I have a 20g long that is sitting empty right now and I really want put some fish in it I was thinking some type of dwarf cichlid. My first thought was rams but my LFS only carries long fin ballon rams which are really blue rams. The needs of these fish are very high but I like their color. Are there any other dwarf cichlids that have nice color but are fairly easy to manage? Or any suggestions on the rams?
Look for one of the pelvicachromis taeniatus variants if you want to try a West African dwarf cichlid. As for Apistogramma, cacatuoides are good beginner species, so to are some of the cruzi or regani complex apistos. Or look for a pair of Laetacara dorsigera or curviceps.
It sounds like you're limited by your LFS. You might ask them if they can order something for you, or put the word out to their suppliers.
I had two regular rams, they were nice but succumbed to an infection that the rest of the tank was able to fight down.
Yeah I was was looking in my LFS when I got my gouramies a couple days ago and the only rams they had were the long fin gallons which are actually blue rams but they were juvies so couldn't tell if they were regular or deformed.
Blue rams require specific conditions to thrive, but many people do not provide such conditions, so when their rams die, they blame it on weak fish,etc. rather than looking at what they should have done.