What Do Bolivian Rams Eat? (Answered!)

What do Bolivian Rams eat? Bolivian Rams are omnivores. As such, they need a diet that is based on both animal and plant matter. Bolivian Rams will need to be fed a varied, balanced diet which includes a good quality flake or pellet food with the addition of some live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, daphnia, or mosquito larvae.

Eating Daphnia
Eating Daphnia

Bolivian Rams are a massively underrated fish in the freshwater fish-keeping hobby. They live in the shadow of their more colorful cousins, the German Blue Ram. Until I got my first group of Bolivian Rams, I didn’t really appreciate just how colorful they are.

What Are The Best Foods For Bolivian Rams?

  • Flake Foods: Bolivian Rams will happily eat flake foods. Although Bolivian Rams don’t spend a great deal of time eating from the surface of the water, if they are kept in a community tank with other fish, the natural feeding of the other fish will lead to some flakes falling down through the water column. I have had good success feeding my Bolivian Rams Fluval Bug Bites flakes. Bug Bites are largely made from Black Soldier Fly Larvae and they are relished by many different species of fish.
  • Sinking Pellets: Sinking Pellets are probably the Bolivian Rams food of choice. Pellets come in a variety of sizes. I have found the mini pellets seem to be the pellet size the Rams get on best with. Any pellet which is too large may be ignored by the Bolivian Rams. I have found that Tetra Prima granules are especially enjoyed by the Bolivian Rams, as are Fluvals Bug Bites Color Enhancing pellets. Bug Bites Color Enhancing pellets are also based around Black Soldier Fly larvae and have a real impact on the Rams coloration.


  • Repashy: Repashy is a gel food which you make up yourself before feeding to your Bolivian Rams. When dropped into the aquarium, the Repashy sinks to the bottom where the Bolivian Rams will readily pick at it. I use Repahsy’s Community Blend which seems to appeal to almost all fish. Repashy is made up of high quality ingredients which will have a beneficial effect on your Bolivian Rams coloration.
  • Bloodworm: Whether fed live or frozen, bloodworms are relished by almost every fish in the hobby and Bolivian Rams are no exception. Because bloodworms naturally sink, they quickly fall down to the Bolivian Rams’ chosen feeding location.
  • Daphnia: Like bloodworms, daphnia can be fed either live or frozen and they too are readily enjoyed by many species of fish. Daphnia does tend to spend more time floating around than bloodworms do, but Bolivian Rams will still happily eat it.
  • Mosquito Larvae: Mosquito Larvae are available live or frozen and are probably the easiest of the live foods to culture yourself at home. Stick a bucket of water outside during the spring and summer months and no doubt you will get mosquito larvae at some point. You then have a live food on tap that you can feed to your Bolivian Rams every day.
  • Brine Shrimp: Bolivian Rams seem to love eating Brine Shrimp. Brine Shrimp is available live or frozen. It is also possible to hatch Brine Shrimp eggs at home and feed the highly nutritious, freshly hatched brine shrimp to your Bolivian Rams, especially if you have baby Bolivian Rams to feed.


How Often Should You Feed Bolivian Rams

Bolivian Rams do best if they are fed 3 or 4 small meals a day rather than 1 large meal. For my own Bolivian Rams, I try to feed them flakes or pellets twice a day with a third feeding of a live or frozen food. If I am feeding them some Repashy, I tend to drop a cube in during the evening, allowing the Rams to continue feeding after lights out if they wish.

Will Bolivian Rams Eat Snails?

Bolivian Rams are not known to eat snails. They may occasionally snack on one, but they certainly aren’t hard-core snail munchers. Bolivian Rams’ scientific name is Mikrogeophagus. Mikrogeophagus translates as ‘small earth-eater’. They get this name as they enjoy sifting through the substrate looking for things to eat. This substrate sifting may lead to the Bolivian Rams eating the occasional snail.

Will Bolivian Rams Eat Shrimp?

Bolivian Rams are not especially predatory and do not go out of their way to eat shrimp. I have successfully kept Red Cherry Shrimp in the same aquarium as my Bolivian Rams without apparent problems.

With that said, I have no doubt my Bolivian Rams have picked off the occasional baby Red Cherry Shrimp, either because the opportunity presented itself, or by accident whilst sifting through the substrate.

I wouldn’t have any concerns keeping shrimp in with my Bolivian Rams.

Will Bolivian Rams Eat Plants?

Although Bolivian Rams do need vegetable matter in their diets, they are not known to eat aquarium plants. They may ‘pick’ at fine-leaved plants, but probably won’t cause any real damage.

Bolivian Rams do like to have live plants in their aquariums. Plants such as Valisnaria, Amazon Swords, and members of the Cryptocoryne family always work well with Bolivian Rams.

What Foods Should NOT Be Fed To Bolivian Rams?

Bolivian Rams are fairly sensible. They won’t just eat anything that is thrown into their aquariums like maybe a goldfish or an oscar would. With that said, there are still some foods that are best avoided.

  • Any food which only floats should not be fed to Bolivian Rams. Bolivian Rams like to feed either from the bottom of the aquarium or the lower regions of the water column. They would have to be incredibly hungry to venture to the surface to eat.

  • Very cheap, poor quality foods should also be avoided. The cheapest fish foods on the market tend to have a lot of ‘fillers’ which offer no nutritional value to your Bolivian Rams. For your Rams to show their best colors they need good quality ingredients in their food. Ingredients like krill will help boost the Rams coloration.

  • Human foods should also be avoided. Bread, cereals and meat designed for human consumption will offer little goodness to your Bolivian Rams and they will probably ignore it, meaning it ends up rotting in your aquarium and fouling the water.


In Conclusion

Bolivian Rams make a stunning addition to any aquarium. To get the best possible coloration, feed your Bolivian Rams a varied, high-quality diet that is based around a good quality flake or pellet food with the addition of some live or frozen fish food.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
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