Jewel Cichlid

With a fiery personality to match its fiery red coloration, Hemichromis bimaculatus, also known as the Jewel Cichlid or Jewelfish, is a fearless fighter. It will even take on and defeat much larger competitors! This lovely but pugnacious fish is covered with bright blue green iridescent flecks on its red and orange body. When Jewelfish are spawning, their colors become extremely vivid and intense and indeed, they are comparable to dazzling jewels.

The Jewelfish originates from the forested areas of West Africa where it lives in streams and rivers.

Thus, a suitable aquarium setup should include some hardy plants and vegetation, driftwood, and lots of rocks and stones that form caves for shelter. The substrate should consist of a fine gravel or sandy bottom. Adult Jewelfish can reach a length between 4 to 6 inches, so a minimum tank size of 55 gallons is required for full grown specimens. It is also important to use an efficient filtration system along with regular water changes in order to keep them healthy and in good color.

The temperature in the aquarium should be kept between 72-80 F with a pH of 6.5-7.5. Jewelfish are carnivorous by nature but will eat almost all types of foods that are offered. Be sure to vary their diet and include meaty fare such as shrimp, fish, and worms, as well as specially formulated cichlid pellets.

Jewelfish are very territorial and require a lot of space. They will fight with their own kind and consume smaller fishes. It is best to house them in a species only tank or with other large, hardy fishes.

Breeding the Jewelfish is not too difficult but it can be a violent affair, with a lot of chasing and nipping. It is best to begin with a group of young fish and raise them in a large tank. In time they will pair off and the couples can be transported to a tank of their own. Jewelfish are substrate spawners and will prepare for mating by digging a hole in the gravel or cleaning a flat surface. The female will then lay her eggs in the chosen nesting site and the male will fertilize them.

Both parents will share in guarding the eggs, which can number up to 500! The eggs will usually hatch in 3 to 5 days time and the fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp as well as finely ground flake foods.