How to Setup a Ram Cichlids Tank?

To keep ram cichlids, it is essential to equip your aquarium as well as possible to prolong the life of these short-lived fish and make it as good as possible.

But what exactly do we need? Stay tuned so that you can be prepared before you buy your fish.

Choose a Tank for Ram Cichlids

When choosing the size of the aquarium, it is important to know exactly how many ram cichlids you are planning to buy. Since these fish need a lot of space to move around, you should expect an average of at least 20 gallons per specimen. In this case, if you are buying a pair, you should have a tank of at least 40 gallons so that you can

However, the size of the tank is important not only for the amount of space you need but also to ensure the best possible water quality for your fish.

Cycle Your Fish Tank

For every aquarium, there comes a time when it must go through the tedious method of cyclicality.

This refers to the creation of bacterial colonies that help regulate the nitrogen cycle, which is a biological process that involves the continuous flow of nitrogen compounds such as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to process waste products in natural water. In a closed aquarium, this cycle must be established.

In a new tank, it may not be possible to create this successfully at first, but if you take some time to set up the filters, you can quickly create the life your fish need to thrive.

One option is to put 10-20% of your intended fish population in the water until you find the right setup, and then gradually populate your tank over a few weeks or months.

Another option is to try to find the right settings without fish.

The key to this cycle is that we are responsible for adding ammonia to the water, simulating the waste produced by the fish. Ammonia supplementation needs to be continuous so that the bacteria being cultured do not die from lack of food.

Although this will not create the perfect cycle at first, it is not stressful for the fish.

As with the other method, ram cichlids should be introduced gradually.

Adding Live Plants for Rams

In addition to the size of the tank and the water parameters, plants are also a key element of a ram cichlids aquarium. As much as possible, aim to create their natural environment after they are tropical, freshwater fish.

This means that you should provide a variety of different types of plants around which they can swim. Fortunately, many freshwater plants can be used, most of which are not too demanding and do not require a lot of expertise or extra equipment.

However, it is also important not to overdo it, as too many plants will limit the range of movement of your fish. Try to find a happy medium.

Plants also serve as hiding places for ram cichlids, which is especially important during the spawning season to reduce their aggression.

Because of this feature, it is advisable to provide several rocks and caves where they can hide. This is particularly important in community tanks where fish with similar characteristics may displace them from their hiding places.

Flat stones should also be placed in the aquarium for females to lay their eggs during the breeding season.

Ram Cichlid Aquarium Equipment

If you want to keep your ram cichlids in good health condition, you will have to use a few aquarium equipment such as a heater, filter and lighting.

– Filtration

Just like human life, the life of fish is determined by oxygen uptake. This means that the aquarium must always have some kind of aerator. Many people think that it is enough to keep the water constantly moving, but this is far from the truth, as it does not provide the fish with sufficient oxygen.

In this case, it is common to notice that the fish are showing symptoms of shortness of breath. In such cases, we should consider getting an aerator for the aquarium.

Previous experience has shown that a pump, which is a little buzzing something, is very important when it comes to aerating the aquarium. Of course, you can’t expect them to be completely silent, but they are now made in very quiet designs and can be used to maximum efficiency even in a closed-top aquarium.

There is a choice of aerators for the air pump, including nebulizers and sponge filters. The latter is slightly more useful as it provides not only oxygen but also biological filtration.

In addition, both external and internal aerators can be used.

– Heater

Being tropical fish, ram cichlids are not particularly fond of colder water temperatures. It is therefore important to prepare in advance for heating your aquarium.

In general, larger aquariums should be equipped with a more powerful heater. For smaller aquariums, a 25-watt heater is sufficient, but for an 80-gallons tank, you may need a heater with up to 300 watts. Experience has shown that you should expect 1 watt per 0,26 gallon

Some aquarium heaters can be installed in the filter, and there are also filters with built-in heaters at the factory. These devices can be practical, plus they don’t detract from the overall appearance of the pool. However, it is important to note that these devices are only of benefit to us for average use.

If the fish lays eggs near the extractor or builds a nest, it may be necessary to switch off the filter. However, a constant temperature must still be maintained, so heating is still necessary.

– Lighting

A well-lit aquarium encourages plant growth and helps fish digestion and reproduction, so the right light sources all have an impact on a healthy aquarium ecosystem.

Recommended illumination is 20-60 lumens per 0,26 gallon for 12 hours per day. Of the full spectrum of white light, red and blue are the most effective colors for photosynthesis in plants.

It is important to note that for aquariums with tropical fish and plants, only halogen tube lighting should be used, as fluorescent tubes cannot illuminate the lower area of the aquarium, while LED lights are only suitable for shade-tolerant plants.

Adding Fish to Your Tank

As mentioned above, it is important not to populate your aquarium all at once.

Try to feed them proportionally, gradually, weekly or even monthly, to allow for a cyclical process.

Ram Cichlids should be purchased in pairs as they are very social creatures.

When you arrive home with your newly acquired specimens, open the bag, fold the mouth of the bag over several layers and place it in the aquarium so that the mouth of the bag is floating in the water with the mouth upwards. It takes approximately thirty minutes for the water in the bag to slowly take on the temperature of the aquarium.

Then gradually dip the water from the aquarium into the bag to bring the water quality close together. When the water in the bag has doubled in volume, you can start to add the fish to the aquarium. Be sure to do this with netting.

Ram Cichlid Tank Maintenance

Maintaining your aquarium is necessary to keep your fish and plants happy. To do this, it is necessary to carry out a few repetitive tasks from time to time.

Replace one-third of the tank water with freshly prepared water at least once every two weeks. This way, we no longer have to worry about the accumulation of metabolic products. It is important not to wait any longer than this to change the water.

Check the chemistry of the water after the change. Check that it has the right hardness and pH. To be on the safe side, you should also measure the ammonia, nitrate and nitrite content of the water every few weeks, for which you can buy suitable rapid tests from specialist shops.

Keep a constant eye on the condition of your plants and remove dead or ingrown leaves at least twice a month. Never cut back more than one-third of their height vertically at a time. If necessary, this can be done several times a month.

Cleaning the filter is also a very important task. If the aquarium is equipped with an external filter, this should be done approximately every two months. In contrast, the internal filter only needs to be cleaned when it has become so clogged that its ability to circulate is reduced.

It should then be washed under a weak, hand-hot jet of water. We do not recommend cleaning the filter more frequently than this, as the bacteria that are essential for the biological balance of the aquarium are washed out each time.

It is also advisable to clean the inside of the sides of the tank every two weeks or so, using a magnetic glass cleaner or a scouring sponge.


When setting up your first aquarium, you need patience and planning. Don’t stress too much about it and don’t jump into anything. It is important to get the necessary equipment and set everything up properly.

By doing so, we not only help our future fish to live a happy life, but we also open a window to a new underwater world for ourselves to explore.

Ram Cichlids   Updated: October 13, 2021
avatar Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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