Characteristics of ceramic coatings on AM50 magnesium alloy by micro-arc oxidation in silicate and phosphate electrolytes have been investigated in this study. This study reveals that the thickness of the ceramic coatings increases with the treated time in both electrolytes, the growth rate of ceramic layer in phosphate is faster than that in silicate electrolyte. The surface roughness of the ceramic coating formed in phosphate electrolyte is higher than that formed in silicate electrolyte. The coatings formed in silicate, containing a thicker inner barrier layer and a thinner outer porous layer, consist of MgO, Mg2SiO4 and MgSiO3 phases. For the coatings formed in phosphate, the outer porous layer is thicker than the inner layer, it consist mainly of MgO and MgAlO4 phases.