their scientific name is Mikrogeophagus ramirezi.  They were named after Manuel Ramirez, one of the first collectors and importers of German Blue Ram for the aquarium trade.

However like their wild cousins, tank raised rams can thrive happily within the 78-85 ºF  temperature range but the main difference is that tank raised rams can survive within a wider range of pH value ranging from pH 5 to pH 8.
The German Blue Ram (GBR) is a colorful and generally peaceful species that does well with other docile fish.  They can be safely kept in a community tank.  This is why they are so popular with aquarists.  But like all cichlids, they can become territorial and aggressive during breeding so ensure you have enough hiding spots and room to prevent stress to tank mates.
GBRs reach sexual maturity quite early.  They can begin to breed at around 3 months old.  After about 6 months old, the male GBR can reach a length of 2.5” to 3” from head to tail, while the female tends to be smaller.
Sexing GBR is easiest at adulthood.  There are a number of traits to use when determining sex.  The easiest way to sex GRB is by looking at the black blotch.  In males, there are no bright blue specks inside the black blotch whereas in females, there are.
Here is a breakdown of male vs female traits to look for when trying to sex German Blue Ram.

sexing rams

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MALE TRAITS
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– black blotch: there are NO bright blue specks inside the black blotch
– more elongated body
– second and third dorsal spines have extended filaments
– first spine on both ventral fins tend to be longer
– at the end of the dorsal fin, the fin tend to be pointy

 

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FEMALE TRAITS
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– black blotch: there are some bright blue specks inside the black blotch
– shorter and stocky body (more round and plump looking)
– have reddish-purple abdomen (when healthy)
– second and third dorsal spines are less long
– first spine on both ventral fins tend to be shorter
– at the end of the dorsal fin, the fin tend to be more round

 

With the introduction of Gold and Electric Blue Rams over the years, sexing them isn’t as easy and can be challenging at times.   But some of the male vs female traits still stand.

Sexing Gold and Electric Blue Ram are generally based on body and fin shape.  Here are some traits to look for when sexing them.

sexing ram cichlids

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MALE TRAITS
***********
– more elongated body
– second and third dorsal spines have extended filaments
– first spine on both ventral fins tend to be longer
– at the end of the dorsal fin, the fin tend to be pointy

 

*************
FEMALE TRAITS
*************
– shorter and stocky body (more round and plump looking)
– second and third dorsal spines are shorter
– first spine on both ventral fins tend to be shorter
– at the end of the dorsal fin, the fin tend to be more rounded

 

Now that you know what traits to look for when sexing rams, it isn’t that hard.  It just takes practice.  As an experienced breeder of rams, I can spot the males from the females quite easily (once they are mature) but both Gold and Electric Blue Ram can still pose a challenge from time to time.  =)

About Fish Talk

As a child, I got my first tank as a birthday gift and I was hooked. I keep mainly community fish and I specialize in raising and breeding Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (aka rams). I run a Facebook group called Fish Talk whose main intent is to share my experiences and teach others what I have learned over the years. I hope to see you there.

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