Bolivian butterfly / ram

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úlfhams_víkingur, Microgeophagus altispinosus male, CC BY 2.0

The Bolivian butterfly ram, also called Papiliochromis altispinosa, is a freshwater fish belonging to the family of the so-calledrams (ramae).

What distinguishes the Bolivian butterfly ram?

The Bolivian butterfly ram is very colourful and therefore an eye-catcher in every aquarium. Originally it comes from South America and can be found there mainly in the so-called Amazon Basin, in the Rio Guaporé river system near Brazil and Bolivia and also in the Río Mamoré Drainage. It very often lives in quiet shore areas near larger lakes, rivers and streams.

The appearance of the Bolivian butterfly ram

The males grow to a length of seven to eight centimetres, the females only five to six centimetres. The Bolivian butterfly ram has an elongated and somewhat high-backed physique. Its colouring can vary, the basic colour being mostly silver and yellow or orange to red. There is a characteristic black spot in the middle of the body. If you look closely, you will also recognize some dark cross bands. A vertical black bar runs through the eyes.

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Housing conditions

  • densely planted border planting provides hiding places
  • sufficient free swimming space
  • fine gravel and some stones as substrate
  • should be kept in pairs
  • only one male per tank
  • regular partial water changes
  • not too dense trimming
  • good and continuous water filtration

Gender differences

In males the second ray is slightly longer at the dorsal fin. They are also generally larger than their females. The latter show a so-called laying tube directly before spawning.

Water values

  • Temperature: 22° C to 26° C
  • pH value: 6,5 to 7,5
  • Tank size: from 150 litres
  • Total hardness: 5-15 °C

Feed and nutrition

The Bolivian butterfly ram is an omnivore. However, it prefers live food, such as Mosquito larvae water fleas and also so-called Cyclops.

The ideal aquarium for the Bolivian butterfly ram

The fish are very peaceful and can adapt to different conditions in the tank. An aquarium of at least 90 centimetres should be available for a couple. As with many other dwarf rams, the substrate should consist of either very fine gravel or sand. In addition, the tank is decorated with some flat and also larger stones and bogwood roots. Once a week a partial water change of about one fifth of the aquarium water should be done.

If you want to breed perch, you should pay attention to a few points. After all, success depends on various factors, such as water values or other tank inhabitants.

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