Mikrogeophagus altispinosus often called Bolivian Ram cichlid male female pair

Mikrogeophagus is a South American dwarf cichlid genus with three species as of 2022. One of these species is the Blue Ram Cichlid, Microgeophagus ramerizi which is probably the best-known dwarf cichlid of all time. The other species are Mikrogeophagus altispinosus and Mikrogeophagus maculicauda.

The first species in the genus to be described was Mikrogeophagus altispinosus which was described in 1911 as Crenicara altispinosa while the Blue Ram was described in 1948 as Apistogramma ramerizi. Since then, there have been a number of renaming events.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click on an affiliate link and choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!
  • In 1957, Frey introduced the name Microgeophagus but its use was never widely adopted.
  • In 1960 Wickler suggested using “Apistogramma” in quotes in recognition of its uncertain status. Unfortunately, this suggestion was not followed
  • In 1969 the name Pseudogeophagus was suggested
  • In 1971 the name Pseudoapistogramma was suggested
  • In 1977 the Swedish ichthyologist Dr. Sven Kullander weighed in with a complete redefinition of the genus and established the name Papiliochromis. With this, most considered that ram cichlid naming was established and Papiliochromis was briefly accepted.
  • In 1982, the debate began anew as several authors advocated for the adoption of Mikrogeophagus and in 1998 Kullander began to use the name Mikrogeophagus.
  • Today, the name Mikrogeophagus is universally accepted as the correct name. I’ve not heard of anyone objecting and it seems to be a settled question.

Mikrogeophagus maculicauda is the most recently described member of the genus. In fact, it was just described in the fall of 2022. It’s very similar to Mikrogeophagus altispinosus and has been known to hobbyists for many years as M. sp. “Zweifleck/Two-patch”.

The Blue Ram, Microgeophagus ramerizi, and the Bolivian Ram, Mikrogeophagus altispinosus are both popular aquarium fish and are commonly available in pet stores – keep reading to learn more about each species.


Most of the information I provide on this website comes from books and websites. While I don’t provide specific citations, these are the sources for most of my information.
South American Books:
Mergus Cichlid Atlas Volume 1 & Volume 2 by Dr. Uwe Römer
South American Dwarf Cichlids by Rainer Stawikowski, I. Koslowski and V. Bohnet
Die Buntbarsche Amerikas Band 2 Apistogramma & Co. by Ingo Koslowski, Translation by Mike Wise
South American Dwarf Cichlids by Hans J. Mayland & Dieter Bork
American Cichlids I – Dwarf Cichlids by Horst Linke & Dr. Wolfgang Staeck
West African Books:
The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa by Anton Lamboj
African Cichlids I – Cichlids From West Africa by Horst Linke & Dr. Wolfgang Staeck
Apisto sites – the home page of Tom C – Global authority for identification and classification of apistogrammas
Apistogramma.com – An excellent international forum with expert members who gladly share their knowledge.
Much more information is available in our complete exploration of dwarf cichlid information resources.